Incredible You! - Wim Hof Legend Of The Iceman

in incredibleyou •  2 years ago


Wim Hoff is a miracle of modern science; or has he just learned to do what is within us all?

For those of you who haven't heard about him, Wim Hoff is a Dutch national with an incredible talent. He regularly exposes himself to extreme cold whilst partaking in gruelling athletic challenges.

Whether it's running a marathon in minus 10 degrees in his underwear, or swimming beneath the ice in a frozen lake with nothing more than a pair of pants, Wim has done it all.

The Making Of The Iceman


The cold is my only master, the cold is my only teacher.

~ Wim Hof

Wim Hof hold's 26 world records, all of them have been set in extreme cold.

He has climbed mount Kilimanjaro in his shorts, and he has been submerged in ice longer than any living human being.

Some biologists think that Hof may change the face of medicine all on his own. Yet what was it that originally drove this man to discover the limits of his body in such a stark way?

As most of us do, Hof spent a portion of his early life looking for a 'truth' beyond that which he already knew.

He claims to have looked into various religions and martial arts. Then one day he was near a body of cold water in his native Holland, and decided that he was going to get in.

Hof claims that it took him between 30 and 60 seconds to fully immerse himself, and from that point on, "The Iceman" was born.

Wim says that he felt that he had gained more knowledge in that one minute than he had reading a ton of books. He said that he realised then, that what might be called enlightenment did not come from the head, but rather the body and the head together.

In 1995 the love of his life, his wife who gave him four children committed suicide. Hof says that it was this personal tragedy, along with the determination to be there for his 4 kids, that spurred him into finding a solution to his depression.

He found that the more he employed his breathing techniques, along with his 'cold therapy', the better he felt.

Both him and his children, Hof says, benefited greatly from using this method, it was not long after this that the media started to get interested in his exploits, and thus, the iceman was born.

The Science Of Cold


Up until the discovery of Wim Hof and his amazing method, it was thought that both the autonomic nervous system and innate immune system could not be voluntarily influenced.

However due to a study published in 2014 by Matthijs Kox and Lucas T. van Eijk, et al. that notion was completely flipped on its head.

By studying Wim Hof's physiology, scientists realised that he was indeed doing what he claimed to be doing. He was taking conscious control of his nervous and immune systems, simply by regulating his breathing in a certain way.

What was completely groundbreaking about this study, is that they used Hof's method on a group of completely normal people, whilst measuring against a control group who had not been taught the method.

This is science at its best, Wim Hof past on the precise details of his method to others. They were then able to take those methods, teach it to a group of unknown test subjects and duplicate Hof's results.

Make no mistake, these results were phenomenal, they found that by using 'the method', subjects had higher adrenaline and lower cortisol levels in their systems.

This was especially interesting because adrenaline is used by our bodies to help us perform better under stress. Whilst cortisol is a result of the stress that we're feeling, so adrenaline and cortisol play this merry dance within us, in order to get us to perform at our peak.

The next amazing discoveries were that subjects who underwent the Hof method, produced epinephrine which in turn, stimulates the production of anti-inflammatory hormones within the immune system. While at the same time suppressing pro inflammatory mediators such as cytokine.

The importance of such discoveries is highlighted in this short paragraph from the study.

The innate immune system is crucial to our survival, but excessive or persistent proinflammatory cytokine production can result in tissue damage and organ injury, such as in autoimmune diseases.

Biological therapies that antagonize proinflammatory cytokines or their receptors are very effective and have revolutionized the treatment of autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

However, these drugs are expensive and have serious side effects. Therefore, innovative therapies aimed at limiting inflammatory cytokine production in a more physiological manner are warranted.

Taking On The Wim Hof Challenge

The cold is an absolute doorway to the soul.

~ Wim Hof

The more I read about the method the more I discover its benefits.

It is helpful for depression, anxiety, it encourages fitness and wellness, and will help prevent certain autoimmune diseases.

So I am setting myself a challenge, one that will initially last 30 days but I hope will carry on for the rest of my life.

I am going to do the Wim Hof method for one month, before doing so, I will test myself on certain things, mainly surrounding cold endurance and breath holding.

As I go through the method I will document my progress and general well being.

I challenge you to join me! You can either join me by doing the method alongside me, or keeping up to date via my Steemit posts.

Extra Reading & Sources
Voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system and attenuation of the innate immune response in humans (Wim Hof study)
Wim Hof on Wiki
The Wim Hof Method
Youtube Podcast: Joe Rogan Experience (#711) Wim Hof

The Incredible You! Series:

Wim Hof Challenge

Incredible You! - Tales From The Bath And The Redundancy Of Pain


Incredible You! - Feeling The Flow With The Power Of Touch
Incredible You! - Connect To The Moment And Enhance Your Power With Sound
Incredible You! - Move Like An Animal With Ido Portal
Incredible You! - Finding Your Flow State Superpower



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I'll be checking on your challenge to see how you go.
Incredible man, never heard of him before, thanks.


Cool thank you . . Now you've heard of him, you'll see him everywhere :-)



Hahahaha thats the way it seems to work ;-)>

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hahahahahahhahahah! I will copy this so many times XD


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Mind over matter truly works. Summer here in the Philippines is really hot. So I condition myself to think of cold thoughts when experincing the heat. Most of the time, I sweat less, and keep my body cool. :)


Very interesting, maybe you should check out the method and refine your skills :-)


Awesome idea, I'll be following your challenge with interest. I've often considered giving his method a try myself, I'll read up on it tonight and see if I can find some way to challenge myself too :)


Thank you! Yes it has been on the periphery of my consciousness for a while now, so I just thought; what the hey, lets go for it! :-)


As a Canadian, the only time I expose myself to those temps is after drinking too much, then choosing the wrong door to the bathroom.



Hahaha! Seriously though, you are in the perfect environment to take up this challenge with me, go and find some snow and get your kit off!



I did the cold water plunge in Iceland.

My private parts didn't show themselves for a month!!


Hahaha, I bet; although please don't say things like that, I'm going to be plunging real soon! :-D



You should have a small farewell party before you do :-)

Wow, never heard of this person before. Thanks for sharing!

Yes, it's really cool with people who, for no reasons other than the challenge itself, seek to push the boundaries of what is perceived as possible. In the Space sector, we often hear Astronauts refer to their experiences of people like this, as well as famous mountaineers who climb mountains "because they are there", when they talk about why we should go further into Space not only because for scientific and technological benefits, but also because it's in our very nature to continue pushing the boundaries.

While I do think this guy is completely nuts, I really do appreciate that we have people like him challenging our assumptions of what is possible in this world.


Cool, I'm glad I've turned you onto him! When you have some time you should check out some of those links at the end, like the one to the study is very interesting, and even though it is outside of your field, I think you'll get something out of it.

You're right he is completely nuts, and like you say, if there weren't people like him, prepared to push boundaries. Then we'd stagnate as a species.

I love the fact that he has literally redefined biology in this area, I can't wait to start the challenge!


This guy is so incredible how he demonstrates what a human is capable of!

once i saw a documentary of him and there was his breathing technique, i made it for 40 seconds or so and then i held my breath for literally 2min! never thought i was capable of this!


This is what got me interested, the fact that you can learn to be superhuman with just a few short lessons, incredible, check out the Joe Rogan link, it's long, but you'll end up watching it all anyway!


wow i applaud you in doing this, i dont think i would be able to do that! Good luck and keep us posted!!


Haha, thanks Alla, I will keep you posted, I think I'll start tomorrow! :-)


Truly incredible. Inspiring to see what humans can do if they believe in themselves.


Tell me about it! I can't wait to start his challenge, will keep you posted!


Wow! What an amazing thing that through tragedy, he discovered a life hack that helps so many others overcome their issues. Cold freaks me out but after reading this... hmmmm. By the way, I love your series!


Yes it is a beautiful legacy to his late wife, through the pain she left behind, many have been, and will be helped :-)

Thank you for your comments, hopefully I can keep you entertained, I have a lot more material for this series :-D


he makes me feel cold this extraordinary man


Cold and inspired hopefully! :-D


A wonderful post. Continue in the same spirit. I like and thanks


Thank you, I will :-)


I had heard of the Iceman, but I never looked him up. It's a bit sad to know that he pushed himself so hard to get over his depression, but the fortunate thing is he managed well and got to contribute to science.
I don't know anything about extreme cold endurance-since the lakes on Olympus mountain, Greece, where I go swimming are not that cold- but I hope you get to extend your limits! I'd like to see the process and I'm sure the satisfaction you'll get when you're done will be undescribable!


Cool! I'm glad I've turned you onto him :-)

It is sad like you say, however it has worked for him; and reading the youtube comments on his videos, and the ones on his website, it seems that his method works extremely well for depression.

This makes sense seeing as it has been tested and shown to reduce cortisol levels, which is responsible for stress and thus obliquely for stress as well.

I'd love to see pictures of where you swim, that sounds frigging awesome! I will let you know, I will start in the next day or two :-)



Well, It is admirable how pain can alter you completely and what people do to fight it.

As for the lakes we go swimming, in summer they're just cold, I'm too coward to try them in winter :P
I guess I'll prepare a post and let you know :)


This is fascinating, I didn't know about Wim Hof nor his amazing achievements...I'll be reading your journey with the method with great interest! I may try it myself but not this next 30 days.


An amazing man, and finally after knowing about him for years, I feel motivated to try it out . . wish me luck! :-D



I do ;-)!!


This was four months ago. So three months after your trial. You're still taking cold showers??

Ha! Iceman is my favorite guy. It's my dream to one day participate in his school. I love winter swimming and I am sure I would enjoy having a drink with him..if he is drinking that is...

That guy is a true beast. Climbing everest on shorts? Can it get any more badass?

Wish you good luck in your challenge!

He's a real legend, a madman. I really appreciate him.

Wim Hof is the ultimate man. such a beast, defies all known logic

wow dude!
This is one of the coolest series on Steemit I have found!
I am going to try and follow you with this experiment. I have heard of this man but not really followed or studied him. I initially knew he was the real deal and that his methods could be utilized by others for benefit as well.
I have had MUCH experience in my life with pushing limits and conscious experimentation especially in regards to health.
I have spent days in the snow covered mountains barefoot and I have plunged in ice covered waters. I find it VERY invigorating. I also live every day with a well shower where the water comes out (not freezing) but cold and it is VERY healthy.
I am sure you will have positive results from this. I applaud you for not only researching and admiring this but for actually CHOOSING it!
I haven't checked on ur posts in a while as I am so busy but really grateful I found this and going to try and follow you more closely!

I love you and love your publications. You are my hero. I want to become like you. You are the strongest I will be happy and grateful to you for inviting me to admire my posts and share them on your page I love you hero

I almost finished the book and will start the 30 day trial next week! Great stuff! Ice Ice baby! 🏔️