Wim Hof holds twenty world records, including a world record for the longest ice bath. Nicknamed ”The Iceman”, Wim stayed immersed in ice for 1 hour, 13 minutes and 48 seconds at Guinness World Records 2008. In 2011, Wim broke the record again. It now stands at 1 hour, 52 minutes, and 42 seconds.
In 2007, he climbed to a 6.7 km altitude at Mount Everest wearing only shorts. Wim has spent many years showing what the human body can accomplish and passing on his method to others. He has taught himself how to control his heart rate, breathing, and blood circulation. According to current scientific knowledge, the autonomic nervous system is out of our control. Wim, however, seems to be able to access his hypothalamus and regulate his body temperature.
Recent studies suggest that Wim can influence his autonomic nervous system, which regulates the heart rate, breathing, and blood circulation.
According to Mr Hof, his method can provide you with the following benefits:
1 – Influence on the immune system.
2 – Influence on your mind.
3 – Improvement of blood circulation.
4 – Improvement of concentration and targeting.
5 – Greater confidence and conscious development.
It all begins with proper breathing. Wim can hold his breath with ease for over six minutes while his entire body is submerged underwater. Through proper breathing, he can hold his breath longer than the average human. Wim can also make conscious contact with his heart, autonomic nervous system, and immune system. The next step is to make your body stronger by exposure to the cold. For example, take a cold shower after a hot one. As you progress, you can even sit, walk, or run through snow and ice.
We had a chance to ask Mr Wim some questions that we believe are relevant to all Martial Artists. Wing Chun has a long and rich history of “Mind” training, and many of Mr Wim’s methods could be beneficial for martial artists. The late Grandmaster Tsui Sheung Tin often spoke of this “Mind Intent” as one of the fundamental factors of Wing Chun.
There can be no argument that Mr Wim Hof has reached a level of control over his body beyond the reach of most humans. We hope you will find this interview as enlightening as we did.
Mr Wim, can you please tell us how you came to discover your unusual abilities?
I studied many religions, traditions, cultures, and esoteric disciplines. Nothing touched the depth that I was looking for until the ice-water in my backyard.
I soon realised that mother Nature had the answer. From there, I developed my skills in ice water. I learned to breathe right and to concentrate without thoughts. A deep and tremendous understanding suddenly arose.
What forms of meditation have you studied in the past?
I learned much from Yogic practices, Kung Fu, Buddhism, and many more disciplines, but nothing compares to cold water.
Do you believe that there is a relationship between emotional states and our physical body? Many internal arts teach that the secret to using the “mind intent” is in our emotions. Have you found this to be true in your experience?
Emotion goes up to our DNA and thus influences us at the very depth of our Physiology. We found that out in many studies. Believe goes deep. The Mind is chemistry, electrical signals, and neurotransmitters.
Thus emotions are signals which travel directly to the cells and their DNA. Emotion causes thoughts in the Mind through neurotransmitters. We can change our emotions by going deeply into our brain and influencing it.
Amygdala is the “Seat of Emotion” in the primitive brain. We are influenced deeply in the brainstem; the studies confirm it. I can generate more adrenaline lying in bed through focus and breathing exercises than somebody doing their first bungee- jump.
Do you make use of visualisation when exposed to extreme cold?
Visualisation is a natural thing to do. You think about what you do and want a positive outcome. That’s the way I do my feats as well.
With the cold water, thinking stops. If you love somebody, your thinking stops. Find the driving force that makes you feel like you are in love and you can do the impossible.
Anybody can do it! How? We have a great online course.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your online course?
Yes, the online course is at www.wimhofmethod.com. For ten weeks, you will get a new video each week. You can start practising right away, using the videos as an example.
We have a video mini-class about the online training so you can experience it for yourself. By subscribing (at www. wimhofmethod.com/Video-miniclass) for the free video mini-class, you can start today.
In your experience, is there a direct correlation between stretching and emotional states?
Stretching relieves muscle tension (psychosomatically). Doing a good workout relieves the (emotional) tension and frees the mind.
What role does the Solar Plexus play in calming one’s mental state? Can manipulation of this area through posture and stretching result in reduced fear/ anxiety?
The Solar Plexus is related directly to our personality, attitude, and stance toward the world. In work and exercise, we want to stand out. Freeing the Solar Plexus through good breathing/exercise has a calming effect because the tension accumulated by emotional interactions and daily stress is relieved.
We must develop physiological insight on how to relieve tension related to the Solar plexus.
Thank you for your time, Mr Hof. As a parting message, can you tell us what you hope to accomplish by sharing your methods with the world?
Life is about focus, energy, and sensations. Because of my practices, these have become much more profound and controllable. Learning about physiology and psychology in the cold has allowed me to perform spectacular feats whilst raising four children on my own. What more could I ask for?
We can accomplish much more than we ever thought possible. My mission is to show (scientifically) the insight that happiness, health, and power are a choice for everybody. Ω