This is a review of Wim Hof’s 10-week online video course. In this Wim Hof Method review I’ll go over the content of the course, my experience with it, and some information and FAQ about Wim Hof and his breathing method in general.
This is a pretty long post and may include some information you already know, so feel free to skip around and read only what’s relevant for you. You should also know that I am not part of Wim Hof’s company or team, and that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you use them to purchase the course, I will get a commission.
Who is Wim Hof?
Wim “The Iceman” Hof is a Dutchman who has become widely known in recent years for his extraordinary feats, usually demonstrating physical resilience in the face of extreme temperatures and environments. He holds 20 world records, including staying in an ice bath for over an hour and ten minutes.
I first heard about Wim Hof back in 2008 or so in a documentary on TV called The Real Superhumans and the Quest for the Future Fantastic. Several other ‘superhumans’ were profiled but Wim’s exploits were definitely some of the most impressive.
The film documents Wim’s extraordinary feat of running a marathon in the Arctic circle wearing only a pair of shorts. It also shows Wim undergoing testing in a lab setting where he is shown to raise his core temperature while submerged in freezing cold water. He has also climbed much of Mount Everest with no oxygen, again wearing only shorts, and completed a number of other very impressive feats.
More recently, I heard Wim Hof first on Tim Ferriss’ Podcast and then on the Joe Rogan Experience. You can see a clip of Wim Hof showing Joe Rogan his breathing method below:
I had always assumed Wim was some sort of ‘freak of nature’ and never would have guessed that his methods could be taught or learned by other people. When I heard he had a video course I was curious and quickly got a hold of it.
What is Wim Hof Method?
“Wim Hof Method” could refer to Wim’s actual practice itself, or to the online video course of the same name. For the purposes of this review “Wim Hof Method” will refer to the online course.
The WHM is a 10-week course that includes breathing exercises, cold exposure, and strength and flexibility exercises. The main content of the course is the weekly video series, but you also get access to a private Facebook group, some e-books, more video content and so on. (More detail on course content below)
Why write a Wim Hof Method Review?
I have two main reasons for writing a Wim Hof Method review –
- Wim Hof’s message resonates with me and I think it’s important to spread
- I had good results with WHM and I think you can too
Wim Hof’s message & philosophy
Wim Hof’s message is about getting in touch with your own physical nature and understanding the innate knowledge and wisdom of the body. Right from the first video he says “Listen to your body” and “The body knows“.
I’ve written before about how our society cuts us off from the body – most people sit in chairs looking at computer screens for 8, 12 or 16 hours a day. Wim believes that re-integrating physical practice and awareness into daily life is essential for living a good one, and I couldn’t agree more.
Many, many problems can be solved simply by getting in touch with the body. Often the best way to get out of a problem you’ve thought your way into is not to keep using your mind – the solution is to get out of your head and into your body.
If you think it sounds crazy, just think about how you feel after a long yoga session, a run, or some deep stretching. Very relaxed, present, vital and alive.
Wim Hof also puts emphasis on the value of direct experience for finding answers, rather than looking for truth elsewhere in textbooks or external sources of information.
This is something I believe in as well – rather than searching for answers in the outside world, go looking for the answers inside yourself.
Because of his focus on self-knowledge, Wim is able to tap into the autonomic nervous system, which was previously thought to be entirely unconscious. But Wim can consciously control things like his immune system and core temperate – it’s backed by scientific studies and absolutely incredible.
At the end of the day, you know Wim Hof is on to something just by observing the guy. Along with the extraordinary physical feats, Wim is good-natured, energetic and happy in every interview I’ve seen – and throughout this course he’s a good teacher and an encouraging guide. “The proof is in the pudding” as they say.
Good results with WHM
I go into my own experience in more detail later, but I’ve certainly had an increase in energy levels and heightened mood from practicing the Wim Hof Method techniques, particularly immediately after doing them.
I think the greatest benefit I’ve found personally is that doing WHM breathing in the morning immediately wakes me up 100% and gets me feeling good. I was doing other breathing exercises as part of my morning routine before but it would still take me 10-20 minutes to really start feeling awake. After just the first cycle of Wim Hof breathing I feel AWAKE and ALIVE right away.
(If you’re someone who has trouble feeling awake in the morning or you’re “not a morning person” – this may be a good use of WHM for you)
Because Wim Hof’s message is in line with my own beliefs and because I’ve had a good experience with the course, I have no problem telling you that I have a partner relationship with Wim Hof and those who help him run the course. If you sign up for the course using my link, I will get a commission on the sale at no extra cost to you. (This is the case for every Wim Hof Method review online – I’m just being straight up about it)
Wim Hof Method Course Overview
The course starts with an intro video of Wim discussing the course and what it will cover. Then you move on to week 1.
Wim Hof Method Week 1
The Week 1 video mainly consists of Wim guiding you through the steps of his breathing method. The instructions are presented clearly and it’s easy to follow. There are students/participants in the background doing the exercises as well.
The videos are quite long, but this is because you are supposed to follow along with the exercises as you’re watching. Along with the breathing method, there’s also some breathing combined with stretching and mobility, and how to focus your attention properly throughout.
Wim Hof Method Week 2
In Week 2 the breathing exercises become more advanced, and you do pushups as part of the exercises while holding your breath. The interesting part here is that strength generally increases with the WHM and you can do more push ups than usual after the breathing exercises.
Later on cold showers and contrast showers get introduced, and the breathing and cold exposure methods are combined together as well – but I won’t give away too much of the course here. There’s an emphasis on measuring progress and tracking yourself as well, which I think can be very valuable.
How does it feel when you do Wim Hof Method?
Here’s what I experienced with the breathing method exercises:
- Tingling/buzzing sensation in the extremities of the body – hands, forearms, lower legs and feet
- Feeling like the breath becomes ‘trapped’ in muscles that are tight. This is mostly the traps for me. During and after doing Wim Hof breathing my traps would feel like they were full of energy or air – a difficult sensation to describe, a little bit like the ‘pump’ you get in the gym but more uncomfortable feeling
- Build up of mucus, a lot in the throat and mouth and some in the nose too. This happened mostly at the beginning of the course (first week or so) and went away later on.
- Increase in energy – somewhat like having caffeine but calmer and more ‘natural’ feeling. There is none of the jolting intensity of caffeine.
- Good mood/mild euphoria – generally the breathing gets my body feeling very good and puts me in a good mood. I feel like being active and doing the things I need to do.
- Lightheadedness/dizziness – Quite a bit of lightheadedness and dizziness comes along with doing Wim Hof breathing for me, especially the parts where you hold your breath.
Notes on Wim Hof breathing
I found that with the breathing exercises there is a ‘hump’ that you need to get over, where it’s difficult and uncomfortable for the first ~10-20 breaths. You start to feel uncomfortable or like you want to stop, but if you push past it and keep going then you’ll start to feel really good.
I would compare this to doing intense cardio – you feel like it’s hard and your body tells you to stop, but then you break through and get the ‘runner’s high’/euphoria of the endorphins after.
Doing Wim Hof Method in the morning seemed to lessen/eliminate the effects of caffeine withdrawal.
If you drink a lot of coffee you’ll know what I mean – when your body is used to consuming a cup or more a day you don’t feel particularly great when you wake up in the morning and haven’t had any caffeine yet. Doing the Wim Hof breathing in the morning for me eliminated the negative feelings/lack of energy that come along with caffeine withdrawal.
When doing the parts of the exercise where you hold your breath, if you are standing you should hold on to something because you may get very dizzy or fall. Alternatively, do it seated or lying down. Do not do the Wim Hof breathing method and submerge yourself under water! People have almost died from this.
I already had a lot of experience with cold showers before starting the course – for over a year when I lived in Montreal, I would end pretty much every shower I took with cold water (the winter water in eastern Canada is cold as fuck!)
Because of this, I think the cold exposure part of the course had less of an effect on me, compared to what it could do for someone who hasn’t already done a lot of cold or contrast showers.
With cold showers I feel:
- A rush of energy as the nervous system gets jolted by the cold
- Hyperventilation – this happens mostly at the beginning when you’re not used to feeling cold yet, and goes away later on with more experience
- Feeling of anger/raw energy and wanting to release it – for some reason when I get in the cold I feel a strong surge of aggressive energy – could be described as anger. Not sure if this is common or why exactly it happens.
- A feeling of calm and relaxation after getting out of the cold. Your body adjusts to the extreme temperature, so cold air can actually feel warm – this is a weird sensation. My skin also gets pretty red from the cold water.
What are the benefits of Wim Hof Method?
I can only speak from personal experience but the biggest benefit for me is the way I feel after doing WHM – energized, vital, and emotionally “high”.
As I said above, the breathing has been great for me in the morning to immediately wake up and start the day off on the right foot. The most noticeable benefits have been this and the mood improvement and increase in energy levels. Stretching in accordance with the breathing has made me more flexible and mobile as well.
I may have experienced better sleep due to WHM (waking up feeling more refreshed/better rested in the morning) but there are so many confounding variables affecting sleep quality that it’s hard to be sure. It does seem to have correlated with the ability to feel/perform just as well on less sleep than before, which may indicate an increase in sleep quality.
I’m not overly stressed in general but I imagine doing WHM does reduce stress – the release of ‘feel-good chemicals’ to the brain is inherent in the exercises and this would definitely seem to counter stress – at least neurochemically.
Wim Hof Method Review FAQ
Here’s some general info about the course:
How does the Wim Hof Method course work?
When you sign up for the course, you get access to all the material you need to get started, and you can also request access to the private Facebook group (your request will be approved). There is one video per week for 10 weeks, and as each week comes around you get access to the new video. You then do the exercises in the video every day for that week. At the beginning of the next week the next video becomes available, and so on.
How much time does Wim Hof Method take?
Following the course videos takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour per day. The earlier videos are shorter and closer to 30 or 45 minutes, while the later videos are around 1 hour.
How much does the Wim Hof Method course cost?
It costs $199 USD, or 178 euros. You can also choose to split the payment over 3 months with payments of $79 per month.
What comes with the WHM course?
The Wim Hof method course content includes:
- Access to 10 weeks of instructional videos (30m-1h in length)
- Short daily exercises – 10 minute and 4 minute videos
- Access to a private Facebook group for members of the course
- Instructional and informational videos for each component of the course (cold, breathing & commitment)
- Bonus material including scientific literature related to WHM, more video content/challenges, and a course text guide in PDF format
- “Becoming the Iceman” eBook, which can also be found on Amazon
Can Wim Hof Method treat depression?
I am not a doctor, neither is Wim Hof, and this is not medical advice. But I have suffered from depression in the past and I know the feeling quite well – emptiness, disengagement, and feeling like you’re slowly sinking down into a dark pit inside yourself. I also know the opposite feeling of being alive, full of energy, vitality, passion and love.
Generally I would get depressed during the winter months (seasonal affective disorder) and in my experience cold showers are quite effective at combatting this type of depression. I would imagine that Wim Hof breathing would be effective as well, due to the rush of positive feelings it provides and the way that it re-connects you to your body. Again I am not a doctor but in my opinion, if you are depressed and you can bring yourself to do it – it is certainly worth a try.
Wim Hof Method Testimonials
Don’t just to take my word for it – many others have experienced benefits from using Wim Hof’s method and testimonials are visible on the course page. People who advocate WHM include Laird Hamilton, one of the greatest surfers of all time.
Wim Hof Method has been a very good experience for me in general. Wim is doing important and potentially ground-breaking work – many of his feats were previously thought to be impossible by modern science. It really is incredible and could potentially have a huge impact on the way we treat many types of illness, depression, and more.
Regardless of whether you want to sign up for the course, I would encourage you to check out more of Wim Hof’s material online and learn more about him.
But if my experience and that of others seem appealing to you, and you’d like to follow step-by-step instructions teaching you exactly how to follow Wim Hof’s method – I would recommend you sign up for the course.