Wim Hof - The Iceman, as he is famously known all over the world has been lately recognized as one of the courageous and influential human beings there are currently. The man made a name for himself by attempting and completing superhuman feats which are beyond the capabilities of a normal human being. But we will get to that a bit later.
The main reason behind his capacity to fulfill such difficult tasks was the grief he experienced after the death of his wife, who lost her life by committing suicide. The pain that came with it made him question himself as to what he could have done to avert the tragedy that was about to happen. In other words, he thought he didn't do enough to save his wife. That led to the birth of ''The Iceman'' as he took the help of the ''COLD'' to reduce his pain and also transform his mental fortitude and immune systems which the scientific world took notice of.
The Iceman's path to fame.
- Wim Hof was born in the Netherlands. After the death of his first wife, he had to take care of his four children by himself. in doing so he also needed something to vent his frustration and grief after his wife's death. This led to his inclination towards exposing his body to low freezing temperatures in order to feel & heal himself from the internal core.
- It all started when Wim took a dip into a freezing ice pond and went in as deep as he can. The deeper he went his vision narrowed to a state where it blocked his retina and as a result, he lost consciousness. That frightening experience could have taken his life but according to him, it made the pain which he was going through, disappear.
- That experience spurred him to take on similar challenges to reduce the pain and also help others to do the same through the Wim HOF Breathing method which he later invented.
- He set the Guinness record of farthest swim in the ice covering a distance of 57.5 meters which was later broken by Stig Severinsen in 2013. He had also set the Guinness record for most time spent immersed in blocks of ice with full-body contact- 1 hour 42 minutes which drew the attention of the world. Scientists had earlier claimed that it was virtually impossible for a human being to be exposed to cold without having serious effects on his life.
- But Wim defied logic by attempting mind-boggling tasks such as completing a marathon without drinking water and climbing Mount Everest with only his shoes & shorts on. Those acts of courage developed this notion in him that if he is capable of healing himself by having a strong will and mind he can also help others to form similar mental fortitude through the WIM HOF Techniques that will aid them to fight depression and cure diseases on their own.
The WIM HOF Method comprises a combination of breathing exercises ,cold immersion & meditation.
- Wim Hof method is a workshop where Wim teaches the participants of the course breathing exercises and immersing themselves in cold freezing ponds, bare body. His techniques were featured in a documentary by Vice where it highlighted the effect those techniques had on the participants where many felt a sense of euphoria, while it made others cried.
- When asked about the reason for such contrasting feelings of the participants in the documentary Wim states these deep breathing and meditative techniques go deep into the physiological past of an individual which enables one to relive past joys and traumas depending on the emotional state of the subjects. It helps them confront the past in a very calm state of mind.
- He also conducts online classes for his followers. The Wim Hof website is the place where every workshop of his, is available for access. The Wim hof method should be done in a careful manner as it also has serious consequences for your health if not practiced properly. For proper guidance in the use of Wim hof techniques, you can follow his youtube channel- by the name Wim Hof.
- People after finishing their exercises tend to feel better from the inside and there is a feeling of togetherness amongst the participants. Wim attributes this to the meditative benefits of those breathing techniques which lighten the head.
- He also is well versed with Ancient Yoga and all its exercises and how it benefitted him and his inclusion of those yogic exercises in his techniques. A much detailed explanation is given by Wim, on Russell brands Under the skin Podcast where the two discuss the spiritual benefits of the techniques.
The Cold is your Teacher.
- His Cold therapy program has helped many old people recover from ailing diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. People who have taken part in his workshops which are held in Europe had issues getting acclimatized to the cold of Europe which led to inflammation.
- After taking part in his workshops. it helped their body to perform difficult tasks such as - an individual from the workshop was asked by Wim to take 40 deep breaths and then to complete 60 pushups. He states that he had never done 60 pushups before in his life but thanks to those techniques he was able to complete the set.
- Wim also states the importance of Cold Showers in the morning as they help an individual to refresh his mind. He states that the moment cold water hits our body it sends electroshock to our brains which alerts us and makes us more effective and observant of important things. It is also seen as a cure for depression. He says, ''it will make the depression depressed''.
The Iceman's journey is the story of an individual turning his pain into power. The grief that came along with the death of his wife was very tough for him to deal with and how it pushed him into accepting the Cold as his ally. The Cold helped him get out of that sadness and instilled belief in him & others, the capabilities of the human being both physically and mentally. Wim Hof Method was approved by scientists in curing depression and diseases. When asked about it, as to what it meant to him, he replied ''It was only possible because of the grief he endured at not being able to save his wife from taking her own life''. It's very unique that a man has to rely upon Cold to remove his sadness and regain his purpose but in Wims's case, it has proven to be true.
The Cold is merciless, but it is also righteous.
— Wim Hof
Sources- Wim Hof Documentary on Vice, Goalcast, Wim Hof Youtube channel.
© 2021 Diganth Shetty