Wim Hof, Guinness World Record Holder, On Biohacking With Extreme Cold & Breath
Wim Hof holds the Guinness World Record for the longest ice bath, he's run a marathon in the desert without drinking and regulated his own body temperature, and has held his breath for six minutes. It sounds crazy, but for the "Iceman," extreme cold and breath are the keys to his connection to himself.
In this episode of the mbg podcast, Wim draws us into the icy depths of the sea, sharing the moment 42 years ago when he first submerged under the ice and felt the power of himself "being unconditionally there." That feeling became his lifelong catharsis, especially critical after his wife took her own life in 1995: "I had to survive; I went into the cold, and it healed me."
From there he discovered that through specific breathing techniques he could withstand any amount of cold to the point where he did not feel the low temperatures. He since has developed the famous Wim Hof method, which he says is "extraordinarily simple but also extraordinarily effective—and it is backed up by science." Here's what to get excited about in this episode:
- How long your cold showers need to be for inflammatory-suppressing benefits
- The breathing exercises you can do to master your biochemical processes
- The most important life value we're missing
Through his method, he tests what is humanly possible and has suppressed the inflammatory response, but, he says, you don't have to go to extremes to get benefits. Wim tells us that with the breath, we can actually control our externals—relationships, stress, and biological stress.
He is no doubt a professional biohacker, pushing the boundaries of what science tells us is not possible. While you may not be climbing a mountain in minus-27-degree temperatures, Wim's unwavering belief (and proof) that the cold and breath is the source of well-being may inspire you to try it out.
Jason Wachob is the Founder and Co-CEO of mindbodygreen and the author of Wellth. He has been featured in the New York Times, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and Vogue, and has a B.A. in history from Columbia University, where he played varsity basketball for four years.