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Living with Mental Health

What is the Wim Hof Method?

The Wim Hof method is a three-pillar approach towards reconnecting with nature and the world around us. The three pillars are Cold Therapy, Breathing Techniques, and Commitment.

The Wim Hof Method is based on Cold Therapy, Breathing Techniques, and Commitment. Illustration of a shower and bath.

Wim Hof is a Dutch extreme athlete famous for his ability to withstand extremely cold temperatures including setting world records for swimming under ice and for full-body contact with ice.

According to the Wim Hof method, through taking cold showers, cold baths, or cold water swimming, combined with the other pillars, you can help ‘unlock’ benefits to your wellbeing that can lead to feeling like you have increased energy levels, can help you to have better sleep, and much more.

According to a study that used daily visits to a cryogenic chamber; ‘Whole-body cryotherapy as adjunct treatment of depressive and anxiety disorders’ ​(Rymaszewska et al., 2008)​, it was found that after three weeks, there was a decrease of at least 50% from the baseline HDRS-17 scores in 34.6% of the study group (versus a decrease of 2.9% of the control group) and a decrease of at least 50% from the baseline HARS score in 46.2% of the study group (versus no decrease observed from the control group). It was a small sample size and further research is needed.

The remainder of the Wim Hof Method is based around breathing exercises and meditation to take greater control of your mind – a much more widely practised approach to reducing anxiety.

It is important to make up your own mind about his methods without putting yourself at unnecessary risk. Wim has been known to make claims that have yet to be proven such as his thoughts on tackling Covid.

  1. Rymaszewska, J., Ramsey, D., & Chładzińska-Kiejna, S. (2008). Whole-body cryotherapy as adjunct treatment of depressive and anxiety disorders. Archivum Immunologiae et Therapiae Experimentalis, 63–68. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00005-008-0006-5