Wim Hof can raise or lower his body temperature at will, overriding his autonomic nervous system. He is able to sit in a box of ice for almost two hours. He can swim 50 meters under arctic ice. Wearing only shorts and going barefoot, he has run a marathon in Lapland and climbed through snow to the summits of Mt. Everest and Mt. Kilamanjaro. In carrying out these feats, he is able to avoid hypothermia, the normal human response to extreme cold. Monitoring by physiologists show that he keeps his core temperature constant and normal during these challenges.
Yet Wim is not a genetic freak or Tibetan monk. He is a 52 year old Dutch man without much body fat. He believes that anyone can adapt to the cold and learn to control body temperature.
In this article, I will try to answer two questions:
- How does he do it, and can anyone really do the same?
- Is this basically an impressive stunt, or is there any benefit to learning Wim’s methods?