“The Iceman”, Wim Hof’s Methods Come To Mount Pleasant

July 12, 2021

Aptly nicknamed “The Iceman,” Wim Hof has spent his life training his body to withstand extreme conditions:

  • Scaling mountains in shorts
  • Submerging himself in ice water for 80 minutes
  • Completing a marathon in the desert without water

While these feats may seem unattainable (and undesirable) to many, once you get over the initial reaction many of us have to the thought of cold, Wim Hof’s techniques may be more beneficial to your health than you realize. Proponents of his techniques allege several health benefits, including decreased inflammation, boosted immunity, relief from arthritis and fibromyalgia, improved athletic performance, and increased willpower. The Wim Hof Method teaches three main principles: breathing, mindset, and cold exposure. Wim Hof’s breathing exercises, which involve deeply inhaling without completely exhaling, serve as physical preparation for the cold, while directed focus and meditation prepare the mind. In conjunction with cold exposure, many people report substantial mental and physical health benefits from regular practice.

Tens of millions of international followers utilizing his YouTube videos and online training programs have created considerable social proof for Wim’s method. Never one to shy away from personally demonstrating the usefulness of his teachings, however, Hof has gained further credibility by putting his methods to the test in research labs. In laboratory settings, he has shown the ability of both he and his students to influence the autonomic nervous system and enhance immune function. Considering many scientists thought these systems to be beyond the scope of conscious control, this is a reasonably astonishing feat.

Even if you think of Wim Hof as a sideshow, more at home in a carnival than a scientific publication, his personal story will touch your heart. As reported in the Wall Street Journal in March of this year,

“Mr. Hof’s career was born out of tragedy. He was in the Pyrenees working as a mountain guide when his wife died by suicide in 1995. He told the WSJ, ‘That’s the way it actually began—the real trial of my life. We were left behind with broken hearts, four kids and no money.'”

Hof was able to relieve mental and emotional pain and nonstop rumination by submerging himself in cold water. The cold brought him some “space” and mental “stillness.” Whether you believe the reported scientific benefits of Hof’s methods or not, we can all relate to being in a mental or emotional place that was so painful we would do almost anything to escape it. By using cold water and breathing strategies as physical and mental grounding tools and dedicating his life to helping support others in suffering, Hof has been able to heal from his tragedy.

If you are curious about the Wim Hof Method or interested in experiencing it for yourself, join us as we learn from Wim Hof Method instructor Dr. Rob Williams. Dr. Rob is an athlete, professor, musician, and father passionate about sharing the capacity of breathwork, focus, and cold to better our lives. Dr. Rob will lead participants in a four-hour workshop to experience the Wim Hof Method for themselves.

Synchronicity will host Dr. Rob for two workshops in May, Friday, May 6th from 1 pm -5 pm, and Saturday, May 7th from 8 am – 12 pm. Afterparty to take place on the Sync lawn immediately following the training. Click here for complete registration details. 


Modern Minds with MUSC Health

Synchronicity is a subsidiary of Modern Minds, a non-profit organization dedicated to treating and empowering mental health and wellbeing. We often partner together to offer truly integrative care for Modern Minds clients, Synchronicity members and the greater Lowcountry community.

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