Wim Hof Method – Why Do I Take Ice Baths

“I have just experienced something amazing, I attended a workshop, where we were immersed in ice for a couple of minutes,” my friend and mind coach Tereza told me at the end of the August 2017.

“Ok, well, this is something I definitely never need to experience, and to be honest, I don’t even want to hear about it.” I answered and got shivers all over my body just imagining it. I was saying to myself that Tereza came up with something beyond my imaginations and that I didn’t need to try everything.

I hate cold…

When the winter hits my country, I pack my luggage and I migrate to a warm climate like a travelling bird. I hate cold water, which is anything below 28°C. I shower with hot water and I have a need to make it warmer and warmer during showering.

“No problem” Tereza smiled “I can at least teach you the Wim Hof breathing exercise. It is amazingly beneficial for the body because the pH in the organism changes from the unhealthy acidic to the alkaline. It activates the immune system, balances the blood circulation, hormones and lots of other things”, Tereza listed.

Who is Wim Hof?

I heard about Wim Hof for the first time. “The Ice Man” and 26 World records holder, which include being immersed  for almost 2 unbelievable hours in the ice, climbing Kilimanjaro in record time just in shorts; climbing the 6,700m Mount Everest also dressed in shorts in the zone where everybody else was wearing a feather jacket with an oxygen cylinder on their back, or running a marathon in the Namibia desert without any water. At that time, I didn’t have an idea that soon I was going to spend one intensive week with this man.

But what has fascinated me the most from the very beginning are the scientific experiments that doctors and scientists started doing with him. For example, injecting bacteria that causes a rapid onset of illness and high fever. Other dozens of tested people suffered from high fever for several hours after the bacteria injection, Wim was doing his breathing exercise and he shares in the document which was recorded about this experiment, that he only had a slight headache for a short period of time.

Afterwards, he taught the same exercise to a few ordinary people and they had the same results. They stayed healthy, even though they were supposed to be ill. And this started a revolution in the understanding of how the potential of the human body and mind and the mental ability can influence our immune system and health.

Scientists and doctors admitted that every ordinary person has the ability to influence their immune and nervous system. This was considered as impossible until the moment they started experimenting with the Wim Hof Method.

We can cure ourselves

Since these times, Win Hof was subjected to many scientific experiments and proved a huge contribution of his method in the case of autoimmune disease treatment as well as Lyme disease and variety of inflammations in the human body, chronic pain, depression, manic-depressive syndrome, schizophrenia, drug addiction treatment and many others. Over 45,000 references, thanks and experiences from people around the World…

Ok, this is quite interesting.

Tereza lead me through this breathing exercise, which has three phases:

1) Controlled hyperoxia

In the first phase, you take approximately 30-40 active breaths fully into your stomach, lungs and head with passive light exhales. Approximately after 30 cycles of inhales and exhales you start feeling a slight tingling in the body, I often feel it in my hands and fingertips, or your head starts slightly spinning, which is a sign of hyperoxia in the organism (increased oxygen).

2) The breath retention

After thirty intensive inhales you fully exhale and hold your breath for as long as you can. This is the moment when the right healing processes start occurring in the body, the immune system is activated and starts curing the inflammation.

3) A full inhale into the head and breath retention

At the moment when you feel a strong urge to inhale, you inhale in the way that you push all the oxygen into your head and hold your breath for about 15 seconds. The happy hormones are released, such as dopamine and serotonin. You can sense a slight humming in the head or ringing in the ears, but it will go away in a short period of time.

You have just completed the first cycle, and ideally, do 3 cycles in total, or how many you feel you need. It is mainly about doing everything according to your feelings because everybody is different.

This breathing exercise itself is very powerful and it is getting even more powerful in combination with the gradual cold exposure, ideally performed as 2-3 minutes long cold shower or bath every day.

My everyday experience

Since the moment Tereza taught me this breathing exercise, when doing it I felt like I was on a good trip, in a completely different dimension of my mind and I started experimenting with it.

There is a reason why one of Wim’s mottos is: “Get high on your own supply.”

Signs of a cold or a sore throat were gone before the actual illness outbreak several times. Headaches from overworking were gone after two breathing cycles. My body is recovering much faster after a sports activity and when I breath before the performance the body can manage much more easily and a lot more.

When we decided to walk a part of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in the north of Spain in June, with 14kg of luggage – our son Yuri, and walked 15-20km every day, my legs and back were aching every evening and I woke up sore every morning. I did 2 cycles of breathing and sometimes I added a cold shower and felt like I was born again. The body got to a being ready state in 15 minutes, no soreness and I could set off on another part of our journey.

But the breathing has the greatest influence on my emotions and psyche. It drags me out of the dark valleys of my mind, calms down my disturbing emotions and thanks to it, I have also been able to manage my sugar addiction for the past two months. Two, three cycles of breathing cause much greater dopamine and serotonin release than a half of a chocolate bar. :)

Ice ice baby…

You may be waiting for when I am going to come up with the icy part, which fascinates many people and scares at the same time on Wim Hof’s method. I have deliberately focused the attention mainly on breathing because if one was doing just that, the effect is huge. But let’s cool down…

I swore I would never go into ice water.  A few months later, I appeared in a situation that could look perfectly absurd from an unbiased observer’s point of view.

38 people from 18 countries around the World, including Australia, India, Canada, USA and many European countries flew to the Pyrenees and they were repeatedly immersed in ice, in a small inflatable pool for ten or more minutes. I am one of them.

Several months were gone since my initial cold aversion as well as my first swim in a cold lake with my guide Tereza, which was followed by an everyday cold bath or a shower. This all taught me how my fear works and my mind resistance appears when doing something uncomfortable and at the same time, how lively and relaxed my mind feels thanks to the cold water.

But ice water is a different level…

People on Wim Hof’s courses go to the ice usually for 2 minutes. But this was a master class and Wim decided we needed to see how powerful our mind was.

So we immersed in the ice for ten minutes for the very first time. 

When you immerse your body in a pool full of ice cubes, every cell of your organism starts screaming at you to run away. The pain is maybe only equal to the labour pain and you need to breathe through it in the same way, don’t fight it, accept it and relax. As you can see, I was really bad at it for the first time. :D

(By the way, I would really love all the male labour and delivery doctors to immerse in the ice for ten minutes while being asked questions about their date of birth, maiden name, birth weight of their older children, etc. :D Seriously, I think that this would change a lot in the obstetrics. But back to the main topic.)

Accept the pain and relax, go with the flow

Easy to say, hard to do when you experience this for the first time. I got into such a panic that I didn’t manage to relax even with huge support from Wim and his team. It was in my head and the only thing I managed to think of was that it hurt and when it was finally going to end.

My mind was on the ball and it was controlling me

Two days later, when another ice bath was coming up, my mind started panicking and was persuading me that this was definitely a NO. I was claiming until the last moment that I wasn’t going to do it, I wasn’t going to manage.

Ice is just a mirror. A huge mirror of everything beautiful and also everything destructive that we carry inside of us.

Ice is just a mirror.

Ice is just a mirror of everything beautiful and everything destructive inside of us.

How inspiring was watching absolutely serene Teresa, my mind coach, how she was enjoying the ice, singing it through and supporting other people with her energy. A master of her mind, my big teacher.

Other people looked determined and maybe even excited and I was standing above the pool full of ice and crying due to the huge fear of the pain and suffering. And then I lifted one leg, the other leg, and sat down to the ice again. Because the ice is just a mirror and my mind was strong.

I knew that if I didn’t overwrite the first experience, I would close the door to something that could really save me many times in the future.

I was just concentrating on my breathing, inhale by the nose to the heart, relax shoulders, exhale. Inhale, relax, exhale… and then it came. The state Wim was talking about.

The state of unity, which you don’t need to meditate for thirty years in the cave to learn, but you can fast learn it thanks to the extreme external factor, such as ice. A total connection with myself, feeling my soul, being internal. Feeling the warmth inside my body and mindfully sending it to the places where needed and warming myself up on command.

I had stopped fighting my mind and surrendered to the ice.

I switched my mind to the relaxing mode, where is very difficult to stay in such a situation and I had to make a huge effort to keep concentrating not to let my mind slip to having panicky thoughts and return to myself with every inhale. Stay with my inner self.

This was one of the priceless experiences from the whole week. The feeling was so intense that I can return to it anytime ever since and calm my disturbed mind and emotions.

But the lesson from the second ice bath wasn’t over yet

As I have already mentioned, the usual length in the ice is about 2-3 minutes. But Wim was pushing the limits far beyond the boundaries of our imagination and said we were going to stay in the pool for 12 minutes and right before we got in the pool, he moved the limit to 15 minutes. The panic was taking over me because I instantly started to feel I couldn’t do it, that I was going to die. How powerful our mind can be.

The first ten minutes were quite fine, with the concentration described above in an extremely stressful situation. Although, the initial mindset I wasn’t able to do it was much more powerful and I gradually started losing the focus and power.

“It is not a competition…,” one of the instructors whispered in my ear. “Yes, yes, this was enough, I am going out,” my inner voice said. But I didn’t listen. I have to sit here because somebody said so. A good girl in the role of victim on the edge of her abilities…

Wim and Bart, one of the instructors, lead me through a quick breathing exercise at that time to activate my inner heat resources in intervertebral muscles. It worked. But I did it too many times and started feeling the symptoms of hyperoxia and opened my eyes.

Campsite, people, pool… this all was gone. My eyes could see imaginary mountains, a frozen lake, a hole in the ice and flooded me with a feeling that this was the end and I was going to die in this frozen lake. “The exercise is over for you”, I heard at that moment and two strong male arms dragged me out of the ice.

But my mind could still see the frozen lake. “They saved me, I am not going to die, I am alive, I am alive!!!” My soul experienced meeting the death, which was written deep in the corners of my mind. I have survived. I am alive. There were many times in the dark valleys of my life I didn’t want to exist and suddenly I know how the life feels with every cell of my body.

“Do you ever feel like you don’t know the purpose of your life? When I hang you out of a cliff, you will understand in one second”, Wim said several times. Yes. I am alive. Thank you. Thank you.”

After half an hour of defrosting, I drew even more from my experience

1) I felt my own limits. My intuition was telling me before, that I could easily manage 5-8 minutes without pushing myself and I didn’t listen. The fear is often an obstacle, but at the same time, it is a great tool that protects us.

I was never able to recognize the intuitive protective fear from the panicky irrational one, and because the panicky irrational fear, which says NO to everything uncomfortable or unknown is the everyday experience of all of us, I wasn’t able to recognize the calm protective one. And this experience awoke this skill and power of my intuition to the fullest. Now I know when to listen and when to act despite my fear.

Fear is a wonderful servant but a terrible master. The same as the mind or the ego.

They are in the right place and they are wonderfully beneficial if it is us who manage them, but they can also get to the position of the masters of our lives, who manage us.

2) A victim versus the creator. Anytime we give in to the circumstances in the role of a victim with the feeling that there is something happening to us and we are not able to do anything with it, anytime we get to a state of complaining and whimpering, we start losing our power. And this was exactly what I did during the second ice bath.

I have to be here because somebody said so. I switched my instincts off, I switched off my power. A beautiful experience for life.

And we smoothly flow to the third ice experience…

You may say that only someone complete crazy can return to the ice after this experience. Hello, it’s me, nice to meet you. :)

I had decided to change it. I felt a huge internal power was ignited inside me as well as the awareness of what was right. I decided to test it. To fully take on the role of the creator and with the absolute consciousness and a strong decision I took the two steps to the ice pool again. My husband was behind me with a stopwatch with the agreement to inform me about the time.

Five minutes in the ice… Ok, how does my body feel? A quick scan throughout my system told me everything was alright. I relaxed to the ice presence.

Six minutes. A check again. Everything alright. I am enjoying it, I am playing with different possibilities of my mind and examining what works and what not. I want to use this possibility for a bit longer.

Seven, eight… the body is getting more and more relaxed, it is still beneficial, my body says YES.

Nine minutes. The little toe on my left leg is starting to hurt and freeze, my ego wants to carry on and do ten, but inside, I feel neither the ego nor fear have the space to share their opinion here. I am here to decide, I notice the sign and I go out. I am the winner. I won over my fear, ego and my mind.

Now I understand what it means when my body says YES and when it says NO. I understand where my ego wants to push me and how different it is compared to the pushing of my spirit.

We are going to stay safe together forever. It is me, who makes the decisions. I am the person, who controls the fear, the ego and mind to my benefit, not the other way around.

This is not for me…

The openness of my sharing may slightly scare you off and you may say that the ice is nothing for you. I want to tell you, that what we experienced were huge extremes and they show us the power of our mind, but they are not necessary.

It is enough to experience two minutes, and the ice can do you a massive favour in the case of reflection. There are many workshops where you can test it safely being lead by certified instructors. And I believe you will split your life “before the ice” and “after the ice” after, as well as me. And your experience will probably be different to mine because everybody reacts and works with their mind in a different way.

And the ice is not even necessary to fully use the Wim Hof Method to increase immunity or to cure.

“A Cold shower a day keeps the doctor away,” Wim says. :)

It is so simple and so beneficial and has also been proved by dozens of scientific researchers and tests of how the method can influence the organism, immunity, pain, brain activity, hormonal dysbalance, blood circulation and other benefits for the body, that it is almost unbelievable.

Try it, when you start feeling you are getting a cold, remember when you get a headache or you will be hangovered. :)

Your breath is a reliable tool, you have always with you, for free and it can always help you.

Let’s change the World :)

Let’s top the non-sense of this World and return it the original purpose, Win repeated during our days spent together and I say YES.

Depression, feeling run down, civilization diseases that come out of our lifestyle we took on during the last decades are just a result. Deprived unhappy people looking for the salvation in beautiful cars, huge houses and all-knowing mobile phones.

Stirred from the presence, slaves of our own minds, who try to solve every pain with Paracetamol and every discomfort with another and another invention, that only promotes the laziness. Staying in rancid boxes of our comfort zones. It is us, people of 21st century.

We forgot that we already have everything.

We keep flooding the planet with plastic, toxicate it with fumes, shut ourselves in the houses, keep sitting all day, feeding ourselves with chemicals, sugar, alcohol, we intoxicate our bodies and minds.

We raise our children to compete, learn historical milestones, but we don’t teach them, how to look for the wisdom we all have inside of us. We have lost the contact with nature and when somebody wants to do things in harmony with nature, is with disrespect in the voice automatically called a caveman or an organic-mother.

It became natural to spend most of the time working for money instead of joy and fulfilment. Instead of concentrating on our talents, most of our population concentrates on rewards. And when somebody like me says there is a different way, we can do what we enjoy, live according to our ideas, we are often laughed at and refused by the society.

You are so naive…

There were many times when I felt run down fighting for happier and fulfilled lives in our society, that despite seeing hundreds of positive changes in my client’s lives I keep coming across the resistance of the majority towards what is so natural.

To be happy. To do what we enjoy. To live according to our nature. To listen to our souls. 

My eyes still fill up with tears when I remember the vision I had when I was walking in the hills of Pyrenees to reconcile my thoughts, feelings and anchor the experiences.

The vision of women and men who pass on further their excitement and passion. Mothers, teachers, physiotherapists, midwives, women who teach women to work with their confidence, feelings, sexuality, family relations, nature, herbs, emotions, healthy diet… hundreds of people who fight for a happy world.

Wim returned my hope.

A hope everybody could say we are dreamers, but we are not the only ones. Everybody has their own journey and ideas on how to change the World and I could see such a power and focus through Wim, that it was a real blessing for my soul.

I believe that Wim Hof Method will teach people to believe in themselves and the huge potential of human mind and body to cure ourselves by one simple method which is accessible for everybody free of charge and in any circumstance. It is the journey towards ourselves, back to the natural human power, health and happiness.

Is the Ice Man a beach entrepreneur? :D

In the online business and online marketing, YES. :) I am happy that his know-how and teachings spread in the online world in the same way I teach in my Beach Business course. I had the opportunity to chat with Win’s online marketer and the strategy of e-mail marketing and social networks, magnets and online courses is basically the same.

The unique personality of Wim Hof and his method brought to their mailing list over 600 thousand people and they have hundred thousands of fans and followers on the social networks.

Wim also has a strong Authentic Expert Story. He was lead to his method after his beloved wife committed suicide and he was left alone with four children. The children kept him alive and nature returned the power to him. He had been using his techniques for thirty years only for his own purposes, and only after the media and the scientific circles started to take an interest, together they discovered the benefits for people in many ways. And the psychological illness, that caused his wife jumping out of the eight floor is very well treatable with the method Wim had discovered.

Right thanks to the online marketing, it is very easy to spread important information across the Wolrd with the speed of light and in the case of Wim, the number of excited followers of his method is growing like a rolling snowball. :)

And what to say at the end?

It is definitely worth trying the Wim Hof Method on your body before you make your own opinion. It won’t cost you anything and it is very likely that you gain a lot.

Just breathe. :)




lives her life to the fullest and makes her dreams come true, even the craziest ones, every day. A few years ago, she decided she didn't want the days to pass by in vain like sand in an hourglass. She is a woman, a mother of two daughters and one son, a partner of a great man, online marketing expert and a successful entrepreneur.

Stania is an author of a Beach Business book, Beach Business online course and an eBook From a Stressed Out Mother to a Beach Entrepreneur. She inspires people how to live freely, happily and to the fullest. Teaches them how to use the potential of the internet and online marketing, so that they can start a journey of their dreams and run their business from a beach.

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You can e-mail Stania stania@stania.com and join Beach Business on Facebook