Thursday, August 23, 2018

Meet 'The Iceman': He's Climbed Everest In Just Shorts And Has Mastered The Cold

Tragedy is an inescapable human experience. 

You either don't live long enough to experience it, and in that case have missed out on something as universally human as making love, or you live so long, you learn to dance in tragedy's madness. Most of us fall somewhere in between those two extremes. We're in a flux. We understand tragedy helps us grow but are unable to embrace the tragedy when it first arrives.

This brings me to Wim Hof, The Iceman.

If you haven't heard of Wim, you're about to get a crash course in one of the humankind's most untapped bipedal treasures. He's a man who is revolutionizing medicine, pushing the human body to heights it's never before been and all of this was made possible by an almost unimaginable tragedy in his life.

"The cold is a merciless but righteous teacher." — Wim Hof

Wim Hof (The Iceman), 59, is a Dutch-born daredevil, healer, 20x Guinness World Record holder, climber, runner, and renowned speaker. He's been featured on Vice, UPROXX, Entrepreneur, and the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast.

His claims to fame? Being able to withstand cold temperatures for periods of time that were, in the past, considered to be impossible feats.

Hof's journey into the cold began when his journey in marriage ended.

"I was to be with her forever. She was the love of my life and she died. She suicided," Hof said of his wife, Olaya, who committed suicide in 1995.

"It's a black hole within yourself. It breaks your heart and you don't know why, but the train of a daily life is going on and you gotta catch up otherwise you lose it. So I had to be there for my children. And yes, we created a new nest. My children made me survive in that time but nature healed my wounds."

"The cold gave me a direct understanding of deeper breathing and how to heal a broken heart."

"Then I went and did all kinds of remarkable challenges," said Hof in an interview with UPROXX. 

Remarkable challenges. That's a modest way of describing the feats Hof has accomplished. Here are a few:

-> Running a marathon on sandals above the Arctic Circle wearing only shorts
-> Running 1/2 a marathon barefoot above the Arctic Circle wearing only shorts
-> Officially swam under ice for 66 meters, unofficially swam under ice for 120 meters with one breath
-> Hanging on one finger at an altitude of 2000 meters
-> Climbing the highest mountains on Earth in only shorts
-> Heat tests with a constant body temperature
-> Full marathon in the Namib desert without water consumption

There's a great infographic breaking down Hof's message on the next page.

"One after another, they challenged me more, more, more, more!" 

And with each challenge Wim took on, the more popular he became. And with the increased popularity, his challenges kept getting more extreme. And with his challenges getting more extreme, the more we learned about the length in which the human body can be metaphorically stretched.

"According to Maria Hopman of the UMC St Radboud Nijmegen, what Wim is capable of is viewed as scientifically impossible," reads an excerpt from Hof's site. "Hopman conducted a cold physiological experiment with Wim as subject and examined him as he stood in a cylinder filled with 700 kilograms of ice cubes. In these conditions, an untrained person would most likely die from hypothermia. Wim, however, has never had the risk; his body temperature remained constantly at around 37 degrees."

For those wondering, a human's average body temperature is 37 degrees. In 700 kgs of ice, the Iceman's body temperature did not change.

Perhaps Hof's most impressive feat was his hike up Mount nothing but shorts.

"I'm confident because I know what my body can cope with," said Hof.

Experts revealed during deep meditation, Mr. Hof's brain is able to send messages to other parts of his body telling them to keep warm.

And now, an entire method has been born...

The Wim Hof method is being experimented with in universities, talked about on podcasts, and taught, by Wim himself, with tens of thousands of people taking part in the movement.

"To me, God is cold."

"You could say that I think of the cold as a noble force. It's just helping me. It's training me. It's bringing me back to the inner nature the way it was meant to be."

I want to focus on that last sentence for a moment.

Bringing us back to the inner nature.

Think about how most of us react to the cold. Societally, socially, even culturally (and I come from Canada, a country that's covered by ice for six months every year), we've been trained worldwide to despise the cold.

We've been trained to avoid the cold at all costs. To shower with scalding hot water. To avoid underdressing for fears of getting sick. To talk negatively of winter. To lament the snow-covered roads.

And while there is a legitimate reason to fear the cold, as it can kill us a lot faster than the heat can, it's within our physiology to expose ourselves to the cold — as Hof is demonstrating with his method.

The best part about The Wim Hof Method?

Anyone can do it. Anyone.

“What I am capable of, everybody can learn," writes Hof on his website.

Are the Iceman's methods something that interest you? That's good! Let me show you how you can start practicing them on the next page.

The best place to get started: Wim Hof's website.

It's a wealth of information about his method, about the science and about himself. For the right price, he'll even come to you and try to break a world record. Pretty cool, huh?

You can also download his app, Innerfire, for Apple and Android devices.

Or, conversely, you can just head to YouTube and watch the wealth of videos people have posted there. 

I know the phrase "this changed my life" gets thrown around a lot and as someone who hasn't practiced Hof's method in any substantial way, I couldn't make such a bold claim. But I know for SURE Wim Hof has changed what scientists and athletes know about the human body's capacity to withstand, and even thrive in, cold temperatures for long periods of time. That's not an overstatement. 

But before you master the cold...

Stick around a while longer and watch this phenomenal documentary made by VICE on the Iceman himself.


Author: verified_user