How Iceman Wim Hof Uncovered the Secrets to Our Health

“We have to change our beliefs about what’s possible for the human body,” says Hof, seen here in Iceland. “You are your own doctor.” /Photo: Courtesy Wim Hof

Wim Hof’s teachings about breath work and the health benefits of cold plunges have attracted millions of followers who swear it has cured everything from depression to diabetes and makes them happier and stronger. Our writer traveled to Iceland (naturally) for a deep dive with the man and his methods.

By Susan Casey | Outside

(Jökulsárlón Lagoon, Iceland.) — The air is cold but the water is colder, its surface gridlocked with icebergs. Slabs and hunks and blocks of ice the size of ships, houses, buses—they’re everywhere, crowded into the glacial lagoon. The icebergs are dazzling white and pale gray and a light milky blue, and striped with volcanic ash; the water is the color of dull metal. Low clouds press down. Seabirds shriek. On the far side of the lagoon, a glacier called Vatnajökull hunkers like the beast that it is: a 3,100-square-mile ice cap that sprawls over southeast Iceland, dwarfing other European glaciers. For anyone unaware that it is ill-advised to jump in for a dip, a big red sign spells out the hazards: “No Swimming—Freezing Water. You Only Survive Few Minutes.” And if that isn’t enough of a deterrent: “Dangerous Currents. Rolling Icebergs Form Waves.” 

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