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#017 Wim Hof (The Iceman) On Defeating Extreme Cold & Attenuating The Immune Response | Found My Fitness With Dr. Rhonda Patrick

Key Takeaways

  • We need to restore our connection with our natural state and tap into our inner selves
  • The Wim Hof Method induces physiological changes through the use of cold shock and breathing
  • The science behind Wim Hof cold & breathing: cold increases norepinephrine; breathing increases epinephrine, anti-inflammatory response, and pH which dulls pain receptors


Wim Hof (@Iceman_Hof) is a Dutch extreme athlete who has broken 26 world records related to cold exposure – climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot, and standing in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes. He is well known for his Wim Hof Method of breathing which teaches people to control their body and mind to unlock their highest potential.

In this episode of Found My Fitness, Dr. Rhonda Patrick and Wim Hof talk about the scientific publication of the “Wim Hof Method”, including cold exposure during training, exposure to bacterial endotoxin, and Wim Hof’s signature breathing technique and mediation practices.

Book: The Wim Hof Method: Activate Your Full Human Potential

Website: Wim Hof Method

Host: Dr. Rhonda Patrick (@foundmyfitness)

Why Practice Breathing?

  • We have built up a lack of oxygen in our daily lives and changed our chemistry which has had detrimental effects on physiology and increases the chances of autoimmune disease
  • We need to learn to tap into our deepest levels of physiology
  • We can leverage our endocrine and immune systems to our advantage if we know how to access them
  • The more in tune we are with our natural state, the more we can fend ourselves off from disease
  • Breathing can give you access to the autonomic nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system

Impact Of Breathwork In The Cold

  • In the cold, you just feel – there’s no thinking involved
  • Cold itself (without breathing) increases norepinephrine– add in breathing which increases epinephrine, anti-inflammatory response, and pH
  • Your breathing changes naturally to withstand the cold; if you can control your breathing in these conditions, you can leverage it to tap into physiological functions

Science Behind Wim Hof Method

  • Controlled hyperventilation increases adrenaline and epinephrine which has a profound impact on anti-inflammatory mechanisms
  • Wim Hof breathing makes use of what happens in hyperventilation to get control over physiology by decreasing carbon dioxide in the blood which raises pH and dulls pain receptors
  • Wim Hof Method study participants were injected with endotoxin which activated immune response, but anti-inflammatory cytokines immediately kicked in and protected the system from damage
  • Wim Hof studies have shown you can increase adrenaline even lying down in bed
  • Wim Hof breathing technique increases epinephrine which has an anti-inflammatory effect and secretes anti-inflammatory cytokines which protect the immune system


  • We have to be able to sit down and relax to create new energy in the body
  • Society runs on the sympathetic nervous system right now, always on the go – we need to consciously access the parasympathetic nervous system (rest & digest)
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