I don’t think so.

Is Wim Hof a Fraud?

If you’re out of the loop, Wim Hof is famous for doing “Ice Man” things out in the snow. Spending time in freezing water, under ice-sheets, etc. He’s got a bunch of cold-related world-records.

He definitely pushes the boundaries on his own body, but do his tips & tricks work for others?

In short, he recommends very specific types of deep-breathing and cold-exposure. He even has an app.

I was going to write up something myself, but these comments summarized my opinions better than I could:

I think the cult vibe might come from internet sensationalism. He seems fine. He says some weird unscientific stuff, but overall I think he believes in what he’s doing with a good nature about it, and I don’t see how harm can come from what he encourages. He has a very positive message.

One thing that compelled me to look into it was how little he seems to want money for his efforts. I mean, he makes money off of his name, but the iOS app for example is well made, helpful, and costs something like $2 CAD for advanced features. Admittedly the features are not exceptionally advanced, but I was expecting a higher price tag. It seemed like a reasonable ‘cover dev costs’ fee.

He’s on some podcasts of course, and you can get a decent sense for what he’s like. My creep meter doesn’t go off much with him, personally.

For what it’s worth, I’ve been using (and enjoying) wim hof techniques for a while and my assessment is definitely biased.


I’ve been to a week long expedition in Poland to study with Wim a few years ago. I wouldn’t go as far to say that it feels or is cult like at any point. I think the Internet, and some perspectives of those who have written about him, may give that impression. But Wim is about sharing, not bringing you into his fold and sucking resources out of you. Wim has a large personality which can work against him in some regard. I learned a lot from Wim and his instructors and I have better understanding of myself. I would highly recommend his excursions to anyone that has an open mind that’s interested in learning about themselves and meeting like-minded people in the process.

A couple good resources for you to check out if you’re interested. Scott Carney does the best job of dispelling Wim as his original intent was to basically shine the light on Wim’s snake oil in “What Doesn’t Kill Us” [0] (spoiler: that is not the end result). Scott recently released a new book called “The Wedge” [1] that incorporates some of Wim but a lot of other practices and people that fit into the idea that we have more control than we realize and getting out of our comfort zone has healthful benefits. Being in 100% climate controlled perfect environments doesn’t always help us. The other one I’d recommend is James Nestor’s new book called “Breath” [2].

[0] [1] [2]


Further reading: