In the United States, a lawsuit is pending against the famous “Iceman” Wim Hoff. He has been accused of the death of a 17-year-old who allegedly practiced his technique. His breathing technique has been linked to more deaths.
Ice baths, breathing techniques and Wim Hof meditations are a worldwide phenomenon. From celebrities and avid athletes to the chronically ill and spiritual seekers: The Wim Hof Method has millions of practitioners looking for less stress, a fitter existence, less pain and more energy.
However, the health guru’s successful method takes on a dark side, as his breathing techniques have already been linked to drowning on a number of occasions.
Breathing techniques videos
At the end of June, American investigative journalist Scott Carney, who was initially a huge fan of Wim Hof and his method, released a documentary in which the deaths of 13 people were associated with the practice of the Hof method.
One such case involved a 17-year-old girl in California, who was found dead in a swimming pool by her father. Her father, attorney Rafael Metzger, found videos of Hoff’s breathing techniques in his daughter’s browser history and holds him and his company Innerfire BV responsible for her death.
Metzger is asking for 67 million euros in damages. He also holds the girl’s mother responsible, as she would have introduced their daughter the Hof way. Published in 2016 Parole Indeed an article on at least four deaths linked to the Wim Hof method.
Hof’s breathing technique consists of a series of deep breaths and no complete exhalations, followed by a period of no breathing. In this way, the breath can be held for a longer period. This technique is used, for example, in swimming. This is not without danger. And this can lead to hyperventilation and loss of consciousness, the so-called Shallow water darkening. If it happens underwater, it can be fatal.
Safety films on Huff’s website, in courses and all other company channels too warn about this, says Huff’s son Inham, Innerfire’s principal, in a written response to devotion.
“On our website, in our videos, everywhere it is said that you should not do breathing exercises in water and certainly not dive under water. Not on a bike or car either, but in a safe place, sitting or lying on the ground.
He regrets the case and believes that it is “very sorry for the relatives.” “Especially the mother who didn’t have time to process her grief because of this lawsuit.”
Enahm Hof takes the opportunity to raise awareness of the dangers of Shallow water darkeningEspecially in children. This is a well-known phenomenon that we actively warn against. We are doing this to prevent such incidents from happening.”
But according to the American journalist who brought the Carney case, a disclaimer is not enough. He points to videos from Hoff’s online courses where his students apply the water breathing technique.
It remains unclear whether Metzger’s indictment, which is expected to be completed next year, has any chance. Much evidence is needed to attribute the girl’s death to the breathing technique.
From record holder to multi-million dollar company
Wim Hof is known for his impressive world records, including the fastest barefoot half marathon in winter, the longest swim under ice, and climbing Mount Everest without outerwear and hiking boots.
His method is based on three pillars: cold training, breathing techniques, and commitmentMental training aimed at willpower and self-control. His approach has also attracted the attention of scholars. In 2014, researchers at Radboud University Nijmegen confirmed the positive effect of Hoff techniques on the autonomic nervous system. It is possible with the Hoff method, as this research has shown, to influence the immune system itself.
Since then, Hoff’s company has grown into an empire, with his children also being active. The multi-million dollar company offers online courses, coaching, and travel to its followers. Coaches around the world are also trained according to the Wim Hof method, and who apply it in their own practice.
A Hollywood movie is now being made about Wim Hoff, and he has his own BBC series in which he instructs celebrities who apply his method. Last year, he said, a digital performance of the Snowman costs about fifty thousand euros Volkskrant magazine. His goal is “that every man should have control over his own body and mind in his own way.”