A new BBC One show Freeze fear with Wim Hof starts tonight at 9pm.
Hosts Holly Willoughby and Lee Mack follow eight celebrities as they live in sub-zero conditions in the Italian mountains and face a series of cold challenges from the ground-breaking Wim Hof.
Hof, also known as “The Iceman”, believes that embracing the cold can change our lives for the better and is well known for his Wim Hof Method breathing technique.
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Who is Wim Hoff?
He is a 62-year-old Dutch motivational speaker and extreme athlete.
His alias “The Iceman” is due to his ability to withstand sub-zero temperatures.
He has set Guinness World Records, among others, for swimming under ice and previously held the record for a barefoot half marathon on ice and snow.
Hof says that he can achieve these superhuman feats through his Wim Hof Method, which is a combination of breathing exercises, exposure to cold, and meditation.
He also credits her with helping him grieve the loss of his wife and help him cope while raising their four children.
He says: “The children made me survive, but it was the cold that brought me back to life. Month year.
“Instead of being guided by my broken emotions, the cold water brought me to stillness and gave my broken heart a chance to rest, restore, rehabilitate.
“That is the message I want to share. This is what I found. I want to share the love. I don’t want anyone else to be in the same stressful situation that I was left behind in.”
On his website, Hof says that his Method can reduce stress, sleep better, and improve mental clarity.
It also says it’s “linked” to helping reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease, among others, but these claims have not been scientifically proven.
Hof claims that Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber and Matt Damon are fans of his Method.
What is the Wim Hof breathing method?
It is based on “three powerful pillars”:
- cold therapy
Hof says that the Method “is about reconnecting, with ourselves, with others and with nature.”
One round of the Wim Hof Method breathing technique is as follows:
- Close your eyes and try to clear your mind
- Take a deep breath in through your nose or mouth and exhale through your mouth.
- Repeat this 30 to 40 times in short, powerful bursts.
- After the last exhalation, inhale one last time, as deeply as you can. Then let the air out and stop breathing. Hold on until you feel the need to breathe again.
- When you need to breathe again, take a deep breath to fill your lungs. Once you’re at full capacity, hold your breath for about 15 seconds, then release.
- This completes the first cycle.
This cycle can be repeated three to four times without interval.
The Method is not recommended for people who are pregnant or if you have a history of:
- respiratory problems
- high or low blood pressure
Hof warns people not to use their breathing method when in the water or driving due to the risk of passing out.
Four people drowned while trying the Wim Hof Method in 2015 and 2016. And in 2021, a man in Singapore also drowned while trying the Method.
What do the critics say about it?
Some argue that the benefits of the Wim Hof Method have been exaggerated.
In the journal Temperature: Medical Physiology and Beyond, Professor Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt says of Hof: “With conviction, he mixes nonsense scientific terms with irrefutable evidence.” however, he added of the Method that with “a good dose of common sense…it doesn’t hurt to try.”
Harriet Hall on the Science Based Medicine website says, “Their extraordinary resistance to cold is an interesting fact that deserves further investigation, but I don’t think it warrants taking cold showers or hyperventilating.”
Who is participating in Freeze fear with Wim Hof ?
the participants are
- Patrick Evra
- Gaby Logan
- alfie boe
- Tamzin Outhwaite
- Owain Wyn Evans
- Diana Buswell
- green teacher
- Chelcee Grimes
How can I watch the program?
It’s tonight at 9pm on BBC One. You can watch it on iPlayer here.
The cold water exposure on the show was done in a controlled environment under the supervision of professionals and should not be tested at home.