Wim Hof Breathing Method: A Game-Changer for My Well-being

Disclaimer: Before I begin, I want to clarify that haven’t officially subscribed to any Wim Hof Breathing Method course, and the information I share is based on my practice, online studies, videos, articles, and podcasts. The following information should not be considered medical advice.

The Wim Hof Breathing Method has gained significant popularity due to its reported benefits on physical and mental well-being. In this article, I will share my personal experience and insights on this transformative breathing technique. After conducting 215 breathing sessions ranging from 10 to 120 minutes, I have come to several conclusions about the Wim Hof Breathing Method.

Varying Intensity Levels for Different Effects

I have observed that different levels of intensity produce varying effects during the breathing sessions. My most intense sessions, lasting over 30 minutes, led to hallucinations, fainting, and a sensation of over-oxygenation that made me worry about my safety, such as when I attempted it in the car. It was a rude awakening for me.

On the other hand, when I focused on relaxation and performed the method more gently, I experienced a mild calming effect. This allowed me to practice it comfortably even around “normal” people.

Wim Hof in 2007

Safety First: Avoid Water, Driving, and Standing Up

Based on my personal experience, I strongly advise against practicing the Wim Hof Breathing Method in water, while driving, or even while standing up. The rush of sensations that follow breath retention can vary widely. In one instance, I fainted and hit my head on a wall. Although I woke up after a few seconds and laughed about it with a friend, it highlighted the importance of practicing in a safe environment.

Enhancing Intensity by Closing Your Eyes

I have noticed that closing my eyes during the breathing sessions leads to a far greater intensity of the experience. While doing a mild version of the method while watching TV at night had minimal effects, practicing alone in a dark room significantly enhanced my concentration and understanding of my limits.

Hallucinations: A Surprising Element

As someone who has never taken hallucinogens, the hallucinations that occurred during longer or more intense breathing sessions were a bit shocking to me. Although I mostly backed out of exploring them further, I did notice a growing sense of relaxation with each deep session.

Post-Breathing Hallucinations during Wim Hof Breathing Method

One interesting aspect I discovered is that the hallucinations can continue even after I stop the breathing exercises. In my case, they usually last for about 20 minutes. Initially, it was a bit surprising that I couldn’t abruptly end the experience when I wanted to. However, with time, I learned to relax into it and embrace the post-breathing effects.

The Benefits of a Less Intense Approach

I found that by extending the duration of the breathing and reducing the intensity, I could practice the method without the need for strict counting or excessive concentration. I would stop when I started feeling tingling sensations. They’d usually wean off with a few stretches.

Staying Consistent with the “Way of Life” App

To maintain consistency in my practice, I found that using the “Way of Life” app (no affiliation with Wim Hof) was incredibly helpful. It’s a habit tracker that I consider the best one I have ever used.

Exercise and Empty Stomach: Impact on Effects

I discovered that practicing the breathing method after exercising tends to produce dizziness and stronger effects. This was when I experienced the fainting episode I mentioned earlier. Additionally, I found that the effects are also enhanced when practicing on an empty stomach.

Minimal Impact on Hangovers

Contrary to Wim Hof’s claim on the Joe Rogan podcast that 20 minutes of the breathing method can lead to almost full recovery from a hangover, I didn’t experience significant effects. While it did provide some calming relief.

An Addictive Practice

One remarkable aspect of the Wim Hof Breathing Method is its addictive nature. I have found myself turning to this technique during stressful situations, seeking its calming effects. While it may not eliminate anxiety, it has consistently reduced its intensity, allowing me to regain control. As a newcomer to meditation, I found it to be a valuable tool, even without prior experience in this practice.

wim hof 2015

Tinnitus and the Wim Hof Breathing Method

During the initial phase of practicing the Wim Hof Breathing Method, I experienced intense ringing in my ears for the first 100 sessions. Although the ringing has mostly subsided, it occasionally resurfaces during intense breathing sessions.

While I have not discovered a definitive solution or explanation for this phenomenon, it’s worth noting that deep meditation has been known to trigger disruptions in the inner ear, according to a hearing specialist I consulted. Further research and insights from the community may shed more light on this intriguing aspect.

Unlocking the Heat Effect

Despite diligently following the techniques to generate heat in cold environments, I have not been able to achieve the same level of heat generation as some others have claimed. Although I have improved my tolerance for the cold, the ability to sustain elevated heat levels eludes me.

It is essential to acknowledge that individual responses may vary, and further exploration is needed to fully understand the potential behind this aspect of the Wim Hof Breathing Method.

Waves of Calm and Excitement

At the onset of breath holds during the Wim Hof Breathing Method, I have noticed the ability to generate waves of calm or excitement by intentionally focusing on them. While the exact explanation for this phenomenon remains unknown, it is a subjective observation that invites further exploration. I would be curious to learn if others have also experienced these distinct waves of emotions during their practice.

The Need for the Wim Hof Breathing Method for Long-Term Study

As the Wim Hof Breathing Method gains recognition, there is a growing need for long-term studies to evaluate its effects comprehensively. Rhonda Patrick, in an interview, highlights the importance of scientific research in popularizing the method. Tracking a group over an extended period would offer valuable insights into the long-term impact of this practice on individuals. Let us remain hopeful that such studies are conducted to deepen our understanding of the Wim Hof Breathing Method.


In conclusion, my journey with the Wim Hof Breathing Method has been both enlightening and intriguing. It has provided me with a valuable tool to manage stress and reduce anxiety levels. While certain aspects such as tinnitus, heat generation, and waves of emotions require further exploration and understanding, the potential of this breathing technique remains promising. Let us continue to delve into the world of the Wim Hof Breathing Method, allowing it to shape our lives positively.

Remember, the Wim Hof Breathing Method is a personal journey, and individual experiences may vary. It is always advisable to consult with healthcare professionals and experts before embarking on new breathing or meditation practices.


  • Derrick Hancock

    Derrick Hancock is a highly skilled physiotherapist with a passion for fitness and body shaping. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Sports Science and Exercise Physiology from the University of Health Sciences, Vancouver, and a Master's degree in Applied Kinesiology from UCLA. With over a decade of experience, Derrick specializes in personalized exercise and rehabilitation programs. In his spare time, he writes engaging articles on exercise science, wellness, and self-improvement, inspiring readers to prioritize their physical well-being.