Wim Hof: ‘I’ve been called a madman for 40 years’

Rexa Vella

Wim Hof: ‘I’ve been called a madman for 40 years’

Since it was formalised about 15 years ago, the Wim Hof Method has won plaudits amid some fierce criticism. Built on the three pillars of breathing, cold therapy, and commitment, it is rooted in the concept of free, holistic healing: an attractive idea which – double whammy – also alleviates the burden on public health services. It has earned its creator millions and tons of celebrity fans, from Sacha Baron Cohen to Oprah Winfrey while also landing him in the occasional hot water. A $67 million lawsuit blames him and his company Innerfire for the wrongful death of 17-year-old Madelyn Rose Metzger, who died while allegedly practicing the athlete’s breathing exercises in her pool. Though one should note, for legal reasons, that Hof and Innerfire say one should practise the breathing exercises only in a safe environment, and explicitly warn “never [to] practice the breathing exercises in or nearby bodies of water”. While we’re at it, one shouldn’t do it “while piloting a vehicle” either, or indeed any situation “where losing consciousness could cause harm”.

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