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An Introduction to the Wim Hof Method

An Introduction to the Wim Hof Method
21 February 2023 Samantha Anderson

Certified Wim Hof Method instructor at Hvammsvík Hot Springs, Iceland’s newest geothermal spa, shares their top tips for those looking to dip their toes in the wellness trend.

Cold water therapy has grown exponentially in popularity over the past few years, with a committed, consistent practice, incorporating breathing techniques and cold water exposure, having proven to help unlock a host of benefits. Many wellness professionals and celebrities including Joe Wicks, Bear Grylls and Nicole Scherzinger, have become advocates of the practice and now integrate it into their lifestyles.

Eva Katrín Sigurðarsóttir, Medical doctor and Certified Wim Hof Method instructor* at Hvammsvík Hot Springs shares her top tips for those intrigued to try it out themselves.

What are the benefits of ice baths and plunge pools/ cold water therapy?

The benefits of cold water therapy can be both mental and physical. An increase in energy, improved sleep quality, reduced stress levels, heightened focus and determination, increased willpower, reduced inflammation and even a stronger immune system are just a few that have been scientifically proven from regular practice of the Wim Hof Method.

What is the science behind the practice and how does cold water immersion work on the body physically and mentally?

Humans today are so used to comfort, rarely being forced to experience intense spikes of our stress hormone levels, despite this having been proven to have a positive impact on our bodies.

The act of cold water bathing acts as a way to consciously initiate the body into a state of short-term stress. Physically, due to the spike in the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, your blood will automatically divert blood to your extremities, your pupils will dilate, heartbeat will speed up, your senses will become heightened and blood pressure will become higher. As a mechanism to preserve your core body temperature, protect vital organs and prevent hypothermia, the autonomic nervous system will make your capillaries constrict in reaction to the intense cold.

How long do you need to stay in an ice bath for?

It is vital, particularly when trying out cold water therapy for the first time, that you have a basic understanding of how to correctly practice it.

Beginners should avoid starting their journey with the use of ice baths, unless with a trained instructor that is aware of pre-existing health conditions. Trained professionals will be able to provide the correct information and guidance on how to take control of your breathing and withstand the cold for significant periods of time.

Forcing your body to stay immersed for too long in the cold can cause the body to go into a state of hypothermia.

Those that participate in the Wim Hof Method fundamentals workshop at Hvammsvík will be able to experience a maximum of two minutes in the ice bath; any more than this would require more advanced cold water exposure training. A maximum of two minutes in an ice bath will give you anti-inflammatory effects and increased production of white blood cells (i.e. boosts your immune system) that can last up to 6 days.

For beginners wanting to start out on their own, it is critical to avoid forcing the body to withstand the cold for a significant duration. Gradual cold exposure training such as cold showers are recommended prior to wild cold water swimming.

Do ice baths help with weight loss?

In essence, yes. When the body comes into contact with the extreme cold, it will begin not only the production of brown fat tissue but the transformation of white fat tissue to brown. Packed densely with mitochondria, this brown fat tissue generates a significant amount of energy to heat the body and burns calories up to 560% faster than white fat tissue. The more brown fat tissue an individual has, the more one’s metabolism will increase, resulting in higher weight loss.

Do ice baths help with anxiety?

Anxiety relief from ice water bathing is a significant benefit of the practice. When an individual enters cold water, the body is shown to release what is commonly known as ‘happy hormones’, including serotonin, dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin. It has been proved that within just two minutes spent in a cold water bath (0-4 degrees celsius), our noradrenaline levels increase by up to 530% along with our dopamine levels by up to 250%. Production and spikes in these wellbeing and happy hormones can have a significant impact on reducing anxiety.

Open from 11am to 10 pm every day, admission to the Hvammsvík Hot Springs is approximately £42pp (ISK 6900) on weekdays and £48pp approximately (ISK 7900) on weekends. Guests can book online at www.hvammsví prior to arrival.


Notes to Editors:

* Hvammsvik’s Wim Hof Method instructors have received official certification upon completion of attending a programme at For more information on cold exposure, also check out Eva’s website

For further press information, please contact:
Arabella Halfhide | Chloe Hernandez
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About Hvammsvík Hot Springs
Hvammsvík Hot Springs is an Icelandic natural geothermal spring that launched in 2022.

Located within a 1,200 acre estate and on the edge of the Hvalfjörður, a 45-minute drive from Reykjavik, Hvammsvík offers visitors a unique bathing experience in the Icelandic wilderness.

With eight different sized hot springs, which have been carved out of the natural geological landscape across various levels, the pools are filled by a geothermal well and the Atlantic Ocean with the tides.

Guests can also enjoy the onsite Bistro & Bar, Stormur, renowned locally for its delicious seafood soup and Alges shots. Additional experiences are available to add on, including paddle boarding, steam baths, Wim Hof breathwork sessions and hiking.

Four, rustic, high-end lodges and farmhouses can be booked for overnight stays of groups between four and nine guests.

For more information, visit: https://hvammsví