The Ice Women
Laura Hof and Isabelle Hof — daughters of the world-renowned Wim Hof, creator of The Wim Hof Method — talk to OM about wellness, beauty and living life to the max. By Rach Cox
It always seems to attract a lot of men — and a lot of ego,” says Laura Hof, talking about the famed cold water exposure and ice water practices of the world famous The Wim Hof Method* (WHM).
“So, we thought: well, we are women, and we are doing it, and it has helped so many women around the world — after all, women are built to have babies and have a much higher pain threshold than men — so why aren’t more women doing it?” adds Isabelle Hof.
It certainly makes sense that women leading this method would inspire more women to take on these seemingly extraordinary practices which cultivate life-altering benefits.
These two ladies, Laura and Isabelle, are the beautiful offspring of Wim Hof, the Iceman himself. And they have become Ice Women on a mission: they are determined to make The Wim Hof Method accessible to women of all ages and abilities due to the immense health benefits experienced by practitioners around the globe.
And, wait for it… it’s free!
* If you don’t know Wim Hof do a quick search online. ‘The Iceman’ has not only helped advance scientific understanding, but he has also accomplished extraordinary feats of human endurance, including 21 Guinness World Records. He is also a magnificently kind and caring human with an infinite capacity for fun and love. A true yogi, if you will!
Here, Laura Hof (who’s also a qualified yoga teacher) and Isabelle Hof tell OM about the incredible, burgeoning Ice Women Community.
First things first….so, what is The Wim Hof Method?
It’s so simple that it will blow your mind. Behold:
1. Breath work
2. Cold water exposure
The Method has been proven under laboratory conditions to combat pathogens injected into trained subjects (humans). In other words, it brought down inflammation and removed the infection (you can google the documentary). Furthermore, there are countless individual reports of major benefits around the globe pertaining to all sorts of illnesses and disease. Utterly remarkable.
So, what are the benefits of this method according to Laura and Isabelle?
Health: anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, increased circulation and feeling warmer! The WHM also has positive effects on the metabolism.
Beauty: longevity, great skin, anti-ageing, shiny hair [the sisters exhibit glowing skin and a sparkle in their eyes].
Female-focused benefits: hormone balancing. Since this method allows us to access the autoimmune system and endocrine system with autonomy, we can regulate our hormones, emotions and blood flow within the body.
‘Happiness’ is, after all, just a bunch of balanced hormones. As women, we can go through several stages of hormone changes — puberty, pregnancy and menopause.
Cold water immersion
The Lady Hof’s explained that the Ice Women community is made up of women of all ages right up to 98 years old. It’s also a highly-accessible system.
If you can’t get to a natural body of water, you can still join the cold water party and feel great through cold showers at home, gradually increasing the length of time under the water. There is no need to shock the system: gently does it.
Natural swimming, being outside, allowing the body and mind to sync with nature and creating true balance is the essence of this practice. Our microbiome and electrical energy system need nature. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that being indoors, shallow breathing, not moving our bodies and being on devices really is not good for us.
I confessed that I personally don’t like cold showers — but I love getting into natural bodies of cold water!
Thankfully, these gracious beings didn’t judge me and agreed that it is far more pleasant to get into a river, lake or ocean. However, they went on to explain that cold showers are super effective, accessible and simple because most people have a shower at home, with no extra costs or travel involved.
I have been practicing the WHM during The Covids with my junior sibling (who’s 36) who has rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory auto-immune disease.
It’s a super-painful and debilitating affliction. Every morning we wake up early to go and do the breathing, then get into cold water…setting our minds to the task before each practice. The thought of cold water is obviously not something we find attractive. However, the unbelievable feeling, energy and benefits of the practice are undeniable and that is what we are focused on. That’s where mindset comes into play.
When I mentioned my sister’s painful hands and feet, the ladies suggested that we treat the localised area with cold water therapy: pop the hands and feet in some cold water with a wee bit of ice in it (there are videos on their website with more detail and information). In fact, Laura Hof has successfully treated a woman with rheumatoid arthritis of 98 years old. Magical.
“I remember going into cold water for a swim when I was as young as nine. I was just copying my father,” says Laura, who is also a yoga teacher as well as an WHM instructor. “We just copied him because he is our father and that’s what kids do!”
Laura and Isabelle Hof have been putting the ‘sister’ in ‘sisterhood’ by working together as a dynamic duo for the benefit of womankind. They have many success stories. Too many to mention. They fully encourage women of all ages to try going for a ‘dip’, be it by themselves or in a group with other women.
“It’s like a reset button, similar to having a coffee in the morning!” says Isabelle, who’s also a psychologist and is a director at WHM.
To find out more about The Wim Hof Method visit: wimhofmethod.com
Rach Cox is the founder of the Om & Bass festival (omandbass.co.uk)