This is part one of a two-part series on biohacking.
Summary. In the flurry of information that exists around biohacking, many fundamental questions go unanswered. This story breaks down the basics of human enhancement, including:
- What is the history behind biohacking?
- What types of biohacking therapies exist
- How can it practically be applied to your life?
Estimated read time: 3 minutes
Does brain fog have you muddled; or do you just wish you could get a better night’s sleep? Maybe you just need a biohack. Biohacking — the use of science and technology to make one’s body function better — is essentially any change a person makes in order to positively impact their biology or to get an edge over others in intelligence or capabilities. Diehard evangelists credit biohacking for improving everything from increasing their mood, wellbeing, and energy levels, to reducing brain fog and anxiety, creating firmer-looking skin, healthier hair, and even boosting intelligence.
Biohacks may take the form of a modified diet, exercise, sleep habits, stress management, nutritional supplements, alternative medicine, peptides, and, increasingly, through tech gadgets.
For example, Dave Asprey, Founder of Bulletproof, and known as the godfather of biohacking, hangs out in a hyperbaric chamber, depriving his cells of oxygen, in order to improve his brain function and muscle tissue, and to repair the damage inflicted by the normal aging process.
The History of Biohacking
While the notion of biohacking may feel like a modern craze, it’s actually has been around for centuries in practices like transcendental meditation and intermittent fasting.
According to Joel Evan, a health coach who has been biohacking for the last eight years, the term biohacking was coined by Dave Asprey, a former computer programmer who had an affinity for alternative health. As a 300lb overweight, sick, and inflamed person, he was looking for ways to rebalance his body since traditional methods were not working. His quest to heal himself led to not-so-common modalities in health such as ozone therapy, red light therapy, pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy, and much more.
Evan is an electric stimulation physical therapist (using a biohacking device called a Neubie (Neuro-Bio-Electric Stimulator)), and the podcast host of “The Hacked Life” where he’s interviewed some of the top leading health experts in the world like the Asprey, Dr. John Jaquish, and Shawn Wells.
Light and electricity, channeled in certain ways, can be used for healing, circulation, and even for managing brain activity. Popular biohacking therapies include:
- Electrical Stimulation Therapy:
Evan says that one of his favorite biohacks is setting up the Neubie electrodes in a way to run DC electrical current all through his body.
“Doing so puts my body in a parasympathetic state or more rested state within 12-20 minutes,” he says.
Studies have shown that you can’t heal when your body is in a state of fight or flight. And, as many of us know, we are constantly overwhelmed and living in stress. Evan says he’s seen several patients recover from chronic pain issues by doing this type of nervous system reset.
“The device is quite remarkable, and practitioners have seen people recover from what might appear to be lifetime injuries. For example, a woman named Anne injured herself in a horseback accident and became paralyzed. After two years of consistent treatment with the Neubie, she was able to walk again using a walker down the aisle of her son’s wedding,” says Evan.
- Red Light Therapy (RLT): An easy biohack that everyone can incorporate is a red light device, notes Evan. RLT is an innovative technique that utilizes specific red and near-infrared wavelengths from the light spectrum to promote health, wellness, and longevity. These fantastic benefits are achieved through modulation of inflammation, improved circulation and boosting the health and function of your mitochondria.
Many biohackers are using RLT to help recover from wounds faster or to help rejuvenate the skin, as RLT has been shown to increase collagen synthesis,” says Evan.
- Neurofeedback Therapy: Neurofeedback, a form of biofeedback, is a non-invasive, non-drug way to change the way your brain functions. By monitoring your brainwave activity using electrodes (EEG), neurofeedback gives you personalized feedback about how your brain works, rewarding healthy brainwave activity over unhealthy activity, leading to a reduction in unwanted symptoms and behavior. Neurofeedback has applications for a wide range of conditions including attention disorders like ADHD, and mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. It can also be used to enhance normal functioning, improve overall mental performance, and restore calm and focus to a frazzled mind.
New neurofeedback technology on the market, such as Narbis smartglasses use neurofeedback to track the wearer’s brain activity and then uses that data to determine if they’re distracted, at which point the glasses’ lenses darken, or focused, which causes the lenses to clear.
Practical Biohacking Tips You Can Start Today
Anyone interested in dabbling in biohacking doesn’t have to go straight to hyperbaric chambers. There are plenty of simple, everyday things you can try, including:
- Update Your Skincare Routine: As the largest organ in your body, consider rethinking how you treat your skin, tossing out any skincare products that include animal testing or contain harmful chemicals.
- Hack Your Diet: Adopt healthy fasting techniques or take magnesium supplements that increase overall wellness by reducing anxiety and improving heart health.
- Reduce Social Media Use: A 2018 study proved that depression and loneliness can be caused by the overuse of social media.
- Don’t Drink from Plastic Bottles: This is one of the most important biohacking tips that you can follow, according to Alina Clark, Former IT expert, an entrepreneur, startup enthusiast, and co-founder of CocoDoc. Most plastic bottles release a chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) which is a hormone disruptor and can have negative health effects, including increasing your risk of cancer and obesity.
- Get Enough Sleep: One of the simplest, most overlooked biohacks is optimizing your sleep. Sleep is a time for your body to repair and rejuvenate itself. Countless studies have linked poor sleep with obesity. Obtaining quality sleep enhances your memory, keeps you slim and lowers food cravings, protects you from dementia and other diseases, reduces your risk of heart attacks, stroke, and diabetes, and can make you less anxious.
Part 2 of this post will delve into specific biohacking devices recommended by experts.