“Biohacking is the art and science of changing the environment around you and inside you, so you have more control over your own biology”
My definition of biohacking is applying techniques or hacks to improve our life, health and overall functioning in a world of stress, decease, electromagnetic fields and constant lights to name just a few.
The biohacking scene has been rapidly growing for the last few years and I was lucky enough to participate in the 5th Biohacking Summit that took place in Helsinki, Finland. It was an event that hosted more than 30 speakers on various topics over a packed two-day agenda with many exhibitors, very interesting products and over 1100 visitors.
The event started with an enlighting breathing session by Kasper van der Meulen (@kaspersfocus). It is amazing to experience the change of state while standing still with closed eyes and feeling the energy flowing through you.
The next few hours passed with uncontrollable desire to learn about and try out every product in the exhibition! It was really exciting as many of the companies are still start-ups and everyone on the floor had an enourmous amount of energy to explain their product but also to listen, discuss and collect feedback.
I would strongly suggest having a look at some of the below ideas to get a feeling of what the field is focusing on.
- Recovery optimization through the effects of vibration on the autonomic nervous system (Neurosonics). A very interesting product which also gave me an insight into the Finnish mentality. This product is targeted for companies as well as the public sector to relief stress from the working environment and provide the employers productivity tools as it I was told each day-off due to sickness is estimated to cost 350 Euros! Maybe this is why the Finnish are one of the leaders in the biohacking field!
- Energy production improvement while optimizing aerobic and anaerobic capacity through hypoxia and hyperoxia training. A product simulating altitude training. Only you don’t need to go to the mountains. After having having tried it for 20 minutes you really feel the difference.
- It was interesting to listen to Wade Lightheart talking about protein absorption and best techniques to improves tissue repair and building.
- There was also a lot of interest in sleep optimization in areas where some statistics show that up to 50% of the population has some sort of sleep disorder. Of course, there were big queues for the Oura ring and I think that everyone was probably wearing one at the end of the second day. But tracking your sleep is one thing. Preparing for a good night sleep is another. Increasing melatonin requires blocking blue-light and reducing heart rate to ensure deep sleep requires the proper body temperature. Hence, products such as ChilliPad and the collection of glasses from Biohacking Collective seemed to be really popular. Having purchased some pairs of glasses, I can tell you that the family goes to sleep in no time!
The first day finished in the sauna, a traditional Finnish custom. It is a really great practise to finish a long tiring day by relaxing both the body and mind. And if you are one of the daring ones, you of course dive in the freezing 9 degrees water to get you refreshed!
The next day, the hype seemed to have gone and there was a series of very interesting speakers so the conference area was totally packed. I also joined from the start, as I was also looking forward to hearing some of them.
- An area of quite intense reseach is on epigenetics and genetic expression optimization. A couple of speakers focused on methylation while others on peptides which are different sized amino acids (proteins) which act as keys for specific functions in the body and are targeted for various deceases such as Alzheimer, tumors, etc.
- The area I am personally interested in is nutrition and fasting and the benefits of autophagy, so it was great hearing Siim Land talking about Sirtuin activators which are associated with longevity and mitochondria metabolism.
- If I could summarize the summit in one phrase it would be “Measure so you can manage”. Everyone is now realizing the importance of data to detect patterns which can lead to early prognosis of issues and prevention of decease. At the moment, the available tools seem to either be very expensive or to be offering limited capabilities, but I think it will not be very long before we all have our personal suite with all the important biomarkers. In this direction there was a big interest in measuring ketones, glucose or understanding your genetics via DNA tests (see Keto-Mojo, Ketonix, dnalife)
However, to my surprise the best was kept for the end. The quotes I connected with the most were from the last speaker known as Herbal Jedi, Yarrow Willard a Clinical Herbalist from Canada. “All decease come from the law of flow or lack of. Stagnation is where are decease generates from. Stagnation leads to inflammation, inflammation to pain and pain to decease” This is so true and can be extrapolated to so many areas of our life, such as stress and even to our work-life. “We are not the sum of our successes but the sum of our connections” . Live connecting not collecting.
The summit finished with a sense of great satisfaction and left me wanting for me. The mystery of human-beings, how to optimize life in a “natural” way and be the best we can is still unfolding.