Biohacking: The Art and Science of Upgrading the Human Being

What are you willing to do in order to become a better version of yourself?

Biohacking, defined as better living though science, technology, and nature, is quickly taking a front seat in the current global growing emerging technology and biotechnology trends. Biohacking is considered a fast track to upgrading one's self. 

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit."– Aristotle

Biohacking is all about making humans healthier, happier, and stronger with the vision of double humans' potential lifespan. The term Biohacking is relatively new. It was coined by Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof Nutrition Inc., author, Silicon Valley investor, technology entrepreneur, and the Father of Biohacking. 

According to Dave Asprey's own definition and which was, by the way, incorporated to Merriam Webster's in 2018, Biohacking is the art and science of changing the environment around you and inside you so you have full control over your own biology. 

Biohacking is about optimizing human performance. By using science, advanced technologies, and vast amount of data collected by wearables biohackers live up to the promise of an improved health, wellbeing, and nutrition, enhanced productivity and energy levels, improved quality of sleep and optimized physical activity. 

Who can resist submitting to the promise of youthful looks and a healthier, longer life? However, there are many things that need to be learned first. To begin with, let's not confuse biohacking with bodyhacking. 

Biohacking vs. bodyhacking

Some people tend to confuse biohacking with bodyhacking. They are not the same. 

Bodyhacking, has nothing to do with biology or chemistry, for starters. And some biohacking has nothing to do with a human's body. That is pretty much the first differentiator. 

Bodyhacking is usually linked to wearable technologies. Some wearables monitor biological or health data. Some other wearables provide Augmented Reality enhancement of the vision; these wearables are currently used by industries such as healthcare and construction. These are examples of bodyhacking, not biohacking. 

On the other hand, biohacking is about manipulating the biology of the brain or the body itself in order to enhance performance. Some aspects of biohacking, though, may include bodyhacking as well. 

A few things associated with biohacking include: 

Boosting life expectancy 

Boosting their life expectancy can be done by anyone following some simple habits such as following an improved diet that is usually plant based, exercising regularly, no smoking and reducing alcohol consumption, and improving the quality and amount of sleep. Boosting life expectancy sometimes implies a series of lifestyle changes. These are basic steps for anyone who wants to dip their toes in the biohacking world. 

Longevity 

Biohacking claims that enhancing and optimizing human performance leads to longevity. Biohackers focus on longevity through everything they do in order to upgrade their life and lifestyle. 

Nutrition, stress management, exercising, intermittent fasting, meditation, sleep tracking for an improved sleep, and supplements that are preferably natural and plant based are some of the things that can lead to longevity. Basically, live healthy, live long and prosper. 

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Cryotherapy 

Cryotherapy is a cold therapy or ice treatment. By bringing the body temperature down at the tissue and cellular level biohackers claim it is possible to achieve therapeutic benefits and increase your metabolism. However, cryotherapy must be supervised by experts since along with the benefits there are also a few side effects and contraindications.

Cryotherapy can involve treatments with cold packs or ice packs to whole chambers. An introductory level of cryotherapy is to take cold showers for three days in a row for 10 seconds letting the shower hit the forehead. According to Dave Asprey, after day four it feels great. This is not something I am willing to try, though.

A version of cryotherapy in Finland is called avanto. This is a common practice in winter, especially alternating with sauna. It involves making a hole in the ice covering a lake and swimming in the frozen waters for a few minutes. Those who do this regularly say that it is invigorating and energizing. A few minutes of sauna and a good cup of hot coffee afterwards bring the temperature up.  

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Osteogenic machines 

Biohackers claim they can strengthen bones in a matter of minutes by using high-tech machines called osteogenic machines, which are based on the science of osteogenic loading. Weight bearing exercises can improve bone health stimulating bone building and preventing or fighting bone loss.

This is based on the theory that it takes four times your body weight to grow and increase your bone density. This is done by high impact loading, which done only once a week for a few minutes, not more than ten with some exercises requiring just a few seconds. That should be more than enough for an optimized training, leaving long hours at the gym in the past.

OsteoStrong in Los Angeles offers a complimentary session for those who wish to learn more about the osteogenic training and try the technique that can strengthen the condition of their body to gain athletic performance. 

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Nootropics (smart drugs)

Nootropics are cognitive enhancers. They are natural or synthetic substances that may enhance mental skills and divided into three general categories: Dietary supplements, synthetic compounds, and prescription drugs. Supplements for memory boosting are nootropics that are commonly taken by students during exam periods. 

People seeking to optimize cognitive function also follow a nutrient-dense diet, learn how to manage their stress, and work on improving their sleep quality. Nootropics are only a supplement that complements the aforementioned. 

Dopamine fasting or intermittent fasting 

Intermittent fasting is a trend started in Silicon Valley and rapidly expanded to the rest of the world. It can be used for losing weight or to boost brain power and clarity. In Biohacking, it implies improving focus and concentration. Intermittent fasting can boost brain power. According to Dave Asprey, it only takes skipping breakfast and drinking only water, tea, or coffee.  

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The Biohacking culture has grown so much in the recent few years that dedicated conferences and events are being held around the world. The next Biohacking Summit takes place in Helsinki, Finland in December.   

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