What is Biohacking?
If you haven’t heard the term biohacking, you’re not alone. Biohacking is the future, and it’s development has been rapid and recent. Biohacking will impact your life sooner or later — and maybe it already has. If you’ve taken steps to better understand your body, your DNA, and your potential, that’s biohacking. If you’ve pursued ways to improve your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, or cellular health, that’s biohacking. And it’s so much more than that.
Biohacking: In a Nutshell
Biohacking is using science and technology to become the absolute best version of yourself. Essentially, it’s using all of the tools we have at our disposal to improve our lives. Modern science is addressing each and every potential illness, injury, issue, inconvenience, or physical limit facing human bodies today. We are learning everything we can about our own biology, as well as finding ways to “hack” that biology.
“Hacking” has long served a negative connotation. But as you probably know, we now use “hack” to define any type of creative optimizing. For example, when you find a creative solution to an everyday problem you may call it a “life hack.” A tweak to how furniture is normaly assembled from the manufacturer’s instructions is an “IKEA hack”—you get the drift. Hacking is the creative problem solving to improve one’s life, and we are turning the focus on our bodies and biology.
Biohacking has actually been used for centuries. Human beings are always looking to maximize their performance, from the days of hunter-gatherers to modern Olympians. It’s not just about being bigger and faster, either. It’s about whatever is important to you and your body’s functioning. Science and technology are focusing intensely on biohacking to change lives. One of my favorite topics of focus in Biohacking is finding ways to unlock the brain’s potential. How can brain teasing puzzles, nutrition, and even sleep be combined to provide the brain with everything it needs to train up to its maximum potential?
Biohacking is the answer to the question “How can we improve lives?” We can help wounded veterans learn to walk again. We can fight the deterioration of mind and body through aging. We can protect the vulnerable and ease the strain on those who use their bodies and strength for skilled work. We can improve daily function, baseline health, productivity, appearance, and lifespan. So really the question ought to be, why not biohack?
The first and most accessible step of biohacking is real time analytics of our biology. We first must understand our own biology and what is happening in our bodies. Bioanalytics is a growing field that is dedicated to tracking your body function and vitals in order to help you make more informed decisions for improvement.
Wearable analytic technology is everywhere — you may be wearing one right now. If you’re tracking steps, heart rate, blood sugar, or other metrics then you’re already biohacking through analytics. The options are wide, and ever-growing, for ways to track and analyze your biological performance. You might be someone who doesn’t enjoy wearing watch style apparel, or maybe you love wearing watches and feel awkward about wearing two bands on your arm at once. I completely understand that and I personally switched to a discrete ring style monitor that tracks my activity and sleep habits. The most important factor is tracking your biology to determine what to change and track the progress of your efforts.
Wearable tech isn’t the end-all-be-all when it comes to Analytics. There are a myriad of affordable test that help us understand what is happening on out insides. For example, the topic of gut biome is becoming an ever increasing topic of conversation in the Biohacking world. There are tests that can be done that give you the ability to know exactly what is happening in your gut. Taking a general step to improve your gut is good, knowing the exact bacteria to cultivate based on gut populations is better.
Passive analysis can tell us a great deal, or more intensive tracking and comparison can address direct questions you may have about your health. In the future, we look to monitoring even more about our bodies and using the logistics to create a personalized biohacking plan.
Technology is rapidly rising to meet the needs of the biohacker generation. The purpose of technology has always been to make our lives easier, so naturally we are applying that to our health and wellness. Bio technology is no longer confined to medical centers, though. We are finding and applying biohacking technology to create miracles in everyday life.
Wearable technology inspires millions by allowing someone a prosthetic that not only fits them perfectly, but allows for normal function. Exoskeletons are being used for both protection and support in the military, for skilled workers, and even athletes. And could jetpacks actually work? Yes, and we’re probably not too far from seeing them in real life.
Internal technology can sound like something from a science-fiction movie, but it’s a reality that could save your life. Smart technology can be implanted into your body to improve hearing, track medication usage, and even promote healing.
We have learned that by adjusting our environments we can change and nudge our biology in the right direction. The science is still developing on the ways our environments can dramatically affect our bodies and health, but what we’ve already discovered is intriguing.
Cryotherapy has been useful for ages. If you venture into the training rooms for many professional sports teams you may find a tank with warm water and a tank with iced water. Cold environments especially intense cold that comes from ice baths may help reduce inflammation and promote faster healing. These biohacks can be as simple and taking a cold shower or as complicated as stepping into a professional Cryochamber.
Oxygenation chambers can rejuvenate cells and encourage blood vessel growth. Removing toxins or infusing the air with helpful compounds is environmental biohacking that you can use in your homes right now.
Nutrition has been a foundation of health and medicine from the Dark Ages. And now we know so much more than the Dark Ages. Of course we all know not to overeat or to forget fruits and veggies, but nutritional biohacking is so much more important than that. Biohacking nutrition means identifying deficiencies and problems, or desirable goals we wish to achieve, then creating a nutritional portfolio designed to achieve that biological outcome.
You may choose to improve your memory, promote healthy aging, boost energy, combat illnesses or disorders, or lose weight. Through biohacking you can assess your current nutrition, determine a goal, and create a plan that could include diet, supplements, fitness, and beauty products. Controlling what goes in and on your body is the simplest and most immediately applicable form of biohacking — to great effect.
Biohacking: What’s Next?
The most exciting thing about biohacking is that we have little idea of what comes next. The potential is so vast and the science is developing rapidly. We may one day live in a world with only completely healthy, able-bodied, happy people. We may be able to swear off illness and injury. We may be able to stretch the limits of what our bodies can do, beyond what we ever thought possible.
It’s all within the realm of biohacking, and we’re all about exploring. Exploring our own biology, exploring our own potential. What can your body do? We invite you to find out.
By: Ryan Goodwin
*This article is a repost which originally appeared on the Medium Website.