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Biohacking: What Is It and Why Is Everyone Talking About It?

Biohacking: What Is It and Why Is Everyone Talking About It?

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Biohacking: What Is It
And Why Is Everyone
Talking About It?

By: Your JNH Lifestylist

If you have not heard about biohacking, you are about to. It is the latest trending topic and for a good reason. It helps you take your health into the control of your own hands.

Unsurprisingly, Silicon Valley was one of the first to bring biohacking into the mainstream. The high-tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are always on the lookout for the next best method to improve their health and well-being in the most efficient way possible - and this includes all things biohacking related. So, what exactly is biohacking? How can you use it to better your health and your life?


Biohacking Defined

Biohacking is any process where science, biology and self-experimentation are used to improve your body, mind and overall life [1]. Since new biohacking methods come out regularly, the term is relatively broad, and it covers a wide range of different techniques and methods. It could be as simple as wearing a fitness tracker and becoming more aware of the steps you take throughout your day, or it could be as complicated as genetic engineering technology. Generally, the goal is to enhance your physical and mental being in whatever form that may be.

Many biohacking methods also take into account that what works for one person may not work for the next. This is why self-experimentation is key in biohacking your own body and mind. For instance, your friend might find one approach that works, yet it might not work so well for you; making biohacking an individualized process.

You would probably be surprised to know that you are already biohacking parts of your life. Any diet or exercise routine is biohacking. Yet, there are more innovative and edgy approaches as well, including stem cell injury healing, nootropics, and infrared saunas. Wim Hof, the man who climbed Mount Everest in shorts and no shirt, is also a master of biohacking. In fact, a 2014 study proved that the Wim Hof Method, a breathing and cold exposure technique, had the potential to improve a person’s immune system function [2]. We will dive into some of these biohacking techniques in more detail below.

Types of Biohacking: What Should You Try?

How can you incorporate biohacking into your life? There are a ton of ways. Check out a few of the most popular and simple ways you can biohack your way toward a healthier and happier life:

1. Optimize Your Sleep

black and white image of a woman sleeping in her bed

Yes, sleep hygiene is a form of biohacking. It involves finding a way to get the quality sleep your body needs. Most often, individuals find tweaking their habits before bedtime makes all the difference. For instance, finding an activity that helps you relax one to two hours before bed can help you ease into sleep and avoid tossing and turning for hours. You will also want to consider keeping your bed an oasis for strictly sleep only. There are countless ways to biohack this one; it is all about finding what works for you.

2. Perform the Wim Hof Method

The Wim Hof Method is only one of many breathing techniques that can help you gain control of your health and mind. However, the Wim Hof Method also includes cold therapy exposure, setting it apart from other biohacking breathing techniques [3]. The breathing process of this method involves taking 30 deep and quick inhales through your nose and out your mouth. You then take one big deep breath and hold it for 10 seconds to a minute. You will be surprised how comfortable you are holding your breath after this process. Ideally, you want to participate in regular cold exposure to gain the benefits of this practice. Through regular cold exposure and breathing techniques, you could have increased energy, a greater cold tolerance, accelerated recovery, stronger immunity and better sleep.

3. Dive into Nootropics

Nootropics are natural substances that individuals take to improve their cognitive functioning. When someone takes a nootropic substance, they frequently aim to improve their memory, motivation, creativity or focus. For instance, L-theanine is a popular and natural substance found in tea. Research shows the L-theanine has a significant impact on mental alertness. In turn, it is thought that this nootropic may enhance focus and attention [4].

Yet, L-theanine is not the only nootropic hitting the headlines for its health and mental advantages. Other popular nootropics include caffeine, bacopa monnieri, and Ginkgo Biloba. You can also purchase various pill combinations of these natural substances under different labels and brands. Just be sure to do your research before buying to ensure you are getting a product that is backed by credible scientific resources.

4. Try Infrared Sauna Therapy

Infrared sauna therapy is becoming more and more popular, with some individuals even installing infrared saunas in their homes. Scientific research indicates that infrared sauna bathing may help reduce overall mortality, improve skin appearance and health, decrease inflammation and pain, improve energy levels and athletic performance, and so much more [5]. Most individuals that use this biohacking method partake in 3-4 sauna sessions that last about 20-45 minutes at a time. It is proven to be an easy and relaxing biohacking approach that can improve your overall health and well-being with minimal effort.

What biohacking methods work for you? The best way to find out is to give anything mentioned a try, or by doing a bit of research and finding other forms of biohacking that catch your interest. Biohack your way toward optimal health, superior mental well-being, and a better life!

Hack Your Way To Health; Biohacking Examples: Optimizing Sleep, Try Nootropics, Consider the Wim Hof Method, Incorporate Infrared Sauna Therapy

Resources:

[1] Michaels S. (2014). “What is biohacking and why should we care?” pbs.org, 23 September 2014, https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/biohacking-care.

[2] Kox M., van Eijk L. T., Zwaag J., van den Wildenberg J., Sweep F. C., van der Hoeven J. G., & Pickkers P. (2014). “Voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system and attenuation of the innate immune response in humans.” ncbi.nlm.gov, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 20 May 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4034215/.

[3] Hof W. (2020). “What is the Wim Hof Method?” wimhofmethod.com, 2020, https://www.wimhofmethod.com/practice-the-method.

[4] Nobre AC, Owen GN, Rao A. (2008). “L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state.” ncbi.nlm.gov, Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 2008, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296328.

[5] Hussain J, Cohen M. (2018). “Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review.” ncbi.nlm.gov, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 24 April 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5941775/.


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