Much like hacking a computer, biohacking refers to interfering with a set process—and in this case, that set process is the human body.
Biohacking can take many forms, some very hi-tech and others very simple, but they all involve using technology or science to create improvements in the physical body.
In its simplest form, biohacking includes using a FitBit, Apple Watch or other wearable device to monitor your health, or implementing strategic dietary changes to increase energy and vitality. At its most extreme, it includes technological implants and genetic engineering.
Like all things, it’s a matter of personal choice, but if you are interested in optimising your health and increasing your energy (and who isn’t?), biohacking can be a useful approach.
Tony Robbins is a big proponent of biohacking, and uses it himself to help him maintain a peak state.
“The possibilities [of biohacking] are endless,” Tony says, “but they are all rooted in the idea that we can change our bodies and our brains, and that by doing so we can ultimately become smarter, faster and better as human beings.”
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Let’s get started!
Most of us in the UK are well aware that our bodies need Vitamin D to function efficiently (and keep our mood up!) since our environment provides so little of it during the winter months.
You might have also heard of a SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) lamp—red light therapy is the next step up.
Red light therapy uses light wavelengths between 600 and 900 nanometers (nm), which are then absorbed by the skin to a depth of about 8 to 10 millimeters (at which point your mitochondrial chromophores absorb the photons). This activates a number of nervous system and metabolic processes.
Studies show it can help relieve pain, reduce inflammation and restore function, and it’s often used to treat skin conditions such as eczema. Though it’s currently only available through the NHS for certain skin conditions, there are private clinics in the UK where red light therapy is available.
You might already be aware of how important exercise is for bone health. The NHS points out, “weight-bearing exercise and resistance exercise are particularly important for improving bone density and helping to prevent osteoporosis.”
Tony advises using a computer-based system designed specifically for maximising bone health called Osteostrong. If you can’t afford the hefty price tag, try working a variety of strength, aerobic and weight-bearing exercise into your workout routine.
The NHS has more information on how the different types of exercise can help prevent osteoporosis and bone density loss.
Intermittent fasting involves limiting your food intake to within a certain window of time every day. A popular version is the 16/8 method, which involves limiting your daily period of eating to 8 hours – such as eating from 10am to 4pm, or 1pm to 9pm, and fasting the rest of the time.
The idea behind intermittent fasting is to optimise your health by taking advantage of the benefits of being in a ‘fed’ state and a ‘fasted’ state. In a fed state, when you are digesting and absorbing food, your insulin levels are high and your body is focused on digestion.
In a fasted state, which starts 3-5 hours after you’ve last eaten, your body is allowed to rest. Your body’s levels of growth hormones increase as much as five times, which increases your metabolic rate, and your blood sugar lowers and stored fat becomes more accessible to burn. Fasting might also help reduce LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) which is a major risk factor for heart disease.
Intermittent fasting has also been linked to improved cognitive function, cancer prevention, increased cellular waste removal and lower levels of inflammation.
If you’re interested in trying it out, Tony recommends starting with a 14 hour fasting period for one week.
“With this fast, you can eat from 10am to 8pm, then fast the next 14 hours,” Tony says. “Then, when that becomes comfortable, cut back to an eating period of 11am to 8pm for a week and so on until you reach a fasting period of 16 hours.”
Our brains process an extraordinary amount of input every single second, and sometimes all that noise can make it really difficult to concentrate. Cue functional music!
“Brain activity can be measured in a wave-like pattern and determines if you feel alert, sleepy, relaxed or stressed,” says Tony.
“One of the most reliable ways to change your brainwaves is through a consistent sound wave. Audio entrainment, a form of music biohacking, uses binaural beats and tones to synchronise with your brain waves and induce a meditative, relaxed state.”
Try a focused programme like brain.fm, or use one of your favourite playlists to help you chill out!
No emotion has the power to change your mindset quite like gratitude. Adopting an attitude of gratitude can help you to maintain a positive mindset in your daily life.
Taking a biohacking approach to gratitude means building a practice of taking stock and giving thanks into your routine.
Tony recommends trying these three simple steps:
From small steps to big changes, biohacking offers many ways to try and make improvements in your life.
As Tony says, “your body will thank you for all the hard work you’ve put in to making it the best it can be.”
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