• Charles @ Axis

Biohacking, What is it and What Works?

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

Everyone's looking to "Biohack" their health these days. If you aren't familiar with the idea; "Biohacking" incorporates taking on diets, supplements, sleep habits, neuromuscular modalities, exercise regimens, emotional therapies and passive technologies (like massage guns, PEMF devices, or cryotherapy tanks) to induce beneficial health effects that make you the best version of yourself. Muscle Activation Techniques has been at the forefront of this movement for a while, due to the neuromuscular "hacking" of the central nervous system that transpires during the process. MAT improves the body's innate ability to contract muscles on demand that were once limited due to inflammation, age decline, recurring injury or trauma. This kind of modality is highly sought after by those that are looking to maintain their ability to move well and function at high capacities even as they age. Why is Biohacking all the rage these days? Primarily because fitness enthusiasts, sports athletes, Fortune 500 CEO's and tech industry leaders are all craving faster, more efficient ways to stay healthy and young longer. The mavens in these fields all realize that their body is their primary vehicle and that they'll be using it their entire life - so they want to maintain it to the best ability they can. Many are even trying to further their lifespan through Biohacking methodologies

There are several personalities that have sprung forward in the Biohacking arena that are all trying to lead the charge as to which gadgets, modalities, supplements, etc. are the best, oftentimes finding ways to profit off their endorsements or their own products. I've been trying to keep track of everything for a while, but the volume of information available now has become staggering. Below is what I do know from reading or hearing about recent innovations, and methods in the Biohacking realm & in addition to what I think are some of the "gold nuggets" below I'll go on to feature a few leaders in the field of Biohacking, so you can do your own research.

  1. Hot and Cold Therapies do actually work! Simple as that, they might not work in the ways you thought previously, but they do improve your cardiovascular fitness and your ability to burn off the wrong kinds of fat from your body. If you can stand the heat and/or the cold, you should try whichever form of therapy you can access a few times a week to increase your overall health. Check out this Business Insider article which highlights the growing interest in these therapies. And also check out this article on how to reap the benefits of both. Who's interested in a cold plunge off the pier at Boulevard Park!?

  2. Exercise never goes out of fashion! Every other week I click on a health journal article that indicates how beneficial exercise is to your health and longevity. If you want to live well on this planet, sweating several times a week would help that goal. No one should destroy themselves with each workout however, as too much fatigue and damage from workouts can be bad. We want to feel good after our workouts more often than not, so we can do them consistently and incur the least amount of inflammation at each of our joints over time. Remember consistency is important, don't Yo-Yo exercise, and keep it interesting, try different forms of exercise (swimming, lifting, running, yoga, etc). Variety of movement helps us target different muscles in the body and makes our brain have to work harder at coordinating movement too!

  3. Sleep is one of our best hacking tools! That statement alone probably ruffles some feathers with a few of the parents out there. Everyone struggles with getting good consistent sleep, however, experts in this field argue that getting better sleep is the key for better mental health & longevity. It stands to reason - there have been several studies linking lack of sleep towards higher risk of cardiac arrest and cognitive decline. We've all had a night when we didn't sleep and felt like a zombie the next day, like our brain was drunk. Well, too many nights like that and our brain will have a pretty tough time as we age!

  4. Some forms of Neuromuscular and Physical Therapies help reawaken our physical capacities. I've already mentioned how MAT can help, but there are other neuromuscular and physical therapies out there that can benefit the body's functionality. Bodywork, brain training and physical pursuits that correct imbalances and compensations help "un-stick" us. They can create an uptick in our physical and mental capabilities too once our issues are overcome. Look at it this way, if someone helps us reduce our pain and improves our capability to move under load again - then we can get right back to kicking butt, faster and with less drugs, doctor's visits, or possible elective surgeries down the road.

  5. Emotional and Psychological Therapies have never been hotter! You'd be surprised, but meditation, guided therapy sessions (some incorporating brain altering chemicals) and regular psychiatry are now being sought after to unlock the potential of people's minds. How often have you tried to blame a bad habit on your upbringing? Well that baggage isn't going away anytime soon unless you deal with it. And, just like traveling lighter on an airplane can feel literally freeing, so too can reducing our emotional and mental hang-ups! The ultimate goal of these Biohackers is to be their best self, so many are dipping their feet into the emotional and mental therapy well these days.

  6. Supplements can only help if everything else is in alignment. Every new pill, powder or peptide on the market can be a waste of money if we aren't doing the basics right. If our diet is uneven, if our sleep schedule is a mess, if we never can find the time to exercise or do some kind of emotional release work, then no supplement will save us - no matter how good the marketing is around it. And the reality is that most new supplements on the market haven't been studied long enough, and even some older supplements on the market are often giving off placebo effects. The reliability of supplements is often haphazard too (some are not made to proper specification, etc.). Nonetheless, its in our nature to want to find faster ways to better results, so we will continue to find supplements alluring. My advice is to undue any bad habits and create some new good habits first, before going down the rabbit hole that is all the latest supplement marketing and data.

  7. The jury is out on many of the latest Biohacking Gadgets and their usefulness. Where to begin, there are so many different gadgets on the market now. Here's a few types; massage guns, near infrared lights, PEMF - devices that emit an energy field, oxygen therapy machines, e-stim - devices that send electrical currents into your muscles, compression boots and sleeves, hyperbolic chambers, EMF Blockers - devices that block electromagnetic fields, blood-flow restriction cuffs, blue light blocking glasses, and the list goes on. However, like with what I wrote about supplements above - we don't need ANY of these if we are doing our best at pursuing the basics, which are good sleep, proper diet, frequent exercise, and reducing mental & emotional distress. Anyone that tells you a device can make up for all the basic staples of good living is just trying to sell you something. However, if you can afford to maintain a healthy regime, there are some technologies that can aid you in your wellness pursuits. Personally I've tried and researched a few of these forms of devices, and I have found that many that influence the physical world around us or our physicality can be helpful - again to a degree as I've said before. Items that fall in that category include blue light blocking glasses to reduce blue light from our monitors and help us fall asleep faster, blood-flow restriction cuffs that help improve muscle tone and size with less weight involved for exercising, compression boots which mimic a supportive massage. Other options that influence the unseen world around us and within us such as near infrared light or PEMF devices can offer different outcomes person to person, but there is supportive literature for nearly all these devices, so if you're curious find a way to sample these items.

Below are a list of some of the gurus in the world of Biohacking. This list is not exclusive or exhaustive and you may know of a few others and/or you may want to share details about the latest gadget or supplement and I'd encourage you do to so in the comments! Thanks!

To look up these people on the web, type "biohack" and their name to learn more about their methods, research and/or products & services

  • Ben Greenfield

  • Dr Rhonda Patrick

  • Tim Ferris

  • Tony Robbins

  • Dave Asprey

  • Stem Talk Podcast

  • Dr Joe Dispenza

  • Dr Josh Axe

  • Aubrey Marcus

  • Peter Attia

  • Chris Kresser

Thanks for reading! Please post a comment below if you have any other insights, comments or endorsements!

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