With Elon Musk’s Neuralink brain chip back in the news, we test out the latest tech to find out if biohacking is in our future…
The term ‘biohacking’ may conjure up images of extreme body modification.
This is especially true when you have celebrities such as Canadian singer Grimes and American rapper Lil Uzi Vert, who already has a $24 million diamond implanted in his forehead, discussing plans on Twitter to get Elon Musk’s Neuralink ‘brain chip’ implanted by 2022.
We’ve all seen Neuralink’s video of a chipped monkey playing a video game.
But using high-tech treatments and devices to ‘hack’ our bodies into becoming stronger, fitter and healthier doesn’t always have to be so extreme.
‘Biohacking is using science and technology to understand, take control of, and optimise your own biology,’ says Dr Nichola Conlon, founder of UK-based Nuchido Laboratories.
‘Biohacking is experimenting with nutrition, fitness, lifestyle and environment to gain a clear understanding of your own body and your own biology. It is harnessing the latest breakthroughs in science and technology to understand and optimise your body.’
Thanks to Metro’s real-life guinea pig, you can now find out how to get involved in the latest biohacking treatments that aim to boost health and wellness…
Cryotherapy is a treatment that’s been gaining traction in the UK thanks to claims it can treat multiple ailments, including arthritis, and sports injuries, as well as help with weight loss and skin conditions. Other benefits include improved circulation for optimal immune function and reduced inflammation.
I gave the sci-fi treatment a go at one of the UK’s first whole-body cryotherapy centres, LondonCryo. After apprehensively stepping into a chamber of liquid nitrogen for three minutes in body-shocking temperatures of -190C, pain-relieving endorphins are triggered, leaving me with an unexplainable energy and boost in mood.
If you’re ready for more, a cryo-facial stimulates collagen in the skin — my face immediately felt smoother, firmer and more youthful looking, and the Dorian Gray effect lingered for a couple of days.
Of course, you’ll need more than one session to feel the lasting effects — eight to ten all told. And if you’re wondering whether it’s safe, it is provided you are supervised by a trained professional.
At LondonCryo, for instance, you are monitored throughout by expert staff who will safely remove you from the chamber after your allotted three-minute session or as soon as you feel uncomfortable (there automatic safety stops built in too). Pregnant women, people with high blood pressure and heart conditions, however, should definitely steer clear.
From £30 a session, londoncryo.com
For those after a cosier approach to biohacking their wellness, MyoMaster’s MyoPump compression legs will do the trick. The neat thing about this device is that it comes in the form of two stockings that can be used at home.
Zip them right up to the crotch like a pair of thigh boots Pretty Woman would be proud of, hit the button on the digital pump unit and the stockings inflate with air.
This compresses the legs for a powerful deep-muscle treatment that boosts blood flow and reduces lymphatic wastage to melt away tension. It really works too.
After a 30-minute session, you’ll be left feeling like you’ve had a deep-tissue massage: relaxed and uplifted.
Knowing which supplements to take can feel like a minefield. British start-up Bioniq, which offers a nutrient subscription service based on your blood, can help.
The biohacking platform provides a bespoke service that involves sending a phlebotomist to your home to take a sample of your blood to the company’s lab and analysed. You’re then sent personalised supplementation consisting of a blend of vitamins, minerals and acids based on what’s lacking.
Your treatment is tracked within a personal dashboard on an app so you can monitor your health and nutritional status.
My blood reports showed that my iron levels were a little low, likely due to my vegetarian diet. The formula Bioniq created left me feeling noticeably better after a few weeks, with more energy and improved sleep.
From £35, bioniq.com
Higher Dose sauna blanket
If you’re looking for whole-body beauty, consider an infrared sauna blanket. It’s essentially a portable sauna that allows you to sweat yourself healthy in the comfort of your own home. Simply plug it in, crawl inside and cocoon yourself in what is essentially a heated sleeping bag for up to 45 minutes.
The beauty of this blanket is its use of infrared rays to heat your body from the inside, offering a deeper sweat without feeling like an oven. After 45 minutes, you’ll be drenched in sweat but feeling energised.
Once you’ve cooled down, sore muscles and joints will also feel soothed and you will find yourself feeling a lot more relaxed than when you went in.
With regular use, you can also expect stimulated collagen production, which helps reduce wrinkles and improves skin tone, producing a healthy glow.
With biohacking becoming a popular way to upgrade our health as a preventative measure, we’re seeing a growing number of pocket-sized gadgets that you can pop into your bag to help boost general wellness wherever you are.
The Sensate 2 is one of the best examples. Simply connect this palm-sized gadget to its companion app, bang on some headphones and place it on the chest while lying down.
You’ll feel it vibrate gently along to soothing music. If you’re wondering why you can’t do it while listening to Taylor Swift’s new album, it’s because the device needs to vibrate at specific sonic frequencies to stimulate the vagus branch of the autonomic nervous system and lessen heart-rate variability, which in turn reduces the effects of stress.
After just a few minutes I was in an enhanced state of relaxation and drifted off into a much deeper sleep right after use.
Bizarre biohacking experiments
The first Cyborg
Known as ‘the world’s first official cyborg’, colour-blind artist Neil Harbisson has an antenna-like sensor implanted in his head that translates sound wavelengths into vibrations on his skull, which he perceives as colour.
Biochemistry researcher Gabriel Licina had a chemical cocktail injected directly on to the eye to give himself a temporary sense of night vision. It briefly allowed him to see more than 160 feet in the dark.
Sup up the supplements
Bulletproof Coffee founder Dave Asprey has spent more than $1 million on biohacking. His daily rituals include taking 150 supplements alongside brain stimulation treatment that he believes will help him live to 180.
Silicon Valley entrepreneur Serge Faguet has spent $250,000 trying to live forever. He claims his biohacking pursuits, including 1,000 tests and supplements, have made him ‘calmer, thinner, extroverted, healthier and happier’.
This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through one of these links but this never influences our experts’ opinions. Products are tested and reviewed independently of commercial initiatives.
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