Biohacking is trending and for once, that’s a good thing.
Social media is flooded with users encouraging you to try new health and wellness hacks. But are any of these trends scientifically backed? Sadly, not many. Today we are going to dive into biohacking and what it means to biohack your body. Thankfully, its methods are both safe and proven to be effective.
I am not a doctor so I caution you to do your own research before ever trying something you see on social media or in this article. While many of these biohacking techniques are wellness activities done by many people, it’s always best to check with your healthcare practitioner before starting anything new.
- Biohacking is trending and for once, that’s a good thing.
- What is biohacking your body?
- 10 Examples of Biohacking
- Five more biohacking examples
- Conclusion – What is Biohacking Your Body?
What is biohacking your body?
Simply put, biohacking your body is incorporating wellness activities that alter, or hack, your body’s biology. Bio-hack means to hack your body’s biology.
At the end of February 2023, the wellness phrase ‘do-it-yourself biology’ began to trend. US Google searches increased by 316%. Nicotine pouch enthusiasts Snusboss, predicts ‘do-it-yourself biology’, also referred to as ‘biohacking’, will be one of the hottest wellness trends for 2024.
A spokesperson for Snusboss says, “Biohacking refers to the practice of making changes to one’s biology, typically through self-experimentation and the use of technology, to enhance physical and cognitive abilities, optimize health, and achieve personal goals.
Currently, #biohacking has 791 million views on TikTok, and continues to gain popularity, particularly with Millennials and Generation Z who are becoming more interested in the scientific research behind their health and wellbeing and are also open to experimenting with new techniques.
Social media has always greatly influenced how people live their lives. However, this new practice of self-control is encouraging people to not be influenced externally and use a combination of biology, technology, and personal experimentation to improve their overall wellbeing.”
10 Examples of Biohacking
Below, the experts share ten examples of biohacking and how to incorporate them into your daily lifestyle ahead of the New Year. I have tried many of these biohacking methods and have had positive results with them. Number 9 might just be my favourite and the one that has changed my stress levels for the better!
1) Ice cold plunge
What is biohacking your body? One way to do this is with a cold water plunge. Cold plunging is an aspect of cold-water therapy or cold-water immersion, which involves immersing oneself in cold water temperatures. I previously blogged about the many benefits of cold water swimming but this is different.
Ice-cold plunges are much shorter than a cold water swim. It is recommended to complete 11 minutes of cold-water exposure per week, which can be broken into three minutes per session.
Studies suggest 50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 15 degrees Celsius) to be an optimal temperature range for cold plunges focused on reducing muscle soreness. When I went to Scandinave Spa in Whistler, their cold plunge pool was 50 degrees – and it was cold AF!
Doing this will also help to reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and enhance recovery after exercise. It is also shown to boost the immune system, improve sleep quality and help with stress management. I can attest to it rejuvenating you as I did feel great after my cold plunge experience.
2) Regularly sitting in a sauna
Saunas are small rooms that are heated with hot air and they have cardiovascular health benefits. I love sitting in the sauna at my gym after a workout. It’s such a great way to relax after any workout.
When exposed to high temperatures, the body then works to cool itself down by increasing heart rate, blood flow, and cardiac output. This decreases blood pressure, leading to benefits for cardiovascular health and longevity.
For best results from this biohack, choose a temperature between 175-195F (80-90C) with 10-20% humidity for 30 minutes at least three times a week. When I think about what is biohacking your body, I think this might be one of my favourite biohacking methods. I love sitting in a sauna, it’s so relaxing.
3) Optimize your sleep
If you are getting around seven to nine hours of sleep a night, you will encourage muscle growth and repair, help keep your brain alert, improve your blood sugar levels and even enhance your lifespan.
While there are several sleep tips on social media such as eating certain fruits before bed, avoiding electronic devices and avoiding alcohol, one of the most important rules for optimizing sleep is maintaining a good circadian rhythm.
This means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. To do so, try maintaining a routine and try to spend time outdoors during daylight, especially in the morning. This is because natural light exposure helps regulate your body’s internal clock and promotes alertness during the day.
To measure progress, you can use devices such as smartwatches that track sleep duration and quality. While I do have a fairly set sleep routine during the week, I struggle to maintain it during the weekends.
4) Himalayan salt in water
Electrolyte levels are important for the body to function properly. They help to balance the amount of water in your body, balance your acid/base (pH) levels and move nutrients into your cells.
Your body makes electrolytes naturally, but you also obtain them from food, drinks and supplements. I am a first believer in drinking electrolytes to hydrate myself when I’m feeling dehydrated.
However, if your levels drop, mineral-rich Himalayan salt naturally contains a lot of electrolytes. They are proven to help detox the body, supporting kidney and liver functions. For electrolyte benefits, add one teaspoon of Himalayan salt to one litre of water.
Not only will it keep you feeling energized, but also help to boost your metabolism. If you dislike the taste, add some fruit slices to spice it up. I love adding lemon wedges to my salt water.
5) Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) is a biohack for men. When men get older, their testosterone levels drop. When the body isn’t producing sufficient testosterone, TRT can be used to help solve this problem. Therefore, TRT can help restore testosterone levels to a healthy range.
There is science behind the fact TRT improves energy levels and sex drive, increases bone density, muscle mass, and insulin sensitivity and generally improves mood from testosterone replacement.
To check if you require TRT, a medical professional can measure your testosterone levels, which should normally range between 300 to 1,000 ng/dL.
It is important to be aware of the potential risks of TRT. These include rash, itching, or irritation where the testosterone is applied. This is one biohack technique you should discuss with your healthcare practitioner before proceeding.
Five more biohacking examples
6) Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is a well-known technique for weight loss, but it’s also a biohack. It allows you to reset your body by creating an eating pattern in which you cycle between periods of eating and periods of not eating, or fasting.
Several changes occur to the body when fasting is completed. These include; a decrease in your blood’s insulin level (which promotes fat burning), an increase in human growth hormone (again promotes fat burning and muscle gain), and cellular repair where your body removed waste from its cells.
These changes are scientifically proven to have benefits on the body; helping you lose weight and visceral fat, reducing your insulin resistance, reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in your body, and potential benefits for heart health.
For those trying intermittent fasting for the first time, 14:10 and 12:12 tend to be the best options because they are less restrictive in terms of when you can eat. Therefore, you can either fast for fourteen hours and eat within a ten-hour window, or fast for twelve hours and eat within a twelve-hour window.
You can then build on this and try 16:8, fasting for sixteen hours and eating within an eight-hour window. One example of this would be skipping breakfast, and eating lunch and dinner. Alternatively, you could skip your evening meal instead. For me, it’s easiest to skip breakfast since I’m not much of a morning person.
7) Moderate coffee intake
Low to moderate doses of caffeine (50–300 mg) are scientifically proven to cause increased alertness, energy, and ability to concentrate. (Insert happy dance here!)
Science also suggests drinking two cups of coffee a day could help ward off heart failure when a weakened heart has difficulty pumping enough blood to the body. (another happy dance!) This is one method of biohacking my body that I can get behind.
Both regular and decaf coffee have a protective effect on the liver. Research shows that coffee drinkers are more likely to have liver enzyme levels within a healthy range than people who don’t drink coffee. Again, your gal is doing a happy dance because we all know how much I love my morning cuppa.
As with most things in life, you should enjoy coffee in moderation. Experts say it is healthy to drink a maximum of 2.5 cups of coffee per day. I love my one cup and occasionally have two so I’m happy to agree with the experts on this one.
8) Regular blood testing
Blood tests can be used for many things, including checking levels of blood glucose, calcium, cholesterol, and electrolytes. They can also measure kidney function.
These indications help to monitor your risk of heart and circulatory diseases and diabetes. They can also indicate how well your condition is being managed. Blood tests for different chemicals and proteins can also indicate how your liver or kidneys are functioning.
A good way to catch disease or illness early on is by getting regular blood tests. Getting one blood test per year is ideal to help you stay on top of your health. When we think about what is biohacking, this method would fall under biohacking as a preventative measure.
We breathe every second of every single day, but we often don’t even think about how we are breathing. In times of stress, our breath automatically responds by shortening and speeding up and this can cause further strain on the body.
With breathwork practice, the body can be trained to automatically control breathing and utilize it as a calming tool during times of stress. Whenever I feel myself getting stressed, I control my breathing to calm myself down. It works extremely well.
Breathing also directly affects how much oxygen our cells are getting, so when we deepen and slow down the breath from its usual pattern, we allow more oxygen to enter each cell.
To practice breathwork, inhale for 4 seconds and exhale for 6 seconds. Repeat this for around 10 minutes per session. For best results, do this once in the morning and once in the evening.
I have been biohacking my sleep and I didn’t even know it! I use the 4-7-8 breathing method to help me relax and fall asleep and it works like a charm. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, then exhale for 8 seconds. Give it a try next time you can’t fall asleep.
10) Red Light Therapy (RLT)
Red Light Therapy (RLT) is a popular method used to optimize overall skin health. RLT also helps to boost muscle recovery, reduce pain and inflammation, support nervous system health, and generally increase energy levels.
For those who experience inflammation and pain with Achilles tendinitis or have signs of skin aging and skin damage, research shows RLT may smooth your skin and help with wrinkles. RLT is also known to help with acne scars, burns, and signs of UV sun damage.
To complete the treatment, lie in a full-body LED red light bed or pod. Or you could get treated by a professional with a device that’s outfitted with panels of red lights. Professionals recommend trying red light therapy three times per week for 10 minutes each time for a minimum of one month.
There are several different Red Light Therapy masks for at-home use as well. These one target your face so they for anti-aging benefits as well as helping with scarring or sun damage. This RLT mask uses medical-grade LED light therapy proven to enhance your natural skin.
Conclusion – What is Biohacking Your Body?
While I tend to be skeptical when I hear about a new social media wellness trend, this is one I can get behind. A lot of these biohacking activities are proven wellness techniques. I already do a lot of them!
When I think about the question ‘What is biohacking’ I think it’s simply a new term that encompasses proven wellness treatments. It’s a new way of saying what a lot of us are already doing.
In conclusion, what is biohacking your body? It’s taking care of yourself, that’s what!