Biohackers Unite: Key Takeaways from the Helsinki Biohackers Summit

Biohackers Summit — Better Living Through Science, Technology and Nature.

In Helsinki. I learned what early adopters are doing in the world of biohacking to improve health and performance.

There was much talk about using the latest in technology — DNA analysis, wearable technology to improve our health.

But we also got to learn all about softer, more natural ways to ‘hack’ our health. The benefits of living a life more in touch with nature.

Being Finland, there was even saunas and ice pools at the conference.

This is the first in a series of posts covering all areas of biohacking at the Helsinki summit.

Biohacking uses tools, backed by science

Speakers provided scientific evidence to support health benefits of biohacking — including:

  • Saunas help you live longer
  • Cold therapy boosts your immunity
  • Organic foods improves energy and reduce risks of diseases
  • Daily sunlight helps sleep
  • Walking in nature boosts immunity

There’s hard science behind each ‘hack’. Studies, analysis of impacts and surveys. These are not just fluffy techniques, to make us feel good. These actually work.

Biohacking with technology — what we measure, we improve

Biohacking is closely related to the Quantified Self movement. It uses the latest in wearable technology and testing labs to test our bodies.

With short feedback loops, we can experiment and quickly discover what works and doesn’t work with diet and lifestyle changes.

Technologies to track sleep, exercise, stress, health and even brain function are accessible to us now.

Biohacking with nature — a Finnish approach to health

Finland has a unique relationship with nature, with their unpopulated land and long winters.

The first day of spring (1st May) is the biggest holiday of the year. Most city dwellers disappear to their cabins in the countryside every summer.

The Finn’s love natural foods. Most shop and market in the cities sell wild mushrooms. Many of these wild foods are medicinal.

Finnish biohackers take it a step further- creating mushroom coffee and organic meal replacement drinks.

In a country that hardly sees the sun in the winter months, the Finn’s have a deep relationship to daylight. Lack of sunlight is so much more than lack of vitamin D. One speaker talked about spending a year in the Antarctic studying how the lack of sunlight impacts our bodies.

Biohacking is safe. It’s natural. And it works.

These ideas are not new.

I know that the word ‘biohacking’ puts many people off. Names aside, it’s about using ideas and techniques which we’ve known about for a long time.

The Roman SPA, short for salus per aquam, or ‘health through water’ — with the hot (caldarium) and cold (frigidarium) therapy.

  • Coffee, one of the oldest cognative enhancers.
  • Medicinal herbs have been used for thousands of years, curing sicknesses.
  • Monks have been meditating for eons, reducing stress, improving focus and immunity.

21st century biohacking uses the latest technologies (wearables, blood testing) to understand and improve our bodies, or use old technologies in new ways — like mushroom coffee and saunas.

There’s something from the biohacking movement we can all use. It doesn’t have to be expensive, or invasive.

It’s more just about being smarter with our health in creative new ways, and most of all taking self-responsibility for our health.

Blog Post Series

  1. Introduction to Biohacking
  2. Hot and Cold
  3. Nature
  4. Mind
  5. Nutrition
  6. Stress
  7. Work
  8. Longevity

Links

  • The Biohackers summit. The next Biohacking Summit will be in Helsinki in October 2017.
  • Interviews with all speakers at the conference were interviewed on the podcast here.
  • Biohackers Handbook is available here.
  • Health benefits of medicinal mushrooms.

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