Here we go again! After visiting the Health Optimisation Summit in London on May 28 and 29, less than one week later the Biohacker Summit was held in Helsinki. So I - Bart Wolbers from team Alexfergus - took an airplane from London to Helsinki to report on the latest biohacking developments which I came across on June 3rd and 4th in Helsinki.
Many different companies were present at the Biohacker Summit 2022 in Helsinki. My focus, during this time, was to report to you on the latest and most exceptional developments in the industry - the cutting-edge innovations and ideas.
So, even though there might have been many new keto bars at the summit, or another brand of blue-blocking glasses, these products have not been included in this blog post. I exclusively included novel innovations, such as products or health strategies. Here you can see me in a pair of blue-blocking glasses anyway, though:
(Someone who read my blog post about London told me I should smile more on pictures, so here it is, a picture with a smile!)
Next up, let's get into it and explore the best ideas and innovations from the Biohacker Summit Helsinki 2022:
We've been a huge fan of saunas at this website. Alex especially has reviewed many different infrared saunas and is therefore always looking for new trend in the industry. Why? Simple: no matter how perfect a product looks, it can almost always be improved.
Nobody is driving a Ford T-model today, and likely, nobody will be using the saunas from the early 2000s during the next century. Fortunately, in the biggest sauna country on the planet - Finland - I came across several different sauna innovations during the Biohacker Summit 2022.
First up, there's a company called Saunum that offer some quite brilliant innovation with traditional saunas. You can view a Saunum sauna in the picture below, with the unique innovation displayed on the right:
What's different? Well, the heater element of the sauna is different in this case. More specifically, hot air is recirculated throughout the space with this innovation. This way, the hotter air that stays near your head and cooler air that's located towards your lower body are spread more evenly.
(You probably know that hot air moves towards the ceiling inside a room!)
Here's why that principle matters:
It has been known for a long time that your head is the first to give up in sauna sessions within the sauna industry. For that reason, higher-quality infrared sauna companies construct their products in such a way that your head is never exposed to infrared light. That way, only your core, arms, and legs are heated, but not your head. As a result, you can stay inside a sauna a lot longer and sweat more as well. More sweat, in turn, ensures you detoxify more and that you can expose your cells to more heat stress.
Also, recent studies on clinical depression actually use this heating model to get some great outcomes. In the setup of these studies, the body is heated with very high levels of infrared light but the head is actively cooled with cold and wet towels. That treatment protocol is called "whole-body hyperthermia".
But, if you're sitting inside a traditional sauna and the air temperature is 100 degrees Celsius near your head (212 Fahrenheit) and 70 degrees Celsius near your legs (158 Fahrenheit) then you're not getting optimal heat exposure. Your head, which tolerates heat least, is exposed to the highest temperature, and your legs and core, which tolerate most heat, are exposed to the lowest temperature.
So, unless you're standing on your head in a traditional sauna, the heat distribution isn't optimal.
For that reason, circulating the hot air towards the top of the sauna so that it spreads more evenly across the sauna is a great innovation. But, Saunum with their upgrade of traditional saunas wasn't the only company innovating the sauna experience during the Biohacker Summit Helsinki 2022. Clearlight, which supplies infrared saunas in UK and EU, offers a very innovative salt therapy product for use inside a sauna:
(Disclaimer: I'm also a writer for Clearlight Saunas but the inclusion of this innovative product has nothing to do with me working with them. The product merits to be included in this blog post entirely on its own usefulness.)
Simply put, the salt therapy aerosolizes salt into the air. That salt then travels through your nose and airways into your lungs, having many different biological effects. The effect can be compared to spending time near the sea or ocean - you also inhale minerals from the water while you're present there. That repetitive inhalation of minerals from sea or ocean water is also one of the reasons people feel so "wiped out" after a beach day, next to the very relaxing effects of ultraviolet light exposure.
But, I have to give my respect to the engineers of Clearlight Saunas for coming up with this salt therapy product - it's the first commercially available product that can be used in any sauna. You simply insert a cartridge and the salt therapy machine releases the salt into the air. The product is absolutely perfect for an enclosed space like an infrared sauna because more salt will circulate in a smaller space.
Of course, you could also place the salt therapy unit in your office and reap the benefits. The effects would be slightly less pronounced though, as the humid air, infrared light, and inhaled salt works synergistically to open up your airways.
The salt therapy actually has tons of different benefits for your health, such as cleaning your entire airways, impeding excessive mucus buildup, potentially improving lung function (great for athletes), enhancing your well-being (like spending time near the sea!), and making you feel even more relaxed inside an already relaxed sauna.
Next up, another extremely innovative product
You probably know that we've been an extremely big fan of red light therapy on this website. Alex is one of the best reviewers of red light therapy products on this planet right now, and, for that reason, we're getting lots of questions about the topic.
For instance, people want to know what exact product they should use to promote hair growth or counter hair loss. And, another frequent question we get is about dental health - does red light therapy work, and if so, how does it work and what product should be used?
Well, here's where innovation comes in again: Lumoral has developed a light therapy product specifically for dental health. And, the founders and scientific staff have also tested their product under scientific conditions and published on Lumoral in high-quality peer-reviewed journals. You can view the product below:
Also, the Lumoral product actually either has FDA approval or is actively working towards it, so they're extremely conservative with any medical claims. Officially, the product is only used for having an anti-inflammatory effect in the mouth and killing bacteria. Unofficially, in my personal opinion, the product probably has a wider range of benefits that Lumoral cannot claim as benefits right now.
Having said that, here's how the product works: you ingest a mouth rinse called "Lumorinse". You swirl that mouth rinse around for 30 seconds. Next up, you insert the light therapy product that has been specifically made for your mouth for 10 minutes. An inbuilt timer tracks how long you've used the product, so there's need to worry about dosing. During this process, the 405 nanometers and 810 nanometers light - which are located in the blue and near-infrared spectrum - interact with the Lumorinse mouth rinse.
It's the combination of oxygen, specific wavelengths of light, and light-sensitive molecules as found in Lumorinse that explain the magic here. The company states:
"When photosensitizers are exposed to specific wavelengths of light, they produce a form of oxygen, that eliminates targeted bacterial cells. Human cells can protect themselves from reactive oxygen with an enzyme called catalase."
After 10 minutes, the session is completed. As a result, your risk of developing perionditis goes down and oral hygiene goes up, characterized by lower levels of harmful bacteria that build up. These results have been confirmed in different studies, including some with human participants and in vitro (laboratory cell culture studies).
I'm hoping I can motivate Alex to use this product for a review as oral health and tooth pain were one of the original reasons he was extremely happy about trying red light therapy in the first place!
Moving on to another innovation:
Health and wellness trackers are becoming a huge industry. There's a lot of competition on the market right now, with players such as Oura and Biostrap. New companies thus have to be very innovative to offer a product that can compete and makes customers happy. And, with some less than positive reviews about the Oura Ring version 3 recently, customer demands and the stakes have never been higher.
Therefore, if you want to enter this market, you'd better have a value proposition that's unique for customers. Whether you simplify the health and wellness tracking experience, offer more data (the Biostrap approach), or allow for greater interoperability (the Apple Watch approach), many roads can lead to Rome.
Emfit has chosen the first approach: simplifying the health and wellness tracking experience. The main value proposition of Emfit Quantified Sleep is that you can place it under your mattress and forget about it. You can view the product here:
(Source of picture: Emfit website)
As a result of this product, your HRV, the amount of deep and REM sleep will be tracked at night. It's very easy to immediately think of both benefits and downsides of this approach.
The downside, compared to other approaches, is that you're only tracking yourself during sleep, not during the day. So, if you're working out during the day the product won't register an increase in heart rate and its impact on sleep. However, the huge benefit of this approach compared to Oura or Biostrap is that it's a "set it and forget it" solution - you don't have to wear anything around your wrist or fingers.
That latter remark might sound crazy for many seasoned biohackers but it isn't. I, personally, would never ever wear a Biostrap 24/7 around my wrist and I dislike wearing one during sleep also. The same is even true for the Oura Ring for me personally, although it's less invasive than the Biostrap. And yes, I've worn an Oura Ring for a long time to gather data about my health, so I'm not dead-set against it. But after I've learned what my body reacts to, generally, I've stopped wearing the Oura Ring.
I'm probably not the only person who has come to this conclusion - I know Alex personally dislikes wearing anything around his wrist - so the Emfit can be a nice addition to the array of options available in the health, wellness and sleep tracking space.
Most of all, I think this product will resonate with non-biohackers - the people not considering 10 different supplements and not drinking butter coffee. These people just want to live their lives, not be wearing biohacking products 24/7, but still want to gather data about their health. In such an instance, the plug and play option that Emfit offers is great.
Yes, vanity still rules supreme in the 21st century...
So, for the same reason people want stylish blue light blocking glasses - to blend in socially and live a normal life but still reap the benefits of biohacking - people might also want an Emfit.
But what about the specifics?
I've talked to the team at the Biohacking Summit 2022 and while the product currently still uses EMFs, they will talk to their team of engineers to at least allow a low EMF or EMF-free option in the future. For that change to occur, only a firmware update might be needed, although there are some trade-offs there (such as the time it will take to download data in the morning). Should the company come up with an EMF-free option, then I'd certainly recommend Alex test this product out for the YouTube channel.
Nevertheless, consumers should be very happy with more competition in the sleep tracking space because it will offer different options for different people.
Moving on to the next innovation and idea from the summit:
"May the force be with you" - that force is certainly strong in Anna Lindfors who specializes in biohacking sexuality. And, you've probably experienced that sexual energy certainly is a very powerful force in human biology. Unfortunately, this fact is often underappreciated. Many biohackers and health advocates simply don't look at their sexual lives the way they do at EMFs, lectins, exercise, or sleep quality - let alone intentionally tweak it!
So here's where the wonderful Anna Lindfors comes in. Anna is a sexologist who has lots of experience with sexuality outside the bedroom (and probably inside too, although I couldn't verify). And, biohacking sexuality is done so with very good reason, as both men and women have huge problems with sexuality inside (and outside!) the bedroom.
Anna's motto is that "we can't fully heal until we heal sexually" and I agree. For me, and to me, sexual energy is probably one of the most important bases of health that's not often highlighted. Whether you're talking about the addition to porn or the excessive use thereof, or poor communication between sexual partners, or the extremely improper education around sex, there's much to improve in this domain for the average person.
At a very deep level, I think sexual energy is intimately related to both creativity and energy, and a whole host of other health domains, so optimizing this area is very much warranted. That's where Anna comes in, first, by creating more awareness around the issues in this field. To be more precise, Anna states that 40% of women and 60% of men have some kind of sexual dysfunction:
As the great Joe Cohen once said, "if you're not happy, you're not healthy". The same is probably true for sexuality, and good sexuality is probably just as important as having good friendships or family relationships.
As a result, some of the fundamental ideas of Anna, on sexuality, include:
"Sexual health is health, it's not something separate, but an integrate part of us all"
"Your entire body is a pleasure playground"
"Sexual empowerment = limitless sexuality"
"You can have the newest health tech and top-notch supplements, but if you don't heal your traumas and work on relationships, how can you become an optimized human being?"
The exact details of Anna's thought remained somewhat eluside because she only held a very short talk. So, hopefully, in 2023, the Biohacker Summit speakers allow Anna to be a keynote speaker and give her 30 or 45-minutes of speaking time because her message is so important. In her talk, Anna only had time to highlight the extent of the problem, not give many solutions.
Having said that, Anna talked about the problems of 10 minutes of foreplay being far too short for optimal sexual arousal for many women, 80% of women not orgasming from sexual intercourse alone, and men having unrealistic expectations about sex (such as thinking of themselves as a failure if they don't make a women orgasm).
All of these problems - most of which stem from improper education around sex, or fear, shame, and guilt - can be fixed for far better sex life and health. If you want to learn more, check out Anna Lindfors on Instagram and follow her for updates. Anna made me think of Sasha Cobra, one of my favorite female sexuality coaches!
Next up, we're changing gears and moving to a completely different topic:
It was great to be talking and listening to Shawn Wells, who is currently exploring and developing many of the next generation(s) of biohacking supplements. During his keynote speech, Shawn first elaborated on the principles that all high-quality supplements have, such as:
I've coped these six criteria directly off the presentation of Shawn, paraphrasing their meaning. Now, with these criteria in mind, Shawn Wells has explored some of the newest ingredients for future supplements and supplement stacks - I'm paraphrasing a few of the options discussed by Shawn:
Again, I'm paraphrasing here while adding my commentary here and there. Having said that, Shawn Wells' innovation is very intriguing, with another new compound that mimics the benefits of caffeine without the downsides, and more.
If you're interested in learning more about Wells' work, I recommend checking out the Energy Formula website.
Technological progress is exponential in some areas. Moore's Law is an example of that technological progress, with the number of transistors on a microchip doubling roughly every two years. Other experts claim that this trend also exists in other areas of technological progress.
Anti-aging expert Eduard de Wilde, moreover, beliefs that exponential progress is currently also happening within healthcare and the ability to expand the human lifespan. Eduard's position is not weird at all because other anti-aging gurus - such as Aubrey de Grey - also believe that gains in lifespan and healthspan develop faster and faster. By spending the last few years in the biohacking industry I can certainly understand where they are coming from, although I'm not 100% sure whether I agree that we're able to dramatically increase life and healthspan.
Having said that, assuming the trend towards a longer lifespan and even eventual immortality is there, you'll have to change your preventive health care strategy to keep up with these developments. For instance, if you're able to extend your life by a decade by implementing a healthier lifestyle, the technological advances available to you in 10 years might be able to extend your life by another three decades.
And hence, any year you can add to your life, assuming exponential progress in healthcare technology, gives you a higher and higher reward. From memory, I think Eduard posited that biological immortality for humans can be achieved somewhere around the year 2045 (which is more or less a mainstream position for anti-aging gurus like Aubrey de Grey). The goal then, if you're 30 years old or 60 years old today, is to live up until that time. Once you survive long enough, technology may allow you to stop aging or reverse it altogether.
Now, the focus of Eduard's talk was actually to provide you with the best compounds that counter different parts of the aging process, such as telomere length, inflammation, etcetera. To Eduard, these compounds needed to be affordable so that a wide array of people could implement them into their lifestyle. These 10 compounds are:
My viewpoint? The list is great, although a few of these compounds don't necessarily need to be supplemented, in my opinion. Glycine can be sourced from collagen or gelatin, which almost everyone should include in their diets anyway, fish oil can be consumed from fatty fish (and raw fish can include lots of creatine), as for astaxantin in high-quality seafood. Although, in Eduard's defense, many people will prefer the predictability of a stable supplement routine instead of counting their intakes of these compounds on a daily basis.
It's great to see the focus on the basics in health though - something sometimes missing from the gadget and technology approach in biohacking. Nevertheless, do keep in mind that Eduard focuses on low-tech and affordable supplements here - he doesn't necessarily recommend against high-tech anti-aging interventions. This list was merely created because most people can afford it.
Also, Eduard de Wilde is one of the main suppliers of these aforementioned biohacking supplements for the European market, and you can find his anti-aging products at www.livehelfi.com. Nevertheless, whether the 30 year olds or even 60 year olds of today will achieve immortality in the future is somewhat uncertain, in my opinion, but if you want to increase your odds the low-key simple supplement strategy certainly makes sense. In the meantime, I'll be keeping up with the latest developments in stem cell therapy and other regenerative medicine branches!
Moving on to the next powerful idea and innovation:
I love the equivalent of "Copernican Revolutions" in my thinking. Once in a while, I "experience" such a Copernican Revolution and these always bring me complete extasy because a whole new world opens up after them.
Examples of such "Copernican Revolutions" in my thinking were when I first discovered the value of blocking blue light and magnesium for optimizing sleep quality, when I realized I had breathed incorrectly through my mouth a lot and could easily fix that problem, or when I discovered the value of "deep work" (intense mental work devoid of any distractions such as social media).
A very interesting man called Garnet Dupuis presented an even more interesting thesis during the Biohacker Summit 2022: the fourth state of consciousness. Here's Garnet presenting that thesis during the summit:
So here's a summary of Dupuis' fundamental thought:
Modern science distinguishes three states of consciousness currently, which are: 1) wakefulness; 2) non-REM sleep; 3) REM sleep, where you dream.
According to Dupuis, there is a fourth state, which is accessed in darkness between wakefulness and the non-REM sleep stages. This phase is accessed during the early morning after waking up, and before falling asleep in the evening. Darkness, during this period, stimulates creativity and the creation of images and visions.
But, because of modern life, we no longer access this state as frequently as our ancestors. But, Dupuis argues, you and I should spend at least some time in this state daily, and therefore, something important has been lost. During this fourth state of consciousness, for instance, many of us have our best and more creative insights and ideas.
In essence, this state exemplies "waking dreams". According to Dupuis, this brain state emerged out of evolutionarily older parts of our brain that developed before the cortex was there, and gave rise to a kind of "proto-consciousness". The "neo-cortex", the rational, logical, and planning more upper part of the brain was only last to develop and give rise to our regular waking consciousness.
Now, here's where things get interesting: Dupuis claims that many of the states accessed through the use of psychedelics, such as ayahuasca and psilocybin, are exemplifications of this evolutionarily older proto-consciousness.
What you therefore commonly experience during these psychedelics is therefore only a normal part of human experience, as conceived by the evolutionary older consciousness. That older consciousness was, at some point in the past, rapidly expanding (I'm paraphrasing Dupuis here) but got inhibited by a secondary consciousness of the cerebral cortex later on. The instability and possiblity-driven nature of the older evolutionary consciousness was therefore controlled by the more rational and logical cortex.
Why care about this theory? Well, first, if you and I allow us to venture into this state more often, by spending time between waking and sleeping inside the darkness, we'll naturally get in touch with the psychedelic consciousness that already exists. Secondly, this theory allows science to more easily explain why psychedelics can have such a huge impact on overall health and wellbeing for many people. And, thirdly, accessing the third state has many health benefits of its own, such as the following ones described by Dupuis:
(If you wish to learn more, check out Dupuis' Substack page for more readings on the topic).
Well, that is not all - Dupuis is also related to a company called NeuroVIZR that helps you access such psychedelic states for health improvements:
Neuro VIZR is a light and sound device that allows you to access other brain states intentionally. You can view the Neuro VIZR device below:
Honestly, I was kind of scared to use this product right now because I'm in a phase of my life where I don't want to be using strong psychedelics that can potentially disrupt my plans due to alterations in the values I have.
(Maybe I'm overestimating the risk here but I don't plan on doing ayahuasca or other strong psychedelics for the same reason right now until I've succeeded in some plans/goals I currently have.)
But let's get back to business:
The Neuro VIZR device costs around $1,500 USD and is extremely easy to use and very portable - you can take one with you travelling. Apparently, you can get on some very intense 15-minute trips using this device, that is similar to DMT (N,N-Di-Methyl-Tryptamine) in some regards.
I saw some people using the device during the summit and shaking extremely intensely while laying down. I've got a lot of respect for a proper psychedelic experience setup, so I didn't want to do a session "in-between talking to people" at a conference. And yet, because this NeuroVIZR device seems to be extremely revolutionary and many people also have very positive reviews of their experiences with it, I was compelled to talk about it in this blog post.
Also, if you wish to learn more about the Neuro VIZR, check out their YouTube channel which has some excellent educational videos in them, or the Neuro VIZR website. After checking the website in more detail, I also see that you can use the Neuro VIZR for more mundane brain training, not just experiences that simulate psychedelics.
Neuro VIZR claims their product affects neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is a biological process wherein neural networks of your brain can be rewired so that the function differently than before. By activating certain patterns in the brain, neuroplasticity allows processes of your brain to restructure so that your brain performs differently than in the past.
Of course, that neuroplasticity can be used for many different goals. NeuroVIZR states their product can be used for goals like increasing focus, sleep, athletic performance, peace, and creativity. Over time, I definitely plan on trying this device, and perhaps long-term using it.
Now, staying with the topic of "non-ordinary states" or psychedelics, let's consider one more idea in relation to it:
Some of you might know that I've just spent a year in Middle and South America - exclusively by the coast though, in Mexico, Brazil, and Peru. I do plan on venturing deeper into these and other countries in the future when my plans allow to do so.
One of the speakers during the Biohacker Summit 2022 in Helsinki, Dr. Luis Eduardo Luna, has spent his entire life exploring the plant medicines of South American countries. Dr. Luna is or was also personal friends many of the legendary people within this space, such as Terence and Dennis McKenna and Paul Stamets. You can view Dr. Luna in the picture below - presenting at the Summit:
The research of Dr. Luna in uncovering the past of the plant medicine traditions of South America is really astounding. With the introduction of the Europeans to this continent, most of the indigenous civilization in South America and in the Amazon region died, thereby killing a long tradition. However, parts of the plant medicine tradition still survived, giving rise to compounds that have not been studied in great detail as of yet.
Apparently, the Amazon region used to be an extremely well-cultivated area by humans. Pre-Colombian civilizations used irrigation techniques and raised beds for plant cultivation, making the Amazon region an interactive product between humans and nature instead of a purely natural phenomenon.
If you're interested in this topic, I very much recommend exploring Dr. Eduardo Luna in more detail - he's friends with giants such as Dennis McKenna and Graham Hancock as well. Here is an example of a YouTube video you might consider exploring:
And, we're back at using the environment to optimize health. In this case, mechanical waves - as vibration - are used to include relaxation. The end result is relaxation and the company claims that with regular use, you can counter pain and insomnia, improve digestion, become more relaxed, enhance both physical and mental recovery, and increase circulation. When using this device, I certainly felt more relaxed afterwards.
I can't sleep during the day though, even though the device is specifically aimed at improving naps. The goal here is a little bit similar to the Sensate vagus nerve stimulator or the Neuvana Xen - although the latter can also be used during normal daily tasks. But, in the case of the Neurosonic, the aim is not to affect the vagus nerve directly. Instead, the feeling is a bit like the relaxation you get from a purring cat.
I'll keep it a little bit short for this one - this product simply needs to be tested and reviewed in more detail in order to establish whether it's something that should be integrated into daily life. I certainly don't like napping and don't even feel the possibility to ever sleep during the middle of the day, but, more relaxation near bedtime is never inconvenient, of course.
If you wish more information on this product, you can find a bit more details on the Neurosonic website. You can see the product here:
Lastly, let's conclude:
It's great to see the biohacking industry growing and attracting new people every year. I really saw that difference when comparing the events I went to in 2019 and 2020, compared to the events I was at during the last weeks in 2022.
Many people I talked to also believe that the nature of the biohacking industry is growing. There's less of a focus on the newest gadget and supplement, and more focus on fundamentals such as reducing stress and getting good sleep. I welcome these changes big time. I also believe that these changes don't go far enough yet.
These events are held in cold and dark places - big cities with lots of pollution. I stayed a few days longer in an AirBNB in London, in a small room with a desk and a tiny window. It was OK living there for a while but I also think that staying in such a place long-term is horrible for health. Good sun is difficult to get in these places and living indoors makes it even worse.
If you're in Europe anyway, why not hold these events in the summer in Ibiza or the south of France? I'd certainly fly there and enjoy my time even more than I already did in Helsinki or London. So many health gurus I talked to told me, personally, that something is "off" about living in these big northern cities, such as the weird way your circadian rhythm is affected during both the winter and summer, and the noise and the pollution.
Gotta practice what you preach, right? If we return to fundamentals in biohacking, then at least hold the event at a great and healthy location.
This is a post by Bart Wolbers. Bart finished degrees in Physical Therapy (B), Philosophy (BA and MA), Philosophy of Science and Technology (MS - with distinction), and Clinical Health Science (MS), has had training in functional medicine, and is currently a health consultant at Alexfergus.com.
Join Over 30,000+ Subscribers!