A few days have passed since coming back from the 2017 Helsinki Biohackers’ Summit and I feel in desperate need of a life-reinforcing ice bath! I’ve always been drawn to extreme temperatures and sauna coupled with cold baths/showers has been top of my list of favourite things to do. It makes me feel truly alive and connected with my body in a way that is indescribable. Most of you will probably deem me mad, but hang on a minute and I will tell you about some of the health benefits!
Exposure to extreme temperatures improves mitochondrial function and even stimulates the creation of new mitochondria. Mitochondria are the energy generating organelles in our cells. Those of you who know me also know that I care a lot about mitochondria. Damaged mitochondria lay the foundation for a range of chronic degenerative conditions.
Exposure to extreme temperatures places stress on your body. We often perceive stress as a detriment to health, however small doses of stress actually provide profound health benefits by way of hormesis (essentially what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger). Modern-day people are seldom exposed to hormetic stressors and this has health ramifications.
At the Biohackers’ summit in Helsinki, held in a disused power station overlooking a fully functioning power station, a temporary thermogenic spa had been erected on the parking lot outside the venue. The setting had a very blade-runneresque feel about it, but somehow, magically, it felt just right.
The term “biohacker” refers to a person who through the latest science and technology, but also through connecting with nature, looks to improve physical and mental performance. A strong theme throughout the event was the connection to nature.
We can replicate nature as much as we like through the latest scientific discoveries and technologies, but nothing beats nature itself.
The thermogenic spa in a parking lot next to a power station felt entirely appropriate. Although I was immersed in a plastic tub filled with supermarket ice cubes in this industrial backdrop, I felt strangely connected with nature. Imagine what a similar experience in a Finnish lake in the woods would be like!
The best conversations also took place in the thermogenic spa area. I was told a brilliant anecdote by a fellow Finnish biohacker who had a friend staying in his home during the summit. The friend had come out from the bathroom the first morning saying “your shower is not cold enough” – the sign of a true biohacker!
This brings me to some of the exhibitors. I loved the people from Cryotech Nordic. Should I invest in a cryotherapy chamber, these would be the people I would go to as the quality of the chamber was phenomenal. Cryotherapy exposes your body to sub-zero temperature reaching down to -160 degrees Celsius and a session typically lasts 3 minutes. The therapy has deep-penetrating health benefits tackling a wide range of conditions including post-surgical healing, asthma, joint inflammation, hormone deficiencies, depression, fatigue, skin disorders and reduces lactic acid build up (hence used by sportsmen to both enhance performance and to speed up recovery). The icy tub in the parking lot had a more profound effect on me mentally though!
My favourite exhibitors were otherwise Light Cognitive and their Big Sky light panels that mimic, to the extent technology allows, natural light. Brilliant for any dark spaces and they look great, too. Living in London there are many basement flats and it has become increasingly popular to dig deeper creating living space below ground. This could be a game-changer. I am currently upgrading my own ground floor living space and Big Sky is going to feature.
I was also impressed by Neorosonic who use low frequency vibration technology to repair imbalances caused by stress by relieving bodily tension and pain offering both physical and mental recovery. Not only did they have impressive clinical results, their product looks stylish and sleek (Finnish design!). It would look great in both home and office.
Out of the speakers at the event my absolute favourite was Kasper van der Meulen, best-selling author of Mindlift, a book on how to leverage the opportunities of the modern world into a lifestyle of laser focus, masterful mindfulness and personal freedom. Not only does he have a very authentic personal story to tell, he shares my love for ice cold baths. What’s not to like? I will now be looking more closely into the Wim Hof method to improve my mental focus.
I would be more than happy to discuss my experiences at the Helsinki Biohackers’ Summit with you! Just get in touch!