If you’ve never heard of “biohacking”, don’t worry. When I went in to the Biohacking Center here in Helsinki, I knew very little about it as well.
Basically, biohacking (which doesn’t even have its own Wikipedia page) is all about changing our lifestyles and using technology to “hack” our biology. It’s said to be closely related to the term DIY biology as well as several others, but the basic idea is pretty simple:
Biohacking explores novel and innovative techniques and practices, backed by science, to improve our wellness – physical, mental, and emotional.
It was… so worth it. It’s a little hard to explain, and if you google it you’ll get a lot of different reviews from “I don’t get the hype” to “it was the most indescribable high I’ve ever experienced.”
The whole idea is to be completely deprived of all senses. Inside the tank, it’s pitch black. While it’s already quiet in there, you also wear ear plugs (to help keep the salt out too). As you float, you start to lose awareness of your body – it’s just you and your mind.
This can be scary at first, but as long as you try and relax and trust the process, you’ll get something out of it. I could’ve floated for another two hours, and I plan to go back soon. It’s a great way to get back in touch with yourself, especially in a world where we’re constantly on sensory overload.
This I knew absolutely nothing about going into it, and I’m still not sure I understand it fully. Basically, neurofeedback monitors your brain activity using EEG to “teach” your brain to self-regulate.
You’ll be hooked up to to a computer with sensors placed on the scalp, but it’s completely non-invasive and you don’t even feel them. Then you sit in front of two screens – one measuring your brain activity and another that displays moving images (it kind of reminded me of the iTunes Visualizer, if anyone remembers that).
As you sit you listen to music that is constantly re-adjusting (if you listen carefully you can hear it, sort of like a scratched record) to help you reach a meditative state.
Here’s a great article from Psychology Today that goes more in-depth about neurofeedback, how it’s used, and how it can help.
For me, I didn’t really notice a significant result, but that could be just because I’ve only done one session. I also had a hard time focusing.
This is one of the newer services that the Biohacking Center offers. I had originally planned on just doing the floating and the neurofeedback, but while I was there I decided “why not try this too?”
It was an interesting experience. It’s like looking into a kaleidoscope that’s constantly changing colors and intensity. I’ll admit that at first, it was a bit overwhelming. But again, if you trust the process, you’re gonna get something out of it.
They offer all kinds of different programs like “recharge” and “happy” (which is the one I chose). You lay down inside a warm cocoon-like bed that vibrates, listen to music, close your eyes and let the therapy begin.
Here’s a short YouTube video of what the experience looks like.
All in all, it was an amazing day for wellness. I left feeling completely recharged, with a positive mindset and a lot less stress.
Let me know if you’ve ever tried biohacking and what you think!