3 min|Dr. Maya Kuczma
Biohacking: Optimizing The Brain, Body, and Emotional StateHealth
Unlocking the Potential for Optimal Brain, Body, and Emotional State
Born in Silicon Valley, the practice of biohacking transformed healthy habits into quantifiable experiments. For the technologically-minded, an intuitive - or logical - conclusion that exercise or dietary changes were helpful wasn’t enough; healthy became something you could feel, and measure. For biohackers, gone were the days of their Doctor telling them they were healthy simply because they were ‘within range’ on their blood test results. It was not enough to not be sick; the target shifted from not sick, to healthy, to optimal, and the road to optimization was paved with biological ‘hacks’, terminology taken from the computing world that refers to inelegant yet effective solutions.
Over time, the definition of biohacking has broadened. Depending on who you ask, you’ll hear different explanations of what biohacking entails. For some, it refers to an implicit utilization of technology to measure something, be it REM sleep or heart-rate variability, for example, and compare and contrast how these quantities change following intervention. It is this quantification that some biohackers swear by; the more data you acquire, the more you can learn to optimize your functioning.
For others, biohacking can refer to any habits or treatments, aimed at optimizing, or ‘upgrading’ your brain, body, or emotional state. Within this definition, you can search the web and find everything from a cold shower to intravenous stem cell therapy all referred to as ‘biohacks’. For some, technology is not required; the greatest measure in how well a biohack is ‘working’, is their mood, how easily they wake up in the morning, or whether they feel they are staving off the effects of aging.
The one component everyone can agree on is that biohacking implies a commitment to self-experimentation; it is thought to be a DIY approach to human physiology. The foundation of biohacking recognizes a truth that Naturopathic Medicine has always honoured: each person is unique. Naturopathic Doctors treat the whole person, not simply the disease or symptoms, a principle that all biohackers seem to live by.
Due to this shared understanding, a partnership between Naturopathic Doctors and biohackers feels natural, and has led to the formation of the Integrative Biohacking Program. This program emphasizes quantification, by incorporating significant testing and 90-days of monitoring by a Naturopathic Doctor, as well as individuation, via the development of a unique patient-focused treatment plan.