Biohacking in Singapore The complete 2019 guide
Biohacking is a revolutionary way to use your own biology to your advantage.
It is based on some of our most foundational human processes and adaptations, combined with the most recent scientific developments. Applied biohacking gives an edge to your longevity, cognitive capacity, overall health, and much more. You can even protect your cells from genetic damage and boost your capacity to learn and memorise things by applying a few biohacking tips.
This 2019 guide is a perfect starting point, if you are based in Singapore and looking to biohack your life!
Biohacking can be entirely free and it can also be extremely expensive using the latest medical equipment. We expand on all things biohacking in Singapore.
We have a 6-week biohacking course that is full of structured trips and tricks to use biohacking tips mentioned in this article as well as loads of discount vouchers from Singapore based participating partners. CLICK HERE to download this now!
FREE AND READABILITY ACCESSIBLE BIOHACKING METHODS
HARNESS OXYGEN AND RESILIENCE - THE WIM HOF METHOD
The Hyperactiv clinic based in Pemimpin Place is Singapore's first and only dedicated center to the Wim Hof method. This method has gained huge popularity in its use of breath-work, cold exposure and commitment to biohack your life!
If you have not heard of the amazing Wim Hof yet, his story is quite unbelievable. Wim Hof, known as The Iceman, is a Dutch extreme athlete and biohacker. Famous for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures, he has set Guinness world records for swimming under ice and prolonged full-body contact with ice. He still holds the record for a barefoot half-marathon on ice and snow, among a range of other incredible feats of strength, endurance and resilience, which he attributes to a method that he calls the Wim Hoff Method (WHM).
Essentially the WHM is a way to tap into the hidden power of oxygen. The most extraordinary aspect of the WHM is that it can be used by everyone. Simply by combining the 3 pillars of this unique process, it is claimed that humans can biohack our body for benefits such as:
- Improved immune system
- Increased energy
- Heightened focus & determination
- Reduced stress levels
- Dealing with fear and challenges
- Improved sport performances
- Better sleep
- Greater cold tolerance
AND improve the way the body deals with problems such as:
- Muscle soreness
THE FUNDAMENTALS OF HOW WHM WORKS
This biohacking method starts with your breath. Through a breathing pattern, Wim Hoff has designed a protocol that helps your absorb and utilize oxygen. By adding additional stressors, such as cold or exercised induced exposure to the process (at advanced levels), our bodies are enabled to self heal. In fact, Wim has worked with many universities that have studied his 'unique' characteristics - not only did they find evidence that this process works, he has been able to replicate similar results with everyday people like you and me.
Overall, an exceptional biohacking protocol.
INTERMITTENT FASTING AND FASTING
It is no surprise that most religions that we know of include a ritual of either intermittent or full fasting. We know there is science-backed proof behind this ancient wisdom, and intermittent and full fasting have quickly become some of the most popular tools in nutrition and fitness.
Imagine: if you could save money, eat less meat, decrease your overall carbon footprint on the world, while saving time, losing weight, and giving your body a load of measurable health benefits.
It almost sounds too good to be true! But these are some of the reasons why intermittent fasting has become the biggest biohacking topic in the last three years globally.
Here are just a few benefits of intermittent fasting that you need to know about:
- Reduces inflammation and encourages a better inflammatory response
- Improves digestion
- Increases metabolism
- Helps clean 'dead cells' to stay younger, and SO MUCH MORE!
There are simply so many amazing aspects of intermittent fasting, from autophagy to weight management, that we will have a comprehensive article exclusively on that coming out soon. Submit your name here to receive a first copy, as well as a Nuzest protocol that uses Clean Lean Protein and Good Green Stuff within a safe protocol for you to lose and manage weight, gain muscle and look amazing.
SAUNA AND HEAT SHOCK THERAPY
The Finnish people have for hundreds of years been using heat to biohack many beneficial physical outcomes.
Here in Singapore, there is a plethora of saunas and steam rooms - you can find at least a sauna or a steam room within most private condo as well as in many gyms around the island.
There are too many benefits to name. So we have listed the top 6 sauna-induced biohacking benefits below:
1. BOOSTS METABOLIC RATE
The high temperatures in the sauna allow your heart rate to increase by 30%. This, in turn, boosts your metabolic rate by up to 20%. Once your metabolism has kick-started or accelerated, you tend to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.
Here is a calculation you can use to see how many calories you will burn in a sauna:
The number of calories burned in 30 min of sitting or resting * 1.5 (and 2) = calories burned in a sauna.
If the sauna session is carefully paired with intermittent fasting and specific types of exercising, you can make a remarkable transformation in a very short space of time. You literally become a fat burning machine!
2. ACTS AS A DETOXIFIER
If you walk around a lot in Singapore, you're going to get sweaty. However, for most of us, the daily routine may mean we leave early (while it's still relatively cool), hop on air conditioned trains (MRT), buses or cars, then walk through shopping malls to arrive at the office. This is fantastic, meaning we don't show up to work dripping wet, but not ideal when it comes to biohacking our health.
Sweat is made from the lymphatic fluid. Since the heat in the sauna will make you sweat more, your body can get rid of toxins easily. This is healthy, especially if you do not workout regularly (or at all), or often stay indoors in low-temperature air conditioning.
Sweating also helps flush out heavy metals like nickel, mercury, copper, and zinc that are absorbed via the foods you eat. Once your lymphatic system is clear, you will start losing weight by burning the fat effectively.
3. HELPS LOSE WATER WEIGHT
Water weight can contribute a number of kilos to your total weight. It can take about seven days to lose the water weight, with a restricted diet and a mixed workout routine. But we can biohack the solution much faster: 15-30 minutes in the sauna will help expel the excess water by inducing heavy sweating. If done in a 'semi fasted' state, this mild dehydration not only improves your overall metabolism as suggested, it also pushes your body to burn more fat as well as move into an autophagic state.
4. REDUCES STRESS
A sauna can be described as the most relaxing bath - it helps reduce stress and lowers cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is released when you worry too much or are under mental or physical stress. This leads to an increase in the number of harmful free radicals and inflammation in the body.
Further, if you need to control your blood pressure, several studies have proven the strong benefits of saunas. Specifically, in a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine in 2015, Dr. Zaccardi and colleagues linked regular sauna use with a reduced risk of cardiovascular death.
During follow-up, a total of 251 men developed high blood pressure. Compared with men who had just one sauna bathing session per week, men who had two to three sessions every week were found to have a 24 percent lower risk of developing high blood pressure.
Also, the hypertension risk was 46 percent lower for men who had four to seven sauna sessions weekly.
The team suggests a number of mechanisms behind their findings. They note that the increase in body temperature during sauna bathing can cause blood vessels to dilate, which can increase blood flow.
Additionally, they explain that regular sauna use can improve the function of the endothelium - the tissue that lines the inside of blood vessels - which can improve blood pressure.‚Äù - https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319610.php
Used in conjunction with other biohacking tools, you can bring that blood pressure right down.
5. IMPROVES STAMINA
Ever felt out of breath too soon while working out or even climbing up the stairs? Well, the sauna can help tackle that problem. It improves your breathing capacity, increases respiratory function. It can assist in the production of the vasodilator nitric oxide, and reduces respiratory problems. Additionally, through acclimatisation to the heat of the day, your body is able to produce more oxygen-rich red blood cells, which is a huge benefit to your cardiovascular system.
The effects have a secondary benefit. When your stamina for working out increases so that you're able to go on long walks, lift heavy objects or climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator, you will start burning more fat, as an increase in oxygen will enable you to become more fuel efficient. There are gadgets and services in Singapore that will measure this response.
6. AIDS MUSCLE RECOVERY
Many athletes rely on a sauna to help their muscles recover from a strenuous workout or exertion. Since the muscles also play an important role in your metabolic rate, keeping them rejuvenated and strong will help you lose weight. Sauna helps to relax and remove all the soreness from your muscles.
GETTING A GOOD DOSE OF SUN
So many people in Singapore actively try to avoid the sun, as the radiation from the sun can lead to sun spots aka pigmentation. But, if you are here to bio-hack, then the sun needs to start becoming your friend.
The scientific literature of 'low in the sky' morning and evening sun is clear: your body needs sunlight in order to convert cholesterol in your body to Vitamin D.
Fun biohacking fact: Cholesterol is an essential part of every cellular function in our bodies and up to 85% of Cholesterol is actually made within our bodies, the rest comes from food sources. Sunlight will help you manage your cholesterol levels.
It is clinically proven that our bodies must have vitamin D to absorb calcium. So for children, females, and those who have family histories of fragile bone illnesses such as osteoporosis, it is encouraged that you get a quality amount of vitamin D.
But there is more. Vitamin D deficiency has now been linked to several cancers including, breast, colon and prostate, as well as heart disease, depression and weight gain. These specific correlations and benefits are still being studied but the initial evidence is clear - vitamin D has a positive role in many of the above disorders.
Time in the sun most likely means spending time in Nature.
The ways natural environments hack our brains are still open questions in many aspects. But the notion is common sense. Time in nature has been found likely to decrease brooding, and increase healing after surgery, among other benefits. Still, year after year, the average amount of time people spend indoors increases in wealthy countries. If this is happening to you, you could try eco-therapy or potentially get a prescription for park time from your doctor.
Nature has also been shown to be the best place to achieve a 'Flow state' which we are going to talk a lot more about later in this blog.
A further benefit to being outdoors is that you hopefully can get a reprieve from the stresses of EMF or electro-magnetic radiation. Most countries around the world have guidelines on 'tolerated levels' of EMF radiation. Wifi and the towers that produce its signals are the main causes of EMF. There are tons of gimmick products that make claims in this area, so it is a slippery slope. But using common sense, such as having downtime every day from EMF and ideally turning WiFi off in the evenings, are great first steps to decreasing your exposure and biohacking out of a compounding situation.
Under the sun is a great place to be moving your body and applying force.
There is loads of research around fitness and exercise on health, so it barely can be considered in this list of bio-hacks.
However, if you are pursuing a physical exercise program, consider these core pillars:
- Cardio work. Ideally less weight-bearing as we age.
- Resistance work. Using natural force.
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT). This method promotes heart rate variability as mentioned above, and has massive benefits. In Singapore, places like F45 and UFit have programs fully structured around this concept.
- Flexibility. Often overlooked but increasingly important as we age. Having a good range of motion is not only excellent for your health, but also for your joints as they need to be opened for optimal blood flow and maintained. Check out The Stretch Clinic or perhaps take up a Hot Yoga class to maximise your time and effects.
So what exercises should be done?
Simply the balance of what's right for you, what you enjoy, and what is sustainable and possible within your physical dominion and time schedule.
There are hacks to exercise and fitness. One that I personally love is to bundle time: walking is the ideal time to be watching your favourite show or listening to a podcast or music.
The biohacking trifecta = Downtime + Sun + Exercise
BIOHACKING A FLOW STATE
In 1970, University of Chicago psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi coined the term 'flow state'. Csikszentmihalyi surveyed thousands of people about when they felt their best and performed their best. And the feedback was powerful!
When you're in the state of Flow, you:
- are completely focused on the task at hand;
- forget about yourself, about others, about the world around you;
- lose track of time;
- feel happy and in control; and
- become creative and productive.
Athletes experience this feeling in the heat of the game; they refer to that moment as being, in the zone. The Buddhists call it mindfulness. Essentially, time literally seems to slow down, focus sharpens, and a myriad of hormonal activities take place.
Why is flow such as powerful biohacking tool in a modern society full of distractions?
The ability to single-task (as opposed to multi-task) in our modern lives is the most important facet of productivity. Never before in history have we had such powerful distractions, such as the addictive nature of social media, or constant reminders of messaging apps and push notifications. These have all been crafted to be attention-grabbing and addictive.
We're also not talking about the kind of productivity where you knock off 20 items from your to-do list (although that can be satisfying), where you're switching between tasks all day long, and keep busy all the time. True productivity is where you actually achieve your goals, and where you accomplish important and long-lasting things. It means getting key projects done rather than answering a bunch of emails, making a lot of phone calls, attending a bunch of meetings, and shuffling paperwork all day long. It means closing key deals. It is quality instead of quantity.
WHAT IS THE SCIENCE OF FLOW STATE?
From early research, scientists have made enormous progress on flow. Advancements in brain imaging technologies have allowed us to apply serious metrics to quantify historical subjective experience research. Plenty has been learned, including the fact that Csikszentmihalyi was spot-on in his word choice: flow is the exact right term for the experience.
The state manifests in a radical alteration in normal brain function. As attention heightens, the slower and energy-expensive extrinsic system (conscious processing) is replaced for a far faster and more efficient processing of the subconscious, intrinsic system. ‚ÄúIt's an efficiency exchange, says American University, Beirut neuroscientist Arne Dietrich, who helped discover this phenomena. We're trading energy usually used for higher cognitive functions for heightened attention and awareness.
The technical term for this exchange is ‚ transient hypofrontality‚ with hypo (meaning slow) being the opposite of hyper (fast), and frontal referring to the prefrontal cortex, the part of our brain that houses our higher cognitive functions. This is one of the main reasons flow feels like a 'slowing down' because any brain structure that would hamper rapid-fire decision-making is literally shut off.
In another example, in flow we shift down from the fast-moving beta wave of waking consciousness to the far slower borderline between alpha and theta. Alpha is a day-dreaming mode when we slip from idea to idea without much internal resistance. Theta only shows up during REM or just before we fall asleep. In that hypnagogic gap, ideas combine in truly radical ways.
Finally, there is the neurochemistry of flow. A team of neuroscientists at Bonn University in Germany discovered that endorphins are certainly part of flow's mix. As other researchers have determined, so are norepinephrine, dopamine, anandamide, and serotonin. All five are pleasure-inducing, performance-enhancing neurochemicals, upping everything from muscle reaction times to attention, pattern recognition and lateral thinking. This is why flow feels so good!
What are the best ways to get into and remain in flow state?
Instead of focusing on mountain climbing, dancing or other types of intense activity, the focus is usually on simply sweeping, washing, walking and mopping, and/ or ideally being in nature.
Step 1. Before you begin the activity, pause, then take three deep slow conscious breaths. Let the mind be fully engaged in the breath for that time and nothing else.
Step 2. Focus all of your attention in the present moment. Pretend for the moment that past and future do not exist. Bring awareness to your sense perceptions. Be fully present in the now.
Step 3. Slowly, with deliberate movements, go about your activity.
Step 4. Remain alert and keep mindfully attentive to only what you are doing in that moment - do not allow it to slip off into the unconscious mind chatter. Be completely absorbed in the activity, as if you have just been born into this world. You will find that the activity 'comes alive' when you practice it with mindfulness. If your mind does slip off into 'autopilot', simply guide it back to being intensely engaged in what you are doing.
BIOHACK YOUR BRAIN
Getting into ketosis and fuelling your brain.
People think ketosis is all about weight loss and come 'crazy diet' where you eat lots of meat and fat. To some extent this is true, but it is really about taking carbohydrates out of your diet in order to force your body to use fat as the primary fuel source. The bi-product of using fat for fuel is the body's production of ketones.
Latest research with the US military is showing clear evidence that ketones are extremely beneficial for the brain. This is a complicated area, and more research is being done right now on how ketones are having massive positive effects on cognitive health! The Bulletproof method also outlines that toxins found in many crops including grains, vegetables, and even coffee, can release toxins into the brain. Toxins come from pesticides and herbicides used in the process of making vegetables or are released by mould growing on plants, which is a known problem in the agricultural industry. These toxins are what cause brain fog, and place a huge burden on the brain's ability to perform at the level you want it to.
We have a 6-week biohacking course that is full of structured trips and tricks to use biohacking tips mentioned in this article as well as loads of discount vouchers from Singapore based participating partners. CLICK HERE to download this now!
GAMIFY YOUR LIFE!
Many studies have shown that seemingly small uses of our brain capacity to solve visual and word puzzles might improve cognition in younger and older adults. Things like crosswords and sudoku force us to continue creating, maintaining and reinforcing connections regardless of our age.
There are many such programs available for free as mobile apps, and all you need to do is turn this into a daily habit so as to improve your cognitive function and reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease.
INVERSION THERAPY (HANGING UPSIDE DOWN)
The concept of decompressing the back to find pain relief goes back to Hippocrates, the father of medicine. He invented the Hippocratic Bench, the first version of the inversion table, around 400 BC. This concept wasn't resurrected until the 1960s, when holistic practitioners sought ways to deal with their patients' pain that didn't involve drugs or surgery. Dr Robert Martin, a California chiropractor, adapted Hippocrates' concept to create the modern-day inversion table. By 1980, inversion therapy had been adopted by alternative medicine professionals.
Inversion tables are one type of "inversion therapy," which involves adopting an upside-down posture to reverse the effects of gravity on the spine. The head is tilted downward on a table, to relieve pressure on the discs and nerve roots in the spine, and increase the space between vertebrae. Proponents claim that inversion table therapy not only relieves back pain but also improves posture, preserves height, increases flexibility, stimulates blood flow to the brain and scalp, corrects the position of abdominal organs, and relieves varicose veins. Furthermore, regular inverting trains the brain capillaries, making them stronger and more capable of bringing oxygen to the brain. It's pretty straightforward - more oxygen to your brain means better brain performance. As an added bonus, after repeated inverting, the way your body regulates blood pressure actually changes. The science of these assertions is still unclear, but let's dive in.
Experts regard inversion tables as a form of spinal traction. Instead of increasing disk space, traction is more likely to stretch the muscles and ligaments around the spine, and temporarily relieve muscle spasm. That may be why some people get short-term relief from back pain after lying on an inversion table. But spinal traction doesn't provide long-term relief.
However, Joe Rogan, the famous UFC commentator, podcast host, and comedian, speaks very highly of inversion therapy. On his podcast with Jesse Ventura, he said:
I've suffered from several back injuries over the years (bulging discs) from jiujitsu and working out. One of the things that has helped me a lot is using one of those Teeter Inversion Tables. I strap my ankles into this thing and I hang upside down - it's a great way to decompress your back and get rid of pain.
A 2006 Cochrane Review (a summary of evidence from randomised trials) concluded that there was no evidence to recommend traction for the treatment of low back pain.
Using an inversion table is not without risk: based on a study, the immediate effects of inversion increase both systolic and diastolic blood pressures significantly - Phys Ther. 1986 Sep;66(9):1361-4.
However, just like exercising, the immediate effects of working out would also suggest that all indicators are negative, raising heart rate, straining the cardio system. The question yet to be solved is: are there long term blood pressure lowering benefits from frequent inversion therapy? Taking yoga as an example, head and handstands have been used for millennia in these practices for this and other purposes.
If you have not heard of stoic practices, these are simply a daily gratitude exercise that can be an unbelievable powerful biohack.
Here is a little snapshot of the benefits:
Let's do a quick-fire list as to how the practice of gratefulness and forgiveness can positively impact your life:
1. A five-minute daily gratitude journal can increase your long-term well-being by more than 10 percent. That's the same impact on happiness as doubling your income!
2. Gratitude generates social capital - in two studies with 243 total participants, those who were 10% more grateful than average had 17.5% more social capital.
3. Gratitude helps our health.
4. Gratitude can boost your career! This happens by making you a more effective manager, helps you network, increases decision-making capabilities, increases productivity and helps you get mentors and proteges.
5. Gratitude gives control of emotions. It reduces feelings of envy, makes our memories happier, lets us experience good feelings and helps us bounce back from stress.
6. Gratitude is strongly correlated with optimism. Optimism, in turn, makes us happier, improves our health, and has been shown to increase lifespan by as much as a few years.
7. Materialism is strongly correlated with reduced well-being and increased rates of mental disorder.g1 There's nothing wrong with wanting more. The problem with materialism is that it makes people feel less competent, reduces feelings of relatedness and gratitude, reduces their ability to appreciate and enjoy the good in life, generates negative emotions, and makes them more self-centred. The pursuit of wealth and power has been shown in dozens of studies to be a highly inefficient method of increasing well-being and happiness.
8. Spiritual transcendence is highly correlated with feelings of gratitude. That is, the more spiritual you are, the more likely you are to be grateful.
This is for two reasons:
- All major religions espouse gratitude as a virtue.
- Spirituality spontaneously gives rise to grateful behaviour.
9. Those who have more gratitude have a more proactive coping style, are more likely to have and seek out social support in times of need, are less likely to develop PTSD, and are more likely to grow in times of stress. In other words, they are more resilient.
10. Our memories are not set in stone. Rather, they are like words in a book, and to a large extent, the framing of the emotional connections and memories around them can change over time. Sometimes we remember things as being worse than they actually were, as being longer or shorter, people as being kinder or crueller, as being more or less interesting, and so on. Experiencing gratitude in the present makes us more likely to remember positive memories and actually transform some of our neutral or even negative memories into positive ones.
11. A small bit of jealousy or envy directed at the right target is motivating. Too much produces feelings of insecurity, materialism, inferiority, distrust, and unhappiness. Gratitude pulls us out of negative emotional states and pulls us toward the powerful zone.
SO HOW DO YOU PRACTISE GRATITUDE?
It's about creating space to be introspective - stopping everything or being conscious before you get started on the day. Simply consider what you are grateful for, or write your thoughts about gratitude and forgiveness down in a journal - there are some great Apps for this.
In summary, gratitude triggers positive feedback loops.
But don't expect changes to be dry-matic or fast. Studies have shown that positive benefits generally occurred slowly. It took several months of continuous practice for the largest benefits to appear. This is for two reasons:
- Cultivating gratitude is a skill. After three months of practice, I now have the ability to self-generate slight feelings of gratitude and happiness on command. With more time and practice, I expect the intensity and duration of the generated feelings to increase.
- Gratitude is a personality trait. Some people have more grateful personalities than others. A daily gratitude practise can change our personality, but that takes a long time.
BIOHACKING YOUR SLEEP
Sleep is entirely overlooked and underrated as a top biohacking tool - well it should not really be a biohack, but it shows how far we have strayed from our innate wellbeing.
Getting the right amount of sleep has shown benefits from extending life, to the optimal functions of the body's processes to help in the prevention of many diseases. Yes, even the infectious ones, since sleep deprivation can leave the immune system in tatters. Sleep requires no effort and costs nothing, yet people tend to go out of their way not to do it enough.
Sleep should come naturally to us, but as we will demonstrate later in this blog, our lives are now getting in the way. Sleep is a deep meditative state where you explore your subconscious and the dense ball of neurons in our heads wash themselves, clearing out the metabolic by-products (toxins). If the pro-work, anti-sleep culture makes you feel lame and self-conscious about, say, leaving a party to go home and sleep, try saying, I'm going to go biohack my brain.