These days, many are turning their backs on traditional medicine for a more integrative approach to their health. This global movement is called ‘Biohacking’, and far from being a temporary trend or fad, it is a progressive lifestyle choice that is designed to optimise bodies from the cellular core to defy the normal aging process and avoid undesirable natural processes our bodies are subjected to.
The novel therapy hails from Silicon Valley in California, the epicentre of global technological evolution. Boasting some of the brightest and sharpest business and computational minds, Silicon Valley is a hotbed of spirited individuals, breeding a whole new type of elite. Like the technology they develop, they demand that their minds and bodies operate beyond their already extraordinary capabilities by pushing the realms of human performance. With the advancements that those entrepreneurs and tech-heads had at their disposal, they began using the principles of software engineering and applying them to their own bodies. After all, our DNA could be seen as an algorithm ready to be edited to accomplish the seemingly impossible.
Like the development of an intricate machine, they took steps to fine-tune their metaphorical central processing units and components with a myriad of supplements, nutritional modifications, stringent gym routines, cryotherapy, deep meditative practices, and the use of wearable technologies. Soon, biotechnology entered the scope of bionics and migrated skin-deep, with chips that gave direct feedback about the body that was transmitted to software for analysis. These metrics were used to keep elevating their biohacking processes, with some spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on maintaining their advantages with coaches, rare supplements, and specialist diet chefs.
Of course, not all forms of biohacking are so extreme; we have all encountered it in one form or another in our daily lives, from drinking hot water and lemon in the morning to monitoring sleep levels. These organic tweaks are certainly helpful and make small differences to our everyday existence, but can be a "trial and error" method and take time to make an impact. What if we want to transcend mediocrity to augment our bodies so that they are able to function beyond the normal with real science? Although Google has pages and pages of advice from the vast biohacking community who regularly experiment on themselves and post the results, not all you read on Google should be followed and this is when professional biohacking specialist help is needed.
While biohacking may have started in the United States with the tech contingent, it has slowly been making its way over to Thailand and the rest of Asia. It is now refining the approach to provide a more forward-thinking medical methodology. Created to combine cutting-edge testing with natural treatments and a non-judgemental understanding of lifestyle factors, they take a whole-systemic view of physiology to remedy the root causes of a disease and work on prevention programmes to isolate and address the individual symptoms.
Dr. Johaness Wessolly, a medical doctor who has been pioneering functional medicine in Germany for over two decades, leads his Thai clinical team, which follows a ground-breaking 'functional medicine' concept. A safe passage to health and happiness is navigated by addressing the pitfalls of modern medicine. A standard journey normally begins with an extensive expert consultation and powerful diagnostic tools to map out the issues or deficiencies that need to be addressed. As the saying goes, “one vague symptom may not indicate the true nature of the malady”.
One of the most prevalent worries seen is premature ageing and a general feeling of malaise and lethargy. This is no surprise given the pandemic situation we have been living through for the last two years. Lockdowns, working from home, worrying about friends and family, and even financial distress have all taken their toll on our physical and mental health. Studies of Southeast Asian countries have shown that Thailand, in particular, has faced a significant increase in the severity and prevalence of stress, anxiety, and depression. This adversely affects physical health both in the short term and the long term.
We can see and feel the effects of these but stress impacts us all the way to a microscopic level. We know our physical age but our cellular age tells a very different story about our health. When there is a perceived threat, our bodies release a steroid hormone called "cortisol" into our bloodstream and its primary role is to reduce inflammation and maintain blood pressure and glucose levels.
It all sounds positive so far. However, it has a double-edged sword. Prolonged secretion of cortisol due to chronic stress promotes a plethora of tell-tale signs such as weight gain, fatigue, and wrinkles as well as anxiety and depression. And the afflictions can go all the way down to your genetic makeup, especially when combined with a poor diet and lack of exercise. DNA becomes damaged, cells don’t replicate properly, and this leads to a breakdown of tissues or functions.
It is, nevertheless, an issue that can be reversed or slowed down by incorporating principles of biohacking. For example, using a consolidative blend of conventional medicine and alternative therapies such as hormonal rebalancing, IV infusions, and physiotherapy to rejuvenate the body. Supplements and IV infusions are crucial weapons in the holistic health arsenal. According to Dr. Suttipoj "Jimmy" Pattaramongkolkarn, who works closely with Dr. Wessolley, "Supplements and IV Infusions must be processed from natural products and provide the most bioavailable nutrients. They are used to enhance the body's physiology and psychology, taking them to the next level by improving focus and increasing energy."
Of course, biohacking is completely tailored to the needs of the individual. Aging and chronic stress may not be the issues at hand; instead, one may wish to excel in their personal interests or professional goals. Dr. Wessolley and his clinical team applied their expertise to his managing partner, Mr. Varit "Top" Taifayongvichit, who achieved his personal goal of becoming a pro league basketball player which he documented on social media.
Biohackers' pioneering spirit propels them to break free from the constraints of nature, age and disease. They will continue to think beyond the classical understanding of wellness in order to manipulate physiology and boost wellbeing and happiness, as is their nature. It's unclear how biohacking will develop, but it's clear that it's the future of health care.
Series Editor: Christopher F. Bruton, Executive Director, Dataconsult Ltd, email@example.com. Dataconsult’s Thailand Regional Forum provides seminars and extensive documentation to update business on future trends in Thailand and in the Mekong Region.