We all want to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible. But how devoted are we really to the idea? Biohackers are a group of people who not only ‘want’ but ‘do’. They actively try and influence their health and wellbeing through changes in their lifestyle and using science and technology.
We’ve met some of those inspiring people and in the next few weeks in a somewhat unusual format for our blog – an interview, we’ll share their different perspectives on Biohacking Culture. We’re glad to start by introducing to you the lovely Biohacking couple – Babsi & Thomas!
Babsi is 26, Thomas is 29, and both pursue their Ph.D. in social sciences/lighting architecture. Scientists by day and biohackers by night, they founded Luminousred two years ago. Now they have defined themselves as lighting researchers/educators and community builders.
Babsi, what brought you to biohacking?
B: Well, three years ago, both of us weren’t feeling good. For me, it was more on the psychological/mental side. I was super stressed, heading straight in the direction of a burnout. Thomas had a major surgery after which he did not recover as well as expected – the blood tests weren’t good, and his hormones went crazy out of balance.
That’s how we started looking into ways to solve our health issues and feel like our best selves again. We stumbled upon supplements, living a healthy life, taking care of our circadian rhythm, exposing ourselves to enough light. And then biohacking evolved from that starting point.
Thomas, what do you think defines you as a biohacker?
T: To me, the best definition of biohacking comes from Dave Asprey, who says biohacking is taking charge of and influencing your own biology.
We define ourselves as a minimalistic type of biohackers – we come to a conscious place of thinking – how do we influence our biology in a natural and non-invasive way by using technology and improving our daily habits.
Light therapy is a perfect example of this way of thinking because it’s something so primal – a thing we, as humans, lived with for such a long time. That’s just a fundamental part of everyday life, but we forgot about it. We used to wake and rise with the sun, light a fire when it was dark. Today we spend most of our time indoors, in an office or elsewhere and don’t go out as much as we used to. Most critically, our blue light exposure is far higher than is healthy.
Tell us more about light therapy – how did you find red-light therapy?
B: Well, I struggle with seasonal affective disorder. As soon as winter hits and it gets darker much earlier, my mood is affected, and I have less energy. So, I was reading research papers and found an article on the therapeutic effects of light. Then we started exploring specific functions and wavelengths of light more and more, and before we knew it, we started experimenting with it. We purchased every Photobiomodulation device that existed on the market at that time and built our very own red-light room in our home. What started as fun little conversations mixed with our professional background in psychology and lighting design quickly came to a point where we said, “We can make this better! Let’s create something of our own and spread value, education and build a community”. We were missing these things.
T: Thanks to a fantastic researcher, Vladimir Heiskanen, we have access to a unique database considering Photobiomodulation. His work summarizes over 4000 studies, showing which wavelengths are used in scientific design and how light can be applied regarding different topics such as skin health, hormonal health, and many more.
What are the specific functions of red-light therapy, and in what therapeutic aspect can it be used?
T: As said – there are more than 4000 studies up to date, and they are continually growing in numbers. We have many people approaching us and saying, “Oh, my eyes are so bad, what should I do?”. The first thing we always tell them is to go to our website and see the research database. Everyone can access it, browse through it, and quickly see how to apply their light in a scientifically proven way.
Photobiomodulation’s fundamental working mechanism is that specific wavelengths of light (red and near-infrared light) have profound biological effects on our bodies. Like plants, we need light to function in the best way possible. Red-light therapy companies (like ours) take those wavelengths that also derive from sunlight, make them 5x more intense and usable at home in the most useful and effective way. This kind of light activates the mitochondria, where more cellular energy is produced, so-called ATP. This process of producing ATP is, too, a natural biological process occurring in all of us. But, as we age or with our counterproductive modern lifestyle of poor, unbalanced nutrition, living most of our life inside, and many more factors, we need to boost this effect. Red-light therapy can help here.
What would you tell our readers that are new to the topic of biohacking? How do they start?
B: I would tell them the first main thing is to answer the question, “What do I want to change?”. That’s a major question that has to be answered before testing out, trying, and buying any biohacking tool. When you don’t know what you want to change, or what you’re unsatisfied with or unhappy with, you can’t change it.
The next step would be reading scientific overviews and metа-analysis and see what’s out there since there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
This is your journey. Everyone’s journey is different.
Generally, biohacking (for me) works this way: Aligning, tracking, executing different approaches/ products, and adjusting accordingly.
T: Biohacking is not about buying things. It’s self-awareness about the responsibilities we have for our health, experimenting with different things, and coming closer to your desired results. I am a true believer in natural properties that work. Your first biohacking tools can be enough sunlight, investing in better food sources, fasting, or drinking more water.
Start with something small, and do not rush. Then, when you find your direction, of course, you can invest in additional tools to enhance different biological working mechanisms or use them more efficiently. Start naturally, start slow, and figure out what you want. I think that’s the most important thing.
Thanks for sticking to the End! If the interview has inspired you to look deeper into the topic of Red Light therapy or perhaps try it yourselves, check out https://luminousred.com/ and follow them on Instagram.