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Healthcare is going high-end boutique as the ultra-wealthy again flock to lavish biohacking clubs in pursuit of extreme life extension. Already a growing trend up until the pandemic, new biohacking gyms are popping up around the world.
Forget partying at nightclubs—now the wealthy and well-connected are booking cryotherapy sessions and vampire facials with their crew. Elite clinics worldwide cater to the rich and famous who want to optimize their health and reverse aging through ostensibly advanced—albeit not always proven—biohacking techniques.
Discontinuing therapy: completed 6, 1L young plasma exchanges. 1x/mo (1 w/ my son). Evaluated biomarkers from biofluids, devices and imaging, no benefits detected.
Young plasma exchange may be beneficial for biologically older populations or certain conditions. Does not in my…
— Zero (@bryan_johnson) July 5, 2023
Bryan Johnson, the 48-year-old founder of biosciences firms Kernel and Blueprint who made headlines for swapping blood with his 17-year-old son, ultimately reported seeing "no benefits" to the practice.
Interest in biohacking overall is surging, according to Google Trends. Much like the concurrent boom in artificial intelligence, the masses are also turning to so-called "DIY biology" to enhance and extend their lives.
While Silicon Valley execs pop pills by the handfuls and praise the gospel of intermittent fasting and fringe anti-aging technology, average folks are still experimenting with implanted NFC chips and custom-made vitamin packs.
The privileged class wants to live forever, and money is no object in making that dream a reality.
Take New York's Remedy Place, which offers an "extreme health makeover" for those willing to pay. For $595 a month, members get access to oxygen pods, infrared saunas, and IV vitamin drips while socializing. It's billed as the world's first "social wellness club," because even the elite get lonely when trying to live forever.
Melbourne's upcoming Saint Haven also promises a "whole new level" of pampering with monthly fees starting at $1,000. Part spa, part sci-fi clinic, it claims to offer cutting-edge fitness tech used by celebs. "Make no mistake, we are not a gym, but our tech can help you get stronger, fitter, and have more energy,” the club's official website says. “Our upgrades improve your health down to the cellular level."
And if you don’t want to worry about monthly payments, Toronto's Longevity House gives access to anti-aging diagnostics and therapies typically reserved for pro athletes for a cool $100,000 one-time fee. The club offers a variety of services ranging from simple breath training to AI-driven cardio and oxygen variability training.
The club markets itself as “an exclusive community for investors and entrepreneurs to engage with leaders in biohacking, epigenetics, AI, and functional and plant medicine,” so it’s the place to be for those who are interested in the intersection between health and technology.
Lest you think this is limited to North American old money, the trend is growing all over the world. India’s Bollywood star Suniel Shetty just invested in an Indian biohacking startup, hoping to bring this niche health trend mainstream, and Biohacking conferences and meetups are gaining steam among Brazilian enthusiasts.
With clinics expanding globally, the jet-setting class can continue their vitality-maximizing routines wherever they holiday. But for many Silicon Valley execs, optimizing day-to-day life isn't enough. They want to push the limits of what biohacking can offer. What are some of the most popular biohacking techniques being used today?
Former Evernote CEO Phil Libin previously shared a routine that consisted of fasting for up to eight days straight. He claims it left him euphoric and energized. Also on the low-cost side, a cold-hot shower technique is embraced by Hollywood stars and top athletes.
Johnson says he pops 100+ supplements per day and has claimed to have achieved pretty impressive results. And if you think his blood swap scheme was weird, wait until you hear about Sandra Bullock’s preference for the use of newborn babies’ foreskin to rejuvenate her face.
If aging alone isn't scary enough, some biohackers seek cybernetic upgrades. We've come a long way from the Lovetron 9000, a penis implant that electronically vibrates on command developed by Rich Lee a decade ago. Since then, the gap between biology and technology has drastically decreased, with Elon Musk’s Neuralink representing the peak of trans-humanist achievement now that it has obtained approval to begin tests of chip implants into the human brain.
But biohacking isn't risk-free. Long fasts can cause hypoglycemia and increase the risk of damage to the kidneys. Sessions must be carefully supervised to avoid complications like heart failure. Also, the ingestion of a large number of pills may lead to unexpected results as each one affects different parts of the complex human metabolism.
And—this is not medical advice—implanting electronic devices into your genitals does not seem like an especially good idea.
While the elite toy with exotic elixirs in hopes of immortality, biohacking's benefits are increasingly sought out beyond the 1%. Perhaps the secret to longevity can be bought—more money can buy you cutting-edge gadgets and extreme interventions. But happiness? That outcome has yet to be guaranteed by anyone.