Pills, potions, elixirs, cutting-edge therapies, and new technologies dominate the biohacking world.
Overlooking one fundamental.
Your living space is the unsung determinant of your health.Your living environment forms the glass ceiling for your quality of life Click To Tweet
Get it right, and your health effortlessly improves. You’ll notice improvements to your:
- Information processing
All without any drugs, supplements, or major lifestyle changes.
Most people, however, unknowingly live in homes sabotaging their progress. Keeping them sick and feeling sub-optimal.
So in this article, we’ll explore how to biohack your home environment and living spaces. Including each of the rooms (office, bedroom, kitchen, and more). Whenever people ask about transforming their house into an ultimate wellness palace, this is what I recommend.
Biohacking The Home With Biomimicry
The average home is an unintentional minefield of toxicity.
First, we must remove and remediate any existing issues before we move on to a wellness-optimizing layout.
Before renting or buying, I would run through this checklist.
Don’t worry if this seems like a lot. Just work on one section at a time.
The very first place I investigate is the “ether” of the home.
Within ether, I include:
- Air quality
- Non-native EMFs (wireless signals and problematic wiring)
Often, many of the most potent health hacks cannot offset the constant assault of a contaminated environment. Talk to toxic mold remediation experts, for example, and you’ll hear countless stories where the homeowners had no option but to move.
Start by having a building biologist perform an inspection. They can help you understand microbial contaminations, non-native-EMF levels, geopathic stress, and other environmental problems that only the trained eye sees. They will also give you remediation steps. I wouldn’t buy a house without prior inspection by a professional building biologist.
Get a good air filter like the AirDoctor, because indoor air is up to 7-fold more polluted than the outdoors. Even in many metropolitan areas like New York City. From hazardous construction materials to the off-gassing of new products (which can continue for up to 20 years). Indoor air needs cleaning.
If that device is out of your budget, look for a HEPA filter. Or get a bunch of plants known to purify the air. At the very least, open windows where safe and possible.
Use fewer harsh chemicals. Even if you don’t have Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance (IEI) or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), exposure to common toxins disrupts your endocrine system causing both acute and long-term repercussions. Whenever possible, buy low-VOC products and furniture made of natural materials like wood, glass, or metal. Use services like EWG’s Think Dirty app to find clean products. Or make your own cleaners with simple ingredients.
An effective disinfecting cleaning spray I use consists of water, citrus juice, vinegar, and baking soda.
Finally, do what you can to reduce wireless signals. Turn the devices off when not in use. “Electrosmog” can hamper sleep quality, disrupt natural hormone levels, induce infertility, and lead to a long list of health complications.
Light is another vital overlooked component of optimal health.
Judging by the uptick in photobiological research published, and the explosive growth of the red light therapy device market, light dramatically impacts humans (and all life).
- Circadian rhythm
Conversely, artificial lighting can cause headaches, migraines, sleep disturbance, biological stress, and all kinds of diseases.
Well-designed spaces capitalize on all the natural lighting, and strategically use quality man-made lighting to fill in the gaps.
For most, lighting shopping usually consists of finding the best ambiance at the lowest price.
As described in the ultimate guide to healthy home lighting, you have several factors to consider when purchasing lighting:
- Technology — halogen and incandescent technology are best, followed by LEDs (high-CRI). Fluorescent and CFLs are the worst and should be avoided.
- Power — dim lights for rooms primarily used during the early morning and late evening, and illuminate offices and other middle-of-the-day rooms with something brighter.
- Color — the sun naturally transitions from predominantly red, to blue, and back to red in the evening.
- Height —the position of lighting relative to the eye affects us differently. Overhead lighting, for example, simulates solar noon and energizes the body.
If purchasing LEDs, make sure to choose products marketed as “high-CRI” as this helps minimize the biological stress of the technology. For any light, you’ll want to see the emission spectrum graph to make sure it outputs the right wavelengths for your purposes.
Smart design utilizes as much natural sunlight as possible, and supplements that with quality bulbs to augment human biorhythms.
If you count the molecules in the body, water comprises 99 out of 100.
This section refers to the water we ingest, that which touches our skin, and aesthetic accent items.
Post Flint, Michigan scandal, drinking water has received a lot of attention. Here’s the sad truth…Either you consume filtered water, or your body becomes the filter Click To Tweet
In many parts of the country (let alone world), tap water contains worrisome levels of industrial toxins, heavy metals, synthetic hormones, and prescription drugs. Chemicals affect biological processes even in minuscule doses. That’s the entire premise of homeopathy.
But that’s not all.
Did you know that we absorb as much as 60 percent of the chemicals that touch our skin?
The water you bathe in matters. Again, you can easily fix this by attaching a shower filter.
Or, if you have the budget, get a whole-home filter. That cleans every tap, shower head, etc in the entire house.
Last up are water fixtures. You can install an elaborate backyard fountain. Or, for my fellow apartment hoppers, just get something small and inexpensive to top your desk.
Water is the element associated with creativity, ideas, inspiration, life, and creation. It makes spaces feel alive and vital.
Earth forms the bridge between us and nature.
In this context, I use “Earth” in reference to biomimicry. Replicating the natural components of healthy outdoor living, but indoors. These include:
- Working surfaces
Temperature. As a collective, technology affords us the luxury of temperature stability. Within our tightly-regulated living spaces, heaters and air conditioners maintain the exact same temperature year-round — to within a few degrees. A more biocompatible home, on the other hand, would expose us to extreme temperatures. This exposure increases our personal resilience and can dramatically improve our health.
You can build resilience via exposure to heat like near infrared saunas, or to cold via “cold plunges”. For a free and easy option, perhaps spend time in the untreated garage during hot summers or cold winters. Or take a nice long cold shower.
Aromas. The olfactory system has a direct passage to the brain. Smell influences neural activity faster than any other form of stimulus. Certain scents can immediately uncover and trigger memories from decades ago.
First, remove noxious chemical scents (including new, off-gassing furniture), artificial air fresheners, and others. Then, you can use essential oils and oil-based products to freshen the air. Plus, these plant-derived scents confer all kinds of other health and performance benefits.
Grounding, sometimes called “Earthing”, is the process of making skin-to-Earth contact. Live blood Analysis shows rapid reductions in inflammation, pain relief, EMF protection, sleep quality enhancement, and other biomarker improvements.
The free route is to spend 15-20 minutes barefoot in the grass, in water, or on the soil. Every day. Otherwise, you can capitalize on Earthing shoes, straps, mats, and other technologies designed to allow us to ground from the comfort of our home. I like to stand on an Earthing mat while I work to bioharmonize days of heavy computer work.
Posture. With everything we need for the day within a short radius, working from home promotes sedentary behavior. When the simple act of putting on pants for Zoom meetings becomes a task, so does changing the way we work. For optimal health, however, the human body should spend time in various postures. Not just sitting or standing straight all day look.
The ideal home offers multiple workspaces. One for standing, one for kneeling, one for sitting. The more different positions we can work in, the better we deliver nutrients, oxygen, and blood flow throughout the body. Which also leads to greater productivity and effectiveness. At the very least, get a quality sitting-to-standing desk.
Plants. For most of our history, humanity lived alongside vegetation. Modern science has only scratched the surface of the benefits afforded by plants, “forest bathing”, and exposure to nature. One recognized and understood benefit of this immersion is the calming geometric patterns omnipresent throughout nature. Called fractals, these soothe the nervous system and benefit human health.
Plants also act as bioremediants, sucking up toxicants from your immediate environment. And they naturally purify air (to varying degrees). Finally, plants boost mood by making spaces feel more comfortable and cozy. Some types take little upkeep and don’t cost much.
Bordering on full “woo”, you’ll want to consider the energetics of your home.
Did you know that cultures around the world arranged their spaces according to the flow of energy?
Under the energy category I’ll include:
- Energy flow
You may have heard of the Chinese system called Feng Shui.
Long before the Chinese system, however, Indian Ayurvedic science came up with Vastu Shastra. They used Vastu to properly design temples, homes, and other important buildings.
While I cannot speak to the specific “biogeometric” optimizations these systems suggest, I follow their recommendations for home and room layouts. The easiest way to start is by orienting your bed so that you sleep with your head to the south (best), east (next best), or west (third best). Sleeping orientation is the tip of the iceberg. You can hire a designer to help optimize your home according to either system.
The other critical facet of energy flow comes from the sounds in your space.
Sound, directly and indirectly, influences biological systems. We’ve all experienced how profoundly and quickly our favorite songs can shift our moods. Inaudible noises, however, still have an effect.
With sounds, I like to start by deadening the background and artificial noises. You can do this by turning off unnecessary loud devices. Or by installing. Only then do I add ambient nature soundscapes.
Bonus points for using an online streaming service that combines ambient sounds with modern neuroscience to rapidly shift your brain into desirable states.
With an overall understanding of the core components of a healthy home, we’re ready to optimize individual rooms.
How to Bioharmonize Each Room in Your House
We use each room of the house at different times, with different frequencies, and for different purposes.
Each comes with its own challenges and ideal setups.
A building biologist can design your perfect space, but this guide will help you with the basics.
Your bedroom is the most important room to optimize.
Get it right, and the rest of your home doesn’t matter as much. Get it wrong, however, and you’ll feel it.
Recovery, regeneration, and growth all occur at night.
Core optimizations of a healthy bedroom include:
- EMF reduction
- Sensory regulation (light, scent, sound, temperature)
- Geometric optimization
- Relaxing associations
The first goal of a healthy bedroom is to reduce electrosmog emissions. If you don’t already, sleep with your phone on airplane mode. Or, ideally, put it in another room. Remove, reduce, or at least put distance between you and any electrical devices. Especially those that emit wireless signals or contain motors. Move things like Sonos sound systems, fans, and chargers away from your bed.
To really master this, you can use an EMF meter to detect issues. Then use EMF shielding products. Or just hire a building biologist. Once I mitigated the many sources of EMF in my room (router, BlueTooth speakers, iPhone, alarm clock, wireless keyboard, wireless mouse, laptop, etc), my Oura Ring score consistently improved by about nine points — holding all else equal. And I didn’t consider myself sensitive to EMFs.
The next impactful change is sensory stimuli optimization.
Since the skin contains photoreceptors, do what you can to make your bedroom as dark as possible. Install blackout curtains. Cover miscellaneous LED lights with black electrical tape. At night, avoid bright white overhead lights. Instead, get a floor lamp and install dim, red, incandescent (or halogen) light bulbs.
Each of those supports optimal melatonin production. Lastly, test the darkness. If you can see your hand through the blackness, consider sleeping with an eye mask.
Temperature is another major consideration (zeitgeber). Most research suggests ideal sleeping temperature ranges between 62 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Although personal preference makes a difference too. Women tend to fare best in slightly warmer temperatures. Fans and air conditioners work fine, but for the advanced folks, I recommend something like the OOLER or Dock Pro.
After that, you’ll want to work on sounds. Even those that easily sleep through loud sporadic noises actually show disturbed sleep quality when measured via EEG brain wave sensors. You can install sound-dampening materials, add white noise (though not recommended for kids), or use earplugs.
Next, try implementing some of the principles of Vastu or Feng Shui. The beginner optimization is to just sleep with your head to the south (best), or east (next best). You can dig into this more with the Vastu guide to optimizing your bedroom. While you’re at it, pick up a plant(s) for the room.
Finally, create a neural association between the bedroom with a few key principles.
Avoid using the bedroom to work, watch television, eat, or engage in activities that stimulate brainwaves of stress (beta). The bed should be used exclusively for sleep, meditation, and enjoying your partner. Consistently using scents and essential oils can also prepare the body for rest and recovery. As well as strengthening the association between the trigger (smell) and outcome (sleep).
Next—and usually most problematic— is the kitchen.
Kitchens are among the most biologically toxic rooms.
From nasty chemical-laden cleaning products to the mycotoxin breeding ground that’s aerosolized with every opening of the trash/compost, to the endocrine-disrupting cooking gear.
First, use natural cookware and materials that don’t leach anything harmful like:
- Cast iron
- Stainless steel
- Carbon steel
- Wood chopping boards
- Bamboo containers
You want to avoid plastic as much as possible. Even BPA-free products contain other similarly toxic compounds like BPS and BPE.
Avoid products that contain:
- Teflon (PTFE)
- Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
Harmful substances can easily transfer from your cutting board, pots and pans, cooking utensils, and containers — directly into your food.
Next up, I recommend scanning the barcode of your cleaning products in the free app called Think Dirty. This shows the toxicity of the chemicals with your product, as well as an overall safety score.
For a simple, DIY, multi-purpose cleaner, I recommend combining water with lemon, vinegar, baking soda, and a drop or two of essential oils (grapefruit is awesome).
I plan to write an entire guide to “biohack your home office”, but here are a few of my favorite optimizations.
First, if possible, work in a different room than you sleep. That will prevent you from associating your bedroom with work (and stress).
Standing desk. Since sitting became “the new smoking”, standing desks have gained popularity and also affordability. I like electric standing desks because they make you far more likely to actually alter your working position throughout the day.
Blue light. Biohackers wrongly vilifies blue light. Sure, in the early morning or late at night it can disrupt the circadian rhythm. During normal working hours, however, blue light naturally stimulates. It improves alertness, focus, and cognition. I prefer to work in a room with large windows that let in natural sunlight. If that’s not possible, a bright, full-spectrum incandescent or halogen light also works well. Sperti is a super cool device that generates UV-B and actually stimulates vitamin D production.
Micro-movements. One minute, or even a few seconds of movement sprinkled throughout the day can dramatically improve productivity. First, by giving you a few moments of intentional downtime to recharge. Second, and most impactful, by increasing oxygenation and blood flow to the brain. You can get a kettlebell to put next to your desk, a pullup bar for the doorway, or a pair of adjustable dumbbells. Or, you can put on KAATSU and use their “cycle mode” to get similar benefits while you continue working.
Eyesight enhancers. Over time, computer workers struggle with declining vision. After interviewing holistic vision improvement coach Claudia Muehlenweg, I made a few simple swaps. First, I oriented my desk so that I can regularly spend a few seconds looking off into the distance. Second, I put a small running water feature in the room which improves parasympathetic activation. Last, I installed IrisTech (learn more here) on my computer to eliminate screen flicker and fix the light emission spectrum. Some people like anti-eye-strain and blue-blocking glasses.
Proper ergonomics. The way you work can also dramatically influence the way you feel at the end of the day. And whether your health improves or deteriorates over time. I spend the vast majority of my day seated on a Swiss Ball. This allows me to easily and effortlessly change positions, exercise my core while working, and prevent sitting for long periods. Then I make sure that my external monitors are at the right height so that I’m not craning my neck all day. Finally, I configure my standing desk presets so that I have about a 90-degree angle in my arms while typing.
EMF shielding. I spend the vast majority of my day inside, on my computer, surrounded by non-native electromagnetic radiation (these same wireless signals afford the conveniences of modern technology). I can’t block them and expect my technology to work. So instead, I use Grounding/Earthing products to dissipate that electrosmog before it can harm my biology. If you go this route, you’ll also want a device called the NCB which protects you from fluctuations in the electrical grid.
Biohacking your bathroom is relatively simple and quick.
First and foremost, like the kitchen, reduce unnecessary chemicals. These mostly include cleaning products and artificial fragrances. Replace them with a product certified as clean by the Think Dirty app, or make your own cleaning solution. Use essential-oil based scents.
Ventilation matters most in this room. Steam from the shower and sink condenses and increases humidity levels. Without adequate airflow, over time, this can lead to problems with mold mycotoxins. Mold is expensive and difficult (if not impossible) to remediate. Always activate the fan when running hot water.
If you shower or use the bathroom after sunset, you may want to install a dim red light in this room too. For those that want something more natural looking, go for low-wattage 2700K incandescent or halogen bulbs.
Budget permitting, install a shower water filter. That will remove many of the chemicals, pharmaceutical residues, and other contaminants absorbed through the skin while showering (even more important if you take baths). Even a cheap shower filter makes a difference.
Finally, a small addition that makes your bathroom experience much more pleasant. Human anatomy experts have long recommended against the traditional seating position. It simply leads to greater difficulties and more of a mess eliminating. Since trying the Squatty Potty, I’ve never looked back.
There’s not much I focus on in the living room.
Partially because I spend little time here.
This is the room where I scrutinize furniture and air quality.
Couches, chairs, rugs, carpets, and other common materials often off-gas VOCs, flame retardants, and other toxic compounds.
You’ll want a quality air purifier like the AirDoctor for this room. Especially if you have new furniture or have pets that sleep here.
I recommend putting some distance between areas you sit (like a couch) and electrical cords. This minimizes the effects of biologically-disruptive electrical fields. If you like to work on the couch, laptop in lap, consider using an EMF shielding pad.
You can install a blue light filter for your TV, should you use it at night often. Your incandescent/halogen light color, position, and brightness will also depend on when you mostly use the room. I leave a pair of blue light-blocking glasses in the living room just in case.
My favorite is the wellness room.
This room is a must to biohack your body at home.
Despite sharing a tiny 700-square-foot Manhattan apartment with a friend, we easily fit a simple home gym in our space.
There are all kinds of compact fitness items that can make commercial gym membership optional:
- Harambe System
- Resistance bands
- Pull-up bar
- Yoga mat
- Medicine balls
- Rebounder mini trampoline
- Vibe plate
- Weight vest
Some of these take up no space (KAATSU, dumbbells, resistance bands), while others easily slide under the bed (Harambe System, pull-up bar, yoga mat, med ball, weight vest).
Others, like the rebounder, treadmill, and vibe plate, take up some space.
Ideally, you’d also have free weight and a squat rack, but that takes quite a bit of space!
How to Biohacking Your House: The Quick & Easy Guide
The health, wellness, and fitness industry focuses on diet and exercise while neglecting the single most important variable — our living environment!
Our primary dwelling directly impacts how well our body and mind function.
The right environment can be a biosupportive sanctuary.
Most homes, on the other hand, slowly erode health and performance over time. As evident by the current numbers, chronic disease inevitably ensues.
We can quickly optimize our home with some attention to:
Slight tweaks can cause radical health transformations. Virtually effortlessly too.
A well-honed home improves:
And other facets of overall performance.
Each room could get its own entire guide. I hope these basic remediations help.
What do you do to biohack your home, apartment, or individual rooms?