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20 Vital Biohacks Time-Tested Over 5,000+ Years


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Modern health optimization is about extreme polarities.

You’re either carnivore or vegan. Nature-based or CRISPR enthusiast. Sunphobic, or sun gazer.

Both appear to have merit.

But here’s the thing…

The truth is far simpler.

The secret to perfect health?

Blending empirical modern science with timeless ancient wisdom.

Today, we’re surrounded by the paradigm of modern Western medicine. We never learned age-old healing sciences. These systems were methodically tested, refined, and passed down through millennia.

Cultures around the world independently came to the same conclusions of the highest impact health optimization practices. Study the right ancestral medicines, and you’ll discover an easier and better world of prevention. These bioharmonic tips, routines, and practices far surpass biohacking to provide better, longer-lasting results. Helping you look, feel, and perform at a level beyond your imagination.

Vitalist Wisdom Connects Biology

Contemporary science attempts to understand the natural world via reductionism and simplification.

The cognitively-pleasing goal is to attribute an effect to one single cause. Or, in some cases, a few causes.

Biology and life, however, don’t perfectly fit this model.

Humans are cybernetic systems (systems of systems). Every change affects the entire body, whether it’s observed. For example, modern medicine is slowly uncovering the intricate links throughout the body:

  • Mind to body to gut
  • Heart to brain
  • Teeth to nerves
  • Digestion to skin
  • Pain in one place to a seemingly unrelated “upstream” cause
  • Hormones to everything
  • Emotional states to our future situations

One primary reason for this lies in unobservable forces. We’re stuck trying to perceive things with our senses and our current (limited) scientific instruments. Yet the inability to measure does not indicate non-existence.

For example, a nuclear bomb would have seemed like dark wizardry 200 years ago. After understanding the atom, the outcome made sense.

Vitalism is a branch of science that explains life as the sum total of one’s bioindividual forces. Change these energetics, and the life visible to our senses changes.

Perhaps one day instrumentation will catch up, and we’ll be able to quantify these forces. Until then, this concept is a useful heuristic to understand the non-physical scaffolding behind matter. Allowing us to create lasting optimal health at the root level.

Vitalism is about recognizing (and positively influencing) the deep connections between things.

Powerful Proven Bioharmonic Rituals & Tips

powerful bioharmonic ancient rituals tips

Bioharmony is the process of amplifying the body’s innate intelligence and (overlooked) regenerative capabilities.

Following this flow of “vital life force”.

Most of us implement some forms of vitalism intuitively:

  • Coffee and other morning cortisol stimulation
  • Using expectorants to improve the efficiency of coughing
  • Taking nervines and other tranquilizing compounds at night
  • Potentiating a fever with blankets, sauna, and hot showers to “burn out the infection” and improve circulation

We’ve also forgotten many potent practices.

I’ll share some key habits, tips, and vitalistic philosophies you can use to upgrade the quality of your life.

Biochemical individuality

Every human is vastly electromagnetobiochemically unique.

Roger Williams nicely documents the tremendous variability between humans (even family members) in his book aptly titled, Biochemical Individuality. Basically, no one fits into the definition of an average human.

Whether you believe it’s your specific life force signature or a mashup of DNA/micro-RNA/exosomes/etc, biochemical individuality governs your existence. This explains the abysmal failure of cookie-cutter diets and universal (yet narrowed) approaches to health.

Food is information. Your therapeutic information is different from that of others.

Instead, vitalists focus on becoming aware of their constitutional makeup. Understanding your unique constitution can help you find the right, highest-impact solutions without falling prey to potentially dangerous trends.

Without spending hundreds of thousands on lab testing to image your unique internals. Which may or may not yield useful results.

Live seasonally

Technological advances over the past century have enabled us, for the first time in history, to exist out of sync with our local environments. Though our tastebuds approve, this convenience comes at a major cost.

In fact, the very core of Ayurveda (history’s oldest recorded medical system) is about living in alignment with our locale and adapting accordingly. Seasonal eating, scheduling activities according to the light, tolerating temperature fluctuations, etc.

The more we eschew modern conveniences to live in harmony with our local environment, the more our personal resilience builds.

We capitalize on the dynamic nature of our internal processes. Such as a greater ability to metabolize gluten and grains in the fall season.

This simple practice lets our biology adapt and thrive.

Sleep & wake

Along those lines, our sleep and wake routines profoundly intricate timings of our internal biological “clocks”.

Have you heard of the circadian rhythm?

It’s actually very old knowledge.

According to many ancient systems, we should be in bed before 10 PM. After 10 PM, the energetics of the day shift and we get a second wind of energy and alertness. Even for night owls, sleep quality quantifiably declines as we get further out of sync with the natural light cycle.

At the same time, the consistency of these timings matters.

The body responds best to stable sleep and wake timings. So what do you do if you enjoy a night out with friends?

Try to get in an afternoon nap. When that’s not possible, I try to use a recovery-boosting technology.

Light exposure

Thanks to neuroscientists like Dr. Andrew Huberman, recognition of natural light exposure is regaining popularity.

Yet ancient cultures have espoused this for many millennia.

Regardless, natural sunlight in the morning reinforces our healthy circadian rhythm, helps inoculate us against light-induced sleep disruption in the evening, as well as providing us with myriad health benefits. Beyond vitamin D. Some even practice (safe) sun gazing to reverse vision problems and shift into parasympathetic rest & recovery mode.

A few minutes of UVB-rich afternoon light takes cholesterol and sulfates (converts) vitamin D into its bioactive form. Generating anti-microbial peptides, boosting energy production (humans are “photoheterotrophic”), activating longevity pathways, increasing feel-good β-endorphins, optimizing hormones, and much more.

Cholesterol issues? Before hopping on risky therapies, the first thing to check is light exposure.

Then at night, we want to minimize light exposure. This improves sleep and keeps relaxation and regeneration hormones optimized.

Thermoregulatory conditioning

Until the advent of air conditioning, humans could not drastically alter the climate of our environment.

Countless studies have highlighted the benefits of exposure to extreme temperatures. Heat and cold. Both of these cause profound benefits when used appropriately. Perhaps most importantly, they build your biological resilience. They make you a more adaptable human, which translates into everyday life.

Since we no longer experience these temperature fluctuations naturally, it makes sense to seek them out with dedicated practices.

My two favorite practices to build thermoregulatory ability:

  • Infrared saunas (read my guide to the best infrared saunas)
  • Ice baths (a guide to cold plunges coming soon)

Tolerating this temporary discomfort increases your threshold to withstand future inconveniences that are out of your control.

Nutrient timing

Western Medicine focuses on the “what” of biohacking habits, therapies, and modalities. Our ancestors weighted the “when” equally.

Timing plays a pivotal role in Ayurveda and other ancestral medicines.

For example, digestion is strongest in the morning through the afternoon. They capitalize on the bolstered internal “fire” by eating the largest meals when digestion is strongest. Then smaller meals in the evening when digestion is weakest (and we’re least insulin sensitive).

Americans generally consume small (if any) breakfasts and lunches, and lavish multi-course dinners. Exactly backward from traditional wisdom.

Modern science has begun validating the importance of timing. Time-restricted eating/intermittent fasting is one prominent example. Even better and in accordance with old principles, early time-restricted eating (eTRF) shows the most promise.

Feast & famine

Along with eating out of season, supermarkets grant us 24/7 access to unlimited calories.

Those of us in first-world countries rarely go more than 12 hours without food.

On the other hand, folks immersed in the longevity world spend a major portion of the week fasting — in some cases 72+ hours every week!

Fasting is a stressor. In the right doses, a beneficial hormetic stressor.

A fully bioharmonized lifestyle requires both. Flipping between the cleanup periods of fasting (catabolism), to regenerative bouts of nutritional abundance (anabolism).

Too much of either leads to problems. As does too little of either.

Compatible inputs

Everything affects humans.

From the food we eat to our living conditions, to our broader environment.

Attaining and maintaining the best output (health, wellness, performance) requires quality biologically compatible inputs.

A few of these include:

Relaxing activities, conversations, and people.

Upgrade these inputs (and others) and your health will follow.

Simple movement

Movement is not synonymous with fitness. Nor exercise.

Rather, it’s the parent category of both.

Human physiology wasn’t designed to sit all day. Not to stand stationary either. Throughout history, humans changed positions regularly all day.

A well-designed movement routine will include:

  • Walking (lots)
  • Mobility
  • Resistance training
  • Occasional sprinting
  • “Working In” active recovery

We’re now learning about fascia and how movement helps circulate nutrients and drain waste (through the lymphatic and glymphatic systems).

Movement can also circulate “stagnant energy”. Humans intuitively move to overcome bouts of extreme sadness or anxious jitters.

Like everything else, some of us (myself included) overdo movement too as an escape from stillness and quiet.

Healthy movement should feel good. Every session doesn’t need to be soul-crushing.

Finding purpose

Sense of purpose and/or contributing to a larger whole is a main commonality between all global longevity hot spots.

Not just longevity, but also performance.

Ask any high-achiever, and they’ll know their current purpose.

Finding and knowing your purpose serves as a shot of inspiration when you need it most. A natural and enduring source of motivation.

It is a “North Star” through which you can filter all your most pressing decisions.

Plus, your body stays more hormonally optimal when “biologically/reproductively useful”.

Personal resiliency

Personal resiliency is your ability to withstand—even thrive—in times of especially elevated stress.

Decoding your unique genetic profile can help you amplify your predispositions, personality features, and abilities.

Resilience isn’t just genetic but rather an ability grown with deliberate practice. We’ve already mentioned two such examples—extreme temperature exposure via ice baths and saunas.

Other resilience-building practices include meditation and daily reflection. While seemingly unrelated, both activities help you process major life events, traumas, and triggers. Stimuli that cause you to cave to adversity.

It’s no coincidence that many of the world’s great leaders, professional athletes, and achievers practice some combination of resilience-enhancing inner work daily.

Digestive focus

You may have even heard the maxim, “you are what you eat”. While that conveys the importance of nutrition to life, it’s incomplete.

A similar but more accurate version is, “you are what you absorb”. This is because the quality of your inner fire (“Agni”, metabolism, digestion, or whatever you call it), determines how effectively your body can actually use that fuel.

One popular analogy is to think of a tree. The most fertile Earth does no good if the tree’s roots are rotting and unable to assimilate.

Your digestive system is like the tree’s roots, largely responsible for extracting nutrition.

But it’s not just food.

Decoding emotions

Although not glamorous or sexy, humans are largely emotional beings. We make decisions based on emotion and later justify our behavior using logic.

That includes those of us in “left brain” occupations like programmers, lawyers, mathematicians, scientists, etc.

Emotions are the language of the body. They’re the interface between the internal and external and they serve a vital purpose. You can choose to suppress them and ignore that information.

You could also tape over your car’s check engine warning indicator.

Both mask the issue, neither fixes anything.

Behind every emotion lies an opportunity for growth, expansion, and increased power.

Conscious breathing

Thanks to Wim Hof and other contemporaries, the health & wellness world has renewed interest in breathwork. It’s one of few autonomic behaviors that we can consciously control.

At the same time, it can rapidly shift our state. To relax, to energize, to calm, to focus, and even to hallucinate.

I’m a fan of deliberate breathwork practices:

Heck, even mouth-taping while sleeping forces better breathing habits.

But the very most important time to control our breathing, paradoxically, is when we’re least able. When we don’t realize we’re holding our breath and slipping into a sympathetic-dominant stressed state. New tech like Hanu Health (read my review) can help you spot and retrain “email apnea” breathing when it’s most detrimental (and unnoticed).

Natural detoxification

For most of my life, the word detox conjured up images of a new-age juice fast at a silent retreat.

But detoxification is actually a natural process constantly occurring within the body and brain. Your liver, kidneys, and other organs work around the clock to purge your system of chemicals and other threats disturbing delicate processes. From the things we touch to the air we breathe, to the water we bathe in, to the food we consume.

Like everything in the body, this process takes energy and ample raw materials. Every year we introduce thousands of new chemicals into our environments. So increases our detoxification burden.

Tragically, the best place to store toxicants is fat tissue. This insulates it from the surrounding healthy tissues. To meet the ever-increasing toxicant burden, your body will produce new fat cells (regardless of calorie consumption) to protect you.

To make things worse, stress robs some of the nutrients required for the process.

That’s why ancient medical systems recommend a few short periods of natural detoxification support every year. Helping your body return to baseline.

Daily rituals

Whether you loathe the idea of rituals, or script every moment of your day, we all have some rituals. From common habits like brushing your teeth to bingeing social media.

The two most important routines are your morning routine and your pre-sleep wind-down routine.

Both of these help the body gracefully and seamlessly transition from one phase into the next.

Those that master routines have better energy, clarity, and motivation in the mornings; and drug-free relaxation, contentment, and deeper sleep.

Plus, it alleviates decision fatigue and overwhelm.

Ideal routines vary from person to person. Regardless, carve out some time first thing in the morning and before bed to facilitate your transition.

Social immersion

Despite the last several years, even the most introverted humans respond profoundly to socialization.

The need for community is hard-wired in the human genome.

When you get your required dose, hugs and human touch cause profound health benefits. At the deepest level.

From altering hormone levels to increasing happiness to even reducing the necessary dose of pain medication.

In most circumstances, the benefits of social time absolutely outweigh occasionally sacrificing routine and other rigid health habits.

Outdoor immersion

If you’ve read this far, you probably saw this one coming.

Forest bathing, nature therapy, or just time spent outdoors is invaluable to long-term wellbeing.

Any time outdoors beats none, but cruising through green landscapes or any form of nature is especially therapeutic.

From the natural sunlight to the plant terpenes and bioactives in the air to the immune balancing microbes on pets passing by, to skin-to-bare-soil “Earthing”, to stress-relieving fractals ubiquitous throughout nature.

Even the most metropolitan “concrete jungle” cities have parks.

Time outdoors is a daily non-negotiable for me and for many of our ancestors who did have the luxury of a home completely isolated from the natural world.

Slowing down

With the fast pace of modern living, slowing down can seem counterproductive.

I struggle with this habit more than anything, yet it’s also one of the most powerful of all. Paradoxically, moving faster and checking more off the TODO list doesn’t always lead to greater success or achievement.

Instead, many of the world’s most gifted do the exact opposite. They slow down, find the most important lead domino, accomplish that, and take inventory.

These folks prioritize rest, downtime, and regular breaks throughout the day. Some even nap and enjoy several long meditation sessions per day.

As the military maxim goes,

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast Click To Tweet

Unrestricting yourself

To hard charging Type A folks, this one may be the hardest of all.

Humans, and life in general, respond phenomenally to pulsation. To change.

This may look like ditching the usual routines for a spontaneous ad of courseventure. Or indulging a little on a day of major celebration.

There’s an old saying that goes like this…

That which we resist, persists Click To Tweet

The more something gets opposed, the greater the demand for it.

For example, when a movie gets censored, demand skyrockets better than any marketer could.

By allowing yourself to experience “the forbidden” on occasion, you’ll notice that some of the allure quickly evaporates.

Timeless Biohacks For Peak Health & Performance

We look down on ancient humans as “barbaric”, “stupid”, “clueless”, and “antiquated”.

Without a doubt, they were certainly wrong about some things.

Yet thousands of years ago, without our scientific instrumentation, these same people created intricate systems that still outperform Western allopathic medicine.

Many of their natural, safe, and effective remedies address the very core of issues rather than masking symptoms with palliative care.

True preventative medicine.

But preventative healthcare does come with one huge drawback…

It doesn’t work as fast.

You won’t take a magic pill and instantly feel better.

Rather, many of the most powerful bioharmonic health practices take some time and dedication. And instead of side effects, they come with side benefits.

Remember, it’s not the occasional treat or indulgence that will derail you. On the contrary. That can even accelerate your long-term progress.

Instead, focus on how you live 80 percent of the time.

Do you practice any of this ancestral bioharmonizing wisdom? Am I missing any? Let me know in the comments below!

Nick Urban

Nick Urban is the Founder of Outliyr, an expert Biohacker of 10+ years, Data Scientist, Certified CHEK Practitioner, Host of the Mind Body Peak Performance Podcast, and a High-Performance Coach. Click here to read how Nick went from struggling pre-diabetic, to collegiate rugby national champion. If you want to send Nick a quick message, then visit his Contact Page.

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