As someone who has been interested in the concept of “biohacking” for the past couple of years, needless to say I was pretty existed when I got a giftcard to Biohacking Center Finland as a Christmas present. Despite being rather grandiosely named, I had never heard about this establishment earlier, which was rather surprising. The giftcard was for both an isolation tank session and a neurofeedback session, so I booked them both back to back. The idea was that the tank would calm my mind in order to then get most out of the neurofeedback session, latter of which was completely foreign concept for me. This is my brief review of those sessions, and also the start of biohacking in Finland -tag for this blog. Keep an eye out for that one!
The man behind Biohacking Center Finland is Mikko Kemppe. He’s bit of an OG when it comes to the Finnish biohacking scene, but I haven’t met him in person earlier. As it happens, he was behind the counter when I went to check-in for my appointment. We chatted a while and turns out the guy has hundreds of isolation tank sessions under his belt – most likely more than any other Finn – and you could clearly see that he was passionate about biohacking in general. We ended up sharing few of our favorite podcast about the subject, after which I headed to the tank room.
Side note: finding the Biohacking Center turned out to be a bit difficult. The entrance is behind a library that’s in the same address, and you have to essentially go down to the basement floor.
This wasn’t my first rodeo either, so I already knew what to expect from the floating tank session. The tank didn’t have the typical “egg” shape, instead it was more like a big box. Shower facilities and such were what you’d expect, and the room was dimly lit. Luckily, I could find a switch to turn off one of the main ambient light of the room.
However, when I stepped inside the tank and closed the hatch, I noticed that it didn’t seal up properly. After fiddling around with it for a moment, it seemed to be like that by design. This was definitely a nuisance, as when you enter the absolute darkness of the tank, even a tiny bit of light becomes very noticeable. And sure enough, a small streak of light was shining through that crack between the hatch and the tank’s body. Apparently, some want to keep lights on when they’re inside a sensory deprivation tank, but for me, it’s not true sensory deprivation if there’s still sensory input through my eyes! I spent the session my eyes closed, but in the end, it wasn’t as great of an experience than what floating is in true darkness.
As usual, the hour went by fast and went back to the lobby. I was then guided to a harrypotterisk closet under a staircase, where I sat on a comfy chair in what has to be the world’s smallest biohacking room. But the room size didn’t matter, as my next task was simple: with a bunch of wires attached to my head and noise cancelling headphones on, I started looking at the two computer screens in front of me. (If you want to see how the room and those wires look like, watch this video.)
I experimented with different breathing exercises to see how they’d impact my readings, which I could see updating live on the right-side screen. The bigger display on the left had a screen saver -type of a light pattern that was synced with the music I heard through the headphones. The soundscape was something akin to binaural beats and it had three or so different phases, if I recall correctly.
Truth be told, I didn’t get much out of the 30-minute session. Neurofeedback training has been praised by some very big names in the industry, but I’ve understood that it would require multiple and consistent sessions to really start working on your mind, focus and clarity. To me it would’ve made a lot more sense if this would have been replaced in the giftcard with let’s say a neurosonic treatment that they also provide. I wouldn’t recommend neurofeedback session especially for someone who is just tipping their toes in the world of biohacking – as the case likely is with giftcard recipients.
So, a summary of my first visit at Biohacking Center Finland:
+ friendly and knowledgeable staff
+ some treatments that aren’t available elsewhere in Helsinki (as far as I know)
+ pricing at least for the isolation tank sessions seems to be the cheapest in Helsinki
– bit hard to find the location
– no total darkness in the isolation tank (could be user error, too)
– neurofeedback training is a bit too advanced for just one time experiment
I’ll probably visit them again at some point in order to try out the other services they offer. If I do, I’ll make sure to post a follow-up on them as well!