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Photo-illustration by Clark Miller
Photo-illustration by Clark Miller

Biohacking Spas Are Becoming the New Starbucks

Fast-spreading alternative wellness chains are bringing the unsolved mysteries of neurofeedback and atmospheric cell training to the masses.

April 15, 2023 6:00 AM PDT

The first time Joslyn Lacy tried neurofeedback, she was skeptical. A finance administrator for a large cloud software company, Lacy dealt in numbers, not woo-woo. But she’d long struggled with chronic pain and anxiety related to underlying medical conditions. “As an African American, I wasn’t feeling heard by my doctors,” she said. They often just resorted to prescribing her pain medications, but she wanted “more than a Band-Aid.”

So when she settled into a large leather chair at the Bay Area Brain Spa, a wellness clinic in Albany, Calif., she told herself to be open to the experience. A technician attached five electrodes to Lacy’s head with conductive paste and placed a set of headphones over her ears. A soothing melody piped out, the tone subtly changing when the system detected a shift in the electrical output of Lacy’s brain. The sounds, her technician informed her, encouraged her brain to “reset.”  Now, two years and many sessions later, “I would consider myself a biohacker,” she said.

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