Matthew Modine Reveals His "Science-Fair Fun House" Wellness Secret: Human Biohacking
The 'Stranger Things' actor shares his treatment at Santa Monica Upgrade Labs (also frequented by Ari Emanuel and Gerard Butler), which is opening a new 6,000-square-foot, tech-filled facility at the Beverly Hilton.
I don't enjoy exercising on my own, but sometimes it's too difficult to find a partner for tennis or a group for basketball. I stumbled upon Upgrade Labs about a year ago when I was next door having a Bulletproof coffee. I went inside this science-fair fun house and was greeted by an incredible group of well-informed staffers.
I had a chronic neck injury from a film stunt, and one of the guys, Matt Reed, explained the benefits of PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field) on injuries and inflammation due to helping bring oxygen to the injured site. I was a bit skeptical, but after one treatment, the pain was dramatically reduced [all one-off treatments are $75 each]. This is treatment a chiropractor can't offer; it's not an adjustment, it's cellular.
Matt explained the other machines and used a term, "body hacking," that sounds like an idea touched upon in Yuval Noah Harari's book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, which talks about how much the tech industry is investing in life-extension technology. The staff did a good job explaining the hacks, but sometimes it went over my head, so I did my own research.
Essentially, death comes for all of us — it doesn't matter what we eat or how much we exercise. So we should be asking ourselves, "What do I want my 80-year-old mind and body to be like?" Personally, I want to be sharp, compos mentis, skiing and physically active. So if these Upgrade body hacks could help achieve that, I was all in. The feeling within my body made me a believer.
I love the way the minus-250-degree cryotherapy — I stay in the capsule for three minutes — invigorates my metabolism by increasing my basal metabolic rate. If you ski, imagine going night skiing in the nude. (My family used to go to cryo after hiking, and we'd dare each other to stay in the longest.) It reduces inflammation and causes your blood to retreat into your organs, moving the blood around your body in a rush. The REDcharger infrared LED light therapy is very relaxing and has 12 FDA clearances, including one for stimulating collagen production to improve skin cells' integrity.
The Virtual Float Tank machines look like they were built for space. Imagine a saltwater–filled flotation tank, but there's no water involved. You wear headphones and VR goggles, which according to NASA research project a light that stimulates the brain even though your eyes are closed. Meditation is a practice and discipline, and for me, it's a challenge — I'm too impatient. The tank helps bring me to a place yogis go to. It's indescribable.
My favorite is Cold HIIT, high-intensity interval training on a stationary bike that simulates three hours of exercise in 21 minutes. Not only do you get a good workout, the "hack" is a bonus: The cold compression cuffs on your biceps, triceps and thighs fool the brain into producing testosterone. I'm not interested in having a big, bulky, beefy body. Long, toned muscle is good for me, and I think Cold HIIT achieves this.
My circuit is Cold HIIT, PEMF, REDcharger and cryo, four times a week when I'm in L.A. I look forward to it. My grandmother taught me there are three aspects of life: physical, mental and spiritual. I like that the Lab focuses on both the physical and the mental.
Memberships start at $500 a month; a Superhuman Day package includes cell health analysis for $1,000; upgradelabs.com.
This story first appeared in the Jan. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.