Meet Mark

Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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Category: Self-Experimentation

10 Ways to Make Every Day a Window for Change

I’ll admit I love the post-holiday weeks—the quiet and clarity after all the hoopla. I know I’m in good company when I say I look forward to getting back to my routine with a renewed vigor. It’s a time of self-focus again after the hectic period of extroversion. In this way, the month lends itself well to goal-setting. Being in the field I’m in, I’ve seen it work for people in powerful ways, and I personally harness New Year’s momentum for myself each year. That said, I’ve also seen people get too wrapped around an all-or-nothing mentality this time of year. The sad fact is, some people take a vice grip to their resolutions and then give up the whole venture when their self-imposed tension doesn’t translate into sustainable motivation. Do they forget that we enjoy 12 full months per calendar year, 365 glorious days—all of which offer the same opportunity for change?

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Psychedelics: A New Medical Frontier?

Long before humans interacted with the numinous through intermediaries and holy books, we experienced it in other ways. All night drumming and dancing sessions, extended fasts, exposure to extreme temperatures, steam lodges, and week-long wilderness forays, and other rituals have all been used to produce visions and transcend normal waking consciousness. There’s even a theory that early Christian baptisms were actually simulated drownings that produced near-death experiences and the direct sensation of being in the presence of a higher power.

But perhaps the oldest, most reliable way to directly experience the divine is through the use of psychedelics.

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What Screen Time Does to Our Kids (and What We Can Do About It)

For many parents I know, it’s one of those prime examples of “what I thought I’d never do before I had kids” versus “what I ended up doing after I actually had them.” After all, most of us were children of those pre-tech boom years. (Some of us were even pre-T.V.) We never had all the gadgets when we were growing up. Instead, we spent hours of childhood being bored and finding creative solutions that had no connection to a power outlet. Our tech toys were the likes of Lite-Brite or walkie-talkies (if we were lucky), not $600 app-loaded tablets. Summer road trip? That’s what Mad Libs were for.

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The Pitfalls and Limitations of Self-Experimentation

I’m a huge proponent of self-experimentation. We can’t always rely on funding for research relevant to our needs, interests, and desires, and those studies that are relevant are still using participants that are not us. We like control, when it comes down to it. We want to be the arbiters of our own destinies, and running (formal or informal) self-experiments of 1 can help us get to that point. But as helpful as it can be, there are both inherent limits to self-experimentation and common pitfalls people fail to take into account when designing their experiments of one.

I’m not referring to the basics of experimentation, like the need to control for variables or the importance of limiting the number of interventions you test at once. You guys know that stuff. I’m talking about the limitations most people don’t foresee:

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Why Some Like It Hot

We’ve explored the health benefits of cold (water) exposure. What about heat?

I decided to explore the health benefits of acute heat exposure in the form of saunas, baths, and steam rooms for one main reason: the sauna is a near-universal human tradition, and I’m always curious about those. Indigenous peoples of North America had the sweat lodge, those of Central America the temazcal. The Romans had the thermae, which they picked up and refined from the Greeks. Other famous traditions include Finnish saunas, Russian banyas, Turkish hammams, Japanese sentó (or the natural spring-fed onsen), and the Korean jjimjilbang. Are all these many billions of people across time and space sitting in heated rooms for the heck of it?

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Are You Sacrificing Your Health?

There’s that saying people throw out when a hypothetical situation is profoundly unappealing or flat-out unconscionable to them – “Not for a million dollars…”. Not for a million dollars. Not for ten million. Not for…what? Think for a second and identify the most important, precious, valuable principles and priorities that you wouldn’t sacrifice for anything in the world. Got ‘em? Let me ask this: does your health make the list?

If it did, think about how you got to this point. How and when did you decide your health was so comparatively critical? How have you arranged your life to live that priority each day? What’s been a fairly simple adaptation, and what’s required genuine compromise? What options have you been obliged to reject? What people have you disappointed as a direct/indirect result? And what have been the benefits that keep you committed? If health didn’t make your list, let’s put the obvious on the table. Honesty congratulated, why didn’t it register?

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