Michael Nguyen, once a a tailor to the stars, is the founder of Longevity House, an exclusive club where the ultra-wealthy are dipping into high-tech ways to prolong their lives. There’s the BioCharger, a device that fights chronic disease and other ailments, a red-light therapy room, experimental fecal transplants, and access to various specialists, from a chakra guy to a person who can read your stool samples like “physiological tea leaves.” For these biohackers, the goal is optimization and autonomy over one’s own health care. (Says the starry-eyed founder: “The patient is the doctor of the future.”) But does biohacking actually work, or is Nguyen just a wellness snake-oil salesman for the 1%?

The club is like “Goop but for tech bros,” where “cryotherapy is the new CrossFit,” and where the body and mind are viewed as early-generation iPhones, ready for upgrades. Shea takes us on a wild ride, reporting with wide eyes but also a necessary dose of skepticism.

With its comparatively lax regulations, Munich is to biohackers as Graceland is to Elvis fans. Nguyen was there recently, looking into new stem cell therapies that are not legal in Canada. He has buddies who go biannually for youth blood transfusions and good beer.

Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.