Self-Tracking Made Simple with Thomas Blomseth Christiansen

Known for his complete five-year record of his sneezes since 2011, and over 100,000+ observations from tracking food, water and supplement intake, sleep, fatigue and allergies, Thomas Blomseth Christiansen took matters fully into his own hands in finding solutions to his health issues. He is a technologist and social entrepreneur with a special interest in personal health data, who has been building technology for extensive self-tracking into different health conditions.

Thomas’ self-quantification journey began with his pollen allergy, when he decided it would better to base his health decisions off self-tracked quantitative data rather than his own instincts. Now, after many minor and some major changes to his lifestyle, he has nearly fixed his pollen allergy, all without using any medication.

“For me it wasn’t so much a question about who had the most knowledge, it was a question about if I believed in the method that was applied, and that was when I decided, I believe I have a better method of solving my personal health issues”, says Thomas Blomseth Christiansen.

As a software programmer, Thomas decided that if he was going to spend so much time tracking his own health, he might as well develop tools that others could use. In 2011, he created his smartphone own app Mymee, a clinical analysis platform for self-tracking that is able to detect correlations between symptom patterns and daily behaviours.

Thomas believes that along with the guidance of a good clinical team, Mymee can uncover important biological cues about causes and drivers of disorders, helping patients find the optimal solution. This in turn can open new and more objective rational approaches to lifestyle change and ultimately, better clinical outcomes. Features of this app include the ability to track several lifestyle variables, such as the type and quantity of foods eaten, fluid intake, patterns of activity, sleep, environmental exposures, social factors, among others.

In addition to self-tracking his health, Thomas has also taken this data-driven approach and implemented it into his passion of running. In a search of better performance, Thomas added a host of instrumentation into his running, capturing data and making observations of his running form. “I had this quantitative understanding of my running now, which made it possible for me to find much better ways of defining new challenges … I know what works for me”. While this approach to health and fitness may not be for everyone, Thomas demonstrated the possibilities of implementing self-tracking into one’s lifestyle, and the many benefits it can provide.

When it comes to the medical system, he believes there is a drive towards a healthcare model where the individual is more responsible for his or her health. He suggests that when a patient has a really good sense of how they are feeling, they can pick up different signals and cues reaching a diagnosis more efficiently, and thus making more informed decisions about their daily habits. According to Thomas, “the suffering process is a learning process”, and he finds that self-tracking is about creating a feedback loop in that learning process, looking at the body more as a decision-making system.

Thomas is going to share his insights at the Biohacker Summit Helsinki on October 13-14

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