Neodymium Magnet Implants – What Are They and Are They Safe?

If you are at all interested in biohacking or the bodymod scene, then you may by now have come across the concept of ‘neodymium implants’ (or ‘installs’). If you aren’t into those scenes then there’s a chance you won’t have as it’s a pretty underground concept – but still something fascinating and unusual that it may someday pay to know about. Here we will look at something strange, amazing and mildly disturbing going on right now that sounds like it’s part of a science fiction movie…

What Is Biohacking?

Biohacking is the concept of altering the human body in ways that are designed to make it perform more optimally than it does ‘out of the box’. Biohackers use medical techniques and ideas, but the movement distinct from medicine in that its aim is not to help ‘cure’ ailments and return people to ‘normal’ – but rather to advance people who are already well so that they become ‘better than well’. If this is sounding familiar then you might have read about the concept of transhumanism; basically it’s that but with a more underground vibe where rather than waiting for technological innovations biohackers or ‘grinders’ are already starting to insert things into themselves and inject themselves with things using a combination of extreme body-modding and some basic electronic engineering/knowledge of biology.

Of course it’s a little dangerous in some cases, and certainly a fringe endeavour (as is anything that involves using vodka for anaesthetic and then cutting yourself open), but interestingly there have been some developments in the area and some of these have genuinely managed to extend human capabilities. Take for instance the neodymium implant – one of the most popular ‘mods’ that enables grinders access to a whole new sense and means they can technically classify themselves as cyborgs…

What Is a Neodymium Implant

Essentially neodymium is a type of powerful magnet, and what biohackers and body-modders are doing is inserting them ‘subdermally’ (below the skin) into their fingertips. The idea of this is that the nerve density in that area is enough that it can sense tiny vibrations in the magnet caused by electromagnetic fields. This then gives you the ability essentially to ‘touch’ those magnetic fields which means you can tell when a train line is passing beneath you, when your microwave is going through particular cycles, or when there is a magnet somewhere nearby. On the one hand it’s a way to expand your senses and to become privy to a world you probably never knew existed, but on the other it’s the first step toward the transhuman dream and represents tampering with your body in order to perceive and interact with the world in new ways.

Is it Safe? Should You Do It?

However while this is undoubtedly all very interesting and exciting, it’s also somewhat dangerous and worrying. While there is nothing wrong with the concept of transhumanism or even grinding, there certainly are things wrong with encouraging people to go through with procedures that could lead to long term damage. Neodymium for starters is a toxic irritant and one that could have carcinogenic effects on surrounding tissue if it were exposed to them directly. The good news is that grinders circumvent this minor issue by using a more bio-acceptable coating such as parlyne or silicone. The problem with this is that either can be damaged fairly easily leading to a blackening of the skin around the implant. At the same time if the magnet were to migrate due to the tissue in the finger forcing it out, or due to impact or magnetics pulling it inside your skin, then this could easily lead to tissue damage too.

More concerning possibly is the idea of performing this procedure without the help of a medical professional which of course leaves the possibility of infection, of unnecessary tissue damage and of serious blood loss. The process also leaves nasty scars and some report it as being uncomfortable typing or performing other routine tasks if their magnet is too close to the skin. The most sensible grinders have had the process done by piercers rather than going DIY, but even then many of the implants have had to be removed.

In short then, these pioneers are leading the way in an exciting new field and showing us some fascinating ways we can advance ourselves and think outside the box. They raise interesting ethical questions and they bring us one step closer to a science fiction for better or for worse…

But all that said – it’s not terribly safe and could be pretty bad for you. So best to leave it to them for now…

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Adam Sinicki

Adam Sinicki is a full time writer who spends most of his time in the coffee shops of London. Adam has a BSc in psychology and is an amateur bodybuilder with a couple of competition wins to his name. His other interests are self improvement, general health, transhumanism and brain training. As well as writing for websites and magazines, he also runs his own sites and has published several books and apps on these topics.

Follow Adam on Linkedin: adam-sinicki, twitter: thebioneer, facebook: adam.sinicki and youtube: treehousefrog

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