By Gofire Staff
Though it sounds like a New Age crystal-coveting trend, the quantified self movement is actually the exact opposite: It’s ordinary people harnessing health tracking technology to take control of their health.
Wired writers Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly came up with the concept of the quantified self (QS) in 2009. They were fascinated by the proliferation of digital systems for tracking everything from sleep to diet, illness symptoms, heart rate and mood, to name just a few, and saw that the use of technology to collect data about ourselves had become a movement.
In 2010, Wolf gave a TED Talk titled “The Quantified Self,” in which he detailed this new 21st-century practice, exploring how digital health tracking technology has “changed our sense of self in the world.” The talk went viral, galvanizing mainstream interest in personal health tracking and the quantified self movement.
Today there are hundreds of QS meetups in cities around the world, a Quantified Self Institute, conferences, expositions and community forums, all devoted to exploring and bettering “self-knowledge through numbers.”
It’s not like people had never tracked their health or behavior until the digital age (remember lockable diaries?)—but never before have we been able to do it so effortlessly.
Our technology now synthesizes health data so we can analyze patterns and make effective changes. Machine-learning algorithms continue to get better at crunching the numbers, and give us actionable insight by prompting us to drink water, get moving, take our medication, sit up straight, go to bed earlier, or even think positive thoughts.
Nearly a decade after Wolf and Kelly coined the term, it’s clear the quantified self isn’t just a fad. Health tracking is not only here to stay, it’s fundamentally transforming the way we approach health.
Dr. Joseph Kvedar, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, told National Public Radio in March 2018 that personal health technology will eventually be integrated into everyone’s healthcare. He predicted we’ll soon live in “a world where everything is measured, everything is proactive and preventative, and we react to it before you get sick.”
Cardiologist Dr. Eric Topol has called health tracking technology “the biggest shake-up in the history of medicine,” and told BBC News he often prescribes digital health apps for his patients to monitor their health metrics.
Medical health professionals agree that personal health tracking empowers people to engage in preventative habits. Tracking your own health information has proven an invaluable tool for symptom management and preventing illness: In a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, 46 percent of people who track personal health indicators said that this activity had changed their overall approach to maintaining their health or the health of someone for whom they provide care. Beyond that, 40 percent of trackers said the practice led them to ask a doctor new questions or to seek out a second opinion, and 34 percent of trackers said it had affected a decision about how to treat an illness or condition.
Clearly, health tracking technology allows people to play an active role in their own wellness. A quantified self is a healthier self.
Here at Gofire, our mission is to bring all of the benefits of personal health tracking into the realm of plant medicine. The Gofire ecosystem is designed so you can easily document the effects and outcomes of the plant-based products you consume and achieve consistent results. Our app aggregates data to create graphs that allow consumers to see which products and dosages are working best for them.
In addition, consumers benefit from a robust database powered by the Gofire community. Anonymous product ratings and reviews offer guidance on the best plant-based medicines for various conditions and desired outcomes, from effective pain relief to combating anxiety and stress, to promoting relaxation and better sleep.
The quantified self movement continues to transform our approach to health and wellness, and Gofire is proud to be part of it.
Download the Gofire app here.