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You put on the electronic headpiece, flip a switch, and sink into a state of deep relaxation. When you remove the headgear a half hour later you are more intelligent; your memory has increased dramatically; your brain cells have forged new and richer interconnections; your thinking is more lucid and creative; your brain itself, like a muscle that has just been pumping iron, has become larger, more powerful. Sounds like science fiction, but in fact I've spent the last four years investigating and experimenting with more than a dozen devices that show evidence of having such brain-boosting effects.
My interest in how modem technology could be used to supercharge the brain was sparked by an experience I had over a decade back. I was living alone in a small log lean-to on a wilderness mountainside, and would often go for weeks without speaking to another human. In the winter, surrounded by vast fields of white snow and sky, I began to experience new things: exotic visions in my fire, long conversations with a voice inside my head, vivid memories, a flood of creative ideas. When I did suddenly encounter a patch of color-the red blood of a freshly killed deer, the glittering eye of a weasel-it seemed electrifying, magically intense. It seemed as if my brain had shifted into some hitherto unsuspected higher gear.
At the same time I was reading neuroscientist John Lilly's book Center of the Cyclone, a description of his first experiments in the mind altering environment of a flotation tank. It struck me that the mental states I was experiencing on the mountain were very similar to Lilly's - except while mine were a result of many months of isolation, Lilly's had happened within minutes. It was like hiking thousands of miles to find that someone else had arrived at the same destination in a few hours by jet: the float tank seemed to be an accelerator, a technological shortcut to heightened awareness. Hey, said the voice in my head, We've got to check out this floating thing as soon as possible. When I tried it, floating seemed to catapult me into states of heightened awareness time after time. Intrigued, I began interviewing neuroscientists and pored over scientific journals, attempting to discover what effects floating had on brain functioning. My research led to the writing of The Book of Floating.- Exploring The Private Sea (Morrow, 1985).
But in my talks with the scientists I discovered that the float tank was only one example of a variety of new devices. I found there was a whole network of neuropsychologists, bioelectricians, engineers and inventors, keenly aware of the latest discoveries in neuroscience, and actively engaged in devising, testing, and putting to use a variety of "mind-machines" that they claimed had a wide range of brain-stimulating, mind-enhancing effects.
Studies of some of these machines indicated that users showed dramatic improvements in IQ, memory, concentration, reaction time, sensory acuity, creativity and more. Often the devices produced peak experiences, euphoria, or "Eureka events." One brain researcher called the use of such devices "the most significant development in learning since the invention of writing." This, I decided, was something worth looking into. So for several years, in addition to investigating all the available research data on the devices, I spent hundreds of hours trying each of them out myself. I describe these explorations in Megabrain: New Tools and Techniques for Brain Growth and Mind Expansion (Morrow 1986).
But, you may wonder, how can mere mechanical devices alter such things as intelligence, creative skills or the physical brain? These things are "given" to each of us, like our faces, aren't they? Well, that's what scientists had long believed. Now, however, a series of extraordinary neuroscientific discoveries have revolutionized our view of how the brain works.
BRAIN EXPANSION THROUGH STIMULATION
The major discovery has been that the human brain has the potential for immensely greater growth and transformation than anyone had imagined. This new understanding of the brain's remarkable plasticity began to emerge from a series of studies at UC Berkeley in which groups of rats were raised in different environments: some were kept isolated in "impoverished environments," and some were placed in "enriched environments"-large cages with swings, bridges, ladders, toys, frequently changing stimuli, and a variety of challenges. As expected, when tested for intelligence, the "enriched" rats scored much higher than the others. However, the researchers were astonished to discover that the brains of the enriched rats actually grew larger and heavier. Analysis showed that this brain growth was caused by a growth of individual neurons, and was accompanied by an enormous increase in the richness and density of connections between neurons.
These results were so extraordinary that the researchers themselves found them hard to believe, but studies by other scientists throughout the world quickly verified the findings and went beyond them; they found that such brain changes in response to stimulation could take place virtually instantaneously, and not just in laboratory animals, but in human beings. There is no longer any doubt: when presented with new, challenging experiences or stimulations, the brain alters, grows. As neurobiologist Gary Lynch of UC Irvine puts it, when the brain receives certain types of stimulations, "just bip! - literally that long, the nerve circuits change and don't go back."
The implications of these findings are breathtaking. Since the brain grows in response to stimulation, then it should be possible to create instruments that deliver optimal types and amounts of stimulation directly to the brain, feeding concentrated bursts of experience to our neurons and, in a hothouse effect, triggering brain growth and neural enrichment. Such mind machines could rapidly create the sort of intensified, high-efficiency mental states produced more slowly by such traditional mind-expanding techniques as meditation, chanting, and yoga: peak experience virtually on demand.
THE EVOLUTIONARY BRAIN
As I experimented with devices with names like the Mind Mirror, Tranquilite, and Alphatronic I became increasingly impressed, not only with the sheer variety of imaginative tools people have devised in their attempts to enhance mental powers, but by the fact that so many people have felt driven to create such devices, and that so many others are so eager to make use of them. The phenomenon seems to be the cutting edge of some powerful but as yet little recognized cultural drive.
The recurrent comparison of the machines with exercise and bodybuilding provides one explanation. As our national obsession with physical fitness grows, an obvious next step is a turn to mental fitness. What use is a youthful, powerful body with a deteriorating, 97 pound weakling of a brain? Seen in this light, mind machines are simply mental counterparts of Nautilus machines- moving from pumping iron to pump- ing energy.
But there's a further, and perhaps more important explanation. We know the evolutionary process continues as the human race faces serious threats to its survival. Perhaps today the humans "fittest" to survive are not the strongest or best hunters, but those most imaginative, adaptive, and capable of developing strategies to insure the survival of the species. The unprecedented problems the world faces today demand mental solutions, new ideas. Human survival may depend on our ability to increase our mental powers and develop new strategies for overcoming our present crises. Evolution involves developing new mental powers. we have reached "childhood's end." So, effective mind machines, devices that enhance mental functioning and stimulate richer neural interconnections, might be seen as evolutionary tools.
It is possible, then, that the growing drive toward mental enrichment, brain stimulation, and the exploration of our mind's potentials (what writer Robert Anton Wilson calls the "Intelligence Intensification Explosion") represents the upsurge of some survival instinct from the depths of our collective human unconscious, and may well be part of a potentially beneficial, history-determining process - one which could widen our knowledge and, conceivably, help determine the future of the race. Then there's this, too: the machines are fun and feel good! They offer large numbers of people the opportunity to explore altered states of consciousness safety, legally, and without any of the potential side effects of mind altering chemicals.
In his seminal book, Prometheus Rising, Robert Anton Wilson, discussing the "robot cycles" humans seem trapped into repeating, claims that, "When the accumulated facts, tools, techniques and gadgets of neuroscience - the science of brain change and brain liberation - reach a certain critical mass, we will all be able to free ourselves from these robot cycles." He asserts that we will reach this critical mass of crossover point in "less than ten years." Those words were written over six Years ago. I believe that we are reaching that critical mass now.
Synchro Energizer: Pacemaker for the Brain
Here are some of the "brain liberation" tools that are now available. The SYNCHRO ENERGIZER is a console about the size of a small briefcase covered with dials, to which are attached stereo headphones and goggles that encircle each eye with tiny light bulbs. When the machine is turned on the user hears rhythmic sound patterns that pulse in synchronization with a stroboscopic flickering of lights. EEG studies show that brain wave activity falls into rhythm with (or becomes "entrained" to) the device, fascillitating the desired brain wave frequency at the turn of a dial.
What's more, the synergistic effect of the sound and light produces a kaleidoscopic stream of brilliant patterns and images. Even though the lights are white, the visions that appear are vivid, spectacular, of bright primary colors. Often, the images become realistic mind movies: emotionally charged and dreamlike scenes. Dr. Thomas Budzynski, who uses the device in his biofecdback clinic in Denver, has called it "a facilitator of unconscious retrieval." The device is now the subject of research at over a dozen universities in such areas as education and accelerated learning, gerontology, sports performance, pain reduction, and substance abuse.
Hemi Sync: I Hear A Synchrony
Radio-TV executive Bob Monroe (best known for his book Journeys Out of the Body), trying to induce states of high-level brain functioning, experimented with special sounds called "binaural beat frequencies." He found that when these sounds, made of combinations I of two or more pure tones, were introduced into the brain, they caused the brain wave activity to fall into the same rhythm as the beat, like a crystal goblet resonating to a pure tone. Selecting sound signals of appropriate frequencies, Monroe could alter and entrain brain wave activity, causing both brain hemispheres to resonate at whatever frequency he desired.
This was a valuable and revolutionary discovery. Extensive research had already proven that when the brain was in certain extraordinary states (such as in the depths of meditation, at moments of intense creativity or at peak experiences), it produced a characteristic pattern of brain waves, including large quantities of slow brain waves (called theta waves), and shifted into a pattern in which both hemispheres functioned together (a state neurologists called "synchrony"). Monroe's discovery made it possible to produce certain sound patterns that would allow the user to produce both hemispheric synchrony and to "tune" the brain waves to whatever frequency was desired.
Monroe patented this audio brain-synchronization method under the name HEMI SYNC, and now makes it available on a variety of tape recordings for home use, or in the form of a Hemi Sync synthesizer, which can be hooked up to a home audio system. This synthesizer is a powerful device: it can be adjusted to play any of a variety of beat frequencies (such as a combination of theta and the ultra-slow delta, to induce profound relaxation; or a combination of theta with the rapid beta, to produce a relaxed but alert state ideal for learning, reading, etc.) and to play these beat frequencies at any sound level desired (you can set it several decibels below the level of the music you're playing, so thatthe Hemi Sync signals are never audible yet still have powerful mind-altering effects).
Laboratory research into the uses of Hemi Sync shows a variety of brain stimulating effects, and in fact the device is now being used as a tool for increasing classroom attention and accelerating learning in a number of public school systems, at universities, and in U.S. Army language schools.
Alpha-Stim - We Sing The Mind Electric
We have electric-powered brains: all our thoughts and perceptions consist of the interactions of complex electromagnetic systems and fields that constantly sweep across the brain, triggering the release of neuro chemicals. So it makes sense that shooting an electrical current through the brain should directly, at times radically, alter one's mental state.
One way of doing this has come into wide use in the last two decades: Transcutaneous Electro Neural Stimulation, or TENS. TENS units are widely used to alleviate pain or overcome addictions since the electrical current stimulates the release of the neurochemicals known as endorphins, the body's natural opiates. However, according to bioelectricity experts, electrical currents can be delivered in an infinite number of wave shapes, frequencies, and intensities, each one capable of affecting different groups of neurons and causing them to release different neurochemicals. Since scientists now believe that there are a neurochemicals mediating virtually every mental state, such as love, fear, courage, serenity and deep concentration, theoretically it is possible, if the device is "tuned" to the correct level, to stimulate any mental state.
ALPHA-STIM. One of the most effective TENS devices is one developed by neurobiologist Dr. Daniel Kirsch and called the ALPHASTIM. This device operates at levels hundreds of times less powerful, and at a much lower frequency, than most TENS units-producing a current similar to the natural current produced by the body's cells, and thus able to stimulate the cells in a more natural way.
Aside from the therapeutic applications, the device is of particular interest to those interested in enhanced mental functioning when it is used in its "transcranial" mode: by attaching the electrodes to your earlobes, you can send current directly into the brain, rapidly producing a state of deep relaxation, heightened awareness, and a sense of well-being or euphoria. Research now suggests that by "tuning" the brain's electrical activity, and stimulating the release of neurotransmitters associated with enhanced mental performance, such devices can be used to boost learning, memory, and other mental processes.
Perhaps the most startling and convincing studies have recently been completed, and the extraordinary results are only now being made public. Richard Madden, Ph.D., of the School of Electromedical Sciences of the City University of Los Angeles, working with Dr. Daniel Kirsch, the dean of that school (and also the inventor of the Alpha-Stim), conducted an experiment in electrical stimulation and learning using a double-blind, placebo control design. Subjects were randomly assigned to two groups: (1) an experimental group, who received electrostimulation while learning and performing a computer task; and (2) a control group, who were also hooked up to the electrostimulation devices and received the same treatment as the experimental group, but did not receive any electrical stimulation. Statistical comparisons showed both groups were initially equivalent in age, education and pretreatment performance.
The experimental group received 10 minutes of electrical stimulation while learning and performing the computer task; the control group learned and performed the task for the same period of time, without stimulation. The results were clear: the group receiving electrical stimulation learned the task, and performed the task with more speed and accuracy than the control group. That is, the electrical stimulation actually improved learning abilities, concentration, accuracy and speed!
Another intriguing fact came to light as the results were analyzed. The experimenters expected that both groups would improve on their performance with repeated practice and greater familiarity with the task. It makes sense that the more you practice something, the better you will perform that task. However, something unexpected happened with the control group. As Kirsch explained it to me, "The interesting unexpected finding was that 30.8 percent of the control group actually did worse as they went along. We expected them to do better with each trial; they did worse, due to fatigue, inattention and boredom." On the other hand, the group receiving electrical stimulation continued to improve and learn over repeated trials. Somehow electrical stimulation alleviated boredom and fatigue.
Madden and Kirsch conclude: "Since the results of this study demonstrate the efficacy of TCES (transcranial electrostimulation) in improving human learning and performance, the possible applications of this modality seem virtually unlimited. TCES seems well suited to education and training environments. Most directly related to this study might be the use of TCES by colleges and business schools to teach typing and word processing skills more expeditiously. Normal or learning disabled children might also be taught more efficiently under the immediate or residual effects of TCES in classroom settings. "
More removed from this study might be the use of TCES in business and industrial environments to stimulate executive problem solving or improve workers' concentration, accuracy and speed. Police officers, automobile drivers, air traffic controllers, surgeons, pilots, athletes and others seeking increased alertness, concentraLion and performance may benefit from TCES."
As Kirsch told me, "This study is extremely significant, because it proves that stimulation of the brain can induce positive changes. People are always searching for ways to improve themselves, and if there's a safe and easy and proven method, then it should be used, because it's a catalyst. The brain is like a muscle, the more you work it the more you can learn, and the easier it is to learn."
The Pulstar - Mechanical Meditation
For over fifteen years inventor Michael Hercules worked as an aerospace engineer, specializing in bio-medical electronics and vibration analysis on the Landing Excursion Module for the NASA moon shots. He also served as Test Conductor for the Titan I project. "During this time," he told me, "I became interested in the research revealing the many benefits of meditation(such as the boosting of intelligence, improved healing, and stress reduction), and decided to construct a mechanical aid to help meditators overcome I difficulties in reaching deep meditative states."
Keying on the Russian Electro-Sleep Machine that had aroused great interest some years ago, Hercules altered and streamlined it, and came up with what is now known as the Pulstar, a device he claims "subliminally teaches control of brain-wave 'frequency by propagating an electronic signal through the brain." The device is about the size of a small book, with an on-off switch, a knob to control the intensity of the signal (which is in the 5 to 20 microampere range - well below the limits set by the FDA), a white noise generator (according to Hercules this buffers the electronic pulse wave and makes it more acceptable to the brain), and a frequency selector knob which allows you to choose any frequency from 6 Hz (in the Theta range) up to 14 Hz (low Beta). Four electrodes are held against the skull with a headband.
The user selects an appropriate frequency (the inventor's research has led him to recommend certain frequencies for specific goals or states- e.g. 12 Hz for "centering," relaxation and mental stability; 10.5 Hz for healing of the body and extreme relaxation; 7.5 for inner awareness with a sharp sense of focus and attention, guided meditation and creative thinking; and 6.3 Hz for accelerated learning and increased memory.) Then, when the signal is turned on, the user feels a mild pulsing. At this point, says Hercules, "the brain locks onto and falls into step with the frequency selected." This entrainment, according to EEG analysis done by Hercules, "takes place throughout the entire cerebral cortex and puts both brain hemispheres into synchronization."
Hercules notes that the device produces what we have called the Bicycle Training Wheels Effect: "As a teaching device, its main purpose is to directly instruct the user how to duplicate the desired frequency at will. Once a particular frequency has been learned, the machine is no longer required."
While users report that the device is effective for a variety of uses, including accelerated learning, stress reduction, creativity enhancement, meditation, athletic or fitness training, sleep reduction, and pain control, one of the most intriguing areas is that of healing and cellular regeneration. Several medical and scientific research organizations are investigating the effects of Pulstar in these areas, and there are indications that at certain frequencies the device stimulates the release of growth hormone and speeds the healing and growth of cells.
Hercules offers himself as an example of the Pulstar's powers in this area. In 1986 he suffered a severe stroke that, as a result of the destruction of brain cells, totally paralyzed his left side. "I used the Pulstar, and went from bed to wheelchair to walker to cane to almost total recovery in five weeks." When I talked with him about six months after the stroke, Hercules was preparing to go off to Mexico for scuba diving. Recovery from such extensive destruction of neurons clearly involves substantial rewiring and other structural changes in the brain, establishing new routes of neural communication. Hercules claims, and there is some evidence to bear out his claims, that the Pulstar is effective in stimulating just such brain growth.
The Brain Tuner - The Electric Martini
One of the most highly respected figures in the field of electromagnetics is engineer/ physicist Dr. Robert Beck. I recently asked Beck what was the most effective way to produce enhanced mental functioning and altered states of consciousness, and he quickly answered "non-linear orthogonal EM fields." He cited studies showing that proper electrical stimulation increased I.Q. by 20-30 points.
Beck has invented a neuro-electrical stimulator called The Brain Tuner that is arousing great interest. Unlike adjustable devices that deliver relatively simple wave forms at frequencies selected by the user, the Brain Tuner is said to emit 256 simultaneous frequencies-what the distributor calls "all known beneficial frequencies for the natural stimulation of the brain's neurotransmitters." (According to Dr. Beck, this is made possible by the device's unique integrated circuits, containing some 50 transistors and 4 diodes, that produce "nested modulations of short-duration rectangular non-linear waves in pulsed bursts. Very short rise-times insure harmonic output at beneficial spectral 'windows."') Thus, in a complex intermingling of frequencies, the device seems to be capable of stimulating the brain to pour out an electrochemical cocktail (in fact one woman who was trying this device for the first time turned to me after a few minutes, her face alight with sudden understanding, and said, "Oh, I see, it's an electric martini!")
The device seems to be a step beyond the "Black Box" of Dr. Margaret Cameron that gained attention several years ago when a variety of rock stars such as Peter Townshend and Keith Richard used it to overcome addictions to heroin, alcohol, and other drugs. The Brain Tuner itself has been used successfully to treat addictions (and relieve withdrawal symptoms) involving cocaine, heroin, alcohol, and tobacco. Among the results noted most commonly by users arc stress reduction, raising of stress tolerance levels, alleviation of depression and anxiety, normalized sleep patterns, reduced sleep requirement, more REM sleep, more vivid and lucid dreams, improvement of both short term and long term memory, improved concentration, and increased energy levels. Beck laughingly told me of a woman who had lost memory as a result of anesthesia during surgery, and ten years later began using the Brain Tuner. She was astonished to find herself suddenly remembering hundreds of phone numbers of the people she had worked with over a decade before!
The device is quite simple to use - two electrodes are applied to acupuncture points in the hollows just beneath the earlobes. The electrodes are plugged into a console smaller than a pack of cigarettes. A single-knob turns the device on and adjusts the intensity of the stimulation, which feels like a mild, pleasant tingling. During the period of use (about 40 minutes) many people note a mild euphoria, and a sensation of increased mental energy and clarity. These effects can linger for hours and in some cases days.
Alphatronic III - Subtly Stimulating
THE ALPHATRONIC III. Another brain stimulation device many users are finding effective is the Alphatronic III designed by electrical engineer Lowell Pope. Unlike the Brain Tuner, this little box delivers a modified sine wave at an extremely low amplitude (in the 1 microamperage range, about 100 times below normal neuro firing levels). Pope insists that this is a key to its effectiveness: "It's not 'driving' or 'entraining' the brain's electrical activity," he says, "but instead is gently, subtly stimulating the brain in a way that is very natural, and is perceived by the brain not as something external but as a part of its own activity."
The device is about the size of a box of stick matches, and has a frequency selector knob which allows you to choose any frequency from 2 Hz (in the Delta range) up to 12 Hz (high Alpha). Two electrodes are placed against the mastoid bone behind the ear. Most users will not be able to feel any electrical tingling, but when used for 20 to 40 minutes while remaining quiet, preferably in a meditative state, the effects are striking and long lasting. Most users experience an immediate sense of change. Experienced meditators claim it helps them enter the deepest meditative states very quickly. It has also proven effective in producing focussed, highly alert states effective for reading or work.
A recent issue of the Psychotherapy Newsletter was largely devoted to an exploration and discussion of this device, and the authors noted that it seemed effective in reducing blood pressure of hypertensives, reduced anxiety, produced a state similar to a mild hypnotic trance, increased ability to concentrate, and they concluded it "may well revolutionize the practice of psychotherapy by making significant inroads into the use of bioFeedback and chemicals as adjuncts to 'the talking cure."
Endomax - Electronic Sedative or Stimulant
The Endomax, recently described in Magical Blend (issue #15), plugs into a Walkman-like cassette player. An endless tape loop plays in the cassette player, but there is a special adaptor that transforms the sound frequencies of the tape into electrical frequencies that are delivered to the brain through electrodes placed on the mastoid bones. Thus far inventor Ted Alsop provides four different tapes/frequencies, one stimulating the release of endorphins, one to trigger the mood elevating neurotransmitter norepinephrine, one releasing sedative neurotransmitters that are our natural Valium and Librium, and one which is an energizing stimulant, releasing norepinephrine as well as dopamine - or so Alsop claims.
Mood Pacer II - Enhanced Healing & Accelerated Learning
One technique of electrical stimulation that has aroused great interest among scientists in recent years is the use of pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF). Used by increasing numbers of orthopedic surgeons to combat such common bone diseases as osteoporosis and "ununited" fractures (broken bones that won't heal), PEMF also seem to have the property of entraining or "pacing" the body's cells by activating sensitive neuronal receptors.
When these PEMFs are tuned to frequencies in the human EEG range, they seem to actually entrain the brain waves of many people. One such device now available is the MOOD PACER II. Unlike the neuro electric stimulation devices, the Mood Pacer does not require electrodes attached to the head or body. In fact, the field produced by the pacer - a wireless, battery-powered box about the size of a bar of soap - can be effective several feet from the device. However, while virtually everyone is affected by direct electrical stimulation, it seems that only about 35 percent of subjects tested are sensitive to magnetic brain wave pacing.
We have already discussed the possible benefits of entraining brain waves throughout the whole brain. It should be noted that the Mood Pacer II pulsates - and entrains brain waves - at a frequency of 7.83 Hz. This is also known as the "Schumann resonance." This has been found t o be one of those "window" frequencies that appear to have a wide range of beneficial effects on humans, ranging from reports of enhanced healing to accelerated learning. When a biological system vibrates at this frequency, it can be said to be in a state of resonance or entunement with the planet's own magnetic frequency, and it is perhaps this rhythmic unity with what has been called the earth's "natural brain wave" that produces such profound effects. Bob Beck explained it in terms of Bohm's theory of the holographic brain-"If you can ping a specific clement of that hologram you can ping the entire structure," said Beck. "in this case, using this weak pulse at 7.83 Hz you can ping the whole structure and have very decided effects."
In addition to entraining brain waves, the magnetic pulse generator seems to have other benefits. In recent years our civilization has immersed itself in a dense electromagnetic "smog" of conflicting electromagnetic interference and man made radiation "noise," including microwave and radar, causing our cells to lose contact with many natural micropulsations and electromagnetic fields. Research has proven that this electromagnetic pollution can have a wide range of harmful effects. As Bob Beck described it to me, "Man as a biocosmic resonator is extremely sensitive to EM fields." But magnetic pacers can apparently act as a countermeasure to this environmental electromagnetic pollution. Although the signal strength of the pacer is slight (only milliwatts, or thousandths of a watt) there seem to be mechanisms in living tissue, such as long-chain liquid-crystal dipoles, that exhibit superconductive characteristics that allow the PEMFs to override the destructive environmental electromagnetic noise pollution. Because the device is close to the user's body, its weak signal overrides much stronger sources at a distance. Many inventors and others involved in the use of EM devices believe that the FDA and other powers that be are trying to suppress the use of such devices. As Bob Beck told me, "At this point we could be on the verge of a giant step in human evolution. We're only operating at a small percentage of our potential, and EM stimulation can have powerful effects. However, vested interests are always opposed to change, whether it's free energy or a better carburetor. But more and more people are becoming aware of the possibility of these things. There's an explosion of information. At this point an informed public is the best safeguard."
AlphaPacer II - Altered States of Consciousness
This recently developed device is billed by its inventor, Keith Simons, as "the ultimate brain wave entrainment device." It uses a variety of mind altering forces to allow the user to control, or "entrain" brain wave activity. First, it uses a very low amplitude sine wave that is very similar to that of the Alphatronic III, which is sent directly into the brain via several electrodes placed on the head. To that it adds a PEMF that pulsates at the same frequency as the electronic signal. In addition, it uses stroboscopic lights and pulsating sounds in synchronous rhythm with the electrical wave and PEMF. Simons claims that "the more sensory inputs into the central nervous system that are synchronized at the same frequency, the greater the entrainment produced."
Since the Alphapacer II can be adjusted to frequencies in both the alpha and theta range, it is quite efficient in producing altered states of consciousness that feature colorful visualizations, intense and spontaneous memories, deep relaxation, sudden creative insights, and so on.
Graham Potentializer: The Pleasures of Merely Circulating
As babies we are rocked. As kids we roll down hills, spin until we're dizzy, ride roller coasters. As adults we scuba dive, skydive, hang glide, drive fast, dance like mad, and, when tired, sit in rocking chairs. According to electrical enginccr/invcntor David Graham, such movements are not only fun but essential: they stimulate our brains, and, in high doses, they can increase intelligence. He has invented a device, the Graham Potentializer, to do just that.
The device appears to be a modest cot with a motor concealed beneath it, and a large box at the head. As the user lies back on the cot the cot revolves - the user rises and falls rhythmically through a circle. The movement is smooth, and feels very good. With each cycle the user revolves through the electromagnetic field produced by the box at the cot's head.
EEG studies of the effects of the device indicate that the machine induces sharp increases in the production of slow brain waves, shifts hemispheric dominance (resulting in a balancing of the two hemispheres), and, most intriguingly, optimizes the neural efficiency quotient (NEQ), a measure of how rapidly electrical signals are transmitted by the brain's neurons-a characteristic that has correlated very closely to IQ scores. Says Graham, the device "can increase the intelligence or mental functioning of a normal adult-someone with an average IQ - to an IQ of about 140-145."
To explain these benefits, Graham suggests that the rotating affects the fluids that compose about 90 percent of our body volume, and particularly the fluids of the vestibular or inner ear system. "The millions of nerve endings in your inner ear," says Graham, "respond to movement with electrical responses that are carried throughout the brain, triggering an enormous amount of neural activity. This neural activity is of an uncommon sort, not only stimulating many different parts of the brain, but causing the neurons to forge new connections. So what the rotation is really doing is 'exercising' the brain-altering and increasing the flow of neuroelectricity and neurochernicals to large areas of the brain. The first thing this kind of vestibular stimulation does is bring about a dramatic increase in your motor and Icaming capabilities. In other words- the 'exercise' has a brain building effect, just as physical exercise has a bodybuilding effect."
Hypno- Peripheral Processing - Overloading the Conscious Mind
One mind altering tool many of us are familiar with is the flotation tank. One of the variety of ways flotation can boost learning abilities is by dramatically increasing the floater's receptivity to new information. Now, New York psychologist Dr. Lloyd Glauberman in collaboration with neuropsychologist Dr. Phil Halboth has developed a new way of using the hyper-rcceptivity induced by floating: he has created a series of extraordinary audio tapes specifically designed tobe heard whilein the flotation tank. The tapes use state-of-the-art digital recording technology incorporating the latest research in information processing and lateralization of functions in the brain hemispheres to present messages stimulating rapid and dramatic behavioral change, in a technique Glauberman and Halboth call HYPNO-PERIPHERAL PROCESSING.
Once in the tank, and wearing stereo headphones, you hear calm voices against a background of stately, soaring synthesizer music gently guiding you into a deeply relaxed state. Then the soundtrack divides and you hear a separate voice in each ear, each voice narrating a different fairy-tale-like story - charming tales of wizards, magic cities, intergalactic zoos, mystic shoemakers and dream machines. "The simultaneous input overloads the conscious mind," says Glauben-nan, "because there is simply too much information to process consciously." Unable to focus on either story, your conscious mind seems to let go or turn off.
Using the hypnotic techniques of Milton Erickson, with elements of neurolinguistic programming, Glauberman and Halboth have loaded the tales with a variety of powerful suggestions, though the suggestions are couched in indirect terms and seem simply part of the story, so that they go undetected. Also, since the mind can at best focus on one of the stories (and usually gives up and stops paying conscious attention altogether), most of the stories themselves, and the bidden messages they contain, bypass the consciousness entirely, entering the unconscious mind.
To top off this barrage of informational overload, yet another series of suggestions has been imbedded in the tapes by an imaginative combining and interweaving of words and phrases from the two separate sound tracks in such a way that they can only be perceived peripherally by the combined functioning of both brain hemispheres.
Thus far Glauberman and Halboth have created a series of 14 tapes (with applications that include increased creativity, enhanced problem solving abilities, weight loss, stress management, improved time management and reduction of smoking and drinking, among others). Most of their clients float once a week while listening to the appropriate tapes. In a recent informal study of these subjects, Glauberman and Halboth discovered that the combination of the tank and the tapes "had a definite and profound impact on everyone." I personally have tested these tapes out on a variety of individuals and have been impressed with their effectiveness.
Often, the responses to the tapes were unexpected. "One man was coming to me for depression," says Glauberman. "A few days after listening to a tape, he came to me with excitement and told me that the panic attacks he had whenever he came into New York had abruptly disappeared. Well, he'd never even told me he was having these attacks! I looked over the peripheral messages on the tape he'd heard and found that one of the tales mentions offhandedly that the central character, who is exploring a magic city, 'felt comfortable now in the city.' Apparently the man's subconscious had felt the need for that change and had somehow opened itself up to that specific message from the tape. This suggests that an unconscious scanner is at work to select indirect hypnotic or subliminal messages that have meaning for the person's life."
Though designed to be used in the float tank, it has been discovered through extensive experimentation that the HPP tapes are equally effective when any tool is used - Synchro Energizer, Graham Potentializer, etc. - that is effective in putting the user in that state of extraordinary receptivity to new information and to behavioral change or "reimprinting" that accompanies the theta state.
To learn more about brain boosting devices, including addresses of manufacturers, and for further information, including news of new devices and the latest research in the field, write: MEGABRAIN, P.O. Box 1059, Cooper Station, New York, NY, 10276. For an in depth accountof brain-altering technology, consult MegaBrain: New Tools and Techniques for Brain Growth and Mind Expansion.
BRAIN-TECH heißt eine junge Firma in Heidelberg (Panoramastraße 29), die sowohl das Buch MegaBrain vertreibt wie auch einen Großteil der hier beschriebenen Geräte. BRAIN-TECH ist auch der Titel eines Buches zum Thema, das innerhalb der Reihe Der Grüne Zweig im Winter 1988 erscheinen wird.
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