Monday, 11 January 2010
Here is Doctor Fehmi with Ken Molloy, who is on the NS500 neurofeedback machine. The machine is designed to give feedback (a continuous bleep or hum) when one's brain is producing synchronous frequency at all 5 test locations on the brain.
“When someone learns to operate their central nerve system, the way it was designed to be operated and includes abundant, low frequency synchrony, (alpha brain waves) things run more smoothly and efficiently and don’t break down as often. We are equipped with a rapid and sensitive emergency response to assure survival. But we are also equipped with a process of restoration and recovery, a way to lay down our burden: by generating low frequency synchrony. After some time in alpha, curious and wonderful changes started to happen. My muscle tone softened and I moved with a new found effortlessness and fluidity: sometimes I felt like I was gliding when I walked. I felt extraordinarily present, centred, poised, open, lighter and freer and more calmly energetic and spontaneous."
Like Doctor Fehmi, I feel more light-hearted and relaxed after practicing at alpha. But being the scientist, I also acknowledge that this, no doubt, may be due to some of my other practices too. However, what has really become clear to me over the last while is the benefit of machine’s ‘feedback’ nature. When I am training and getting strong feedback , whether from practicing Open Focus or imagining that I am doing T’ai Chi forms (very effective for me in attaining high amplitude alpha), and the hum stops, I want to become conscious of what has interrupted the synchronous alpha.
Here are some of the thoughts which interrupt the flow for me:
1: Sometimes I notice I am in very strong alpha and start trying to figure out what my brain is doing to elicit it. The analysis really shuts it down.
2: I become distracted by a thought and start paying attention to some ‘story’ that develops.
3: I simply lose concentration.
What I love about the machine is that it lets me know, and then I can bring my attention back to my training and the machine hums once more.
This training seems to carry over into my T’ai Chi and now I become much more conscious of how I am attending to the practice and so can settle into it more consciously.