Aug 152012

My stress levels were high today. Memories. Writing worries. The usual. When do memories get good again? When do they stop revolving around loss and grief like a non-stop flushing toilet? But I digress. I still wanted … no, maybe because of the stress, I craved the challenge of brain biofeedback today. Making the thresholds a little harder, above which the game would stop playing, upped the challenge factor and helped to keep my muscle tension down and me engaged.

I'm starting to see a glimmer of a pattern that on the first day I do biofeedback in the week, doing SMIRB does not improve my gamma output. (On the other hand, it drops my heart rate no matter what.) It seems that doing two sessions a week is necessary to build up a practice effect and thus eventually to create a permanent change. That old adage really is true: practice makes perfect. And dealing with memories is necessary for bettering brain function too. I shall now shut the door and do a little scream therapy. Or maybe I'll just read a new thriller. That’ll tire out the brain and its memories for sure.

In other news, my trainer brought an August 9 Globe and Mail article to my attention. Guess who else is using brain biofeedback or neurofeedback? That’s right: the Olympics bronze-medal winners, the Canadian Women’s soccer team! I had noticed a big diff in their demeanour from the French team they beat. Now I know why:

“[Ceri Evans] doesn’t believe in sports psychology,” [head coach] Herdman said. “He looks at brain functioning and the biology of the brain.”

Herdman and Evans identified a group of six leaders … [and Evans] works with them on what Herdman calls “brain training,” teaching them techniques for problem solving and coping. [Evans] works with neuro-feedback, which Herdman said often involves the players with sensors hooked up to their heads.

“He has them wired up,” Herdman said. “Some players are working on breathing techniques, others on the different hemispheres of the brain to help stimulate efficiency. Some of them are spending a couple hours of the day.” (Jeff Blair, The Globe and Mail, 9 August 2012)

Smart coach; transformed women. And they didn't have a brain injury either, proving anyone can benefit from this technology. They had a kind of training I have not undertaken, although I have had regular single-electrode brain biofeedback and two-electrode coherence training and am now training a usually-ignored brainwave. Brain biofeedback is not just a one-method type of training, but can be configured in many different ways, depending on a client's needs.

Back to today. Here are my results:

Date Baseline HRV EC HRV Fdbk 1 Fdbk 2 Fdbk 3 HRV
27 Jun 0.83 0.88 0.90 0.90 0.91
4 Jul 0.85 30s 0.90 0.91 0.94 0.898 0.90 0.84 EC
10 Jul 0.85 30s 0.92 0.89 0.86 0.84 0.86 0.90 EC
17 Jul 0.91 30s 0.97 1.05 1 0.94 0.96 0.97 EC
25 Jul 0.96 30s 1 1.03 1.02 1.01 0.97 1.02 EC
3 min 10 min Fdbk 1 SMIRB Fdbk 3 HRV
7 Aug 0.85 0.949 0.95 0.89 0.93 0.92
8 Aug 1.04 0.99 0.95 0.970 0.973 0.99
15 Aug 0.95 0.97 0.98 0.93 0.94 0.92