Sep 102013
 

“I don't want you coming back here in the 130s, ma’am,” my trainer half-joked about my ridiculous heart rate at the end of gamma training. Seriously speaking, I'm with her. Seeing one’s heart rate well into the 130s is not so hot. We decided to blame the heat — a sudden upswing into the 30s with humidex in the 40s is hard on a body ruled by an injured brain, never mind a normal brain.

I'd taken a week off and felt good for it, and so I decided it was time to move the electrode to PZ from PZ-O1. The ADD Centre had scheduled to do it awhile ago, but I was not ready. Now I was.

With the change of location came a change in frequencies to inhibit: 16-19Hz.

I was a bit confused because I had thought those were problem-solving beta frequencies. They are, though 19-20 can be associated with anxiety. But it's not the frequencies per se that are the problem; it's that they are spindling.

As far as I understand it, beta spindles look different than regular beta waves. Regular ones are smooth. The same frequencies that are spindling look like tangled twine doing sudden jack-in-the-box hops. They want to untangle the 16-19 frequencies and smooth them out.

It was weird doing the first biofeedback screen. It felt like my mind was trying to herd cats in getting my brain to reduce 16-19 spindling, enhance gamma, and drop muscle tension.

The second screen went better. The screen is a maze. As it plays, dots appear to show the route through the maze till you get to the end, where the dots disappear and you start at the beginning again. The music is upbeat, and I found the dots and music pulled my brain along. And I did better. The other thing I noticed probably because I'd had the week break was that my mind no longer has to direct my brain in which direction the dots should appear in order for the dots to appear and the music to play. And it has been awhile since it’s had to.

Writing and reading at the end of the session brought my heart rate down to 127. And, as well, five minutes of reading my metaphysics textbook, for my upcoming course, at PZ achieved the only gamma/EMG ratio above 1.0 for the session. Actually, for once, changing electrode location didn't result in my ratio dropping back down into the 0.80s — maybe because it was not that big a change. Or maybe because my brain overall is producing more gamma. (I also read during the seven minutes of transcranial direct current stimulation that begins the session, a minute longer than in my last appointment.)

It was weird getting back into my appointment routine. I had to keep answering myself as to where I was going, which side of the train I would exit, which end of the train I needed to be when I got off at Lawrence subway station. I had no idea what time it was and didn't check like I usually do. I was still in vacation mode I guess. But though that usually means I'll be late, weirdly I was early. I think the TTC running normally and frequently saved my bacon. Ah, the benefits of the entire city going back to work.

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