Gamma Brainwave Biofeedback: Wernicke’s, Cats, and Reading

Published Categorised as Brain Health, Health, Brain Biofeedback, Personal

OK, this is a bit freaky, but the words on my iPod playing into my ears are so . . . so clear. They’re reaching out and pulling me into understanding. It’s almost overwhelming to hear the words clearly enunciated instead of in my usual blurry way, like they’re making me hear them as clear sounds with sharp edges.

That was my reaction, my first thoughts as I was leaving gamma brainwave biofeedback this week. When I started up my iPod, it began in the middle of a French-language song, and I didn’t pay much attention to it because I was busy pulling out my snack bar, adjusting my purse straps, thinking about where I was headed next. Then the next song shuffled into play; suddenly the words were grabbing my attention with their sharp clarity. It was a tad startling. I had to negotiate some construction soon after this brain change began. Not good. But luckily the machinery noise drowned out the music, otherwise the words demanding my attention may’ve conflicted with staying safe.

And while this change was going on, I was SO HUNGRY! My legs were shaking, and my stomach was channeling Garfield and getting all up in my face about feeding it NOW.

Oh yeah, in case it wasn’t obvious, we experimented again. In a continuing effort to bring my reading back online, we stimulated my Wernicke’s area via tDCS for five minutes while I read my usual biofeedback reading (I am STILL reading The Antipodes of the Mind and hallelujah I remembered the title [cause of the tDCS?]!). Then we assessed the area for three minutes like last week, followed by three minutes of reading before switching the electrode placement to PZ-O1 for the usual routine: three minutes of assessment, five minutes of HRV, two three-minute biofeedback screens to enhance gamma brainwaves and inhibit 8-10 Hz and EMG, and one three-minute screen of enhance gamma with inhibition of 8-10 Hz and busy brain. We finished up with five minutes of SMIRB instead of ten as we’d run out of time, and the next client was bang on time for once. Really! The cheek!

During the session, while I was deep breathing during HRV, I felt a strange desire to read birthing like a little flickering candle in a dark room sputtering to life. (At this point, as I was drafting this post on the subway, I felt a strong need to switch to instrumental music cause it was too distracting to hear Leonard Cohen’s words as perfectly defined! Later, I had turn off my music, though I wasn’t sure what part of my brain was having pink fits over being able to perceive sounds as clear and vibrant and colours as saturated so that I understood and saw easier.) It’s too bad we ran out of time because it would’ve been interesting to see if there were any differences in my reading at PZ-O1 from previous weeks to this week. I am a guinea pig after all! It’s rather like being the owner of an American Express card, being this kind of guinea pig does have its advantages. Sometimes!

So my task this week is to pay attention to any changes in my reading — and let’s all pray and hope there will be changes — and, as well, to get back on track with my academic stuff, like reading or watching the Neuroscience course on iTunes U. My trainer asked me how I was doing with my academics. I smiled the innocent smile of kids the world over who haven't done their homework. I not only was supposed to be doing the iTunes course, but also signing up for another Oxford short course.

So far that desire to read is still present. Unusually, I read for about twenty minutes after I got home from biofeedback. Or tried to. First, a busy bad bee got very interested in my iPod and me. I was not happy. I took my eReader and read a couple metres away from my iPod. When I saw the bee thing had buzzed off, I returned to my seat. Rustle, rustle. I looked around, and a cat was staring at me. The cat walked around and around me and my chair like a ball swirling around a bowl, getting closer and closer to centre. Naturally the cat wanted up. On my lap. With his grubby paws. I had to teach him the command “down,” which for some reason he was not too interested in learning. He meandered away for a bit; a squirrel got pissy with another squirrel. They chased each other off. I settled back into reading Grimm’s familiar fairy tales when I heard a growl behind me. Cat number one wasn’t taking too kindly to cat number two wandering over to say, “Hi.” Soon after, I gave up and went indoors. But I had kept at it, had remarkably managed to read a couple of tales for twenty minutes despite the animal life being so insistent in me not.

My Duck logo walking on my books in pink and blue shading.



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