First Gamma 40Hz Audiovisual Entrainment

I completed eleven sessions of SMR/gamma brainwave audiovisual entrainment on Saturday. The DAVID Delight Pro has three gamma sessions, and the Clinical Director of the ADD Centre where I’ve been receiving gamma brainwave biofeedback weekly for years, suggested the 40Hz session would be best for me.

I’d decided to ease into trying gamma audiovisual entrainment by starting with SMR/gamma. My brain is used to SMR audiovisual entrainment. I use the SMR/Beta session most mornings and occasionally the “Mental Flexibility” session to energize me when fibromyalgia fatigue is worsening my overall brain injury fatigue.

Last week, I decided I’d start using the 40Hz gamma audiovisual entrainment today and would start a methodical approach to experimenting with this. But I didn’t get to writing up a hypothesis and method this weekend. All this COVID-19 cleaning, laundry, hand washing, and mental toll of self-isolation while living with brain injury, disrupted my plans. And I’m going slower than I usually do. Not pushing myself at all! These are strange times indeed.

Anywho, the other reason is the length of the session. I usually don’t use sessions on my DAVID Delight Pro that are longer than 30 minutes. This one is 40. I didn’t think I could tolerate that length of time. At one point, during the gamma session today, I really wanted to stop it. I’d lain on the couch with this for long enough! Then suddenly, it was over. Hmmm.

This session gave me a headache. My forehead felt like it was being constricted. Usually, concentration headaches manifest as cold, and they don’t expand into my temples. So was this a concentration headache or the result of sustained high frequency visuals and sounds? I use Pulse Tones during my sessions. I’m not a fan of Binaural Beats. But 40Hz Pulse Tones are fast and unpleasant. Maybe I’ll try the Binaural Beats or the Stereo Monaural Beats tomorrow.

Visually the default intensity was too much. I turned it down one notch. With eyes closed, it looked like I’d turned them off. I opened my eyes to check. Nope, they were on and bright. So did that give me a headache, especially since I checked again, just to make sure?

Many, many minutes in to the session, my brain began to perceive the light through my closed eyelids. Entrainment is really weird this way. Sometimes you see colours, other times the light levels seem to change. But I haven’t had it look like the lights are off when they aren’t then look like they’ve coming on during it.

Deep relaxation as usual. Really deep, almost felt at one point I stopped breathing as breathing so slowly. Perception widened, too, as usual, except it became very, very wide, probably because the gamma brainwave entrainment was for 40 minutes instead of alternating with SMR. I got hungry during it. Brain knocking incessantly on stomach to feed it was a bit much! It eased off till after session ended. Vision sharpened and clearer after it. Energy pop and happy gamma right after. And I feel like writing is smoother. I almost didn’t feel the need to go over this post as usually do. But I did! I didn’t have to fix much. Hmmm. I’ll see how tomorrow goes before hopefully seeing the light on what my methodology should be.

Update 3:44pm: Headache is mostly gone. I ate a decent late lunch (had a noon-time breakfast). Feeling in my head is strange like I want to do things right now but fatigue is dragging it down. I’m very very very alert. The whole world feels shiny and bright. I just read and visualizing and verbalizing was difficult because of this need to speed beyond the ability of my brain.

Update 4:00pm: I think strange sensation is like a whole-brain concentration headache — the session pushed my brain like when I read beyond current capacity or any cognitive activity — and is why I’m so damn hungry though now stuffed with food and water. My brain wants glucose like after an intense workout.

Update 10:43pm: Headache returned because neck so stiff. The strange concentration headache part didn’t. Background: Gamma brainwave biofeedback at CZ opens up my emotions channels (best I can describe it). Not my favourite part though my clinicians think it’s super because it’s about normalizing my injured emotional landscape, basically getting my emotion networks to reconnect and work properly. And maybe it’s also about healing the PTSD. That part is murky. Anyway, today’s session was like a version of that. Happy then irritated then highly tense irritated and emotional then back to tense now am okay. I had a pretty bad day, separate from the gamma. I don’t know if that was an instigating factor or 40 minutes of gamma enhanced all the emotions of that. I have some thinking to do.

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