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Working out in the mind gym




from MEGABRAIN REPORT VOL. 2 NO. 2
Edited by Michael Hutchison



                  WORKING OUT IN THE MIND GYM:

                     THE BRAIN TECH ATHLETE


                      by Michael Hutchison

For the past century high-performance sport has been a
vast, loosely coordinated experiment upon the human
organism.  The first unstated aim of this great project
has been to investigate how the human mind and body
react to stress. Its second aim has been to adapt the
athlete's mind and body to greater and greater degrees
of stress.  Athletic training, after all, is the
pursuit of stress in order to prepare the athlete for
the even greater ordeals of competition.
			
			John Hoberman, Mortal Engines: The
			Science of Performance and the
			Dehumanization of Sport





In one of my Megabrain workshops a middle-aged M.D. had a session
on a motion system that slowly tilted his body in all directions.
"I feel really limber and energized," he told me when he got off,
moving his body with a palpable sense of pleasure. Suddenly he
crouched and then leaped up and did a back flip.  He gasped with
delight and said, "Wow! That's the first time I've been able to
do that since college!"

Legendary bodybuilder Frank Zane, three-time Mr. Olympia--the
most prestigious bodybuilding title--intersperses his daily iron
pumping sessions with sessions on CES, LS and binaural beats
machines.  "I just turned 50," he told me recently, "and yet I'm
in the best shape of my life. Mind machines help me work out more
effectively, recover more quickly and rest more deeply. I also
believe they stimulate growth hormone."

I first stumbled upon the powerful effect brain technology can
have on athletic performance when, one day after a long mind tech
session, my euphoric meanderings through Greenwich Village led me
to the old playground, where Angelo, local handball legend, was
cleaning house.  I hadn't come close to beating Angelo for ten
years, but I felt energetic and strangely loose, and challenged
him.  From the first serve it was like some other force was
moving my body.  I didn't hit the ball so much as simply alter
its direction, and I watched my perfect shots with as much
astonishment as Angelo. I was relaxed even in the midst of the
fastest flurry of shots, and as I put away the final kill the
voice in my head said, Son, that's about as close to perfection
as you'll ever get.

In sports, it's clear when you're performing at your peak. You're
out there, in the zone, grooved, magic, flowing, moving
effortlessly through a slow-motion world. Most of us would like
to be there all the time, but for most of us it's rare and
memorable.  That's why athletes are always experimenting with new
tools or techniques. Like scouts far in advance of the rest of
society, they're on the lookout for new approaches that will give
them an edge; help them jump higher, run faster, lift more; help
them get into those peak performance realms more frequently, more
reliably.

Athletes were among the first scouting out practical uses of
self-hypnosis, autogenic training, visualization, progressive
relaxation, positive suggestion. Long before the technologies
were accepted by the medical establishment athletes were using
whirlpool baths, electrostimulation, ultrasound, soft lasers,
infrared, biofeedback, computerized training devices, videotape
analysis and much more.  Now, increasing numbers of athletes are
using mind technology to help them reach and maintain peak
fitness, to help them master the "inner game," and to boost them
into peak performance states, and to help trigger the release of
the essential peak strength and fitness biochemical, growth
hormone.

                        SPORTS AND STRESS
As sports psychologist John Hoberman asserts above, sports
training in recent years has become increasingly not so much an
escape from stress as a confrontation with stress. So it's
important to remember that brain tools are most widely known, and
have their greatest clinical use, as "stress reduction devices."
Increasing numbers of athletes are finding that by producing
unmatched states of deep relaxation, mind technology can help
them overcome the stress of training, thrive under the stress of
competition, and learn to operate at peak performance levels
under greater and greater degrees of stress.

Many athletes I've spoken with have noticed dramatic improvements
in their fitness and performance as a result of their use of mind
technology.  As the anecdotes above suggest, the improvements
take place on a number of levels.  I'll briefly describe a few of
the areas where the use of mind technology has produced striking
and in many cases unprecedented benefits. For the most part I'll
deal only with areas in which mind tech is producing pronounced
physiological effects, and leave for another time an in-depth
exploration of the effects of mind tech on that other peak
performance realm of the "inner game."  For now, muscle, bone,
lactic acid, growth hormone.

                      MUSCULAR RELAXATION
Peak athletic performance flows from relaxation; our descriptions
of peak play emphasize looseness, fluidity, effortlessness,
maintaining cool. By comparison, the athlete who's making errors
is a study in muscular tension--jerky and struggling, making the
simplest plays look difficult. A growing body of research using
electromyographs (EMG), which measure muscular tension, has
proven that brain tools can produce physical relaxation far
deeper than levels produced by traditional relaxation techniques.

Loose muscles lead to improved performance, greater stamina,
speed, strength, coordination.  According to bodybuilder Frank
Zane, his mind machines provide him with "The deepest form of
relaxation that I've experienced."  What's most important, he
says, is that "It's there when I need it.  Sometimes after a high
intensity workout I wake up in the middle of the night.  I just
put on my light-sound machine, and it eases me right back to
sleep. And it feels like the sleep I get with the mind machines
is more restful somehow than ordinary sleep.  Somehow, the
machine helps counteract the physical stresses of the high-
intensity workout."

                      DECREASE IN INJURIES
More relaxed muscles means not only better play and training, but
safer play and training. According to sports doctors, most sports
injuries are not contact injuries, but are the result of
"inappropriate muscular tension," and could have been prevented
by proper relaxation.  The best defense against injury is
looseness. Many athletes start their workouts with stretching,
but the relaxation stretching provides is only relative.  Many
runners, for example, often stretch conscientiously, yet they
still have piano-wire-tight hamstrings, calves and lower backs.
In fact, many authorities believe that most people have never
experienced complete relaxation, so they have no conception of
what it feels like, and no idea of how to make their bodies reach
that state. Brain tech can ease users into states of relaxation
so profound that they last for days.

                      MIND-BODY RELAXATION
Muscular tension is just one component of the mind-body reaction
called the fight-or-flight response.  Triggered by stress,
pressure, or emotions generated in the heat of competition, this
whole-system response cranks up blood pressure, heart rate,
oxygen consumption, and levels of such stress biochemicals as
adrenaline and cortisol. It also disrupts normal brain activity,
scrambling brainwaves into bursts of random static.  This
automatic response is great for running like hell from sabre-
toothed tigers or tearing out someone's liver in a mindless
frenzy, but it's not great for the kind of mental clarity and
fluid mind-body coordination required in most sports.

But when the Relaxation Response is triggered, it quickly
counters the deleterious effects of stress. The most effective
tools for helping trigger a powerful relaxation response are the
mind tools. Scientific studies, and an enormous and growing
amount of anecdotal reports indicate that a mind tech session, by
triggering a strong relaxation response, can lower heart and
pulse rate and blood pressure, decrease muscle tension, decrease
oxygen consumption, increase visual acuity and manual dexterity,
decrease levels of lactic acid in the blood and muscles, decrease
levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and increase intellectual
functions such as learning and problem solving, among other
effects.

There is also evidence in the form of blood tests and tests of
cerebral-spinal fluid that some brain tools (most notably the
float tank, CES and light-sound devices) can sharply decrease
levels of stress neurochemicals like cortisol and produce
elevated or enhanced levels of various neurochemicals, including
serotonin and beta endorphin, that are experienced as both
physically relaxing and mentally calming.  These effects are
cumulative and can last long after your session.

                        FASTER REACTIONS
Along with deep relaxation, mind technology can also dramatically
speed up reaction time for athletes. This may at first seem
paradoxical--how can your reactions be faster when you're more
relaxed? The paradox disappears when we note that reaction speed
is a function of neural efficiency, and that mind tools, even as
they increase relaxation, can increase neural efficiency.

Consider the story of the book editor/tennis fanatic. He was also
a long-term meditator--he'd meditated daily for over 20 years. He
had begun using a light and sound machine to help him get into a
deep meditative state when he felt too tense to meditate easily.
But the LS stimulation produced an unexpected side effect--his
tennis game blossomed.

"Suddenly," he told me, "I was playing so much better that I had
to jump up a level in my tennis league. My friends accused me of
taking secret lessons! After using the machine I was so relaxed
and alert, my reactions so fast, I almost felt like I was
watching myself play."

How can mind machines enhance neural efficiency? Brain researcher
and clinician Dr. Lester Fehmi of the Princeton Biofeedback and
Behavioral Research Clinic has made extensive use of brain
technology with tennis and other racquet sport players. He has
focused on using brain tech to increase whole-brain-wave
synchrony.  Whole-brain-wave synchrony is a very specific state.
It does not mean simply that the whole brain produces dominant
waves of the same frequency.  If you visualize brain waves as a
series of peaks and valleys, then synchrony occurs when brain
waves throughout the whole brain reach their peak at the same
time, or "in phase".  When neurons throughout the brain are "in
sync," their power increases. In addition, when in sync, they
seem to communicate with each other more efficiently--like a
whole network of tiny light bulbs flickering on and off at the
same time. When in sync, the neural network becomes more
coherent.

What are the effects of synchrony?  Fehmi believes that
"synchrony represents the maximum efficiency of information
transport through the whole brain."

Using his Brainwave Biofeedback Synchronizer, Fehmi teaches
athletes (among others) to learn to synchronize their brainwaves
at various frequencies, ranging from theta up to rapid beta. In
doing so, by speeding up information transport to the "maximum
efficiency," they speed up their reaction time.

Fehmi's device is a specialized EEG.  However, there is strong
evidence that other types of brain tech, ranging from float tanks
to ganzfelds to motion systems to light-sound devices also
produce noticeable increases in brainwave synchrony. For anyone
engaged in a sport where reaction speed is important, from
martial arts to racquet sports, mind tech sessions could make the
crucial difference between a hit or a miss.



                            RECOVERY
High intensity training and peak output in competition pushes the
body to its limits. Muscle tissue is ripped and torn, and filled
with lactic acid, which causes fatigue and pain. The system is
flooded with fight-or-flight biochemicals such as ACTH, cortisol,
and adrenaline, which can cause irritability, depression and
anxiety. After a hard workout or competition these substances
must be cleared away and damaged muscle tissues rebuilt, a
process that can take days or even weeks.

Intense workouts demand intense rest. Maximum efforts require
maximum rest. Mind tools, by providing uniquely deep, total rest
and relaxation, are the perfect technological answer to the
increased physical demands of high-intensity training created by
high-tech training devices. These high tech mind tools speed up
the recovery and rebuilding process enormously.

The deep whole-body relaxation they produce causes blood vessels
to relax and dilate, which speeds up the flow of healing, tissue-
building nutrients to all cells as well as the clearing away of
lactic acid and other wastes.  Some marathon runners, for
example, have found that a single brain machine session can speed
up their post-race recovery by several days.  Body builders and
other athletes engaged in high-intensity training intersperse
hard-workout days with mind machine sessions, to allow for
quicker recovery, more efficient protein synthesis, and therefore
more rapid muscle growth.

     OVERTRAINING, OR: THE CORTISOL-TESTOSTERONE CONNECTION
Peak effort is stressful. Too much stress and not enough rest
leads to a condition of chronic tiredness, irritability, and
depressed immune functioning known as overtraining, in which
muscle growth stops and muscles actually begin to weaken.

In the past, overtraining was rare.  Compared to the workouts of
today's Danskin-clad Yuppies in their step-aerobics classes, the
training regimens of even top athletes of 100, 50, or 20 years
ago seem absurdly modest. In every health club you can see fierce
seekers of instant muscle growth pump iron with a balls-to-the-
wall, full-tilt, over-the-edge, no-pain-no-gain intensity that is
scary even to look at. The result is an epidemic of overtraining.

A key indicator of overtraining is the stress hormone cortisol.
When you are overtraining, your levels of cortisol rise and
remain elevated. The symptoms of elevated cortisol levels are
identical to those of overtraining: depressed immune function,
diminished sex drive, moodiness, chronic tiredness. Scientists
have also found that elevated levels of cortisol accelerate the
process of protein breakdown: that is, instead of building
muscles, cortisol actually tears them down.  That's why athletes
who are overtraining find it hard to improve their strength or
performance.

One key effect of cortisol is that it inhibits testosterone
production. Testosterone is absolutely essential to athletic
training and performance, since it promotes muscle, bone and
blood-cell growth. Optimal levels of testosterone are also
associated with feelings of well-being and confidence--important
for peak athletic performance.  Exercise increases testosterone,
and thus helps increase physical strength and fitness.
Overtraining, on the other hand, increases cortisol levels, and
thus suppresses testosterone.

So it's crucially important to know that mind machines can both
directly and indirectly reduce cortisol and increase testosterone
levels.  Studies of CES devices, for example, have shown that
after only a few minutes of use, cortisol levels decline
substantially.   Users of flotation tanks show dramatic drops in
cortisol levels. LS produces rapid drops in cortisol. One recent
study of photic stimulation (using the Lumatron) has shown rapid
increases in a variety of neurochemicals and hormones, including
luteinizing hormone (LH). Significantly, LH stimulates the
release of testosterone.

Thus, by decreasing cortisol and increasing testosterone, mind
technology can help increase your ability to exercise at your
peak without overtraining.

                 INCREASED TOLERANCE FOR STRESS
All well and good, you say, it's nice to be able to use my mind-
technology when I get a chance to relax, but how can I take a
find a quiet spot, take a passive attitude, and divert my
attention from externally oriented thoughts when I'm in the heat
of competition or training?

Fortunately, the beneficial effects of the relaxation response
are cumulative--that is, as you use mind tech regularly, day by
day, you will not only become more relaxed more quickly, but will
tend to stay at that more relaxed level throughout your daily
activities. Not only are the effects cumulative, they can be
extremely long-lasting--in some tests certain salutary effects of
mind machine-induced deep relaxation lingered for weeks.

What this means for athletes is that you will not only be
relaxed--which means looser muscles and less tension-related
injuries--but that you will carry this deeper state of day-to-day
relaxation into training and competition with you.  In other
words, brain technology not only keeps you relaxed, it actually
increases your tolerance for stress, or makes you more resistant
to the effects of stress, by readjusting the level at which the
body begins to pour out fight-or-flight biochemicals. According
to researchers Thomas Fine and John Turner of the Medical College
of Ohio, a deeply relaxing session "could alter the set points in
the endocrine homeostatic mechanism so that the individual would
be experiencing a lower adrenal activation rate."

So a pressure situation that might ordinarily have put your choke
meter up to level ten may, after a mind machine session, only be
perceived as a mildly arousing level three or four. For athletes,
this means competitive pressure that might once have caused
choking will be easier to tolerate.

                      THE RELAXATION ANCHOR
Also, increasing numbers of athletes have found that by using
mind tools to get into deep relaxation states, they can learn to
quickly and reliably re-experience that deep relaxation even in
high-pressure situations. They do this by first practicing using
their mind tools to get into deep relaxation states, and then
making use of some of the self-suggestion and self-programming
techniques discussed in "Beyond Entertainment: How to Use Mind
Machines for Peak Performance and Self-Transformation," in MBR
Vol. I #4 (such as "anchoring" the deep relaxation state with a
verbal or finger signal). They then can reactivate that sense of
relaxation and confidence by triggering their anchor in the game
or training situation.  At that instant, they feel their bodies
releasing tension, letting go, becoming loose, limber, supple,
ready to function at peak capacity.

                         PAIN REDUCTION
Bob Said is a race driver--a Grand Prix champion in the 50s, he
set a speed record at Daytona Beach.  For over 20 years he
focused on driving a four-man bobsled down an icy course, and has
been on two Olympic teams and captained five U.S. World Cup
Teams.  In 1984, at the age of 50, he was still driving hard,
preparing his team, his sled and himself for the Olympic trials.
Each morning he would rise before dawn and climb into his
flotation tank. He originally began using it to help his
visualization.  But  he soon found it was an extraordinary tools
for pain reduction. He told me that each rattling bobsled run was
like "falling down a long flight of stairs," and the stress of
five or six practice runs a day "the equivalent of running a
marathon."  Even so, at 50 years old, he told me, "I come jumping
out of that tank at 7:30 every morning feeling just great. I mean
loose and ready for it!"  Even a severe injury in a sled crash
didn't stop his training.  "Floating just blotted out a lot of
aches and pains," he said.

Mind tools have been proven to eliminate or significantly
decrease pain (for one recent study see "Recent Studies in Sound
and Light" by Dr. Julian Isaacs, elsewhere in this issue). One
reason for this is the stress reduction provided by the mind
tools--when you're relaxed, pain is not only actually reduced,
but also seems less painful and stressful.

A variety of studies have also proven that brain tools sharply
increase the levels of the body's own opiates, the endorphins.
One recent study of CES, for example, documented a 90% increase
in beta-endorphins within minutes of beginning use. Other studies
of both flotation tanks and LS devices have found significant
increases in endorphins.   These natural pain-killers, thought to
be the cause of the "runner's high," also create pleasure, and
could explain some of the euphoria frequently noted by mind tool
users.

Some sports, such as running and swimming, require competitors to
tolerate and move through increasing levels of pain.  A brain
tech session before competition in such sports could enable us to
go farther before experiencing pain and increase our capacity for
bearing pain when it does come. A session following a high
intensity performance can help eliminate or reduce any aches and
pains, while boosting the body's natural recovery and repair
systems.

                         BODY AWARENESS
Most mind tool users find that during a session their attention
turns away from external events and stimuli. As attention turns
inward, it first tends to focus on the physical body.  Many
athletes who use these tools have found that they improve their
fitness and performance by sharpening their sensitivity to their
own body.  My friend Herbie, a marathon runner, explained to me
how his use of a float tank helped him avoid injuries by making
him aware of points of stress or imbalance before they became
actual injuries.  "While I was floating," he said, "there might
be a feeling of heat or tightness in the back of my leg, and I'd
know my hamstring was getting ready to act up again, so I'd be
extra careful to keep it super loose."

This predictive-preventive effect has been frequently noted by
brain-tech-trained athletes, who spend a part of most sessions
simply paying attention to their bodies, becoming aware of
tension, rigidity, misalignments, and points of weakness or
imbalance. They can then work to heal, correct or avoid any
problems by using visualizations and suggestions.

A key to the increase in body sensitivity experienced by mind
technology users was explained by body therapist Moshe
Feldenkrais, who observed that
All sensations in which muscular activity is involved
are largely dependent on the smallest amount of tonus
persistent in the musculature.  When the tonus is the
smallest possible, you sense the finest increase in
effort.  Easy and smooth action is obtained when the
aim is achieved by the smallest amount of exertion,
which, in turn, is obtained with the minimum tonus
present. . . . People with a fine kinaesthetic sense
tend to a low tonic contraction, and are not satisfied
until they find the way of doing which involves the
smallest amount of exertion. . . .

What this means is that tight muscles don't feel, or at least
don't feel as well as loose muscles. It also explains why  what
Feldenkrais calls "easy and smooth action" is produced by loose
and not tight muscles.

The Curare Effect.
It also provides insight into how the deep relaxation provided by
mind tools can increase our control over the autonomic nervous
system, including our body's self-healing mechanisms: our
sensitivity to and awareness of the body's subtle processes is
enhanced when extraneous muscle tension, "background muscle
noise," has been turned down low.  This is, in essence, "the
curare effect" discovered in biofeedback experiments which showed
that rats whose muscles had been totally relaxed to the point of
immobility with the drug curare leaned control of autonomic
functions far faster and better than did nonrelaxed rats.
Researcher Leo DiCara pointed out that the curare effect works
because the drug "helps to eliminate variability in the stimulus
and to shift the animal's attention from distracting skeletal
activity to the relevant visceral activity. It may be possible to
facilitate visceral learning in humans by training people . . .
to breath regularly, to relax, and to concentrate in an attempt
to mimic the conditions produced by curarization."  To a greater
or lesser degree, from float tanks to binaural beats tapes, mind
tools clearly "facilitate visceral learning" by means of the
curare effect.


       INCREASED MUSCLE GROWTH AND GROWTH HORMONE RELEASE
The key to muscle growth is growth hormone.  In response to high
intensity or peak effort exercise, the pituitary gland releases
GH. The body rushes blood to the muscle tissue that has been
stressed, flooding it with GH and nutrients.  Thus, in the period
that follows high-intensity exercise, the body rebuilds the
overworked muscle tissue, so that the new muscle tissue is larger
and stronger than before.

As teenagers, we produce large quantities of GH--virtually any
kind of exercise or physical activity, in addition to deep sleep,
will cause our brain to release a pulse of GH. Which explains not
only our ability to grow and put on lots of muscle fast, but also
our capacity to eat unlimited quantities of burgers and chocolate
shakes and never gain an ounce of fat.

Exercise induced GH release continues into our twenties.  Once
we're past thirty, however, most of us can no longer trigger any
significant GH release with exercise. That's why it's so hard to
put on lean body mass (i.e. muscle tissue) after we're out of our
twenties. Most adult GH release takes place in a brief spurt when
we're in deep sleep. Apparently, either the profound relaxation
or the slow delta brainwaves of sleep send a signal to the
pituitary to release a pulse of GH.

As GH flows through our body, it performs a number of valuable
functions: it builds and repairs muscles, burns away fat, and
stimulates the immune system. GH is so essential to the body's
powers of growth, repair and regeneration, that it is no
exaggeration to call it our natural rejuvenation biochemical.
Sadly, like youthful vitality, our levels of GH naturally decline
with age.

Many people are so eager to increase their levels of GH that they
will stimulate it artificially by taking dangerous (and illegal)
steroids.  And no wonder: it seems to be the key to the fountain
of youth. One recent sensational study has suggested that if we
could restore our body's ability to secrete GH, we could reverse
many if not most of the effects of aging.

                 RESTORING THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH

The sensational study linking GH to rejuvenation got splashed all
over front pages when it was published in the New England Journal
of Medicine. No wonder--it had all the elements of a science
fiction saga. The researchers selected elderly frail men between
61 and 81 years of age, and gave them GH injections to bring
their GH levels up to those of healthy young adults, where they
stayed for six months. The old men rapidly put on muscles and
increased their lean body mass by 8.8%, decreased their adipose
(fat) tissue mass by 14.4%, increased skin thickness by 7.1% and
actually increased the average density of their lumbar vertebrae.
Each of these four measures indicate clear reverses in the normal
aging process.

The study concluded that, "Diminished secretion of growth hormone
is responsible in part for the decrease of lean body mass, the
expansion of adipose-tissue mass, and the thinning of the skin
that occur in old age." In their breathtaking conclusion, the
researchers asserted that "The effects of six months of human
growth hormone on lean body mass and adipose-tissue mass were
equivalent in magnitude to the changes incurred during 10 to 20
years of aging."

The before and after photos were astonishing--men who were
sickly, stooped and fragile before now stood erect, filled with
vigor, skin taut, faces glowing. It was as if they had grown 20
years younger overnight. Then, after the study was completed, and
the GH injections stopped, the men's GH levels plummeted again.
Inexorably they lost their briefly regained youth and re-aged by
20 years, returning to their former frail state, saddened and a
bit confused by the experience.

The story is poignant and thought-provoking, and illustrates the
crucial importance of GH--not just to athletic fitness and
training, but to health and longevity.  As I mentioned, people
now go to great lengths to stimulate GH release.  Black market GH
is now being sold to wealthy buyers who are willing to pay
$25,000 to $50,000 a year for a steady supply.

                    MIND TECH AND GH RELEASE
Intriguingly, recent evidence has emerged that at least some
types of mind technology produce rapid and significant increases
in GH levels.  In a recent study, C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D.,
measured the levels of a variety of neurochemicals and hormones
before and ten minutes after subjects were exposed for 20 minutes
to a mind machine that flickered violet, green, or red lights in
their eyes at a rate of 7.8 flashes per second, and in one case
31.2 flashes per second (4 times 7.8) of red.  Among the results
he noted: "significant increases of more than 25%" in growth
hormone in response to the 7.8 Hz flickers of each color.  He
also noted that the changes were "significantly more substantial"
in response to the 31.2 Hz flickers of red.

One of the more mind-boggling aspects of these findings is that
the sharp increases in GH levels took place virtually
immediately, and in response to a short 20 minute session.

Shealy also noted significant increases of more than 25% in
levels of luteinizing hormone (LH).  LH stimulates the secretion
of testosterone, which promotes muscle growth, as well as
increases sexual drive.

The study is intriguing, because it raises several questions.
First, each color--violet, green, red--triggered GH in certain
individuals.  Does that mean that any colors would trigger GH?
GH was triggered at 7.8 Hz.  7.8 Hz of course is the Schumann
Frequency, the resonant frequency of the earth ionosphere cavity.
As I wrote in Megabrain, "This has been found to be one of those
'window' frequencies that appear to have a wide range of
beneficial effects on human beings, ranging from reports of
enhanced healing to accelerated learning. When a biological
system vibrates at this frequency, it can be said to be in a
state of resonance or entunement with the planet's own magnetic
frequency. . . the 'natural' electromagnetic matrix for all life
on this planet, the frequency in which all life forms evolved,
and, until recent decades, the dominant electromagnetic frequency
in which all life took place."

Do Shealy's findings mean that 7.8 Hz is in some way a "window"
frequency for GH release? Does that mean that any LS device that
is set to 7.8 Hz will also trigger GH?

One individual Shealy tested received red lights on different
occasions at both 7.8 and 31.2 Hz, and secreted greater amounts
of GH in response to the higher frequency.  Does that mean that
the higher, and probably more arousing frequency, would trigger
GH in other individuals?  It's interesting to note that GH
release is triggered in adults by a number of occurrences that
are highly stressful and/or arousing, including trauma, the
extreme heat of a sauna, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), fasting,
and certain dopamine-stimulating drugs.  Do Shealy's findings
suggest that the colors, or the flickers, or the specific
frequencies trigger GH through similar sort of arousal
mechanisms? These and other questions must remain unanswered for
the time being. What is clear, however, is that at least certain
types of mind tools can directly and quickly increase GH levels.
This in itself is electrifying news.  It is news of great
importance to all users or potential users of mind tech, not just
athletes.

                    THE GH DELTA WAVE NEXUS

For most adults, our greatest GH release takes place in deep
sleep. For most adults, this GH pulse happens about an hour and
half after we first fall asleep, when our dominant brainwave
frequency is very slow, regular delta.  Intriguingly, there is
evidence that mind tools (ranging from biofeedback EEGs to LS
systems to floating to binaural beats to certain CES devices) can
induce this delta sleep state, and trigger GH release.

The first suggestion that it might be possible to induce GH
release with MT came from an evocatively-named aerospace
engineer, Michael Hercules, who had designed a variable frequency
CES device he called Pulstar.  In 1987 and 1988 he and I had
frequent discussions concerning an informal study he was
conducting with a group of individuals who were suffering from a
variety of chronic illnesses, ranging from AIDS to MS to Chronic
Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome (then known as "Epstein Barr
virus"). All subjects used the CES device and spent at least an
hour each day stimulating their brains at a delta frequency of
about 1 Hz.

The subjects noted that this delta stimulus made them extremely
drowsy.  But they also noted some interesting side effects.
According to Hercules, one man with male pattern baldness not
only found his hair growing back, the new hair was the same color
of red his hair had been when he was young! Others also reported
increased growth of hair, nails, improved complexions, and rapid
healing of wounds. Some noted increased immune system strength,
such as increased T cells. Some recovered completely from their
ailments. Could it be, Hercules asked me in a series of
breathless late night phone calls, that by entraining brainwaves
at this slow delta frequency, and bathing the brain with an
electrical current pulsed at the same frequency, the CES device
was hitting a "window" frequency that tripped the pituitary's
growth hormone switch, stimulating the immune system and helping
the body to repair itself?  Michael was preparing to conduct a
more rigorous study into possible links between EEGs, electrical
stimulation and GH release when he died unexpectedly of a
longstanding heart ailment.

However, there is clear evidence that a variety of brain tools--
including LS, float tanks, acoustic field systems, pulsed
electromagnetic field devices and others--can also alter
brainwave activity into the delta range, and help thrust users
into profoundly relaxed hypometabolic states. And there are
suggestions that these deep delta states seem to produce effects
very much like you might expect GH to produce, including
extraordinary healing, boosted immune function (such as increases
in immunoglobulin A, or IgA, reported by float tank researchers),
and--most relevant to those interested in fitness and sports
training--increased strength and muscle growth.

                    BRAIN TECH TRAINING TIPS
What follows are some ways you might incorporate brain tools into
your training or fitness program.  I have placed them in a
roughly step by step progression that leads from initial simple
relaxation, to techniques that require more and more
sophisticated mental involvement, such as visualization, self-
hypnosis and anchoring. The steps mirror the downward and inward
arc of a single advanced mind tech session. You will find it
equally rewarding to focus on a single one of these areas in each
session.


                              RELAX
The harder you exercise, the more you need to relax.  If you work
out frequently, use brain tools every day for at least a 20
minute relaxation session, getting yourself down into deep alpha,
theta, or even delta, so that your whole body has a chance to let
go, release tension, and reach a state of total rest. Remember,
if you use brain tech actively--for purposes such as rescripting,
visualization, self-suggestion--you should also give yourself a
session in which you simply let go, do nothing, and let your body
rest and recover. For a variety of mind tech deep relaxation
techniques, see "Beyond Entertainment: How to Use Mind Machines
for Peak Performance and Self-Transformation," in MBR Vol. I #4

                            RELEASE
Become aware of your emotions, particularly any emotions that
might affect your training or competition.  Are you anxious about
the upcoming game?  Do you have fears about your own abilities?
Are you letting your anger at someone or something carry over
into your training, and disrupt your concentration? What are your
wants?  Do you want to excel so much that you're pushing yourself
into overtraining?  Is wanting someone's approval causing you to
behave unwisely?  Once you feel your emotions and your wants,
release them. Simply let them go.  But remember, you must really
feel and experience these emotions first before you can release
them--they must become real and clear to you before you can let
them go.

                     MINDFULNESS BODY SCAN
One of the most valuable ways you can use brain tech in training
is to increase your awareness of your body.  To use it in this
way, use your brain tech relaxation techniques to get down into a
state of profound relaxation (if you're using a device like LS,
program it to ramp you down into theta). Then, simply be there,
in a state of relaxed attentiveness. Let your being unfold
without prejudgment. Be open to whatever sensation or perception
that arises.  If it is a thought, be aware of it and then let it
go and return to your state of relaxed attentiveness.  Let
yourself experience whatever is going on in your body. Soon you
will begin to notice your attention moves to a specific part or
parts of your body.  You may notice discomfort in your lower
back, or tension in your neck, or a deep ache in your foot.  Let
yourself become aware of your body. Along with your awareness of
tensions, torsions, aches and pain, you may find thoughts
arising--thoughts that are associated with the specific ache or
tension.  Pay attention to these thoughts--they may have
something important to tell you--and then let them go, return
your awareness to your whole body, and continue.  Soon, you
should have a sense of your entire body, and an idea of how you
need to treat it.

                            BREATHING
Having completed a body-scan, you might want to then use one of
the breathing techniques described in "Beyond Entertainment" MBR
Vol. I #4. For example, visualize each breath as a white light
that flows to specific body parts or systems--as you inhale, the
energizing light flows directly to the source of your tightness,
or the place you want to strengthen, where it creates a glowing
ball of light.  With each inhalation, the ball of light grows in
intensity, with each exhalation, you visualize yourself exhaling
pain, toxins, fatigue. In a very short time you'll find your body
feels different.

                            VISUALIZE
The scientific evidence is very clear: what our mind perceives in
the form of vivid mental imagery our body tends to believe is
actually true. Visualizing shooting basketballs, for example, has
been found to be as effective as actually practicing. Visualizing
your muscles growing stronger actually strengthens your muscles.
Mental imagery experts have found that there's a direct
correlation between relaxation and visualization: the deeper the
relaxation, the more vivid and controllable are the mental
images. Mind tools, by helping produce profound relaxation,
dramatically amplify and intensify mental imagery.  There are a
wealth of visualization techniques. Two examples that have been
found to be extremely effective for athletic training are the
mental workout and the mental rehearsal.

Mental Workout.  See yourself going through a training session.
If it's weightlifting, see yourself doing each set at an
accelerated rate of speed and with enormous strength and
endurance. Bodybuilders have found that since there's no need to
wait or rest between sets, they can run through an entire hour's
workout in just a few minutes of mental imagery, and that the
muscle-growth effect of the visualized workout seems to be as
strong as the actual workout.

Mental Rehearsal.  Whatever sport or move you want to improve,
see yourself doing it perfectly from beginning to end. Go through
your performance step by step.  See yourself executing each move
perfectly.  If you make a mistake, go back and do it correctly.
Practice over and over again.

                    HYPNOSIS AND SUGGESTION

After completing your releasing and body-scan, you may want to do
a self-hypnosis induction (for an introduction to self-hypnosis
see "Beyond Entertainment" in MBR Vol. I #4). While in trance,
you are in a state of hypersuggestibility.  This is the ideal
time to offer yourself positive suggestions and affirmations.
These can range from general suggestions (e.g. "my body heals
itself at all times," "I enjoy enormous vitality,") to specific
personal suggestions (e.g. "Each time I kick the ball I keep my
head down and follow through," "I enjoy doing situps every day,"
"I am now releasing growth hormone") to short "self-talk" action
phrases that you can use later to trigger specific actions
("Power now," "Push off,"   "Follow through").  Some of your
suggestions should be in response to your mindfulness body scan--
suggest to yourself that your pain or tension is gone, or the
area that needs to be strengthened is growing stronger

Such suggestions can be strengthened by using different sensory
modalities, such as auditory, visual and kinesthetic. For example
(visual), see your bruise or tense muscle as a tight knot and
then see it loosen, expand and dissolve, like a Chinese paper
flower in water; or (kinesthetic) feel your pain as being red
hot, and then replace it with ice, and feel it become cool; or
(auditory), hear your bloodstream rushing with growth hormone
like a roaring river, and so on.

IDEOMOTOR FINGER SIGNALS. While in a trance state one has more
direct access to hidden or unconscious material.  One effective
way of learning information that is hidden away in your
unconscious mind is the use of ideomotor finger signals: suggest
to yourself that you will ask yourself questions, and that if the
answer to a question is "yes" you will respond by moving your
right forefinger; if the answer is "no," you will move your left
forefinger (or allow your own unconscious to suggest to you which
signals to use).

This is an enormously useful technique for high-performance
sports training. For example, competitive athletes are constantly
on the edge of overtraining, which leads to sickness or injuries.
So, many athletes use ideomotor signals to ask themselves
questions such as, Should I work out hard today? Should I take it
easy today?  Is today right for upper body weight work? and so
on.

                            ANCHORING

One of the most remarkable features of being in a trance state is
that you can plant suggestions so that they take effect at some
later point, when you're no longer in trance.  One technique has
been developed and refined that permits individuals in trance to
give themselves a trigger mechanism that when it's employed later
can automatically activate specific desired behaviors or states.
The device is called an anchor (for a description of anchors and
anchoring, see "Beyond Entertainment" in MBR Vol. I #4).

Athletes seeking peak performance will want to anchor peak
states, such as being filled with energy and power. To do so,
once you're in a deeply relaxed state, remember as vividly as
possible an occasion when you experienced that rush of boundless
energy and power.  Don't just think of it--actually be there,
experience it with every cell of your body, using every sensory
modality you can--see, feel, smell, taste, hear the experience
and yourself being the experience.

As you are at the peak of your experience of this high energy,
power state, at that instant create your anchor--perhaps a finger
signal (such as putting your thumb against your first knuckle), a
signal word (such as "power!"), a vivid image (such as white
light pouring through your body), or all of these combined.
Suggest to yourself that every time in the future that you give
yourself this anchor, you will instantly activate these bodymind
neural circuits, and you will fully experience this energy state.
Suggest to yourself that the more you use this anchor, the more
powerful and effective it will become.

                    HIGH-INTENSITY RECOVERY
If you do high-intensity workouts, your need for deep rest and
recovery increases.  On hard workout days, end the day with an
extended deep relaxation session--at least 45 minutes to an hour
of deep theta or delta "do nothing" relaxation.  This will speed
your recovery, by accelerating the clearing of lactic acid and
other toxins, and increasing the flow of proteins and other
anabolic nutrients to your cells. It will also speed up your
body's recovery by stimulating the release of calming, counter-
stress neurochemicals such as serotonin and beta endorphins. Your
mind tech session may also trigger the release of GH.  Alternate
hard workout days with days of rest, including another extended
brain tech session.  During this off-day session you might want
to include some visualizations, suggestions and other sorts of
mental training.

                        Suggested Reading

An excellent guide to training and fitness that includes
information about such techniques as visualization, deep
relaxation and suggestion, is Frank Zane's Fabulously Fit Forever
(Palm Springs, Zananda Press, 1993), available from Zananda, PO
Box 2031, Palm Springs, CA, 92263.  Creative Visualization by
Shakti Gawain (NY: Bantam, 1986) offers a wealth of visualization
techniques. See also Peak Performance: Mental Training Techniques
of the World's Greatest Athletes, by Charles Garfield and Hall
Bennett (L.A.: Tarcher, 1984); and The Ultimate Athlete, by
George Leonard (NY: Viking, 1975). An introduction to self-
hypnosis is included in The Book of Floating (William
Morrow/Quill, 1984), which I wrote before writing Megabrain. For
more, see Leslie LeCron, Self-Hypnotism (Prentice-Hall, 1964).
For anchoring, the best introduction is Richard Bandler's Using
Your Brain for a Change (Moab, UT: Real People Press, 1985).


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