Featuring Dr. Andrew Hill, various aspects of neurofeedback training and brainwave entrainment are discussed. The conversation begins with an overview of neurofeedback training, which involves adjusting parameters to prompt desired changes in brain activity. Additionally, a product called Qualia Mind is mentioned as offering enhancements to mental wellness through brain nourishment.

The discussion then delves into brainwaves, debunking myths and explaining their functions, highlighting different brainwave states like alpha, delta, theta, and beta, and their effects on cognitive function and mental states. The speakers explore the challenges of measuring and manipulating brainwaves, particularly gamma waves associated with consciousness. Neurofeedback training is explained as a personalized program to understand and control brain activity, aiming for desired outcomes. The video also covers the role of neurofeedback in addressing conditions like anxiety and improving sleep quality. The importance of understanding brain networks like the default mode network (DMN) and the temporoparietal junction (TPJ) in mental health is emphasized. Practical advice is provided for measuring and monitoring sleep, energy levels, mood, and stress to make informed lifestyle changes. The Peak Brain Institute’s approach to brain training, utilizing operant conditioning and passive feedback, is explained, along with a disclaimer stating that the video does not offer medical advice and reliance on it is at one’s own risk.

Speaker 1 0:00
The big trick in neurofeedback is that we’re moving the goalposts. So, over the 30 minute run of the neurofeedback session, your brain is gonna go through several normal to itself typical endogenous if you will change, it’s gonna run to theta and beta and changes in speed and fatigue and stuff just happening. If we only pick out the 70 times that your brain had little 10 Second runs of data dropping and the beta climbing and just applauded those of all the billions of things your brain is doing, your brain is gonna notice, hey, wait a minute, why is my theta going down thing applauded, okay. And it’s gonna start chasing the information flow, as we ask it to have to do even more. To get the same game plan, we move the goalposts adaptively and then 10 minutes and 50 minutes and your brains will tired, and you’re actually not able to make the same you aren’t fluctuating as well in that direction anymore. So we make it easier move the goalposts the thresholds next to where you are. So when you fluctuate again, the right direction, the applause resumes. So we’re giving a directed signal of movement and we have these two or three different brainwaves you might be training in a session might be training down some slow brainwaves turning down some very fast brainwaves and turning up some in the middle, say something measure the amount you’re making, boom, boom, boom, and put a threshold just above or just below or somebody is.

Speaker 2 1:22
Collective insights as a voyage through topics and technology is revolutionizing human wellbeing. Groundbreaking approaches for a better world and a better life awaits you. Welcome to collective insights.

Speaker 3 1:36
This is James Martin Berger, CEO and co founder of qualia. I appreciate your support of our podcasts collective insights, and encourage you to try the formula that launched our company qualia mind. quality of mind promotes life changing enhancements to your focus, energy and overall mental wellness. This podcast interviews world renowned experts on crucial aspects of mental wellness such as sleep, exercise and mindset training. But if you also want to add the life changing brain nourishment to diet, try qualia mind at neuro hacker.com. You can use code James for an extra 15% off that’s qualia mind with code James at neuro hacker.com And I hope you enjoy today’s episode.

Speaker 4 2:19
Welcome to today’s podcast episode. I’m Lauren Alexander. And I’m absolutely thrilled to introduce our hosts and today’s discussion. Even though we may not have crossed paths before I have been working tirelessly behind the scenes, working on each and every episode of collective insights. We have covered Neurofeedback with Dr. Andrew Hill a few times on collective insights. But we’ve never really had the time to dig in deep to the mechanisms and science behind it. So today we aim to deliver a really comprehensive exploration of how brainwaves work and to our advantage and sometimes to our disadvantage and perhaps killing some myths and sacred cows about brainwave beliefs that are floating out there. You know, I’m you know, I’m here and it was really because of the episode on Neurofeedback that we did now nearly seven years ago with Dr. Andrew Hill that led me to explore Neurofeedback for myself. And as of this morning, I have done over 70 Neurofeedback sessions and it has literally changed my life. And I think that you’re going to really enjoy this episode, so buckle in if you haven’t met them before. Dr. Greg Kelly is going to be our host today. He is Director of Product Development at neuro hacker collective. He’s a naturopathic physician and author of the book shape shift. And as I mentioned before, Dr. Andrew Hill is here with us. He is the founder of peak Brain Institute and a top peak performance coach in the country. He holds a PhD in cognitive neuroscience from UCLA department of psychology and continues to spearhead cognitive research using EEG Q E. G, and ERP methodologies. He has been practicing Neurofeedback since 2003. Andrew, welcome back to the show. And Greg go ahead and kick things off.

Speaker 5 4:14
Sure, we’ve got a lot to cover. And one of the things we really wanted to dig in deep here was about the different brain waves, our brains making all the time mixing together to perform in different ways. So can we start just maybe a quick background on what brainwaves are? Andrew

Speaker 1 4:31
are so thanks for having me back, guys. Nice to see you both. brainwaves are oscillations, little rhythms the brain is making the cortex more specifically the brain has a bark, a layer that’s got wrinkles, gyri and sulci bumps and grooves and the parts of the cortex that are sort of oriented perpendicular to the scalp to the skull. You’re actually getting the ability to read the brain through that part of the scalps so we have something called micro columns also occasionally called mini columns. One is electricity when a size and it’s something like 30,000 neurons and a column a little like block party in the city, one building, and that whole block parties jam into the same little rhythm and then firing if you will, at the same rate, the same dance pattern. And you might have 30,000 neurons and a couple 100,000 glial cells and support cells, all kind of making up this little one machinery. And we have billions of these things. These are all the CPUs, and they’re six layered block buildings, and they have some clotheslines go into the local buildings next door sending back messages and they have some long distance communication with pigeons to further ways to further buildings away and they all influence each other’s local neighborhood sound and inter city communication called micro columns, how many columns and how fast they’re bouncing is a brainwave. So the brainwaves are named things off the Greek alphabet. And the first one Alpha isn’t the slowest Brainwave. It’s just the first one we measured. Basically, it’s a very easy brainwave to see. And we measured it before we had like, modern electricity even we use that was a scientist was bouncing light off of reflections of exposed cortex and saw ripple in the flame candle on a wall with an interference pattern realized it was a brainwave being evoked. So the really the subtle phenomena that we’ve known about for years, but we’ve never really deeply understood, we still don’t, but alpha is about a 10 hertz attend to cycle per second wave. And it’s sort of like the idling mode, the rest mode, the base, the background, and it really represents the index frequency, the basic speed of your brain the speed at which you idle. And it gets faster as you get older. As you myelinated the brain as you produce more cells, it gets faster and faster and faster and your speed of processing climbs. And then as you get quite older, you start to lose cell density, lose myelination and speed of processing dips, that’s when word finding issues start showing up. That’s the Alpha speed dipping for instance, or maybe you got COVID, or a head injury or having been sleeping for four or five days or six weeks. And then you have brain fog, same phenomena alpha is draggy so you can sort of feel this, you can feel your alpha speed if you’re having handoff or information flow issues essentially. So alpha was the first brain way we thought about it was the first one that we kind of get into in the field of Neurofeedback or biofeedback back in the 50s. And 60s, it’s not necessarily the most exciting one to exercise, it’s just really obvious to sort of measure. And starting at sort of the the slowest brainwaves, if you will, we want to talk about delta. And delta happens up to about twice per second to hertz. And it’s the heartbeat of the brains, the background of your metabolism, the sort of brainstem phenomena of keeping your heart and lungs moving. And all the involuntary cell metabolism stuff and bursts of it dominate and slow wave sleep. That’s a delta sleep phenomenon. It’s very non conscious background processes of the brain. You don’t think in it, you kind of live in it, basically. And you’ll see that the brain will produce general amounts of it, it’ll fill your delta bucket at night, I’ll kind of receive the background during the day for most of us. But if you’re sleep deprived, starts to climb up and speed and get rushy and push around you see there high amounts of it, because your brain sleeping when you’re awake, works very fast, because your brains rushing around trying to heal, you are sleepy when you’re awake. So you can still get hints of this delta reserve not being well managed, even though it is still fluctuating and doing the basic things. Delta slow as you go. In faster speeds, you get to theta and then alpha. So in between the Alpha neutral and the Delta rest and repair mode, you have the theta and theta is the release, it lets things happen. It takes the brakes off the cortex. These these billions of little micro columns are organized in modulars. Modular neighborhoods do specific things, sometimes all of the time primary cortex doing something and sometimes it creates temporary networks Association cortices, frontal lobe, parietal lobe, and makes meaning of other people’s information, mostly other neighborhoods. So as these circuits are all bouncing around the delta is an inactive resting mode and the tissue or the whole system, theta lubricates it releases of a little block party to happen or normal behavior of a circuit to turn on or app and happen automatically. So you need data status, four to seven hertz basically roughly, at around six and a half hertz is a burst of that is the moment of insight. Yeah, aha, the the sudden memory of the thing you didn’t think you you actually knew that’s, that’s six and a half hertz, you need that. But if you make large amounts of four to seven theta, broadly throughout the head then your modules are kind of automatic and stimulus driven, and you have poor inhibitory tone. And we call that ADHD. You know, squirrel is a high data state, we can’t inhibit, you see all the patterns, the novelty, the stimulus, the outside world will drive you and put you in a mode. But in the absence of that ability to load up your modules and make them, you know, engage in their automatic way, then it’s harder to control yourself to inhibit to direct the machine and decide how that information is rising off of that part of the brain. So delta theta alpha, and then you’re into beta. And beta is a pretty wide range, it goes from about 12 hertz, all the way up to about close to 40. And 40 is where something called gamma starts. And beta is pretty great. It’s the the modular activation, the gas pedals, the gears, the voluntary and you think in it, you perceive and it you have emotions in it, that’s most of you that you’re aware of is nothing happening in beta. And the default mode network runs in beta and specific sensory tissue uses beta and language tissue kicks off in beta. So mostly, you’re aware of just that surface, and just that, you know, faster brainwaves set to some extent, in terms of the mental cognitive, higher human self stuff, it’s up there, but there’s a special frequency within beta. And it’s in the lowest range. It’s in 12 to 15 hertz, it’s called the sensory motor rhythm. And it’s what a lot of the field of neurofeedback is centered around or was discovered, to sort of, you know, that’s the big lefter, you can kind of think of that beta wave that sensory motor wave as the relaxation mode or the idle mode or the rest mode, just like alpha, but in the motor range and the movement and the control and the thought range. So SMR beta, low beta, when it’s occurs on the strip of tissue that goes from ear to ear, we have the sensory tissue in the motor tissue there, just in front of him just behind the Central Division, you have a sending information rising up through your body registering just behind the central sulcus, and you have descending motor control and voluntary control going down. And just in front of the central sulcus, and this little bit of tissue when you’re relaxed, when you’re sitting still, when you have self control, and you’re not distracted, you’re making lots of SMR lots of sensory motor rhythm, this strong inhibitory tone. And those of you who are wondering, in the abstract what this might feel like, well, you’ve probably seen it. If you have a cat who lies on a windowsill and becomes very still watches the bird that laser like focus and physical inhibition, that motoric stillness, that’s a highest Mr. State. That’s literally the opposite of ADHD, like literally SMR and theta inverse relationship is the thing you can screen kids for and go impulsivity, okay, classic, nice. You’re one of those. So delta theta into the betas and then you have to gamma. So gamma is kind of, for those classic literature people, it’s, it’s a snark, it’s you know, it’s a Boojum, your your your darling at shadows, if you’re concerned about gamma in a biohacker context, it’s kind of like the word quantum, you got to be really careful. In a biohacker context, if someone’s using the word quantum, most of the time, they have no idea what they’re talking about some of the time they’re dishonest.

Speaker 1 13:21
It’s a it’s a big problem. You know, unless you’re getting nuclear medicine, you probably shouldn’t be using that word. With regards to your health. Honestly, it’s just not valid. I’m sorry, I’m very I’m very opinionated. That’s what the podcast is for apparently. But functionally, gamma is a thing. It exists. We know about it. We’ve measured it, Cliff sarin B, Alan Watts did a bunch of work at the Samartha project showing you gamma coherence changes, connectivity changes in long term meditators that are amazing. You see gamma changes in schizophrenia that are quite altered, you see an aging that are altered, but it’s really, really hard to measure gamma waves 40 hertz waves, there’s something called the one over f rule, the amplitude or frequency rule in all living systems, actually all systems that are dynamic and stable that oscillate like weather, or your body, you know, oscillations happen, and if they’re big oscillations, they have a lot of energy and they’re slow, delta waves, big delta wave, if you have 10 micro volts a delta, you got one or two of them. But when you go to gamma 40 hertz waves, you get tons of little tiny gamma waves the same energy to produce one, let’s say delta wave. And that means as you go up in speed, you go down in the size of the wave down in amplitude. The problem without an EEG is waves as they travel from the brain through the layers of the meninges, the tissue, the skull, the scalp, they attenuate each of those things as a filter and it drops the amplitude of the waves and it drops some of the fast waves so much that you cannot measure gamma through the noise floor of EEG without getting under the skull or without using hundreds of 1000s dollars have very expensive amplified equipment, I’ve done some of that work, you can do it. But if you haven’t spent 100 grand on your EEG rig, you probably aren’t really measuring gamma. And most of the literature for the first 50 years in gamma has been retracted. Because most of the of the researchers discovered they were picking up Eisah cards, the movement of eyes, the vibration is in that muscle range that is intended to bleed into frontal electrodes. So gamma is a bit of a thing with that it’s been, it’s interesting, but you need very specialized equipment that’s either designed to sort of just measure that or it’s very expensive, broad amplified equipment at the scalp. It’s hard to do with passive consumer or prosumer, or even decent lab grade gear reliably bought one of my mentors in the space, a guy named Jack Johnstone, who passed away a couple years ago helped a company develop an algorithm for measuring consciousness using the ratio of gamma to theta. So gamma is about 40, faded about four turns out these suckers nest they ring together, they synchronize and the angle, the phase this the synchrony between this ringing is how conscious you are. If you break that timing, you create unconsciousness, so all the major anesthetic drugs that that knock you out, do so by changing we think by changing the something that microtubules that change how some of the ions work in your neurons, but the functional effect is you change the phase angle, the coupling of gamma and theta, you get consciousness change. And you can kind of measure this by spectral index, the best it’s a commercial product is a amplified single electrode you wear on your forehead in many hospitals in the US now during surgery. So the anesthesiologist can look at a numerical scale of how conscious you are, and use that to gauge to gauge consciousness. And this is why gamma is so sexy because it has this consciousness thing and in a valid way, not in a way that get you drummed out of your your grad program by using the word consciousness. So people get excited about it, but it’s really hard to measure. And it’s really noisy, and it’s really hard to get in a modern, even modern technology, just not really generally doing stuff with it. And yet people who train it with neurofeedback, or train there’s a whole category of biohackers who use neurofeedback, a lot of them have gotten into something called the tag sync, theta alpha gamma synchrony training, and they’re putting amazing subjective effects flow states and transformation. But I’m fairly certain that what they’re doing is simply manipulating theta, and alpha. And there’s a category in Neurofeedback called alpha theta, where you do creativity flow state relaxation, where commune work substance craving work, it’s fairly powerful protocol of neurofeedback. And I believe you’re getting gamma effects, you’re feeling consciousness changes, but you can do it by manipulating your theta. And meditation creates data changes that are measurable. So I would say it’s, it’s, you know, your risk of elaborating in the space without actually using the tools that are right there to go after that are a little more understandable. And then you can worry about things below gamma, but that’s that’s the landscape from about zero to about 40. Gamma goes from 40 up to about maybe 1000, actually, but we can’t really measure it. Cliff sarin and beyond watch does some work again, with a similar project, they showed changes in gamma phenomena at 200 at 400 hertz really, really fast brainwaves, but again, it’s a very hard phenomena to get access to without being under the skull. So raise your brainwave primer.

Speaker 5 18:33
Well, and one of the things I just want to make sure we went out to the audience a benefit of QE G is it’s basically taking the EEG right, the electrical activity of the brain, but then mathematically slicing and dicing it so that you will understand like, okay, there’s this proportion of alpha in this part of the brain, and it’s got this amount of delta. And then when you talk about something like the Alpha Theta training, you’re actually saying, Okay, well, you know, when we look at your resting state or eyes open, what we’re seeing is you know, this, this brainwave looks like a weak muscle, it’s not doing its fair share. Let’s teach the brain how to strengthen that and do more of that. Is that something along those lines? Correct?

Speaker 1 19:13
It is, is the only subtle inflection I might want to add here is that while the performance testing we do alongside the brain map is great, it’s good or bad. And here’s some deficits or some performance. Brain maps are really not showing what’s weak or strong. Just what’s weird, people they’re weird. So we start off okay, how unusual Are you for the average person your age and a bell curve in them? heatmaps Okay, wow, your alpha is really unusual. Oh, Your fate is doing that while your beta is interesting. And I don’t know what that means for you. I just know what now it’s plausible. It’s often true what could be true what is visibly potentially showing up but it’s not you? It isn’t the subtlety of you. It isn’t the experience broadly, but it might represent the the stuff that shows up most reliably. You can usually spot are the regulatory features that all brains engage in all the time the executive function, the features of impulsivity, or inattention, you can see things like speed or processing, which is again that alpha speed, and that will represent experiences of like word finding issues and delayed recall. That’s a laggy Alpha speed. For instance, you can see almost all the flavors of anxiety in a brain map as far as I can tell it not so much developmental things that are slow moving, and that are gradual, but almost all other flavors of acute or loci anxiety, per separation, rumination, sensory and social irritability, strong trauma response stuff, are things that show up as signatures and specific tissues that are cramped up with your anterior singlets cramped up. Well, you’re either a high powered CEO, you got a little bit of OCD, maybe both, you know, let’s talk about your anterior cingulate Oh, your superpowers steel trap mine, huh? Does that get stuck out? Does Okay, I’m gonna work on that. Alright, stretch that out. It’s a relationship with your physiology, it’s not so much about which label we got to. So you know, you see stress response things executive function things, speed of processing, brain fog, sensory and social, when it’s really unusual. Those are the big features. And from there. I mean, we should probably ask Lauren has gone through it quite deeply. I do not remember a few months ago, when I went over your brain map the first time because we’ve done a lot of mapping, you know, part of our our job at peak is to teach you to become your own expert. So you can delve into that a little bit. But what did we find? What was your experience the first time perhaps of looking at your data? If I could that put you on the spot for a second?

Speaker 4 21:36
Yeah, yeah, I mean, I think one of the really meaningful things for me is I entered and was curious about the training, just as like a bio hack. I didn’t come to the table of like, I want to address anxiety, I want to address depression I want to address I really was like, I’m a biohacker this is the next cool thing. And I really had no idea until having some of the you know, brainwaves speed up and catch up that I was really carrying this like 50 pound bag of anxiety around I didn’t I and so when that bag was taken off, that’s when I really had my eyes open. So in the maps, when you went over things with me and saw, Oh, you know, there’s a cluster over here. Does this ring true to you? Or not? I was like, huh, yeah, kind of. But the whole experience to me, and the training of it has really kind of opened my eyes to how, you know, a year ago, I was such an anxious person, but I wouldn’t have labeled myself as that. And so it’s been really amazing. And it’s kind of crazy, that such a simple thing of training of exercising your brain in a targeted way. Exercising, and I’d love to talk about are asked about, you know, you have these sessions, you know, and they’re very specific, like CZ, a one. And this is the frequency that we’re going to inhibit, this is the frequency we’re gonna reward. And what is that really mean? Like what you know, I know, I’d love you to unpack some of that so that we can really understand altogether what’s going on during a Neurofeedback session. Sure,

Speaker 1 23:33
there’s a couple of different ways you can do neurofeedback, pretty classic way, the way that we do it is using passive reinforcement learning operant conditioning, I’ll unpack those terms. But we often measure three different brain waves three different sets of frequencies at one location, or maybe more than one we occasionally do like lots of wires, but usually one or two wires in the head, measuring your brain at specific places, you might want to exercise broadly executive function stuffs pretty straightforward. The left side of the brain kind of on that sensory motor cortex, its job to some extent is to keep the spotlight bright and stable and clear and on things, even if they’re boring, keeps you awake when you’re waking on and it also helps keep you asleep at night, which is kind of cool. So it says mode maintainer, the right hand side helps the pump the brakes and outgoing squirrel, you know, with that SMR theta ratio thing the supervisor of your attention or you appropriately paying attention, or are you allowed to react to the new stimuli that’s that’s the right hand side more for most of us. And both of these tissues, do their job do their super supervisory control thing with beta of some sort. And they both kind of become more automatic with betas and alphas the slower brainwaves. So pretty classic way to train your brain might be to do 50 minutes of one and 50 minutes another and we’re going to want to bring up some beta on the left side for a few minutes while bringing down some theta maybe, and then 50 minutes, move the wire, bring up some bait in the right hand side and bring down some theta. And when I say bring up or bring down we’re literally just exercising by watching what the brain is already doing. And then providing contingent feedback, we’re only applauding some of the stuff the brain is doing. So if you stick some wires there and put some air clips on and measure the amount of beta moment to moment you’re making and your theta. Whenever your brain happens to make briefly a little more of that SMR beta, and a little bit less of the theta. The computer sees that and goes, Oh, good job rain, and the game starts to run the screen. Your pack may need some dots, your puzzle pieces fill in. What’s your favorite game?

Unknown Speaker 25:32
Alright, horses. The horses picture, you

Speaker 1 25:34
have a picture gallery. Yeah, we had this game we just called formation where you can load in beautiful pictures and art. And it’s like a picture grid that unveils and shows you more and more. So for every one second or so that your brain for half that time has spent with your theta going down or staying down and your beta going up or staying up. The computer goes beep and shows you a little bit more of a picture. It’s unveiling it as an applause dream. Good job. Good job. Good job. Good job. And then you’re then your brain moves the wrong direction. The game stops for a second and the brain goes oh wait, where’s my information? where’s the where’s the applause? Why am I not getting stuff happening? I collect stuff stuff’s cool. Know stuff isn’t isn’t so cool. Where’s where’s my stuff? And then it happens to move the right direction. And the applause resumes and the brain notices it. The mind doesn’t actually notice it that well. Usually three or four sessions in when did you notice it? Because you’re a biohacker people are subtle.

Speaker 4 26:29
i i based on you know, I’ve asked a lot of people what was normal, but I think I’m like a super responder because after my third session, I felt completely different. And it’s built and it’s over time. I mean, I’ve done a lot. Because you know, it’s like once you get a taste of this, you want more.

Speaker 1 26:51
So three sessions, four sessions, five sessions, that’s actually pretty typical to feel something I think you did get I remember you got a pretty strong specific response. Sometimes the things we start with are the things you really need. And you get a really good response right away. I think you know, that was you. But the mind doesn’t actually notice the process happening right away the brain does. They gave me a PhD at UCLA for demonstrating that learning loop of neurofeedback. I think I did the first double blind placebo controlled study on neurofeedback. And I did it looking at that game, that formation game, how the brain reacted when the reward popped up the audio beep and the picture reveal I grabbed that event and ongoing EEG. And then you snip out those EEG averaged together and you lose all the endogenous background information are left with the learning event called an evoked potential. And you can look and see how that evolves in response to the brainwave you’re applauding. So I demonstrated that that learning loops, the brain starts to go Oh, beta waves cool beta waves within about five or 10 minutes for everyone the very first time you do neurofeedback, the brain is going whoa, whoa, hey, why am I reacting? The beta beta is cool. And the mind has no idea typically. And then he sessions and you’re like, hey, wait a minute. Hmm, I might be feeling a little different. It’s interesting, or maybe more in your case, but it’s this passive involuntary operant conditioning. The big trick of neurofeedback is Well, are you getting the effects you’re looking for or not? This is changing your brain briefly, gently. It’s not permanent right away. But you’re pushing on your brain, we want to make sure we move in the right direction and not just how we assume you are built from some assessments or from some labels you’ve been given. So we work really carefully to move from sort of a scientific modeling. Here’s some ideas about you what’s important, let’s understand you yay, brains into more of a let’s be careful. Let’s listen to what she’s saying. Are we moving towards your goals? is there’s this are there shifts are there is a new suffering we can try to support are there new transformation she’s looking for. And we learn your experience day to day by asking you to sleep stress, attention stuff, and as that starts to fluctuate, we’re sprinkling in little workouts trying to elicit effects that are in the direction you want to go in and then doubling down when you say oh, wow, hey, wait, I like that one. Okay, let’s give her give her two more of those. I think that’s a good one for her great you know, and the coaches stay on top of you and help you know, celebrate the wins and commiserate when things are stressful. And that means you don’t have to worry about how to do neurofeedback, you can just worry about who am I noticing anything from this stuff? Or should I be a squeaky wheel and ask for more? For more. But it comes very much like personal training where you get to validate the workout and be annoyed at your coach for too fatigued, ask for a harder workout and start to learn how the system responds over time. That’s the that’s the neurofeedback of the intervention itself. And then of course, we map the brain again, and we have to go back and be scientists and say, is it plausible? You’re feeling different in this way and teach them more the field of Neurofeedback was discovered because somebody was manipulating SMR and you got an anti seizure or seizure protection effects from it months later in animals back in the 60s, Dr. Barry Sturman UCLA was testing methyl hydrazine rocket fuel on cats for danger levels basically, in some of the cats refuse to have any instability events in the brain. Oh, wait a minute, these cats were used to six months before. And since cats make so much SMR he just squirted chicken broth and then into their mouth whenever they made little bit more and shaped it. Okay, cool. You can operate the condition beautifully. Beautiful. These cats became super cats seizure resistant. And his lab manager was epileptic and uncontrolled and all of her meds having 10s of seizures. So they built her auditory reward to SMR. And her seizures dropped away and she went off all of her meds was the start of the field. But here’s another thing. SMR is also called sleep spindles. It’s the thing that keeps you asleep and causes memory consolidation to kick off. So when a dog barks three houses away, and you know that dog, you don’t wake up in a threat, you just suppress the wakeful rouse moment, and the sleep spindle kicks in, and you have this deepening of your sleep. And then that kicks off a nine hertz spindle and the hippocampus which causes that memory consolidation stuff to start to move short term memory to long term memory throughout the cortex. So it’s this motoric inhibition that allows that deep wrasse that deep staging of architecture. And it’s unusual to get deep sleep improvements with Alpha Theta training because that actually Alpha Theta to some extent, brings you into the hypnogogic mode between awake and asleep. And it brings up the theta the nonlinear the insight I mentioned earlier, while dropping the the the AWARE idle the alpha, so that you’re actually in more of a theta dominant state more creative, more shifting, it’s that state people know because they have good ideas before they fall asleep. Or remember that thing before they fall asleep. That’s, that’s a theta hypnogogic access state and nonlinear state. It’s a bit of a flow state access for many of us. Well, Alpha Theta Neurofeedback brings you right to the edge of that and hold you there just to hold you there. So you end up getting that deep relaxation, but you also many of us get insight. When Alpha Theta stuff bubbles up, we start to feel our feelings and know how we feel them. I get calls from the spouses of high level CEOs, whatever you just did do that. Again, he brought me flowers, we had the best therapy session. Oh my gosh. And people say things like, oh my gosh, I was so eloquent under that eloquent in that fight. I wasn’t mean to my wife, oh, my goodness. And artists and creatives, get back in the zone and can find their flow again. So alpha theta is pretty amazing. And it was used in the 60s and 70s a lot and something called the penicillin protocol for alcohol for substance use disorders, specifically with alcohol a lot. And it seems to reverse the literature reverse the one year relapse rate with alcohol from 75%. Across all interventions to 25% when Neurofeedback has added similar kinds of impact Alpha Theta use for violent offenders in Canada Doug Court did a bunch of work on this same kind of thing. The one year re incarceration rate for violent offenders dropped from 75% to 25%. In a study when Neurofeedback was added, so gives you that in between state emotional access state it can irrigate some release for some stuff you aren’t aware of it can do gentle sideways, careful work and trauma for some of us. And you apparently got a healing response from it. You know, I’ve seen it jackup T cells to 15 Like really takes 84 Plus cells and bring them way, way up. And this is a known effect of alpha training and general Alpha speed training back there, brings up T cells. Dr. Gary Schumer in Orange County did some work on that. But Alpha Theta, the next door neighbor of alpha training seems to also release such a deep healing a deep relaxation response that there’s a surge of growth and healing. And I think your deep sleep was a secondary effect. It was the consequence of that incredible release of growth hormone and T cells and relaxation. Your brains like oh, we’re gonna do three hours of deep sleep tonight to do some cleanup and restock the shelves because oh my god, yes. But we didn’t provoke the deep sleep necessarily. If you had a chronic generalized anxiety disorder, and I trained your beta, we would produce less anxiety and better sleep maintenance and that’s about sleep architecture specifically now you’re training the actual sleep system. But you can go after either way and great how she’s getting great sleep cool. Wasn’t a primary goal cloud that’s happening that suggests we’re on track for her brain. Because you train the brain and it flexes you go to the gym for your abs and your shoulder hurts the next day because the seat height was set wrong or something. So in neurofeedback, you train, whatever your attachment trauma, your creativity, your flow state your laser like focus your seizures, you got a little flex over the next 24 hours on sleep, stress, tension on speed. And by noticing those things you index the protocol though the exercises you’re doing not the right coaches are doing for you Lauren is saying hey, you Haven’t seen a sleep survey in three days how you doing just going up do some planning for you, is because they want to see if you’re noticing those fluctuating things we can use to index the path you’re on and help, you know create a bit more of a tight coupling to where you want to go. So totally change your brain. This,

Speaker 5 35:16
I’m not sure if this would be an appropriate analogy for cue, EEG and neurofeedback. But sometimes I’ll hear a descriptor, like top down brain bottom up, right, like the top down is like the predictive brain, right? What’s filtering out a lot of experience and saying, Okay, well, I know this person is going to insult me. So whatever they said, I’m going to feel insulted, where, you know, that bottom up is more like the raw sensory input and the raw, you know, like, emotional thing, and that it would sound like to me a lot of what, you know, this alpha theta training does, it’s, it’s allowing more of that raw to like, bubble up, and now cause that top down brain to say, Oh, my prediction might have been incorrect. Let me update that.

Speaker 1 35:58
I think you’re right, I think, especially in things that there’s a syndrome called alexithymia, which is inability to talk about how you feel. I mean, some people believe all men have this, but I don’t. So you can reliably get access to high tech putting your emotions into words using alpha theta for most people that works counter to that phenomena, essentially, I think it’s exactly what you’re doing. Dr. Kelly is is educating the more frontal the more top down, about the more visceral the more back in fact, Alpha Theta neurofeedback is done on the back of the head, hey, pro tip in the brain, front of the brain, inside itself back of the brain, outside world. So the deep awareness stuff you’re doing is actually on tissue that’s used to integrating the outside world into the self. It’s not on the highest level of cognitive stuff, and the most decision and thinking stuff and the holding stuff and the attention stuff. It’s in the making meaning of things as they come in, that’s the place you’re doing flow state work. So Well, yeah.

Speaker 5 37:02
And one of the things you mentioned earlier was the default mode network, which I just think of as the mean at work. But I would you know, that obviously has a lot to do with the stories about our past rumination, sometimes they’ll say time traveling right going into the future to be anxious about it the past to be worried or depressed about it. So I would imagine a lot of this neurofeedback training must be making some fairly dramatic changes in the default mode network and maybe the attention network, you’ve mentioned executive function, but there’s an executive control network. And I would think these are all just like you could almost see these connections in QED. You can see

Speaker 1 37:39
you can see the networks, the rich clubs, the rich hubs, you can see the salience network, the executive network, and the dmn, default mode network all kinds of show up like the front midline and back midline are big clusters of tissue called the singlets. And the anterior cingulate switches what you’re thinking about are planning for future and the back midline, posterior cingulate does watch the road heads up and evaluates the possibility of things haven’t gone wrong in the past. So the outside world in history, so yeah, if your posterior cingulate is lit up to you know, a couple standard deviations above average and beta waves, I’m gonna think you’re either a lifeguard or there’s some threat, you know, activated sensitivity and you’re ruminating all the time, maybe both, maybe neither, maybe there’s weird Good job be weird. By me, let’s let’s talk about the fact that hey, there’s posterior cingulate. This often cramps up in the world isn’t especially safe or predictable. You kind of like threat sensitive and activated kind of visceral, er, do you care? You care? All right. We don’t know if it’s true. Here’s what we call it. But if that matters to you want to stretch that? See how it feels? Okay, cool. You know, so you can take pretty severe threat sensitivity, trauma response, PTSD type phenomena, and you’re not doing anything invalid. But you’re framing this as physiology is mechanistic and saying, Wow, the suffering that really is important that really matters. But it’s just your brain. So a people have a sense of agency with things like neurofeedback, but be understanding how it works means you can be frustrated and it hurts, but you have a much harder time being ashamed about it or being overwhelmed about it. When you have that sense of like, oh, wow, my back midline is doing this lifeguard thing. Oh, okay. Huh, great. Now you know, so you can see the dmn interesting that poster singlet behind the right ear is the temporoparietal junction I call it The Princess and the Pea. It maps the world into the self. So if someone’s voice is irritating, or they’re chewing too loud and destroying your concentration, or you find everyone’s faces too loud, and their voices too annoying, and all that stuff, that’s the back midline of the back right behind the ear. But of course, they’re not separate like the the singlets are sort of at the intersection of the networks involved with the self, the racetrack of the internal reverie and awareness. That’s the true dmn and the executive areas, the left stabilizer focus the right inhibitor of distractibility. Those will be directly tied into Through the cingulate, and being over having those different networks as rich clubs and hubs locked up together, start to predict some of the phenomena you see. And I have a very different perspective on the brain after doing the physiological stuff that I used to after working deeply in psychology for many, many years. For instance, there’s a the default mode network in the front the anterior cingulate and that back, right the TPJ, that temporoparietal junction there will co activate co lock up when you are obsessively focused on things in the environment that are irritating. And so you see this in something called misophonia when a spouse about to kill their husband because he’s chewing too loud, but that actually happens, which is like an OCD tick rage from small sounds, mouth sounds, especially because they’re weird. So you see this like obsessive type of thing. But that same coactivation right TPJ in front midline. You see locked up in claustrophobia, and in agoraphobia, you would think they would be somehow like opposite. Now they’re about the mind being obsessed about the environment being uncomfortable. Oh, okay. And they have an outside world map to the self kind of relationship. Safety. Oh, so I helped somebody with agoraphobia. A couple years ago, two summers ago, she did a remote program. And after doing eight weeks or something with us, went on a road trip to a wedding and came back from it with pictures and success stories and post them into her Facebook group for agoraphobia. And I got 12 people the next week who had a gore phobia, okay, who got maps, and nine of them had this pattern. I went, oh, oh, agoraphobia looks like other tic disorders. Holy cow. It looks like claustrophobia. It looks like misophonia it looks like Tourette’s. Hmm. And then he talks about their dmn and their anterior cingulate and the TPJ. And you start to decompose this from the big scary label. Hey, here’s how you might well and this anterior cingulate also means that you have in mind like a steel trap. And the right TPJ also means that you get all the fields and you got all the empathy, and you’re a little raw, but it’s kind of superpower. Hmm, okay. And it’s not about this monolithic application of label or identity, that point it’s more about, hey, here’s how it works. And I got to do something about that and stretch that tissue. So, you know,

Speaker 5 42:20
it’s my soapbox, when I think the and I just want to illustrate this point, I think I often tell Laura and I think of feedback as the breakfast of champions, right. And creating good feedback loops should be our goal in as many areas of our lives as possible. And like one, I would say, example from my way distant past back in, I think it was 1990, I decided to study Thai language. And one of the first things we did was learn colors. So in English, that NG sound, you’d have at the end of a syllable, like ring, or wing, like we’ve got that right, we heard that sound in that location, at the end of a syllable in infancy, our brain, you know, wired to hear and say that appropriately. But Thai, Vietnamese, they have that sound at the beginning of a syllable, we simply do not. Right. So the word for blue in Thai starts with that NG sound. And I can remember, my professors, you know, you know, holding up something blue having me say that shaking his head over and over again, right, because my brain just couldn’t tell what it stopped what he was saying. And what I was saying how those were different, right, and there was no feedback loop to correct it. My brain didn’t have that sound feedback loop. And what I really needed was someone to create that and almost what Neurofeedback like ding ding ding. You said it right this time, like more of that. Right? So I think you

Speaker 1 43:45
also need to hear the difference. Yeah, right, the ages 910 roughly the latter rally left, right, division finishes off. And at that point, the brain prunes out the possibility of hearing new speech sounds because if you hear something that’s kinda like a phoneme, you already know, it’s probably the guy from the village next door, probably not a new language. So this is the basis of both our accents that we learn languages after age 10 or 11, or 12, but also the inability to hear speech sounds that aren’t fully, you know, nuanced in our native tongues, unfortunately. So

Speaker 5 44:19
when he gets to finish off my analogy, I didn’t need to be told I was doing it wrong. I knew I was doing it wrong. I needed help doing it right. And to me when you know I think of what you offer with neurofeedback. It’s teaching the brain how to do things, right that before it was just stuck. It didn’t it didn’t hadn’t figured out that on its own, the chances are that it would figure out on its own or fairly low, you know, where it could have probably would up and it’s why you see so many miraculous things with the brain in such a wide contexts of limitations and like you said some limitations, you know, maybe a superpower in another area. So let’s keep that but let’s you know like help you overcome limitation. You can

Speaker 1 45:01
measure things you can’t feel so you can train involuntary aspects mean you know you can do things with neurofeedback, you can do meditation, but that’s only the voluntary stuff, you have a really hard time accessing tissue you can’t literally feel with meditation, but you can go right after it measure it in real time with neurofeedback, so it gives you like an end run around the voluntary the mental, but you also do get the benefit of the impose feedback loop of talking to your coaches day to day about how you’re feeling and monitoring your sleep. And you know, Drucker what is measured is managed here. And if you start recording your sleep and recording your energy level and your mood and your stress, because you’ve told us those your goals, and we’re having you let us know, if they iterate, well, you’re gonna be really aware of what your mood is doing day to day or sleep habits are doing if you’re actually taking, oh my gosh, I gotta tell peak brain coaches that I have my aura ring shaming me again, oh, wow, that might mean you don’t eat before bed tomorrow, because you have the reflective coaching piece of it. And it means that you, you know, start to notice and shape. And as an aside, the one of the best ways to track your sleep in the literature, among the most accurate is tracking your sleep is rating it subjectively. And if you do that routinely over time, you become as good a raider as the best combination of EEG and actigraphy. And everything else, you actually approach. Perfect. If you just start doing it eventually. And it actually gets better than most of our biohacker sleep trackers we have access to you can get there pretty well. So the point is, observe, record, make notes, be mindful, don’t let momentum push your brain your circadian rhythm, your sleep habits, your food, your stress response around, start looking at those systems and thinking about how they they move and starting to steer them. So we try to sneak that in while we’re training your EEG we try to like teach about circadian stuff. And you know, the best way to do keto, if that’s your jam or whatever other biohack you’re layering in, we try to give you a little bit of best practices so that you have this longer term feedback process built in to steer changes for yourself. So,

Speaker 5 47:09
Lauren, you’ve been listening attentively, are there any things that may have come up that you have questions on or think our audience may benefit from some clarification? I

Speaker 4 47:22
think we covered the brainwaves piece really well. But one thing, at least that I really appreciate about neurofeedback on a on my, you know, understanding of it is about how it’s about pattern recognition, and then how the brain is just this pattern recognition engine in and of itself. And we’re using a modality about pattern recognition, to kind of nudge it in the right direction, but that is very self directed. So maybe you could help better synthesize like my understanding of the pattern,

Speaker 1 47:55
you’re talking about associative learning things happen, things get associated all kinds of things and the brain, the body, and the body notices the ones that are rewarding that are reinforcing. So while Neurofeedback functionally is a bit different, sitting in a chair watching game stop and start. It’s kind of no different than a baby flopping around who manages to do a baby push up and goes, oh my gosh, I can see 12 feet. Ah, all this information in the world is so much bigger. Holy cow, I love it. The body, the brain remembers, okay, more information in that state. Let’s do baby push ups tomorrow. And later on because it’s cool. But the baby wasn’t thinking left arm right arm got to do a push up. It was just like reach for the mode reach for the activation. And there was a reinforcer a rewarding state about more information, yummy stuff, interesting stuff. So in the case of neurofeedback, the rewarding stimulus is just something at all, you know, the billions of things happening so all we’re doing is watching one little piece of the brain going good job, good job. Good job. Good job. Good job again and again and the brain starts to go okay. The big trick in neurofeedback is that we’re moving the goalposts. So, over the 30 minute run of the neurofeedback session, your brains gonna go through several normal to itself typical endogenous if you will change it’s gonna runs a theta and beta and changes in speed and fatigue and stuff just happening. If we only pick out the 70 times that your brain had little 10 Second runs if they had a dropping and the beta climbing and just applauded those of all the billions of things your brain is doing. Your brain is gonna notice Hey, wait a minute, why is my theater going down thing applauded, okay. And it’s gonna start chasing the information flow, as we ask it to have to do even more. To get the same gameplay we move the goalposts adaptively and then 10 minutes and 50 minutes and your brains will tired, and you’re actually not able to make the same you aren’t fluctuating as well in that direction anymore. So we make it easier move the goalposts the thresholds next to where you are. So when you fluctuate again the right direction applause resumes So we’re giving a directed signal of movement and we have these two or three different brainwaves you might be training and a session might be training down some slow brainwaves turning down some very fast brainwaves and turning up some in the middle. So you simply measure the amount you’re making boom, boom, boom, and put a threshold just above or just to below or somebody is, and then when they move across that or stay on the right side of that, the game runs. And every so often you just the thresholds next to where they are, so that their general tendencies of the brain moving in that direction is what the brain hears about. Then we see how you feel. So yeah, operant conditioning in involuntary instrumental conditioning, specifically, but it’s just Loki operant conditioning with passive feedback. Yeah,

Speaker 4 50:42
awesome. Well, thank you. It has been a really awesome episode for our listeners, it’s been an amazing journey for me, and your team is incredible. How can I, you know, if anyone’s listening, what would be the best way to learn more interact with the peak Brain Institute? Yes, we

Speaker 1 51:01
have offices popping up, both in the US and a couple now, overseas, but most of our clients work remotely. So you guys can come to one of the US offices where we have a special for the folks who are neuro hacker affiliated, where we have like an unlimited annual brain mapping membership, and it’s usually 500 bucks, but it’s half price for the neuro hacker folks, bio hacker special to come in and do like maps and maps and maps and maps with all your nootropics and schedule those maps people do and we love it. So you know, get in there and learn your brain. But we also do everything fully virtually remotely. We say that equipment so you know, our socials are mostly peak brain LA but it’s peak Brain Institute as the main website. So come check us out. Tell us You heard us here and tell us what your brain goals are. It will help you figure out yourself perhaps a bit more and give you some control over making changes.

Speaker 5 51:51
Well, thank you so much, Andrew today I’ve learned a tremendous amount and I’m honestly super excited to do more work with you myself. So thank you.

Speaker 1 52:00
Of course not to kind of my pleasure. We’ll we’ll get you back in and peek more at your your eg

Speaker 6 52:11
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