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Dave’s Crisis Advice

Human brain connexions illustration
Human brain connexions illustration

The Pioneers to Frontiers of Neurofeedback

 The “spikes and waves” of the human brain were first recorded in 1924 by Hans Berger, German psychiatrist. Berger went on to create the first electroencephalography (EEG) device in 1929. The discovery of the EEG was a milestone for the advancement of neuroscience and of neurologic and neurosurgical everyday practice, especially for patients with seizures. Before they were accepted adefined measures of the electrical current in the brain, Alphand Beta were initially passed off as artifact by Berger when he first observed them. Berger did not receive recognition for his discovery in his lifetime; however, his discovery is now heralded as a key milestone in the advancement of brain science. 

Accessing Brain States  

One of the next big advancement in neuroscience came when Joe Kamiya studied the abilities of people to be able to have awareness regarding their own brain wave activity, specifically in the alpha state (Kamiya, 1968). In his simple experiment, Kamiya asked his subjects to report when they thought they were in an alpha state. He had them close their eyes and when a tone sounded to indicate if they thought they were in alpha. The next step was to test the subjects if they could enter the state of alpha on command. Alpha states are associated with relaxation, calm, happiness and clear mindedness. There were some subjects who could detect when in an alpha state and, also, to go into the state at will. This was the first time that there was evidence that people could have control over their own brain waves. Kamiya went on to study people using audio feedback to learn to control their own brain waves with great success. 

Cats and Astronauts  

In the late 1960’s Dr. Barry Sherman, a researcher at UCLA, ran a Pavlovian experiment on cats in combination with an EEG. In this experiment a feeding machine rewarded the cats with a treat every time their brain increased their Sensory Motor RhythmOver time, the cats were able to easily get treats for themselves as they learned to control their brainwaves to create the desired result. While this in and of itself was groundbreaking, it was several years before the practical benefits were revealed when Dr. Sherman and his cats found themselves working for NASA to assist the astronauts to reduce the brain instability caused by exposure to rocket fuel that manifested in drowsiness, headaches, hallucinations and seizures.  

Sherman observed that human subjects EEG behaved differently than the EEG of cats. When working with the astronauts, Sherman advanced the use of feedback by refining the reward by installing inhibit functions so that inappropriate triggers of a reward were suppressed. Nasa still uses neurofeedback to train astronauts today. 

Accepting Neuroplasticity 

Throughout history there have been scientists developing the idea of neuroplasticity, meaning that the brain could change. For years, some scientists resisted this understanding of the brain by insisting that the adult brain was fixed and unchanging. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change continuously throughout an individual’s life, from birth to death. Today neuroplasticity is accepted science and is key as we explore new frontier of the brain.  Learning new skills stimulates neurons in the brain, which forms more neural pathways and allows electrical impulses to travel faster across them. 

Progression Towards Peak Performance 

Today neurofeedback continues to develop alongside advancements in technology and machine learning thus providing the tools for optimization of brain performance and personal and professional growth.  Neurofeedback has proven to upgrade EQ, IQ, creativity and life satisfaction. People from all walks of life are finding it beneficial to address their own brain and life issues such as ADD/ADHD, PTSD and depression. As well as astronauts, pro-athletes, Olympians, actors, entrepreneurs and other high performers have been using it to provide the edge that they need to succeed: peak brain performance makes for better decision making, stronger resiliency and a better life.  

When high-achievers, the C-Suite office executives, world class athletes, bio-hackers, use neurofeedback training they are looking for an of upgrade of their brain and self  that will assist them in making quick and effective decisions (access Gamma brain waves easier and effortlessly) or building their awareness to identify opportunities (access Alpha brain waves). What they are developing with neurofeedback training is an enhancement to their cognitive and executive functions. Top athletes know that in addition to training their physical condition, they also need to train their cognitive and psychological performanceOptimum attention, reasoning, processing speed and perception skills are all necessary ingredients to success. This applies to everyone who is interested in operating at their own peak performance states.  

Pinnacle of Peak Performance  

After almost a century from the initial discovery of the EEG, 40 Years of Zen has added to the EEG with the scientific advancements that allow people to come and upgrade their brains and lives in the shortest amount of time possible. We provide the pinnacle of what is possible with neurofeedback today. We use cutting edge science alongside proprietary hardware and software to provide the tools and expertise for you to change your brain waves to achieve optimum performance, which includes brain as well as life performance. By training the deep neural networks of your brain, you will enhance your strengths and wind down your weaknesses while gaining leaps and bounds in self-awareness and emotional mastery. It’s incredible to look back on the past with where this all started, and it’s makes us even more excited for what lies in store for the future. 



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Our Brain Knows

Image of live band on stage
Image of live band on stage

Our Brain Knows

Neuroscience is discovering and uncovering more rationale behind our behaviors, attitudes and choices than ever before. At 40 Years of Zen, we put together a short list of fun facts about the neuroscience behind some common life experiences that we thought you might enjoy as well.   

Baking Bread – Baking Comfort

Did you know that active dry yeast is the new gold? With COVID-19, a trend has emerged of people posting photos of delicious looking homemade bread in every shape, size and color. So much so that there is now a global shortage of yeast. What does this have to do with the brain? During times of stress our bodies crave the relaxing, pleasurable neurotransmitter, Serotonin. The bread boosts our insulin levels which in turn raises our tryptophan, an amino acid, levels. With the increase of serotonin, we can sleep and relax better in times of stress.  Just keep in mind that the gluten from bread is going to increase inflammation and weaken your immune system. So, it’s best to stick to gluten free baking ingredients such as coconut flor, nut flours, cassava, tapioca, arrowroot and even white rice flour. Get the carbs and serotonin you need, while keeping your immune system strong.  

Concert Goers Sync Up!

In a study, The Brain and Mind Institute measured the brainwaves of a group of people listening to a live music performance and compared it to them listening to a recording.  While listening to the live performance, the participants’ brain waves sync’d up.  The researchers concluded that the concert goers have a more enjoyable time due to this unique bond that allows the individual to feel a part of a collective. According to Jessica Grahn, who co-led the study, “When the brain waves were synchronized in this live condition, they synchronized around the rate at which people tend to feel the beat.” So not only do the brainwaves sync up, but they adjust to music being played! Perhaps musicians are playing their audience as much as their instruments. 

Emotions are Key to Decision Making

A few years ago, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio made a groundbreaking discovery. When he studied people with damage in the part of the brain where emotions are generated, they could not make decisions.  They could describe what they should be doing in logical terms, yet they found it very difficult to make even simple decisions, such as what to eat. Many decisions have pros and cons on both sides — shall I have the chicken or the turkey? This is because emotions drive action. The emotions signal that the thought processing is complete. A brain without emotion is like a car that is in motion but has no breaks. 

Touch Reduces Pain

When we see a loved one in emotional distress, it’s our very nature to reach out and touch them, to soothe them. Just like a toddler asking his mother to kiss his new bruise. Does human touch actually reduce someone’s pain? Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab at CU Boulder designed a study to investigate this. They discovered that when one partner of a couple was in pain and touched by their counterpart, their brains shared a high level of synchronization through the Alpha Mu band. The more the couple’s brains synchronized the more their pain diminished! 

Our Brains Reveal our Social Bonds

Two friends gazing out a lake, witnessing a dance performance or reviewing some new science discovery will share the same levels of engagement as well as the same distraction and attraction cycles. The study, “Similar neural responses predict friendship”, indicates that people tend to be friends with individuals who see the world in a similar way.  When their neural response patterns are measured as they engage in an activity together, a clear pattern emerges which allows researchers to predict the strength of two people’s social bond. 

Learning New Skills Builds Resiliency

With a cutback on our social activities and social connections, many of us have more free time on our hands. This extra time has led to an uptick in the number of people who are pursuing new skills and studies. There is also a rationale behind it related to our brains. This may be because human beings are motivated to learn new skills to invoke a feeling of accomplishment related to their personal growth during periods of high stress and hardshipWhen we learn we are generating new neural activity patterns which assists us in building resiliency to handle life’s challenges. 


We will not be going to a concert anytime soon, but when we do finally get the chance to attend, we will be paying more attention to our connection with the performers and all of the people in the audience with us. Learning about the latest discoveries in neuroscience is interesting and gives us more opportunity to bring awareness to our responses in any given situation. We can enhance our responses with science and lean into the things that are going to make us do and feel better.