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20-Oct-2015 20:14 posted by gabriel9472 | Leave a comment

Although the acknowledges the flower-power days of EEG feedback, the message is that the technology has moved on.Christina Lavelle, a partner at Brainworks, is quoted explaining: “The 1990s technology caught up with the concept and there was scientific evidence that it works.” Lavelle adds that neurotherapy allows you to reach “states of mind you can’t normally reach” and that “its effects are permanent”.

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Have things really moved on that much since Beyerstein debunked the industry?Unfortunately, the logic is flawed, as the late psychologist and skeptic Barry Beyerstein explained in a series of essays and book chapters published in the 80s and 90s.Just because a meditator in a state of bliss exhibits high levels of alpha waves doesn’t mean those alpha waves are playing a causal role in her state of bliss.As Beyerstein wrote, the correlation no more implies “that alpha wave production can produce a meditative state than opening one’s umbrella can make it rain.” There are other issues too – Beyerstein’s research showed that the beneficial effects of EEG feedback were related to a person’s belief in the technology, not to any alterations in their brainwaves.Another study showed that people were able to produce high levels of alpha waves even when under threat of mild electric shock from the researchers – hardly a state of Zen-like bliss.I found a useful review from 2009 by David Vernon at Canterbury Christ Church University in England and his colleagues.

It’s clear that these researchers are advocates for EEG feedback.

Nonetheless, after surveying all the relevant evidence, they concluded: “the notion that alpha neurofeedback can enhance the mood of healthy individuals has yet to be firmly established.” Studies in this area also tend to be poor quality, lacking control groups and proper blinding.

published (pdf) a sensationalist article about a London clinic called Brainworks that offers therapy based on EEG feedback – “£1,320 for the standard 12 sessions”. “Those who have tried it swear it offers inner transformation,” gasped the journalist Jini Reddy, “a profound lessening of anxieties, awakened states, feelings of elation and the focused, clear, calm mind more readily accessed through years of effortful practices.” EEG (electroencephalography) records the waves of electrical activity emitted by your brain, and the basic idea of neurofeedback therapy is that you have the frequency of these waves shown to you, via sounds or images, so that you can learn to exert some control over them.

Anyone reading the article could be forgiven for thinking they’d been transported to the 60s and 70s.

Back then companies with futuristic names like Zygon Corporation cashed in on the discovery that experienced meditators show high levels of alpha brave-waves (8 to 12 hz) when they are in a meditative trance.

You could buy a home EEG kit from one of these outfits and teach your brain to achieve this state of “alpha consciousness”.

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