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  Neurofeedback: Technological Meditation?
Self Realization Posted by Tim Maroney on Thursday September 07, @08:59AM
from the enlightenment-by-wire dept.

The BBC brings us this article about a technique known as neurofeedback, in which a game is linked to EEG readings to teach access to a relaxed brain state. Supposedly, musicians trained on this technique were rated higher by other musicians after achieving success with the game.

Is this a technique that magicians and mystics should be employing? Are we getting to the point where such "mind machines" may become a mainstay of the mystical path?


The really interesting thing for me about this technique is that it seems to teach "action through inaction," one of the holy grails at least of Western interpretations of the Tao Teh Ching. Could it be that such vague mystical goals will become routinely achievable -- even mundane in their accessibility -- given new psychological technologies?

Sherlock turns up dozens of hits for neurofeedback on the web. It appears this technique is growing in popularity. Please feel free to share the best links you find, or better yet, personal accounts of the technique.

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    Re: Neurofeedback: Technological Meditation?
    by Michael Sanborn on Saturday September 09, @07:12PM
    More on the subject of general biofeedback than neurofeedback in particular: I had this very cool psychology teacher in high school who related an interesting anecdote about biofeedback from his graduate school days.

    Apparently, biofeedback was all the rage in their department at the time. One particular area of interest for them was the use of biofeedback to alter body temperature at will. They found that individuals could be trained to slightly lower, and significantly raise, their temperatures after a brief period of training. Some people had an exceptional talent for it, such as one of the grad students who could induce a fever up to 107-109 degrees, and who could raise his temperature in one hand while lowering it in the other.

    One night, the head of the department had a party for the faculty and the TA's. This happened quite routinely. Everyone would bring their biofeedback machines along, just in case, and the host would always show porn movies with the sound turned off, replaced by recordings of whale calls. (I guess you had to be there.)

    So everybody's watching porn and listening to whales, extremely bored, when the aforementioned student with the great gift of temperature control droned, "I'll bet you I can heat my balls."

    Everybody sort of moved away from him on the sofa, but the head of the department sat up and said, "You're on!" So they attached the sensors to his balls, and before long he'd induced a fever of 105 degrees or so. The host urged, "Keep it going!" The student sweated and strained (it apparently involved an altered state of consciousness of some kind, too) and managed to maintain the fever for something like a quarter of an hour.

    Then the department head said to the exhausted student, "Now get a sperm sample." So the fellow goes off into the bathroom (anything for an A, right?), and his sperm is found to be normal. But he's told to submit daily samples, and after five days, his sperm count drops to zero. I'm told that there's residual sperm found even in men with vasectomies, but this guy was completely azospermatic. He had fried his sperm away!

    This condition lasted for about three months, at which point his sperm count began rising, to eventually return to normal. Further testing on others determined that they had stumbled on to a new method of birth control, that almost anyone could learn, and that had no discernable side-effects. (It was found to be somewhat effective for women -- fried eggs, if you will -- but completely so for men.)

    However, the research was suppressed by the college. It was a Mormon-run school, and they refused to have this discovery associated with their institution.

    I never verified this wild story, but if I can ever afford the equipment, I'm going to check it out...

    Re: Neurofeedback: Technological Meditation?
    by Xnoubis on Monday September 11, @01:01PM
    I had an interesting experience with one of those sound-and-light trance induction machines. These devices are like biofeedback in that they encourage alterations in certain physiological functions, but unlike it because you don't learn to make the alterations yourself, you are just altered by the machine.

    It was at a Whole Life Expo (I was only there because somebody got me in for free -- honest!). There was a booth there hawking these Mind Machines, with a set of their goggles available for passers-by to sample. Out of curiousity, I placed the goggles on. *BOOM* I was out of my body in an instant! After a few very sweet minutes, I took them off to see what they were offering. The goggles themselves were out of my budget, but they had a reclining chair where you could get 10 minutes of the goggles for $5. I paid the money gladly, laid back in the chair with the goggles on, and had absolutely nothing happen to me for the duration.

    • Re: Neurofeedback: Technological Meditation?
      by Larry Coffey on Friday July 06, @08:19AM
      What Xnoubis describes is not neurofeedback, but is a "frequency following" light sound device. Of course, no immediate change can be expected with neuro, but with 20 sessions 85% of 1,098 ADD subjects were no longer attention deficite, as measured by a TOVA. Neurofeedback works.



     
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