Ever heard of biofeedback? I was actually surprised by the number of people I know who had not. Essentially it comes down to having some device which tells you about some part of your autonomic system. At this point you try to will yourself to change whatever it says to some other setting that you want.
Simple enough right? I have been doing a bit of it for awhile, so far with only minimal amounts of success. Supposedly it takes a great deal of time to become good at it though. Here is to hoping!
Whenever I go in they hook me up to a computer with a series of wires and sticky pads. One on my middle finger to take my temperature (in my estimation an odd place, but it is their game), two on my palm to test for tension levels (the explanation given to me had to deal with conductance, which I assume to mean they are checking for resistance on some sort of sliding scale), one on my wrist (the guy didnt seem to know what this was for exactly, he said something about keeping a background check on, but it hasnt come up in any of the graphs or charts that I have seen, nor does it seem to change my test screen. I assume it records heartrate somewhere for a test I am not doing), and two on my head (mmm.. nothing like cold gel lounging around on my ear and in my hair.. no one has asked any awkward questions yet though!).
Once I am all hooked up they bring up a little screen. On the left and right are both two scales from 0 to 10 with a little bar that goes up and down depending on activity in my brain. Each has a small, moveable tab that is set to a certain level along that scale. In the center is a big circle with a numerical counter. Whenever I get the bar on the left (the bad one, or, 'your brain is thinking about too many different things and is sucking') below the tab and the one on the right (the good one, or, 'yey! your brain is working in unison') above its own tab then the circle in the center lights up green, I get a nice little tone from the speakers, and the counter starts counting up.
If I am doing it too well then the guy moves the tabs up (he is mean like that) in hopes of making me better at this little exercise. Otherwise he moves them down until I can actually do something with it.
Control. It is all about control. The eventual goal is to be able to make my brain work in more accordance rather than in disonance. In essense, hoping that this will improve concentration, recall, and the ability to memorize details. Control is the key.
How does one control something that is mostly autonomic and cannot be felt directly? I certainly dont know ;) I have learned that if I put myself in a sortof half-sleep then I have slightly more control over the right hand bar, but the left hand bar seems fairly random. Even then though it is like trying to grasp smoke with my bare hands. Invisible smoke. That I only know is there because the computer next to me says so. Hopefully it is telling me the truth and not laughing at me behind its bright little screen with the glowing green circle. Dance for me little human!
Anyone know how to get an eeg machine for the home? ;) I think if I could do this test every other day or so I'd pick up on it much faster than the current once per week.
Looks like I am going through a list of my various activities over several of these posts.. perhaps martial arts next time? long walks in the woods? musings of the gym? attempted gaming sessions? or a few other things I suppose.... 0:) Current Mood: not bad though ;)