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    VOL. 24, No. 2 Summer 2008


    INSIDEFrom the President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

    From the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

    From the Executive Director . . . . . . . 5Functional Neurology:Improving the Frequencies of Life . . 5

    Interview with Servaas Mes . . . . . . . 7

    Opinion of Dr. Meg MacDonald . . 11

    Review of Relaxation/AffirmationTechniques. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

    Learning Somatics fromthe Experts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

    Another Perk for BSC Members! . . 14

    What are the commonalit ies

    b e t w e e n p r a c t i t i o n e r s o fbiofeedback and neurofeedbackand the worlds traditional culturalhealers? Where is the interface? Whatare all trying to accomplish? What isthe world view guiding each, and howdoes that contribute to effectiveness?

    For traditional healers, all healingis fundamentally spiritual1, thoughtrivial or ordinary problems are oftensolved by what appear to outsidersas herbs or other external means. Forinsiders in these cultures, however,an herb is never just an herb. Giv-

    ing an herb means giving the spirit ofthat plant as much, or more so than theplant itself. Within that world view,spirits are the force behind the motionof physical matter. For example, theLakota word for God is Dakuskans-

    kan, which means, that which moves

    everything that moves. For tradition-al healers, the spiritual realm containsthe source of healing. Entering into astate of consciousness most compat-ible with healing is a goal; perhaps themost famous (to academics) example

    being Balinese trance dancers. Tradi-

    tional healers recognize that an alteredstate of consciousness facilitates heal-ing. Within that state of consciousness(trance, ecstasy, etc.), spirit connectionis more likely and more profound, andradical reorganization (healing) canoccur. Cultures vary in how the pro-duce these states of consciousness andwhat they call them.

    Spirituality typically involves feel-ings of love and bliss related to thetranscendental (greater than humanexperience) realm. It involves peakexperiences that expand our sense ofconnectedness to larger than humanrealms. Transcendence is the experi-ence of perceiving oneself as an inte-gral part of the universe as a whole.Neurofeedback often aims to generatesimilar feelings of connectedness, ex-pansion, and peak experiences, withthe idea that these states promotehealth and healing. Traditional healersrely upon spirits through ceremony toproduce healing once these states ofawareness are achieved.

    My mothers people are Cherokee.

    Pre-contact, everyone was expected tohave capabilities for sustained, con-scious awareness that go far beyondwhat we expect for average peoplein North America today. Survivaldepends upon heightened aware-ness. Successful hunting requires a

    meditative ability (mindfulness, insome modern terminologies) and acultivated ability to be simultaneouslyaware of many happenings aroundthe hunter. The positive psychologymovement has called this being in theflow. Whatever we call it, we knowwhen we are there, we are focused,one with our environment, anddefinitely not using our list making

    brain. I think of the list making brain,the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, asthe executive planner and an impor-tant player. However, to hunt welland survive, we must turn off thatcircuitry and just be one with theforest or the prairie. Every member ofthe society was expected to have thoseabilities. Nevertheless, some individu-als cultivated these abilities to a moredeveloped level and were recognizedas being more sophisticated in theirabilities to communicate with spirits.Perhaps, more importantly, the spirits

    Continued on page 17

    Altered States of Consciousness, Healing,Shamanism, and Biofeedback: The Interface

    Lewis Mehl-Madrona

    For traditional healers, all healing is fundamentally


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    California Biofeedback Summer 2008 3




    VICTORIA IBRIC, MD, PhDPast President


    HILARY PEREZ, BAExecutive DirectorNewsletter Managing Editor

    CYNTHIA KERSON, PhDCFinance CommitteeWebsite Administrator

    RICHARD HARVEY, PhDAcademic AffairsResearch Committee

    CHRISTINA MALEWICZ, BAInstrumentationAdvertisingNewsletter Editor

    JANETTE SPERBER, MSNewsletter Editor

    RUBY NG, MDCertification Chair

    JULIE MADSEN, PsyDMembership Chair

    JOANNE WAKERLIN, RNMembership Committee

    MARGARET MACDONALD, MDAcademic Affairs Committee

    TERESA CORRIGAN, MA, RNAlternate Health & Nursing Committee

    BOB GROVE, PhDFinance Chair

    Direct all correspondence and inquiries,including commercial advertising informationand classified ads to: Biofeedback Society ofCalifornia, Executive Office, PO Box 2895,

    Mission Viego, CA 92690.Phone/Fax: (949) [email protected] site: www.biofeedbackcalifornia.org


    MANAGING EDITOR:Hilary Perez, BA

    COEDITORS:Christina Malewicz, BA, andJanette Sperber, MS

    PUBLISHER:Biofeedback Society of California

    California Biofeedback is the officialpublication of The Biofeedback Society ofCalifornia. Opinions expressed herein are those

    of the respective authors and do not necessarilyreflect the official view of the BSC. The BSC isnot responsible for the products or programs ofprivate companies advertised herein.

    California Biofeedbackis published threetimes a year and will consider all materialspertaining to the practice and/or promotionof biofeedback in health care in California.Send all correspondence to: BiofeedbackSociety of California, PO Box 2895,Mission Viego, CA [email protected]

    A yearly subscription to California Biofeedback isavailable for $35.00. Please send your check tothe Executive Office listed above.

    From the President

    Irecently attended our parent societys meeting (AAPBat Daytona Beach). I had a chance to see the currentsocietal offerings, including seeing some of the other statesocieties and their ability to provide meaningful content to

    their membership. I must say that I was thrown by thisperceptual exercise into a real cognitive tail-spin rather unexpectedly.

    First off, our parent organization is actuallyyoungerthan the BSC whichmust have made for a difficult labor and delivery! Secondly, there are lots ofstates but fewer societies. The state societies I saw were almost without excep-tion mere fading shadows compared with their past glory. They are spendingdown their cash reserves serving a dwindling membership with fading services. Inaddition, they have been unable to provide state meetings or a societal newsletterthat has substantial content.

    You can see why I was in such a tail-spin my expectations have been set bythe BSC. We have three newsletter publication printings each year with a solidnewsletter editorial teamof Christina Malewicz and Janette Sperber and our newmanaging editor, Hilary Perez. We also hold regional meetings, in addition to ourconference each year. Let me toot your horn: We have a great society here in Cali-fornia. I dont write this to disparage any of the societies mentioned, but rather todraw a sharp contrast for our members of what is out there versus what we havehere at home!

    You might notice that we have a new Executive Director, Hilary Perez, whowill introduce herself in this issue, as well as a wonderful hard working Boardand Committee structure, and even the volunteer editors of this very newsletter.Thanks to our past ED, Cindy Kerson, for her years of dedication to building andmaintaining our society; we wish her well in her new position with ISNR! Imhappy to say the transition was a smooth one.

    From the Editor

    In this issue Jay Gunkelman contrasts the BSC to other statesocieties in his letter from the president and concludes thatwe remain a vital organization. I couldnt agree more. I amalways impressed with the passion with which membersof the BSC support each other and this newsletter. Id liketo welcome and thank Hilary Perez, who replaced CindyKerson as the Executive Director and managing editor of thenewslettershes off to a great start!

    Our lead article comes from Lewis Mehl-Madrona regarding the interface ofaltered states of consciousness, healing, shamanism and biofeedback. Dr. Mehl-Madrona compares the similarities and effectiveness of each form of healing andcontrasts the world views they operate from.

    Janette Sperber writes a comprehensive review of Nancy Hopps CD: Relax-

    ation/Affirmation Techniques. One thing I appreciate about Janettes review isthat it also contains practical and clinically relevant information. Also in this issue,

    Janette interviews Servaas Mes who discusses his personal and professional ex-perience with somatics and biofeedback. He talks about key concepts in somaticsand suggests ways to integrate somatics into a biofeedback practice. Servaas will

    be presenting at our upcoming conference in Asilomar for those who would like tolearn more about his work.

    Meg MacDonald writes an editorial piece entitled Change is Hard. She usesa situation in her life to reinforce the importance of moving away from habit toconscious choice. For folks who missed our Northern California Regional Meetingheld on May 10that San Francisco State University, Richard Harvey summarizesthe presentations in his column Learning Somatics from the Experts.

    Continued on page 5

    Continued on page 5

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    California Biofeedback Summer 2008 5

    I have one more hot tip: you canget the full experience of how greatthis society is by attending our annualmeeting. This fall we have the annual

    scientific meeting at our classic venue,Asilomar. The meeting promises to beanother coastal success drawing won-derful keynote and invited speakersand featuring some of our own mem-

    bers wonderful work, in addition toaccess to the beautiful beaches andsunsets of Asilomar.

    Look to our newsletter to keep youin the loop, but set aside the dates nowso you dont miss out on the best thewest has to offer, the Asilomar 2008BSC annual meeting at the beach!

    See you all there! u

    [email protected]

    From the PresidentContinued from page 3

    From the Executive Director

    THANK YOU! That is the first thing I would like tosay to all of the BSC Members.My transition into the Executive Director posi-

    tion has been an exciting and stimulating journey. I

    have had a warm reception from the Board and CindyKerson has been a solid, inspirational mentor that hasgiven her time and energy abundantly to me and thesociety.

    A little bit about me. I am a California native,born in Sacramento but raised all over the west coast.I graduated from Arizona State University with aBachelor of Arts degree in Interpersonal Communica-tion. I have lived in Mission Viejo, CA for 15 years andlove the geographic variety, weather and laid back lifestyle that characterizes ussouthlanders. My other important job is CEO of my family; two teenage boys anda great husband.

    My career background is rooted in administration and management. My idealwork environment is healthcare. I truly believe in helping others to achieve opti-mum health; mentally, physically and spiritually, even if it is from working behindthe scenes keeping things organized. Working with the Biofeedback Society willfulfill my professional passion.

    My goal for the society as the new Executive Director, it to provide a reli-able, consistent administration that promotes the profession; problem solves andinitiates growth without compromising the long achieved quality of the societysnewsletter, CEUs and overall member support. I hope to meet every one of youand get to know more about you as a person and as a professional in this impor-tant field.

    If I can be of assistance to you, please reach out for me. I appreciate the oppor-tunity to represent and work with the Biofeedback Society of California.

    Peace & GratitudeHilary Perez u

    Important Reminder about


    Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are no lon-

    ger required for BSC Certification. The Board

    has suspended the certification process, recom-

    mending BCIA Certification instead (www.bcia.

    org). For those already certified, BSC can update

    your last certificate. Please contact the Executive

    Director for details at (949) 215-1657.

    Finally, Donald J. Baune, D.C., ad-dresses the need for us to look beyond

    just regulating brainwaves to address-ing brain function holistically. Bothnon-neurofeedbackers and bio/neu-rofeedback practitioners will benefit

    from reading his article on functionalneurology.Id like to send my regards to Her-

    shel Toomim whom we postponed in-terviewing due to health problems. Wesend him best wishes for a continuedrecovery. Finally, if there are any BSCmembers you recommend we inter-view for the newsletter, please contactme at: [email protected]

    Christina MalewiczCoEditor, California Biofeedback

    From the EditorContinued from page 3

    Functional Neurology:Improving the Frequencies of

    LifeDonald J. Baune, D.C., D.A.C.N.B.

    Diplomat of the American Chiropractic Neurology Board

    Brain waves measure the symphony of neuronal firing created by trillions ofnerve cells, with each individual neuron contributing its unique frequency.Neuronal regulation requires healthy individual nerves and support cells andrelies on optimizing, or at least improving, all aspects of each cells requirements.

    In order to be healthy and fire properly, a neuron needs three things from itsenvironment: Fuel, Food and Activation. Trying to regulate or train the frequencieswithin the brain without addressing these three aspects is like trying to conduct anorchestra with missing instruments.

    Oxygen is the fuel for the brain. The brain and cerebellum require more oxy-gen than any other part of the body, and when they are oxygen deficient, they suf-fer. Oxygen is like gasoline for a car. If there is no gas, a car wont start no matterhow much one pushes the starter. In the same way, without oxygen, the brain willnot function correctly no matter how much one treats or stimulates it. Incor-

    Continued on page 20

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    Mark your

    Calendar!The BSC 34thAnnual Conference

    November 7-9, 2008

    Asilomar ConferenceGroundsMonterey, California

    The BSC proudly announces the following

    Presenters scheduled for Asilomar 08:

    Lewis Mehl-Madrona, MD, Ph.D. Native American inspired Approaches to healingBrian Luke Seward, Ph.D. Walking in balance: The Art of Mind-Body-Spirit Living

    Jay Gunkelman, QEEGD.Phenotype predicts stimulant efficacy in ADHDHank Weeks, Ph.D. How Ethical are you?

    Conference registration materials and information will be available inour Fall Newsletter. Check your email and the Web site for updates.

    These meetings will be under review by Amedco for CMEs (annual conference only) for MDsand CEUs for BBS, BRN, APA and BCIA.


    (949) 215-1657Biofeedback Society of California * P.O. Box #2895 Mission Viejo, CA 92690

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    California Biofeedback Summer 2008 7

    Janette Sperber: It looks like you willbe presenting at our conference in

    Monterey in November. Since most ofour membership is not familiar withyou, why dont you start out by tell-ing us about your background andhow you got into this work.

    Servaas Mes: I grew up in the Nether-lands and was trained there as a physi-cal therapist. In 1989 I immigrated andmoved to British Columbia, Canada,and started my own private practice.In 1991, I got injured while playing asoccer game. Basically my whole rightleg forgot how to work. I went throughthe whole medical systemdoctors,therapists, x-rays, MRIs, bone scans,nerve conduction studies 30 differ-ent practitioners looked at my leg, andnobody could figure out what was go-ing on. In 1996, I met somebody who

    did somatic work, which intriguedme. So I went in for a session, whereit became obvious that I literally hadforgotten how I could control my ownmuscles. And not just my leg, it be-came apparent that it was my whole

    body that had forgotten how to moveproperly. So from there on, I was reallyintrigued with somatics.

    I went to Eleanor Criswells insti-tute in Novato for Somatics trainingand became a Somatic Practitioner,while integrating the latest from theworld of rehabilitation. In 1999, I spent

    a year at the Spine and Joint Center inRotterdam, the Netherlands, where Ihad a chance to introduce somatics.I went back to Canada and met mylovely wife Beverly; we were married

    by none other than Eleanor Criswell.I joined Beverly at her office in St.Helena in the beautiful Napa Valley,where we have our office, called TheSomatic Health Center. We are veryinvolved in expanding the frontiers ofrehabilitation, health, fitness and over-all human potential. Recently we were

    both published in a new book calledPeak Vitality, where there are 57leading experts in their fields talkingabout health and vitality, for exampleDr. Oz, Deepak Chopra, Donna Eden,Candace Pert, John Bradshaw, AndrewWeil, Prince Charles, Alice Walker& Pema Chodron et al. My chapter

    is called Self Hid-den in Present Time;Beverlys is calledBody Earth Ener-gies. [Servaas kind-ly gave me a copyof this book and itdoes indeed look likea truly valuable re-source for ourselvesand our clientsed.].I am also working onmy own book aboutSomatics and hopingto find a publisherwho can move theSomatic work furtherforward.

    JS: Could youdefine the termsomatics

    SM: Somatics literally means the bodyexperience from within, according tothe late Thomas Hanna. Its the integra-tion of body and mind, left and right,function and structure, the integrationof past, present and future.

    JS: What is the nature of your profes-sional practice?

    SM: We see people one on one, with is-sues of rehabilitation, health education,fitness... whatever work people needto get their body back in present time.The first goal in rehabilitating people isto get them living consciously in pres-ent time, letting go of their attachmentsof the past, letting go of their previousinjury.

    JS: In what way does your wifeBeverlys practice differ from yours?

    SM: She practices Energy Medicine inthe tradition of Donna Eden, which isintuitive bodywork based on balanc-ing the meridians and the chakras.

    Sometimes when I see a client, Ill say,For your next session, maybe bookyourself in with my wife, and shelldo some other things that your bodyneeds first. For both of us, the mainidea behind what we do is to makepeople independent of practitioners.So somatics and energy medicinework is bodywork as well as educa-tion, its not that if youre the clientthat you are passively sitting on achair or lying on a table. No, you areactively involved and you are literallyupgrading your own neurophysiol-

    ogy so that you walk out differentlythan when you walked in.

    JS: How do somatics and biofeedbackrelate to each other?

    SM: The origin of somatics is moreor less based on the work of MosheFeldenkrais. He did a lot of move-mentbeautiful workbut didnt ex-plain too much to the client; so Hanna

    Interview with Servaas MesJanette Sperber

    Continued on page 8

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    8 California Biofeedback Summer 2008

    was the first one to actually explainthis model. Hanna also introduced theconcepts of sensorimotor amnesia, aswell as the concept that injuries, stress,

    surgery, etc., cause disturbances inthe body in characteristic patterns oftightness, leading to faulty movementpatterns and leading to health issuesor complaints. In somatics, our clientslearn about themselves. Its like youare starting a dialog with yourselfand for many people that is incrediblyfascinating. Biofeedback is the same,it also starts the dialog with yourself.When I look into my crystal ball I cansee the future as a blending of bio-feedback and somatics, where somaticpractitioners blend in more biofeed-

    back and biofeedback practit ionersblend in more somatics.

    JS: How many times will you typi-cally see a client?

    SM: If someone has a traditional injurywithout structural pathology behindit, it would be between one and three

    or four sessions. That is how power-ful this is. And a session is between anhour to an hour and a half.

    JS: If you used biofeedback, whatwould you do with it?

    SM: Biofeedback is one of the few

    modalities that can validate the im-mediate changes that somatics bringsinto someones body. And to makesomatics more mainstream, we needresearch, which means we need data.The subjective is not good enough toconvince the insurance companies thatthis method is applicable to the ma-

    jority of the population. Thats wherefor instance the objective componentof biofeedback can really support thesubjective component of somatics.

    JS: Could you give an example of yourmethods, the way you work with


    SM: A part of the somatic process iscalled pandiculation, which is a con-scious muscle contraction followed bya conscious eccentric release. I use myhands to assist the client to see wherethe movement starts and where the

    movement will end. Beyond Hannaspandiculation, I also introduce theemotional component of the move-ment, the energetic component of themovement, as well as the physical com-ponent. We get much faster results thisway, as far as tapping into that muscle

    amnesia and immediately changing itinto muscle awareness.

    JS: How do you introduce the emo-tional component?

    SM: The emotional connection is basi-cally the holding pattern that is basedon the injury of the past. Its almost likea muscle memory where the musclesdont want to contract and they dontwant to release. Its like: Im holding,Im guarding, I am not going to let goI might not have let go for 20 years!So during pandiculation, the brain

    gets the muscle in present timeordoes the muscle get the brain in pres-ent time? That is always the question.However, the profoundness is that inpresent time, that holding pattern isntthere! So suddenly people can contractand release their muscles in ways thattheir muscles havent moved in a long

    Servaas MesContinued from page 7

  • 8/12/2019 Eac & Shamanism


    California Biofeedback Summer 2008 9

    time. Then I teach them how they cando it by themselves without my guid-ance. They learn to recognize whentension habits creep back in and cor-rect it as well. Independently!

    JS: What do you find to be the mostsatisfying part of your professionalwork?

    SM: When I witness my clients liter-ally returning into their bodies, com-ing back into present time. And theside-effect is that miraculously theiraches and pains are often gone!

    JS: What do you find to be the hardestpart of your work?

    SM: The hardest part is also the mostexciting: the pioneering part. Therereally arent many people doing so-matics, so everywhere you go, its stillnew and you have to break through

    barriers and explain what youre do-ing. Sometimes I wish we would be 20years from now and there would be alot more infrastructure in somatics: lit-erature, DVDs, research studies, etc.

    Naturally, Id like to see as well that so-matics will be integrated by insurancecompaniesof course, with the help ofthe field of biofeedback!

    JS: What does your own personal prac-tice or self-care program look like?

    SM: I have a daily movement practice.This can be very calming, like move-ment with meditation, but can also bemore like fitness. I have developed aclass that I call Somatic Conditioningwhich is a mixture of somatics, Felden-krais, yoga , Alexander, Pilates and ev-

    erything else that is good out there.JS: What changes would you like tosee in the way our health care systemcurrently operates?

    SM: I would like to see more integra-tion between all the different special-ties in practitioners. Personally I amvery interested in the question why atreatment modality does NOT workfor part of the population, why not?Why didnt it work? I think there is alot to be learned from that. With theknowledge that we have currently, I

    firmly believe that it IS possible to de-velop programs that work for all!

    JS: And finally, how did you end upconnecting with Dr. Erik Peper?

    Continued on page 10

  • 8/12/2019 Eac & Shamanism


    10 California Biofeedback Summer 2008

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    SM: Well, that is a funny story.

    JS: I expect nothing less! [laughs]

    SM: My wife and I went to see The UniverseWithin, an exhibition of plastinated human ca-davers. I was standing in front of one of those ca-davers and I was making some comments aboutthe lumbar discs and sciatic nerve, when sud-denly there was a voice behind me, also makinga comment about that same sciatic nerve. Andfive minutes later I was standing in front of an-other cadaver, making a comment, and its thesame person making another comment! Andthen I actually recognized him from an article hehad written for Somatics magazine, and I said tohim, You must be Erik Peper, and thats howwe met. So it was quite a coincidence really. Thenone thing led to another, and now I am teachinga course at San Francisco State University on So-matics in the Holistic Health Department [whereDr. Peper teaches biofeedback classesed.].Both Erik and I teach postgraduate programs forPhysical Therapists in The Netherlands and I amvery excited that in the spring of 2009, Erik will

    be complementing and validating the Somaticswork with biofeedback in my workshop for theDutch Physical Therapists. Erik is great and al-ways super helpful!

    JS: Anything else youd like to say?

    SM: I invite you to come up to the beautiful winecountry and drop in to experience a SomaticConditioning class that I teach here twice a week.You will learn to move organically, child like,like getting up from the floor and back down,and literally strengthen the neurophysiology inyour own body.

    JS: One last thing, can you tell us your plans foryour presentations at our upcoming conferenceat Asilomar?

    SM: Well, one thing you can be sure of: it willbe fun and very practical and experiential. Pleasemake sure you wear comfortable clothing, likeyoure going to a yoga class. Be open minded!

    JS: So you can guarantee us that your work-shop will not be producing those glassy-eyedstares

    SM: That would be correct. I would like to re-verse that, even better, so that at the end of theworkshop your whole body will be freer andlooser than its been in a long time! Isnt thatwhat its all about?

    JS: Thanks, Servaas, for your time and well seeyou in November.u

    Servaas MesContinued from page 9

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    California Biofeedback Summer 2008 11

    My boyfriend is a smart guy. Hesa psychotherapist. He deals inthe workings of the human mind allday long. Hes also a jogger, a memberof the Sierra Club, a Democrat, andhe cares about the environment. Hehasnt used plastic containers or plasticwrap in the microwave for years. Heshad fluorescent light bulbs in mostfixtures in his house since the time

    when they cost a lot more to buy thanregular bulbs. Hes generally a guywho is willing to put his actions andeven his money where his beliefs are.So, why then would the followingsituation arise?

    We have a small kettle, which heuses every morning to boil water forhis decaf coffee (I use the automaticdrip coffee maker for my real cof-

    fee). He has, for many years, comedown every morning and filled thekettle with water and set it on the front

    burner (which is the largest burner),turned the gas onto high and goneabout his business until he noticed, orremembered, that it was boiling. Thefirst time I found myself witness to thisI calmly switched the kettle to the back

    burner, which is smaller, and showedhim how the flames on the large burn-er go around and up the sides of thekettle, thus wasting a lot of energy andnot boiling the water as quickly. Witha smaller burner, the flames are posi-tioned nicely around the bottom of thekettle. Simple logic, right? Fits right inwith his apparent desires to be a goodenvironmental citizen, right? A no-

    brainer, as they say.Well, two years later he is still

    putting the kettle on the large burnerand turning it up too high and I amcoming along behind him and turningthe gas down or switching the kettleto the back burner. This morning, Irecognized what was really going on.I wasnt taking it personally that he

    just didnt want to do it my way. Ialso wasnt just chalking it up to hesa guy either. When I mentioned my

    idea to him, he readily agreed that theonly reason he is still doing it that wayis that hes been doing it that way foryears. Its a habit, simply that, noth-ing else. And habits can be difficult tochange.

    But why?Hes readily adopted new habits

    about light bulbs, food containers andmany other things. He says its mainly

    because hes still half asleep when hecomes down to put on the kettle, so hesreally just not thinking about it. Bingo!Its not about motivation or ego at all.I mean, he also tends to over-water (inmy opinion) the lawn. We live in a des-ert climate, but he just really WANTSto have a nice green healthy lawn likethe neighbors. Well, I can justify that.

    Sometimes you just have to have whatyou really want. But wheres the desirein wasting some natural gas? Thereisnt any. But there also doesnt seemto be a desire to change how he boiledthe kettle. Maybe subconsciously hesaw it as me telling him what to do anddidnt want to respond to that. Maybetheres some other motivation. Andmaybe there isnt any motivationits

    You CAN Change Your Mind!Meg MacDonald, M.D., Neurobehavioral Rehabilitation

    Opinion of Dr. Meg MacDonald

    Theres a posit ive side and a

    negative side to everything, and at each

    moment you can decide which side to


    So, the key to changing lifestyl e hab-

    its, environmental problems, even the an-

    swer to war and peace , appears to lie only

    in the minds of every individual person on

    this planet. One at a time, we can each

    begin to make new choices. But how do

    we a) get the word out that we each have

    these kinds of choices, to truly make our

    own worlds more of what we want them

    to be, and b) get even one per son to take

    the step toward personal change?

    Well, the first step I would like to

    take is to give people the opportunity to

    even begin to THINK about it. It is from

    thoughts that the totality of what we

    are and what we experience emerges. We

    must start there, for I firmly believe that

    your mind is the most important part of

    your body.

    As a practitioner of psychophysiol-

    ogy, I have the gift of being able to help

    people to begin to make the connection

    between what goes on in the mind and

    in turn, what goes on in the body, and

    vice versa. Beginning with this basic un-

    derstanding, and from there, building a

    sense of empowerment through learned

    self-regulation, is truly an excellent first

    step toward living a life of self-determina-

    tion. I think that all of us in this field

    should take the time to be fully conscious

    of what it is that we do, and how tre-

    mendous a gift we give, for those who

    are curious enough to explore themselves

    with us.Continued on page 13

    We forget that we as individuals, and we alone, are the

    ones who have both the power and the responsibility tocreate our lives and our experiences.

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    California Biofeedback Summer 2008 13

    followed: floating down a rainbow ofcolors starting with the color red. Shestates that red is the color of physicalenergy and can help us release tension.She then goes through the entire bodyagain, passively relaxing each bodypart, with soothing warmth of red

    (this may not be suitable for patientswith inflammatory pain). Then muchmore briefly, she goes through orangefor emotional relaxation, suggestingwe ask ourselves what am I feelingright now? and breathing out anyunsettling emotions. She then goesthrough yellow for mental relaxation,suggesting we ask ourselves Whatare my thoughts? and releasing anydistracting thoughts. I really liked thedistinction made between physical,emotional and mental relaxation.

    We then see ourselves surrounded

    by the peacefulness of green in nature,imagining ourselves in a beautifulmeadow with an animal friend forcomfort. Engaging all of our senses,we then are encouraged to let go of anylimiting beliefs as the sky turns to vio-let as a symbol of our higher self. Each

    of these is accompanied by a sugges-tion that we will be able to invoke thispeaceful state in the future by simplyimagining the color again.

    The middle track on the CD con-sists of a Color Relaxation that usesa 12 to 1 countdown induction, leading

    to ones special inner place of peace.The final track consists of spoken af-firmations with a background of oceanor moving water sounds. The affirma-tions seemed generally good; someexamples follow. I realize how important it is to bal-

    ance work and play.

    I deserve to relax and play andI make that time for myself on aregular basis.

    I appreciate myself and the specialthings I have to offer.

    I believe in myself, thus I find thatother people do too.

    I feel tremendous love flowingthrough me.

    I feel a new sense of clarity andpeace.

    I am letting go of any negative pro-gramming easily and effortlessly.

    To change any condition or cir-cumstance in my life, I know Imust first change my innermost


    I am grateful for the abundance inmy life.

    Bottom line, I think the progres-sive relaxation/color imagery worksokay as a relaxation exercise, for thepurpose of enhancing parasympathet-ic activity and decreasing sympatheticactivation. The lack of hypnotic toneand pacing may be a problem for peo-ple who are used to that and expectingthat. However, the affirmations would

    be great for playing at times such asdriving to work. For a client who needsto zero in on gaining control of muscle

    activity, I could only recommend Nan-cy Hopps CD until the point (whenand if) I find something which betteraddresses those needs.

    Nancy Hopps website is www.RelaxIntoHealing.com, and she can bereached by phone at: 541 683-9088. u

    just a habitit doesn t get thoughtabout, it just gets done.

    I think this is the point. I am aphysician, a liberal thinker, and I havealways thrived on personal growthand change. I must have a pretty flex-ible brain. But not everyone does. Inmy experiences working for socialchange, third world development,and in health care, the simplest thingscan be the most difficult. We all knowthat clean water and hand washing aregood for basic hygienebut gettingpoor people to do it when they are not

    accustomed to it (as my niece is discov-ering in rural Ghana) is just not easy.We all know that if everyone ate theirfruits and vegetables and stayed awayfrom fast food, cigarettes, etc, and ex-ercised every day, we wouldnt havemost of the chronic disease problemswe have in our country. But its thesesimple things that fall down to eachperson to do on a daily basishabitsthat must be changed or establishedthat are the most difficult to influ-

    ence. And I think that the main reasonfor this is that most people really dontlive a very sentient existence. They justdont spend time thinking about what

    they are doing, they just do it.This is the crux of personal and

    social change. The ability to make con-scious a decision about self-determina-tion, in every way, about every nuance,and every action we take, includinghow we are going to think and feel, isthe great existential quest. And lets faceit, most of us never get anywhere close.We are creatures of habit. In so manyways, conscious choice really doesntenter into it. Everything about how weinteract with the world becomes habitafter weve lived long enough. How

    we take care of ourselves, how we setup our routines (or lack thereof), whatwe eat, how we relate to people, howwe react to someone cutting us off onthe freewaymost of it isnt consciouschoice at all, its just habit, knee-jerk ac-tion or reaction.

    So what could our lives be like ifwe were somehow able to insert ourconscious choice into more of what wedo every day? Most of us really arentchoosing to be unfit and overweight

    and stressed outwe just havent rec-ognized that we even have a choice atall when it comes to these things. Wefeel like the external circumstances of

    our world drive us, rather than theother way around. We are alwayswaiting for some magical opening oftime and opportunity to allow us tofinally get around to making some ofthose changes weve thought about.We forget that we as individuals, andwe alone, are the ones who have boththe power and the responsibility to cre-ate our lives and our experiences.

    Living by choice, following yourdesires, the purpose-driven life, mind-fulness, all of these clichs derive froma real truth. We spend so much time

    reacting to the world around us that weforget that we can stop and choose ourresponse more carefully, more purpose-fully, in a way that allows us to get thedesired result, rather than the defaultresponse. And, in taking this power-to-choose into every moment of ourexistence, we can begin to live a fullyevolving life that is not based solely onhabits. What a relief! What freedom!It gives a whole new meaning to thephrase sentient being.u

    OpinionContinued from page 11

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    14 California Biofeedback Summer 2008

    On Saturday, May 10th, 2008, 16people learned about Somaticsfrom published experts in the field.The workshop was the primaryfocus of the Biofeedback Society ofCalifornia (BSC) Northern CaliforniaRegional Meeting, held during thespring of each year. This year, theBSCs annual statewide meeting willtake place on the Monterey Peninsulaat the Asilomar conference center. Ifyou missed the Northern CaliforniaRegional Meeting, there will be anopportunity to learn about somaticsfrom the experts again at Asilomar,November 7-9, 2008.

    The somatics workshop had threescheduled expert presenters: ErikPeper, Servaas Mes and EleanorCriswell. Peper is President of the Bio-feedback Foundation of Europe (2005),a life-time member of the BSC and pastPresident of the Association for Ap-plied Psychophysiology and Biofeed-

    back. He holds Senior Fellow certifica-tion from the Biofeedback CertificationInstitute of America. Peper specializesin somatic awareness while using thecomputer and has published HealthyComputing with Muscle Biofeedback. Mesis a noted author and part-time fac-ulty at San FranciscoState University. Heis a Somatic Prac-titioner and direc-tor of The SomaticHealth Center in St.Helena, California,

    as well as a Reg-is tered Physica lTherapist, a HannaSomatic Educator,a Pranassage Practi-tioner and a PilatesMat Instructor. He isthe founder of Mo-

    bilizing AwarenessSomatic MovementPrograms as wellas Somatic Condi-tioning fitness pro-

    grams. Eleanor Criswell, who taughtwith Thomas Hanna (and was marriedto Hanna), was scheduled to present,however a family illness kept her fromthe meeting. Criswell currently carriesthe Hanna legacy of somatics by edit-ing the journal Somatics.

    The day began with Erik Peperdescribing the evolution of the field ofsomatics. Peper led the group in two

    brief experiential exercises for increas-ing internal awareness of our somato-sensory system, drawing on the MosheFeldenkrais method of somatic educa-tion. Servaas Mes added to the historyof somatics, talking about the scholarly

    work of Thomas Hanna, considered afounding father in the field of somat-ics. Whereas it is possible to read in

    books and journals about the principleconcepts of somatics, the art of learn-ing somatics is in the practice. Andpractice we did.

    Mes led the group through a se-

    ries of floor movement practices toillustrate the difference between bodyawareness and somatic awareness. Hehad us lying on our backs on the floor,while guiding us for about 20 minutesinto gradually feeling the relationship

    between the floor and the muscles,

    bones, tendons, ligaments and jointsof the legs. Ever so gently, we were in-structed how to bend our right leg andlift our right heel off the floor, followed

    by pointing our right knee towards ourright toe, while noticing how our righthip raised automatically. Although thegradual movements seemed very sub-tle, the group had an a-ha momentwhen Mes asked us to feel our legs,then look and compare what we sawwith our eyes to our internal aware-ness of our legs. Uniformly, everyonereported experiencing an internalsensation of the right leg being incheslonger than the left, even though theyappeared the same length.

    After lunch, Mes continued ex-ploring practical movement exercisesthat could be used for enhancing so-matic awareness. Mes also presenteda model for differentiating the first,second and third person perspectivesof somatic awareness. For example, bymoving from a cognition of they cando that somatic practice to I can dothis somatic practice, a person shiftsfrom a third to first person experiencein which s/he can take responsibilityand ownership.

    Throughout the workshop, Mes

    reminded us about how the field ofsomatics can complement the field ofbiofeedback and vice versa. For ex-ample, he described ways of usingsomatics knowledge for enhancing

    biofeedback sessions by incorporatingsomatosensory feedback into a proto-

    col, gradually increasingthe time for building feltor embodied experiencesinto a biofeedback session.Although somatic feedbackdoes require time, it doesnot require equipment, and

    can therefore be practicedeasily. Following questionsand answers at the end ofthe day, people lingered fora while, an indication thatthere was a desire for morelearning. Please read moreabout Servaas Mess workin this newsletter, and signup for a somatics workshopduring the fall meeting, atAsilomar, November 7-9,2008. u

    Learning Somatics from the Experts

    There will be an opportunity to learn about somatics from

    the experts again at Asilomar, November 7-9, 2008.

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    California Biofeedback Summer 2008 17

    who talked back to them were recog-nized as being powerful and able tomake change happen on the physicalworld. These healers and cultures

    developed ways to deepen tranceor sustained, focused awarenesswithout thought, especially includ-ing the use of ceremony and ritual(drumming, chanting, dancing). Theyalso used other tools, including whattranslates as putting them to sleep sothat they can dream like theyre asleep

    but theyre really awake, which I in-terpret as what psychology now callsguided imagery, visualization, or hyp-nosis (And it strikes me from watch-ing people work and then listening towhat they say they do, that the words

    we use are completely arbitrary andmust be grounded into a persons actu-al observed practice to make any senseat all). Thus, I am suggesting that tra-ditional healers were the worlds firstneurofeedback practitioners in thatthey knew how to produce profoundstates of alpha and/or theta rhythmwithout technical awareness of theserhythms at all. (Stories exist, however,to demonstrate knowledge that the

    brain radiates energy, similar to whatwe now call bio-electricity).

    Biofeedback practitioners are morevaried in beliefs about the spiritualrealm, especially in whether or not theyaddress this realm with their clients.Nevertheless, most believe that states ofmind exist that facilitate wellness. Thedifference clearly is the use of machinesto cultivate changes in awareness.

    When I asked the traditionalelders who advise me what theythought about neurofeedback, severalshrugged their shoulders and looked

    puzzled. One said, Its how whitepeople do everything. They make anexpensive machine and take weeksto do what we can do in hours witha drum and our voice. Another said,Since they only believe in what ma-chines tell them, I guess they need

    machines to tell them how they are.A third said, It sure is a fancy wayto talk to the spirits. A fourth said,The joke is on them. The spirits gointo those machines and move them.Theyre talking to ghosts in a box. Afifth one said, I feel sorry for thosewhite people. Its a lonely world whenall you believe is machines.

    Of course, neurofeedback involvesmore than white people, but my el-ders tend toward a binary us versuswhites orientation; they use racewhere I would compare pre-modern

    to modern, but the point of their atti-tude is clear. They accept what peopledo to find altered states of conscious-ness, but find it puzzling.

    In my own life, I have done neuro-feedback and I have gone to ceremonyand ritual. For me (and for many oth-ers whom I know), ceremony winshands down. Nevertheless, many ofthe people I see cant or wont go toceremony. My Christian Indians fearit as devil worship, though I suspectmany find profound trance when theysing their hymns. My alcoholic and

    addicted clients often believe in verylittle, though going to ceremony can

    be the first step in their recovery. Andmany modern people in urban areashave absolutely no connection with aworld of ceremony and ritual. As theelders said, they believe in machines.So lets let the machines help them.Beyond that, there may be specific

    benefits that focally targeted neuro-feedback can offer for conditions such

    as inattentiveness (which I read asexcess attentiveness to the peripheralenvironment competing with focal at-tentiveness to a task which requiresignoring the periphery, in appreciationof Thom Hartmanns notion that whatwe now call ADHD was crucial for sur-

    vival in hunter/gatherer times. Thomcalls it the Edison Gene), for control-ling mania, or for other states of brainwhich can be modified with feedback.In short, I translate the elders com-ments about neurofeedback as saying,there are many ways to skin a cat in apost-modern world; whatever worksfor you is good; use it.

    Now lets look at what we knowabout the neurobiology. During reli-gious recitation, self-identified reli-gious subjects activate a frontal-pari-etal circuit, composed of the dorsolat-

    eral prefrontal, dorsomedial frontal,and medial parietal cortex.1Carmelitenuns recalling experiences of intenseconnection and communion with Godexperienced intense bursts of alphawaves with intense activity in the leftoccipital region.2Michael Persingerat Laurentian University in Sudbury,Ontario uses a helmet to stimulatethe right side of the brain, includingthe parietal lobe, with low-level elec-tromagnetic radiation.4Eighty percentof his subjects feel a presence in theroom. Many weep and say they feel

    God nearby. Recall of the experience ofpossession-trance-dance by a Salpuridancer increased alpha activity alongwith markedly increasing frontal mid-line theta activity.5Compared to a rest-ing state, the electrical activity showedan increase in the global field powerintegral and a decrease in generalizedfrequency and spatial complexity. PETscan data show increased blood flow inthe supplementary motor cortex (SMA)during intense religious experienceswith increased blood flow in the dor-solateral prefrontal cortex, increased

    blood flow in the right pre-cuneus.4Does this provide a neurobiological ex-planation for how effective dance is ininducing trance? Oohashi, et al. (2002)used portable EEG equipment to studyBalinese subjects engaged in a trancepossession ceremony in the field. 4The subject who became possessedshowed significant increases in frontaltheta rhythm cordance and in alpha

    Altered StatesContinued from page 1

    Continued on page 18

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    18 California Biofeedback Summer 2008

    rhythm cordance (cordance is a calcu-lated measure combining relative andabsolute power that is well correlatedwith blood flow in the region). Two

    subjects who did not become pos-sessed had no significant change in

    brain energy patterns.The SMA is involved in the plan-

    ning of motor activity, particularlythe anticipation of movement. I inter-preted the neurobiology to my elderswho said (I paraphrase them) that itis obvious that when spirit is instanti-ated* into matter (the body) it movesthe body through the brain and ofcourse we would see their tracks andactivity when we record the activityof the brain. My interpretation is that

    circuits exist in the brain to support in-tense spiritual and meditative activity,and that these states have been crucialto survival for millennia. These statesinvolve the areas described above.

    Furthermore, the data on theprayer circuits teach us that theprayerful attitude supports a reflex-ive mode of experience (awareness of

    awareness) and that prayer or medita-tion is not just a pre-conceptual, imme-diate affective experience, but also anattributional cognitive phenomenon.To further support these concepts,11C-raclopride PET studies on yoganidra meditators showed increased

    endogenous dopamine release in theventral striatum during meditation,8,9associated with decreased blood flowin prefrontal, cerebellar and subcorti-cal regionsstructures thought to beorganized in open loops serving execu-tive control.

    In the striatum, dopamine modu-lates excitatory glutamatergic synapsesof the projections from the frontal cor-tex to striatal neurons In turn, they proj-ect back to the frontal cortex via the pal-lidum and ventral thalamus.2Increasedendogenous dopamine correlates with

    an increase in EEG theta activity, acharacteristic feature of meditation.8All participants reported heightenedsensory imagery during meditation.PET scanning with 15-O, H20 amongyoga nidra meditators showed differ-ential activity is in 1) the dorso-lateraland orbital frontal cortex, 2) the anteriorcingulate gyri, 3) the left temporal gyri,

    4) the left inferior parietal lobule, 5) thestriatal and thalamic regions, and 6) thepons and cerebellar vermis and hemi-spheres.5Again, these are the structuresthought to support executive attention.Meditation and prayer decreases thecomplexity of brain activity by many

    different measures of complexity.5Dur-ing meditation, approximate entropydecreases. All of these processes can beenhanced with neurofeedback.

    However, here is another kind ofneurofeedback device, the sweat lodge.

    The changes described in theneurobiological studies are also mostlikely produced inside this structurewhere participants sit in completedarkness, singing, drumming, and rat-tling, while hot stones radiate energyto purify them and heal them.

    I suspect that states of brain are

    somewhat unique to individuals andthat the research on states of brain dur-ing hypnosis are as applicable to thestudies of meditation and prayer, sincewe use these terms so arbitrarily andwithout adequate pre-specification ofwhat we mean operationally. In wak-ing and hypnosis, highly susceptiblesubjects generate greater mean theta

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    Altered StatesContinued from page 17

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    California Biofeedback Summer 2008 19

    Figure 1. Comparison of Baseline and Meditation Images from Newberg, et al.4

    A view of the inside of a sweat lodge.

    power than low hypnotizable subjectswith large differences in frontal elec-trodes.2Occipital theta (just where theCarmelite nuns showed increase) wasthe best predictor of hypnotic suscepti-

    bility, and significant correlations havebeen found between hypnotizabil ityand right occipital theta.2Increments intheta activity also occur in a variety ofproblem-solving, perceptual processingand cognitive tasks. Meditation chang-es EEG, with greater increases of thetaactivity among experienced meditatorsthan nave meditators.2This increaseis more often frontal than occipital orparietotemporal. Even the attitudes andstates of mind associated with coopera-tive social behavior activate brain areasassociated with reward processing andincrease theta activity.8

    In summary, we have much to learnabout the way the brain works and howwe can use feedback devices to change

    brain function. We are making progress.Nevertheless, pre-modern techniquesfor inducing changes in brain function-ing may still be the most effective ofall that we can do. Modern technologymay never trump shamans in this area.However, not all people can or want to

    be involved in traditional cultural ac-tivities and neurofeedback may be the

    best approach for them to approximatethe ecstasy and trance states that have

    been known and practiced probablysince humanitys origins. u

    *Eds note: The instantiation principlestates that if something has a property,then necessarily that something mustexist. For it not to exist would be a prop-erty withoutan essence, which is impos-sible.Wikipedia


    1. Mehl-Madrona L. Coyote Healing: Mir-acles of Native America. Rochester, VT: Bearand Co., 2003

    2. Nina P. Azari, Janpeter Nickel, GilbertWunderlich, Michael Niedeggen, Harald Heft-er, Lutz Tellmann, Hans Herzog, Petra Stoerig,Dieter Birnbacher, Rdiger J. Seitz (2001) Neu-ral correlates of religious experience. EuropeanJournal of Neuroscience 13 (8) , 16491652

    3. Biello D. Searching for God in the Brain.Scientific American, October 4, 2007, http://www.newagestuff.com/cms/readarticle.php?article_id=40. Last accessed 1 June 2007.

    4. Mind Control, http://www.earthpulse.com/epulseuploads/articles/MindControl.pdf. Last accessed 1 June 2007.

    5. JONG RAN PARK ; YAGYU Takami ;SAITO Naomi ; KINOSHITA Toshihiko ; HIRAI

    Takane. Dynamics of brain electric field duringrecall of Salpuri dance performance. Perceptualand motor skills 2002, 95 (1): 955-962.

    6. Gianotti L. Brain electrical fields, beliefin the paranormal, and reading of emotionalwords. Ph.D. dissertation to the University ofZurich, 2003, http://www.dissertationen.uni-zh.ch/2004/gianotti/diss.pdf, Last accessed 1June 2007.

    7. T. Oohashi. Electro encephalographicmeasurement of possession trance in the field .Clinical Neurophysiology 2003; 113(3): 435-443.

    8. Kjaer TW, Bertelsen C, Piccini P, BrooksD, Alving J, Lou HC. Increased dopamine tone

    during meditation-induced change of con-sciousness. Brain Res Cogn Brain Res. 2002;13(2):255-9.Mohandas E MENTAL HEALTH, SPIRITU-ALITY, MIND. Neurobiology of Spirituality, 2008 : 6 (1): 63-80.

    10. Comparison of Baseline and Meditation.http://andrewnewberg.com/graphics/pet1b.gif. Last accessed 2 June 2008.

    11. Anne-Marie Thierry *, Yves Gioanni,Eric Dgntais, Jacques Glowinski. Hippo-campo-prefrontal cortex pathway: Anatomicaland electrophysiological characteristics. Hip-pocampus 2000; 10: 411 419.

    12. Hans C. Lou 1 *, Troels W. Kjaer 1, LarsFriberg 2, Gordon Wildschiodtz 3, Sren Holm2, Markus Nowak A 15O-H2O PET study of

    meditation and the resting state of normalconsciousness Human Brain Mapping 1999; 7:98 105.

    13. Cahn BR, Polich J. Meditation states andtraits: EEG, ERP, and Neuroimaging Studies.Psychol. Bull. 2006; 132(2): 180-211.

    14. Stevens L, Haga Z, Queen B, Brady B,Adams D, Gilbert J, Vaughan E, Leach C, Nock-els P, McManus P. Binaural beat induced thetaEEG activity and hypnotic susceptibility: con-tradictory results and technical considerations.Am J Clin Hypn. 2003 Apr; 45(4):295-309.

    15. Vaitl, Dieter; Birbaumer, Niels; Gruze-lier, John; Jamieson, Graham A.; Kotchoubey,Boris; Kbler, Andrea; Lehmann, Dietrich;Miltner, Wolfgang H. R.; Ott, Ulrich; Ptz,

    Peter; Sammer, Gebhard; Strauch, Inge; Strehl,Ute; Wackermann, Jiri; Weiss, Thomas. Psy-chobiology of Altered States of Consciousness.Psychological Bulletin. 2005; 131(1) 98-127.

    16. Just MA, Varma S. The Organization ofThinking: what functional brain imaging re-veals about the neuroarchitecture of complexcognition. Cognitive, Affective, and Behav-ioural Neuroscience. 2007; 7(3): 153-191.

    17. Antonio Alcaro, Robert Huber, and JaakPanksepp. Behavioral Functions of the Me-solimbic Dopaminergic System: an AffectiveNeuroethological Perspective. Brain Res Rev.2007 December; 56(2): 283321.

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    20 California Biofeedback Summer 2008

    Functional NeurologyContinued from page 5

    porating oxygen-enriched air into a clinical practice before,during or after a neurofeedback session can significantlyimprove patients results and often be the missing link insuccessful treatment programs. Providing oxygen-enrichedair to patients is similar to opening an oxygen bar inside yourclinic. Oxygen concentrators utilized in oxygen bars are safeand do not require medical referral or supervision.

    Food provides the raw materials that the brain needs inorder to function and repair itself. The brain needs healthynutrition (omega oils, glucose, minerals, protein, etc.) justlike a car needs various fluids (motor oil, radiator fluid,transmission fluid, brake fluid, etc.). When a car has every-thing it needs, it works better. When the brain gets all thehealthy nutrients it needs, it works better too. Functionalassessment tools are available through nutrition companiessuch as Metagenics and Biotics to help you determine apatients needs.

    Activation is the newest buzz word in neurology. Activa-tion drives neuronal firing and plasticity. It also influences thedynamic and constantly changing Resting Membrane Poten-tial, which is the resting state of any individual neuron. TheRMP of a neuron is often referred to as its Central IntegrativeState, or CIS. The CIS is very important because a neuron thatis hyperpolarized (far away from excitation threshold) (Fig.1)will take more stimulation in order to fire, slowing down itsfiring rate. Conversely, a neuron that is hypopolarized (closerto excitation threshold) (Fig. 2) will be easier to fire and poten-tially fire at an increased rate. Through temporal and spatialsummative windows, the central integrative state of variousneurons (Thalamic Oscillatory Neurons, Sensory Neurons,Motor Neurons, Autonomic Neurons, Internuncial Neurons,

    etc.) can be modulated and improved, thereby improving thefunctional state of the central nervous system and facilitatingresults with any neurofeedback device.

    In a Biofeedback or Neurofeedback setting, there arefunctional neurological tests that can be easily performed toallow a practitioner to formulate a program of neurologicalexercises and activities to help the patient optimize brainfunction. These tests can also serve as assessment tools toevaluate patients progress and need for care. Neurologicaltests may include simple cerebellar balance and performancetests, comparative muscle weaknesses and dyspraxias, corti-cal blind spot mapping, Optokinetic tape testing and more.Therapeutic exercises and activities may include specific eyeexercises, caloric stimulation, ipsilateral motor and metoric

    activities for proper unilateral brain stimulation and more.Brainwave training technology offers a means for af-fecting the frequencies of cortical tissue and optimizingneurological function. A deeper understanding of all the keyelements that contribute to neuronal firing, based on recentfindings and insights, will facilitate a broader clinical appli-cation and allow for enhanced patient response. Spatiallysummative afferent input to the brain is a new paradigmof brain function and offers us clinical tools to enhance theneurofeedback experience and improve brain function. Thepractitioner who masters and utilizes these insights into theirclinical practice should find improved patient outcomes andsatisfaction.u