Feedback is a characteristic process of complex systems, in which all or part of a signal – originally produced by the system itself – is applied for reprocessing, thereby altering the system’s future behavior. Feedback processes are often regulatory in nature, especially in living organisms. As there are aspects of living systems which are chemical and electromagnetic, a science of human biofeedback has been studied and applied with measurable effectiveness, since the 1950s.
It is well-known and verified by experimental results that people can be trained to lower pulse-rate, blood pressure, and other vital metabolic processes by means of attending to visual and auditory cues. In the 1960s, Dr. Joe Kimiya established several protocols for recognizing, producing, and enhancing a state of peak-performance by encouraging the production of alpha waves through EEG biofeedback training.
During the same decade, Dr. Barry Sturman, from UCLA, was invited by NASA to adapt for the US Space Program, the systems of brain-wave reinforcement he had discovered to be effective in sleep research upon feline subjects.
While the sum of electromagnetic vibrations of the human brain may constitute the most complex pattern of information produced by the entire universe, it is possible to distinguish between several frequency ranges, which are correlated with certain states of consciousness.
Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta, Gamma Waves, which range in frequency from under-4 to over-30 Hz, describe a continuous spectrum of human consciousness. Our various “states of mind” – from deep sleep to attentive alertness – and even thoughtful, creative states – can be observed to accompany characteristic waveform measurements using electroencephalographic recording equipment.
These correlations are employed in several current technologies, which involve assessing the particular wave patterns produced by a subject’s brain and using that information to modify a signal, which is then re-assimilated by the subject in a continuous feedback loop. This process effects a modification of the brain’s response to stimulus and can affect the subject’s ultimate state of mind in predictable ways.
My own biofeedback and neurofeedback work includes several proprietary systems and other methods which I have employed over years of personal and professional aesthetic study, experimentation, and research. I will discuss these in future entries.
Image: The author during a recent neurofeedback session
YouTube Video: How the Body Works. An EEG: Brainwaves
YouTube Video: Neurofeedback for Peak Performance