Brain, heal thyself

by Elysian Magazine

New brainwave optimization program relaxes, centers clients

By Luke Connell

Ever tried putting on makeup without a mirror?

Eyeliner. Lipstick.

Did everything go on just right? Any painting outside the lines? Ready for a night on the town?

Now imagine your brain, churning away inside your head, firing synapses, generating thoughts, telling your lungs to contract, your heart to pump. What if your brain got out of tune? How would it know? Wouldn’t it be easier if your brain could see itself, see its challenges and adjust accordingly? What if your brain had a mirror?

Centering oneself

Technician Rhonda Lider connects sensors to Lisa De Freitas.

In early 2014, Lisa De Freitas found a lump in her breast.

By spring, she had started chemotherapy. In June, surgeons performed a single mastectomy. By February the following year, she underwent reconstructive surgery.

“I continued to live my life,” De Freitas, 49, said recently.

With a network of friends, family and medical personnel at her side, De Freitas battled cancer, and in doing so, she learned about the programming at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System’s Center for Health and Healing. Eating healthy. Yoga. Massage. All can help make a healthier person; a healthier patient.

A new program piqued De Freitas’ interest: Brainwave Optimization.

In 2015, De Freitas was one of 10 breast cancer survivors who received Brainwave Optimization as a result of a grant from the Spartanburg Regional Foundation to the Center for Health and Healing.

Typically, administered during seven, two-hour sessions over the course of a week, or four to five days, Brainwave Optimization provides a real-time reflection of brain activity by generating music-like tones, which the client can hear. This Acoustic Brain Mirror “supports and accelerates the brain’s ability,” helping clients achieve deep states of relaxation and allowing the mind to reset itself, according to Arizona-based Brain State Technologies, which supports a network of more than 175 locations in 20 countries.

Admittedly somewhat skeptical at first, De Freitas said having biometric sensors noninvasively placed on her scalp in order to read her brain rhythms took some getting used to. Software then translates the activity into sounds, which are played for the client in real time.

“So you are listening to your brain,” De Freitas said. “Some of them sound like specific instruments. Some of them are a bass, very deep. Others are more organlike.”

Change from the inside

Hunter Mahon

Hunter Mahon, manager of the Spartanburg Regional Center for Health and Healing, said one of the most fascinating aspects of Brainwave Optimization is that it doesn’t matter how old the client is. From young people with anxiety to senior citizens looking to regain sharpness, people of varying ages can benefit from the process.

According to Brain State Technologies, Brainwave Optimization facilitates a state of relaxation and flexibility of brain rhythms, “from there you and your brain can produce greater well-being, enhanced performance and often other positive experiences that no one even predicts.”

“Our clients commonly report better sleep, release of chronic stress or trauma, improvement in areas of cognitive difficulties or learning challenges, and reduced addictive personality tendencies,” according to the company’s website.

“Brainwave Optimization allows the brain to deeply relax and reset,” Mahon said. “And when that happens, tremendous positive change is possible, from the inside out.”

As for the results, a before-and-after scan of De Freitas’ brain reveals visible changes in her brain’s activity, but “I think it is one of those things that is really difficult to measure,” she said.

“I think I’ve found a way to quiet my mind and to center myself more,” De Freitas said recently. “It’s definitely something I would recommend to a friend.”

What is Brainwave Optimization?

Emotional trauma or ongoing stress can sometimes cause the brain to become “stuck” or “out of tune.” Proponents say Brainwave Optimization is a way to return your mind to a state of balance. It is not a treatment or therapy for a medically defined disease or psychological disorders, nor is it a way to diagnose or treat diseases or disorders, according to Arizona-based Brain State Technologies.

How does it work?

Noninvasive, biometric sensors are placed on the scalp to read the patient’s brain rhythms. Software translates brainwave activity into sounds of differing pitches and timing. The sounds are played back to the patient through earbuds in real time, creating an Acoustic Brain Mirror. In this relaxed state, the brain “tends to reorganize its own rhythms, on its own terms.”

How can it help?

You and your brain create any benefits from this process. Clients often report better sleep, release of chronic stress or emotional trauma, improvement in areas of cognitive difficulties, or learning challenges, and reduced addictive personal tendencies, according to Brain State Technologies.

How much does it cost?

At the Spartanburg Regional Center for Health and Healing, Brainwave Optimization costs $1,690 for a one-hour evaluation and seven two-hour sessions.

To learn more: call Hunter Mahon at 864-560-6022 or visit:

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