Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17

Thread: Suggestions for getting the best from AVS

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Otaki Beach, New Zealand
    Posts
    437

    Default Suggestions for getting the best from AVS

    Hi,

    Over the last little while I've been doing a lot of reading and have arrived at the conclusion that it's very hard to know what to expect from AVS (audio visual stimulation) and how best to utilise it.

    The information available through cursory searches provides a lot of indications of areas of potential usefulness, however it is in the nature of marketing that many of the claims and their scientific basis are overstated.

    This does not, however, imply that the technology is not useful in any of the areas suggested, just that a little more thought needs to be applied to how it may best serve YOU.

    Assuming you're not wanting to make a hobby of neuroscience, and just want to enjoy the benefits of AVS in your life, I'd like to offer the following tips.

    1. Form a clear idea of exactly what you're wanting to achieve and how you will know if you've achieved it.

    2. Look at all the other means of achieving the required outcomes. Have you tried any other methods? What has and hasn't worked for you? For example, if you're wanting to use AVS for ADHD, have you used stimulant medications and did they work? If they were effective, then there's a good chance you'll get good results with simple beta stimulation. If not, then diminished beta is probably not a significant factor in your particular case of ADHD. Likewise for depression - have you found SSRIs effective? If not then the seratonin enhancing characteristics of alpha probably won't do you a lot of good, although the relaxation itself might.

    3. Look at what actually has to happen in order for your requirements to be met. Partly covered in point 2 - is there a known mechanism by which your results can be achieved, and is there evidence that AVS can use or enhance these mechanisms?

    4. Are you looking for a quick fix? If so, you're quite likely to be disappointed. While some sessions and frequency bands do have some prety immediate feel good effects, persistent results will require time and commitment.

    5. Do you believe in magic? You'll need to distinguish magical thinking from legitimate cause-and-effect. There's a complex assortment of factors and mechanisms that govern the effectiveness of AVS. Not least is that AVS is extraordinarily effective in eliciting placebo effect. This is not a criticism. The placebo effect might be described as any instance of effectiveness where an explanation is not yet available. Quite a few of the things that AVS can achieve are achieved without satisfactory explanation, but that does not mean that the results are any less real.

    6. Use standard preset sessions before worrying about creating your own. The sessions included with your chosen products are mostly basd on reasonable interpretations of current data. Current data is patchy, but it is improving, and it's the best we've got just now. It takes a ridiculous amount of time and effort to match the breadth of input companies like MindPlace and Transparent put into delivering sessions and tools that have a good likelihood of delivering meaningful results. (I would rate MP and Transparent among the most trustworthy sources, particularly as they make it clear when information they are providing is indicative, provisional or based on incomplete research - some other vendors are far less open about their excursions into conjecture, and yet others are plainly misleading).

    7. Apply critical thinking when looking at vendor websites - there is not sufficient science at present to support some of the more specific claims. References to tenuously related fields, such as quantum physics, are invariably flawed. Likewise, claims of proprietary knowledge and specific frequencies or protocols are also unlikely to have robust foundation.

    8. Don't be lured by bling. The requirements for effective AVS are audible beats and flashing lights. Anything beyond this is embellishment, and most embellishments actually diminish effectiveness. That said, it is reasonable to make sessions sufficiently aesthetically pleasing to encourage use. There are some subtleties, such as the use of colour, which may be significant in ways that are not yet fully understood, but my feeling at present is that colour is more about personal preference and session interest than actual functionality. (The full colour Procyon is an absolute joy, but it's probably no more functionally effective than the 2-colour Proteus).

    9. Don't expect too much from passive AVS use. You'll gain the benefits of deep relaxation just by laying back and enjoying, but any of the more specific applications will require commitment on your part. A popular hope for AVS is to "achieve monk-like meditation" - you will achieve monk-like meditation when you meditate like a monk, AVS can help you recognise certain mental states and is a great tool for overcoming distraction and mind-chatter, but be assured, you will not experience enlightenment just by plugging into an AVS device. Some uses, like pain relief with low delta, can be achieved passively. Alpha is just plain good for anxiety. Anything much else will require a certain amount of additional understanding and effort.

    10. Make sure you're attempting to solve the right problem. If you're wanting to increase your focus and concentration, beta might help, but not if you're only getting 4 hours sleep. If you're wanting to deal with depression, you'll need to know if you're particular depression is a slow wave disorder that responds well to SMR/beta, or whether it is more cognitively based, in which case alpha/theta introspection may well be more useful. ADHD has captured the headlines, and I strongly suspect there's a lot of people trying to treat themselves for ADHD who should actually be looking at non-pathological laziness and procrastination - AVS can be helpful for either, but the strategies are very different.

    11. Consider the other tools that are related to AVS - biofeedback and neurofeedback are much more precise tools and provide objective indications of need and progress. Open-loop AVS is an extremely non-specific tool which gains a great deal from application where the the body's needs and responses can be assessed. Biofeedback is relatively inexpensive and simple with device like the Thoughtstream. Neurofeedback is orders of magnitude more complex and expensive, but for therapeutic applications has a very sound pedigree.

    12. Whatever you read, the 'truth' is more complicated. While AVS has been around since we first sat around a fire drumming, and the technology has been deliberately applied for decades, the science is struggling to keep up with practical results. You are privileged to be part of a field in its infancy - everything you do has the potential to uncover new understandings and applications. Don't expect to find detailed hows and whys - learn to interpret theories, hypotheses and small-scale trial results.

    13. Make adequate allowance for individual variability. What works for one person may not work for you and what works for you may not work for anyone else. All the preset sessions are based on broad generalisations. For example, many alpha sessions are based on the 10Hz frequency, which is approximately the natural dominant closed-eyes relaxed frequency of most people. In practice, individuals will have a natural dominant alpha frequency between 9.5Hz and 10.5Hz and tuning sessions to the individual does enhance their effectiveness. Units like the Proteus has a User Mode which very conveniently allows you to 'scan' through frequencies to find 'sweet spots'. A good indication of your dominant alpha frequency can be found by using User Mode with the lights set bright and sweeping through 9-11Hz and noticing when your eyes start quivering and wanting to blink (even though they're closed) - my experiments suggest that the most powerful blink impulse corresponds to the individual's dominant alpha.

    13. Have fun. With very few exceptions (as detailed in vendor disclaimers) AVS is completely safe. There is virtually no possibility of doing anything that will result in long term damage - achieving such damage would require persisting when minor symptoms or discomforts have already made it clear that what you're doing is not right for you.

    14. Share your successes and failures on the user forums. We're mostly 'just users' of the technology and there's very few people out there who can claim any real authority. There's a few 'names' in the industry, and it's well worth reading their publications, but you'll find that there are significant areas of debate even amongst the old-timers of the field. Join in, participate, question.

    15. If you do want to study the subject, start with the foundations first before delving into the specifics of AVS. The fields of science from which AVS draws it's fundamentals are far better documented than AVS itself. Neuroscience, Psychology, Psychiatry, Electronics and Physics are all rich fields, and a good lay understanding of any or all will definitely make for a more rewarding experience with AVS.

    I hope you've found something of value in this rambling piece and I welcome any discussion it might provoke.

    Cheers,
    Craig

  2. #2

    Default Re: Suggestions for getting the best from AVS

    Great post Craig, thanks!

    I tried your point #13 (your first #13 hee-hee) and found that 10.4 hz felt like a sweet spot for me. I got the best patterns with this freq and when I added sound to it I got a bit of re-verb effect as well. Guess I'll try adjusting some of my stock 10hz alpha sessions up a notch.

    Do you think that this will also effect other sessions as well. That is if I have a theta session at 5hz should I be increasing it to 5.2 hz (proportionally) or 5.4 hz?

    All good stuff, thanks again Craig.

    Best cheers,
    TomC

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Otaki Beach, New Zealand
    Posts
    437

    Default Re: Suggestions for getting the best from AVS

    Hi Tom,

    Okay, so I can't count, smarty-pants

    No, this principle doesn't extend to other frequencies. 10Hz is one of a very few frequencies that seem to have very special significance to the brain (two others I'm aware of are 14Hz and 40Hz, but even they aren't as universal as approx. 10Hz). It's the fact that you automatically generate a burst of about 10Hz every time you blink or close your eyes that makes this trick work. I should probably mention that an individual's dominant frequency will change and that it is trainable.

    To find your dominant frequency in other bands would require an EEG.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Cheers,
    Craig

  4. #4

    Thumbs up Re: Suggestions for getting the best from AVS

    Another great post, Craig!
    Honest-common sense in a nutshell.
    A must read, and re-read, for every new-comer & general user of this technology.
    Thanks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Otaki Beach, New Zealand
    Posts
    437

    Default Re: Suggestions for getting the best from AVS

    Thankyou - it's always nice to get a little pat on the head

    Cheers,
    Craig

  6. #6

    Default Re: Suggestions for getting the best from AVS

    Here's another pat, Craig: I've just printed your posting and will study it in order to avoid asking a great many redundant questions!

    Have a great weekend, Saskia

    btw had a good first week with my new Proteus. Tried it for getting to sleep (with P44) but that didn't work too well (also the glasses and headphones got in the way of my pillow) but the next night I tried getting a 'flashback' going, remembering the day's session and the relaxation it brought, and that did help a bit. So I'll just continue using it during the daytime to get more relaxed generally and I'm sure this way it will improve my sleep.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Otaki Beach, New Zealand
    Posts
    437

    Default Re: Suggestions for getting the best from AVS

    Thanks, Saskia

    Great to hear you're enjoying the Proteus. It really is a lovely machine.

    The headphone/glasses/pillow thing is always a bit of a problem. The glasses/headphones combo I cobbled together (in another post) works well, but you've still got to stay on your back - and I'm a side sleeper. For go-to-sleep sessions I mostly use audio only, with a pair of speakers at my bedhead.

    Keep in mind SMR sessions to enhance your ability to sleep. An SMR session an hour or two before bed does wonders. It seems to be a factor in inudicng lucid dreams too.

    Cheers,
    Craig

  8. Default Re: Suggestions for getting the best from AVS

    Quote Originally Posted by CraigT View Post

    The headphone/glasses/pillow thing is always a bit of a problem. The glasses/headphones combo I cobbled together (in another post) works well, but you've still got to stay on your back - and I'm a side sleeper. For go-to-sleep sessions I mostly use audio only, with a pair of speakers at my bedhead.
    I agree with the comfort factor with the glasses/headphones combo. I've been using my Procyon every night at bedtime, usually running the "Night Voyage" setting. I'll wake up in the middle of the night and realize that I'm still wearing the combo. I have slept on my side with them on, I use a buckwheat pillow, which is kind of like a beanbag and can be shaped to accomodate the earphones. But I start out the night on my back with pillows propped under my knees when I do a Procyon session. I am used to having things on my head when I sleep though, as I have apnea and use a cpap machine every night.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Suggestions for getting the best from AVS

    Quote Originally Posted by CraigT View Post
    Keep in mind SMR sessions to enhance your ability to sleep. An SMR session an hour or two before bed does wonders. It seems to be a factor in inudicng lucid dreams too.
    I didn't know what SMR was, had to look it up So it's the lower beta-range, from 12-15 Hz. Is there a preset program you'd recommend? I tried 29 today, it had some SMR in it. Sticking to suggestion #6 here, roughly: no homebrew programming in the second week after purchase
    Another question: my goal isn't very specific; general relaxation of body and mind, which in itself will enhance quality of sleep and life. For entrainment purposes, is it recommended to pick a session and stick to it (and if so, for how long?), or is it ok to vary?

    The whole concept of entrainment is fairly new to me, I'd only thought about these machines as having an immediate effect, but the logic seems sound, so why not.

    Cheers, Saskia

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Otaki Beach, New Zealand
    Posts
    437

    Default Re: Suggestions for getting the best from AVS

    Hi Saskia,

    Yikes - someone who pays attention to suggestions!

    http://www.mindplacesupport.com/foru...ns-description has a table which gives the target frequencies of the sessions.

    As you can see, there are many that target alpha/SMR. From their names you can deduce which are intended to be relaxing and which are intended to be energising. Feel free to swap and change within the range, but choose the sessions according to the time of day, or what you're wanting to do immediately after the session.

    As far as I'm concerned, general relaxation is an excellent goal. It also happens to be the one application for which mind-machines are overwhelmingly effective. The vast majority of my results have been achieved with alpha, both for plain relaxation and also as a calm environment in which to contemplate my life, past present and future and make the changes necessary.

    A trial of another machine using alpha sessions showed significant results with a 20 minute session each day, 6 days a week over 3 weeks. I would fully expect the same results with the Procyon.

    You can expect great results!

    Cheers,
    Craig

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Procyon AVS has arrived
    By Charles M in forum Procyon
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-27-2009, 04:04 AM
  2. How to enhance a self help book with AVS?
    By GreenDragon in forum General Forum
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 09-09-2008, 03:13 AM
  3. Replies: 8
    Last Post: 05-18-2007, 01:40 AM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •