Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS HAPPENING WHEN I USE A DAVID?
There are a number of things that are going on when you are using a DAVID:
1) Your EEG activity is being altered – As the AVE frequency changes, so does the frequency in the brain – it’s that easy! For example, our Feeling Better sessions re-stabilize brainwaves by suppressing left frontal alpha while boosting right frontal alpha to normal levels.
2) You are being dissociated – When using AVE, you get drawn into the present moment and let go of thoughts relating to your daily hassles, hectic schedules, paying bills, worries, threats or anxieties and stop the unhealthy mental “chatter.” Dissociation involves a “disconnection” of self from thoughts and body awareness, as is experienced during deep meditation. Dissociation begins in four to eight minutes from properly applied AVE.
3) Your limbic system is being stabilized – Your body is calmed, your breathing becomes rhythmic, your hands warm and your muscles relax.
4) A number of neurotransmitters are being produced – People with depressed mood have low levels of serotonin and norepinephrine. AVE boosts brain levels of serotonin, and norepinephrine to improve overall well-being.
5) Your cerebral blood flow is being increased – CBF is associated with many forms of mental disorders, including anxiety, depression, attentional problems, behavior disorders and impaired cognitive function. CBF tends to lower as we age often causing cognitive decline. People experiencing depressed mood usually have lower levels of CBF in the left frontal and prefrontal lobes.
WHAT IS AUDIO-VISUAL ENTRAINMENT (AVE)?
AVE uses eyesets to flash lights at the eyes and headphones to pulse tones to the ears at various frequencies from 1 to 25 Hz to influence brainwave activity. The brain speeds up or slows down to follow the stimuli.
HOW MANY SESSIONS CAN I USE IN A DAY? CAN I USE TWO SESSIONS BACK TO BACK? HOW OFTEN CAN I USE A DAVID?
It depends on what you are using the DAVID for and what results you want to achieve. Typically people will use the DAVID every day or every other day. But you can use more often if you like. There are many who are using an SMR session in the morning and a relaxing Schumann session in the afternoon or evening. You can use a session before retiring for the evening or run a session in the middle of the night if you have awoken but are having difficulty falling back to sleep.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SEE ANY CHANGES WHILE USING AVE?
This depends greatly on how often you are using AVE and what you are using it for…Different people using AVE for different purposes will see varied results. Some people notice results after one use! But typically people using AVE five times per week notice significant results in two to four weeks.
WHAT ARE BRAIN WAVES?
Our brains produce “sweeping” electrical charges. These charges create a rhythm know as brain wave patterns. These patterns are observable through electroencephalograph (EEG) instruments. EEGs record and measure large amounts of neurons firing in unison. Brain wave patterns are commonly grouped into four different categories: beta, alpha, theta and delta. Each of these brain wave patterns is associated with various states of mind.
Beta waves are quick, low amplitude waves of 14 to 40 times per second (Hz). Beta brain wave patterns are generated naturally when in an awake, alert state of consciousness. Beta waves are produced when you perform any task that requires you to concentrate.
Alpha waves oscillate between 8 and 13 Hz. Alpha waves occur during sensorial rest (eg. when the eyes are closed), intellectual relaxation, deep relaxation, meditation or quietening of the mind. Alpha waves are the desired results of meditators. Traditional methods of meditation may require 10 years of practice to produce good alpha waves.
Alpha brain wave rhythms produce:
(1) peaceful feelings
(2) warm hands and feet
(3) a sense of well-being
(4) improved sleep
(5) improved academic performance
(6) increased productivity in the workplace
(7) reduced anxiety
(8) improved immune functioning
It is believed that many creative geniuses, such as Einstein, were in a semi-permanent alpha state. Most of these insightful people had poor grades in school and were thought to be slow learners. Perhaps they were too busy creating to pay attention in class.
These sessions are the Schumann Resonance and the State Five Meditation. At the Alpha/Theta border (7 to 8 Hz), exceptional insights and personal transforming experiences happen. Anger, resentment or buried, troubling memories from childhood dissolve more quickly.
Theta waves are between 4 and 8 Hz. This is commonly referred to as the dream or “twilight” state. Theta is associated with hypnogogic states, REM and dreaming. Memory development is enhanced in this state. In the theta brain wave state, memory is improved (particularly long term memory), and access to unconscious material, reveries, free association, sudden insight and creative ideas are increased. It’s a mysterious, elusive state of mind. For a long time researchers couldn’t study this brain state because subjects had difficulty maintaining this state for any period of time without falling asleep (which generates large amounts of theta).
This rhythm is observed when in a sleeping state. As we fall asleep the dominant natural brain wave becomes delta. Delta waves are the slowest of brain waves spanning from 1 to 4 Hz in frequency. There is growing evidence that individuals may maintain a slightly conscious state while in delta.
All brain wave states serve important mental functions. However, research has shown that the natural, healthy alpha rhythm is very close to 10 Hz. In today’s lifestyle, the return to a peaceful, mind/body way of being has become difficult to achieve and maintain for any period of time. This difficulty causes disease, maladies and disorders in the body and mind. This is why it is so important for us to relearn or retrain our brains to get back to higher levels of alpha. Slow alpha, alpha/theta border and theta can indicate slow brain wave mental disorders. Closed-head injury, fibromyalgia, and cognitive impairments all contain excess levels of these slow brain waves.
WHAT INTENSITY SETTING SHOULD I SELECT?
When you begin your session, adjust the intensity (brightness) of the eyesets to a comfortable level. A brighter intensity level creates more vivid colors and “sharper” patterns. Be careful, however, not to overstimulate. Children and people susceptible to headaches should be careful to keep the intensity lower. Again, the more comfortable your experience, the better your results.
WHEN SHOULD I USE BETA SESSIONS?
Stimulation at beta frequencies acts as a neuro-stimulant. Beta stimulation in the morning is an excellent way to start the day and makes an excellent substitute for coffee! Typically, with adequate sleep and without caffeine, waking in the morning is a breeze. Persons who experience anxiety when confronted with new situations may find it helpful to use the beta sessions the first few times using the DAVID. Children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) will find the beta sessions helpful and calming. Beta sessions are commonly used to perk up cognitive functioning, for helping with focusing and are used extensively in treating slow-brain disorders where continuous alpha or theta activity is higher than normal. Beta frequencies have also been helpful in treating inward, non-specific anxiety.
WHEN SHOULD I USE ALPHA SESSIONS?
When you want to experience deep relaxation or practice meditation, you can use any of the alpha sessions. Alpha sessions are particularly helpful where there is outward anxiety and high arousal (can’t sit still) or if you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When using an alpha session for the first time, begin with shorter sessions of 15 to 30 minutes. Do not intake caffeine four hours prior to your session. After a week or more, extend the length of the sessions.
WHEN SHOULD I USE THETA SESSIONS?
The theta sessions are most effective after a few weeks, when meditation and deep relaxation is achieved during alpha sessions. The theta sessions are effective for learning new emotional responses to situations and for developing and stimulating creativity.
WHEN SHOULD I USE DELTA SESSIONS?
Unlike other sessions, where it is desirable and most beneficial to stay awake, sleep is the desired result for delta sessions. Delta sessions help to turn off the “chatter” that sometimes occurs after a busy day. These sessions are also useful for people experiencing pain. People who experience being in a “mental fog” may try using delta sessions before going to bed and use a beta session during the day. Simply run a delta session when you retire to help you fall asleep, or to experience a more restorative sleep. The session will end automatically. Most users will unconsciously remove the eyeset and headphones sometime during the night.
WHAT ABOUT THE DUAL FREQUENCY SESSIONS?
The SMR/Beta sessions are at frequencies that are used widely in neurofeedback. These sessions help with learning by increasing left brain function to improve attention and relaxing the right brain to reduce hyperactivity and distractibility.
The Alpha/Theta mix sessions produce deep, refreshing relaxation. They are also effective in recalling memories.
The Delta/Theta session can be used for deep relaxation.
CAN THE DAVID PROMOTE LEARNING?
Learning may be accelerated when information is presented to the user while in theta, however it requires the user to avoid falling asleep. If this is achieved, the user will enter a brain wave pattern known as Passive-Awareness. This pattern occurs immediately following a session and will last for a few hours. During this time, the user will remain very relaxed or passive and yet still be alert. This is a good time to “hit the books”.
HOW DO I USE THE DAVID FOR VISUALIZATION?
For centuries, people have used visualization and imagery to enhance their quality of life. Imagery is not only related to sight, but also to smell, taste, sound and touch. The clearer one is able to create these senses in one’s imagination, the probability that the desired results will occur is increased dramatically.
Visualization is a powerful tool for replacing undesirable behaviours or responses. For example, you may have responses of anxiety, fear, anger, eating, smoking or a host of other behaviours when stressed. You would like to replace these behaviours with calmness, acceptance, abstinence or other desirable behaviours. Visualize these new responses using the following procedure:
- Select a theta session.
- Dim the intensity of the eyesets to allow greater conscious control during the session.
- Clearly visualize yourself in the situation where the undesirable response occurs. Visualize the situation up to the point of where the response usually begins. Do NOT visualize your usual response.
- Next visualize yourself with a NEW response. Visualize the remainder of the scene as if it is happening right here, right now. Include new feelings, sensations of touch, sight, dialogue and even smell. Be aware of your breathing and muscle tone. In situations involving loved ones, do your best to feel a sense of closeness, understanding and caring for those persons.
- Visualize this process several times during a session.
- You may slip away from awareness at times during a session. As soon as you regain awareness, begin visualizing again.
Although the DAVID helps to produce vivid imagery, you may have difficulty maintaining conscious control over your guided imagery. This can occur when the lights in the eyeset are too bright and/or the tones are too loud, and the entrainment becomes too prominent and all beta activity is suppressed. The beta component of brainwave activity is necessary to maintain conscious control of guided imagery. In order to achieve and maintain an optimal mix of enhanced imagery and conscious control of your visualization, it may be helpful to select a lower intensity setting and/or decrease the volume of the tones.
CAN I USE ALCOHOL, CAFFEINE OR OTHER DRUGS WHILE USING THE DAVID?
When using the DAVID, it is beneficial to discontinue caffeine as soon as possible. Caffeine produces a general flight-or-fight response, wears down the body, causes insomnia and makes one more reactive – causing distress. We recommend that you refrain from using any alcohol or mind-altering drugs when using the DAVID. If you are on any prescribed medication, we advise you to consult your physician before altering any dosages.
SHOULD I KEEP MY EYES OPEN OR CLOSED? SHOULD I STAY AWAKE OR FALL ASLEEP DURING A SESSION?
Most people prefer to use the DAVID with their eyes closed, however either is fine. This allows the user to remain more relaxed and rested. Also, with your eyes closed the eyelids serve as a viewing screen. If you are using a session for visualizing or for learning, it is advisable to stay awake so that you can consciously choose your imagery. When using the DAVID for general relaxation, however, most people enjoy falling asleep.
IF I WANT TO STAY CONSCIOUS, HOW CAN I STAY AWAKE?
Often, when using sessions that use an alpha and/or theta frequency (5 to 7 Hz), the user will fall asleep easily. If you want to prevent this, combine a CD (or an audio-cassette tape) of relaxing music with your session, or when lying on a bed, hold your hand up while allowing your elbow to rest on the bed. As you drift into sleep, your forearm will fall. This action will allow you to realize that you are falling asleep. Something in the room which generates occasional sounds may also help to keep you in the awareness zone.
WHAT CDS CAN I USE WHILE USING A DAVID?
You can use any relaxation, “self-improvement” or creativity CDs to enhance your sessions. You can also play any music you enjoy (keeping in mind that you will probably want quiet, slow music for relaxation sessions). Watch this video that explains how to sync music with your session.
WHAT ARE BINAURAL BEATS?
Binaural beats occur when two continuous tones of different pitches are played separately through each side of the headphones. For more information on binaural beats, refer to Dave Siever’s article.
WHAT IS DISSOCIATION?
Dissociation is a process in which feelings, memories, thoughts and physical sensations drift from consciousness. Dissociation can occur when we meditate, exercise, read a good book, drive on a highway, watch a movie or enjoy a sporting event.
WHAT IS ENTRAINMENT?
Entrainment is a process where the brain synchronizes to and resonates with an external stimuli.
WHAT IS HRV (HEART RATE VARIABILITY)?
HRV is a relaxation technique primarily used with tense people who often experience shallow, rapid breathing when feeling overwhelmed, nervous and/or anxious. By listening to the heartbeat played through the headphones, people can control breathing deep into the tummy (not the chest) for two heartbeats and breathe out for two beats. The breath cycle has been preset to take roughly eight seconds at the beginning of the sessions and lengthen to ten seconds as the session progresses.
WHAT IS SCHUMANN RESONANCE?
Schumann Resonance (a rate of 7.83 Hz) is the number of times per second that electromagnetic radiation travels around the earth. This calculation is based on the speed of light travelling through free air or a vacuum at roughly 186,273 miles (299,775,730 metres) per second. Scientists have measured an electromagnetic radiation which propagates around the earth’s circumference of 23,789 miles (38,285,533 metres) as 7.83 revolutions per second. It has been observed that many people practising paranormal activities produce a brainwave pattern at the same frequency (rate) as Schumann Resonance.
WHAT IS SENSORY MOTOR RHYTHM (SMR)?
SMR is the brainwave rhythm that occurs in the sensory motor cortex of the brain. Its frequency typically ranges from 12 to 15 Hz. It is truly only SMR when this frequency is detected over the sensory motor strip however, many clinicians use the term SMR to describe the frequency range no matter where it occurs in the brain.
WHAT IS SOFT OFF TM?
Soft OffTM occurs when the intensity of the lights in the eyesets and the volume of the tones are simultaneously and slowly lowered which provides a gentle way to end a session. When the light and sound stimulation abruptly stops, the user may experience mild nausea and/or dizziness, known as somnatic shock.
WHO WERE THE FIRST PEOPLE TO DISCOVER THAT BRAIN WAVES COULD BE DRIVEN BY PHOTIC STIMULATION? WHEN DID THEY DISCOVER THIS?
Adrian & Matthews in 1934.
WHEN WAS AVE FIRST USED CLINICALLY?
Since 1958. That machine was the Brain Wave Synchronizer, created by Sidney Schneider, and was used primarily for hypnotic induction and reducing pain in patients during dental procedures and for patients undergoing surgery.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE USES FOR THE DAVID?
There are many uses for the DAVID. For example, it is very effective for Attention Deficit Disorder. AVE has also been successfully used to relieve symptoms of anxiety, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and trauma. It has been found to be very useful for helping with low brainwave disorders such as Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS). The DAVID is also valuable for assisting with the onset of sleep and improving the quality of sleep. Senior citizens have shown an improvement in cognition and balance when using a DAVID.
ARE THERE ANY NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS?
With properly designed equipment, the side effects are rare. However mis-use could increase anxiety or make a person “fuzzy-headed.” Fortunately, negative side effects from occasional improper use are never permanent and go away within a day. It is important to use the correct session with a properly designed device.
WILL THE DAVID HELP REDUCE JAW TENSION AND TMJ TENSION AND PAIN?
Yes. Most persons with myo-fascial, shoulder and/or TMJ pain, will begin to feel relief within 10 minutes into a session.
DOES THE DAVID AFFECT CEREBRAL BLOOD FLOW?
Yes. PET scans and FMRI scans reveal that most brain dysfunction involves an element of poor cerebral blood flow and metabolism in various regions of the brain. According to Fox & Raichle, photic stimulation can increase cerebral blood flow up to 28%.
WILL THE DAVID HELP A TENSE PERSON TO RELAX?
Yes. Studies indicate that AVE in the alpha brain wave range (7 – 10 Hz) will usually produce profound relaxation within six minutes.
IS AVE LIKE MEDITATION?
It can be, depending on the session used. Studies have shown that most of the time, generally within 10 minutes, AVE can create the same brainwave patterns as Zen meditators with many years of experience.
CAN THE DAVID IMPROVE MOOD?
Yes. The DAVID systems work on two fronts. A study by Paul Sheely shows that 30 minutes of white light AVE increases serotonin by 23% and norepinephrine by 18%. Also, depression always shows itself on an EEG as an alpha asymmetry between the left and right frontal regions, with more alpha on the left side. Alpha is an “idling” rhythm, so the “happy” left side bows out, which then leaves the depressed/anxious right side in control. This asymmetry can be reduced using our alpha/beta sessions which normalize brain function. The alpha/beta sessions also typically reduce anxiety.
WHAT IS THE WARRANTY ON MIND ALIVE PRODUCTS?
All of our products are covered by a one-year warranty for parts and labour on all defects.