Music and the Brain

21 Jan

We recently had the opportunity to study the effect of music on the brain, in an unusual performance and imaging project.  Our friend Samuel Salisbury, who is a master of the Indian sarangi, created a 20-minute immersive soundscape, while we monitored the EEG of a listener.  The sarangi is a stringed instrument that is bowed, and has a complement of “drone” strings, so that the instrument produces a uniquely aesthetic and beautiful sound.  We used a new imaging technique in the BrainMaster BrainAvatar software, to create an individualized 3-D brain activation map that showed the brain activity changes that occurred as the listener became immersed in the music.   We used a new wireless, dry-sensor EEG technology, the BrainMaster Freedom 24, to record EEG without gel, paste, or wires.  This provided a very relaxing and compatible setup, for the performance.

We have posted a video of this perfomance at


We will be doing more of these performances, and including dance and other art forms, as our continuing interest in art, music, aesthetics, and the brain.


San Diego Chargers neurofeedback

17 Nov

The San Diego Chargers are being hit, literally, as are all football teams, with head blows and impact, some resulting in injury.  Neurofeedback is one intervention that is being used to help athletes to recover from head injuries, including concussion.  Neurofeedback is a scientifically-based, nonpharmaceutical intervention that lets the brain learn its own path to recovery, used in conjunction with other interventions.  Read about Corey Liugeta and others who are benefitting from BrainMaster neurofeedback at:

Chargers Concussion neurofeedback

BrainAvatar Muse Mood EEG for mental health counseling and psychotherapy

19 Dec

We are proud to announce a special partnership between BrainMaster Technologies Inc. and InteraXon, creators of Muse: the brain-sensing headband. As many of you know, we announced the new “BrainAvatar Muse“ software platform at ISNR on October 16, 2014. Pairing the rich experience of BrainAvatar’s advanced proprietary technology with Muse’s clinical-grade, 7-sensor, 4-channel EEG platform, packaged in a simple, approachable design, creates a powerful, cost-effective neuromonitoring and neurofeedback solution.  The initial title in this series, “BrainAvatar Muse Mood,” provides an evidence-based, real-time indicator of frontal activation patterns related to emotional decision-making processes.  The science behind this application has been published in Journal of Neurotherapy, Neuroconnections, Counseling Today, and Advances in Mind/Body Medicine.  This is a revealing and useful new tool for practitioners including counselors, therapists, coaches, and business professionals.  BrainAvatar Muse Mood for PC and Mac is currently available in beta release, and further titles (both nonclinical and clinical) will become available as they are developed and deployed.  BrainMaster is the exclusive developer and provider of clinical applications for Muse, and will be releasing a series of apps in 2015 for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod) and Android (Google, Samsung, etc).

For information and examples of data and publications related to the BrainAvatar Muse, and our first title, “BrainMaster Muse Mood,” use the following link:

The BrainAvatar Muse series is available for PC and Mac.  The Muse EEG headband can be purchased from a variety of retail and online outlets, and is rapidly becoming a standard.  As a direct outcome of our partnership, Brainmaster and InteraXon would like to extend to the BrainMaster community an invitation to join the Muse Professionals Program. This program features support from the teams at InteraXon and BrainMaster, and preferred pricing on Muse headbands and add-on software.  At the core of this program is the Muse Professional Starter Pack. This starter pack includes 1 Muse headband for demonstration and 5 Muse headbands for resale at the MSRP of $299 each, or for use in your practice. The Starter Pack price is $1199, and further Professional Packs of 6 Muse headbands can be purchased at preferred pricing of $1380 ($230 per headband).

To take advantage of this opportunity to buy Muses from Interaxon at the professional pricing, click here:

The BrainAvatar Muse Mood software which you add to your Muses, is available from BrainMaster for $495 per Muse, and 6-pack pricing is also available.  You will purchase the software from BrainMaster, and you can also purchase Muses with software from BrainMaster if you prefer.  If you already have Muses, or get your Muses from Interaxon, it does not cost you any penalty to get the software from us.  A Muse with BrainAvatar Muse Mood software, from BrainMaster, has a price of $795, a new price point for a clinical-quality 4-channel EEG with the unique functions of BrainMaster Muse Mood.

You can download the software and evaluate it in a simple demo mode for no cost, and you can then purchase the full package from BrainMaster whenever you want.

To download the BrainAvatar Muse Mood software for your Muses, click here:

While we are adding the Muse device and software to our store, we can process orders at


Tom, Terri, Bill and the team

Corey Liuget NFL Defensive Player of the Week

24 Sep

Our neurofeedback client Corey Liuget is on a fantastic season (and career) start, with playing that attracts notice of everyone in the field (literally!). We are happy to be allowed to work with him, and to add neurofeedback to his set of tools. He is definitely setting a good example, as a strong player, and also one who knows how to keep his cool under pressure. We look forward to an exciting season, and wish him the best!

Pro Football and Neurofeedback with the Chargers

25 Aug

We are happy to be working with Corey Liuget, first-string draft defensive lineman with the San Diego Chargers. He has started adding neurofeedback to his training regimen, and talks about focus, “not thinking,”, and being in the zone. He is off to an excellent season start, having done a great job in 1 quarter against Los Angeles.

 link to article

QEEG Workshop

17 Aug

We are wrapping up a workshop in Cleveland on QEEG, sLORETA, and neurofeedback.  So little time to say hello to old and new friends, and in no time we are back to work.

Infra-Slow Fluctuation Neurofeedback – a novel experience

28 Feb

I just completed 3 days learning and experiencing ISF (infra-slow fluctuation) neurofeedback, in a workshop presented by Mark Smith.  Both the learning experience and the neurofeedback process were eye-opening, to say the least.  The theory has to do with cortical activation, shifts in parasympathetic response, and achievement of a new mental state.  What I found is that, by listening to a simple tone that told me when my “infra-slow” brainwaves shifted one way or another, I could be led into these states effortlessly.

ISF is not only operant conditioning, it is pre-operant conditioning.  In “traditional” neurofeedback, information is presented to the brain with the expectation that the brain will discern the difference between states (generally “reward” and “no reward”), and thus learn to self-regulate.  However, this approach assumes that the brain is ready to learn, and is interested in learning.  I am not referring to the individual thinking he or she is interested in learning.  I am referring to the fundamental ability of the brain to respond to stimuli in a manner that facilitates self-control.  In many cases, the brain is not ready, or even interested, at a fundamental level, in learning.  We call such situations being “stuck.”

Stuck patterns can involve power, power distributions, connectivity, or other aspects of EEG properties.  There is a common underlying mechanism to the control of variability and modulation, and this mechanism involves not only neurons, but also glia, other supportive tissues, and the entire body.

The initial experience, with settings of 0.0001 to 0.0030 Hz, was relaxing, yet alert.  The tone replaced a mantra, so that a meditative state could be achieved with external focus on the sound.  The cadence of the feedback sound became familiar, and its effects were positive.  When the frequency band was changed to 0.0001 to 0.0035, a very different experience ensued.  Within 30 seconds, I was aware that this was not the same cadence, or familiar pattern that I had just experienced and appreciated.  After less than 2 minutes, my left thigh began to twitch once, then twice, then again.  I decided this was enough of .0035 for me.  I had my partner switch back to the 0.0030 setting and restart.  Again, within 30 seconds, a profound change was apparent, and I once again experienced the familiar and reassuring cadence that I had come to recognize.

Neurofeedback at infra-slow frequencies does not mean that a cycle occurs with a very long period, as has been suggested.  This criticism is based on ignorance of the fundamental signal dynamics and principles, combined with never having seen the practice in action.  In reality, these filter settings serve to block out all of the cyclic activity above a certain range, but still pass the minute fluctuations that arise due to the slowest regulatory processes.  During feedback training, a sound is heard that is either lower (signal going down) or higher (signal going up), as the ISF slgnal fluctuates ever so slightly.  Changes as small as 0.01 microvolt can be seen, and the fluctuations are continuous.  A signal may change 1, 2, or even more times per second, or it may hold on for just a few seconds.  If it does not change at all, then the brain is “stuck” and little flexibility is possible.

In order to optimally control, or self-regulate, this signal, my experience was that when the fluctuations got as small as possible, in my case as low as 0.05 microvolts in shift, or smaller, then the modulation was maximally responsive.  By keeping brain activity poised on a knife-edge between states of activation, it experiences what it is to be in control, and to achieve balance.  What seems to come with this is a sense of harmony, peace, and as one participant put it, “feeling like I’m the person I’m supposed to be.”

Individual responses are finely tuned to the ISF frequency bands used.  Increase the frequency and there will be more activation, agitation, or as I experienced, even a bodily sense of unrest and some motor activation.  Lower the frequency, and reduced, even depressed, states can be fostered.  This is what gives ISF its power in a practical setting, and makes it important that practitioners do not simply follow a “plug and go” approach, but remain close to their clients.

ISF appears to be an ideal entry point for mental health professionals who are truly interested in their clients, and are used to working with client reactions, individual differences, and idiosyncrasies.

Mark has an excellent article online at:


Neurofeedback produces lasting results in controlled study

19 Feb

This new report shows lasting benefits from Neurofeedback in a study of over 100 children.




Dyslexia and the Brain

26 Jan


We recently had the opportunity to record EEG from an 86 year-old with speech issues. We were able to clearly image Broca’s Area as the area with a deficit of brainwave activity.  This shows the value of EEG for detecting and diagnosing brain dysfunction.  It also suggests that sLORETA neurofeedack using BrainAvatar could have value for rehabilitation and brain optimization.


Pigeon-Guided Missiles and the Brain

10 Jan

Pigeon-Guided Missiles and the Brain

Here is an interesting flash from the past. And what can this teach us about the brain? Maybe that a brain can seek a goal but may have no idea what the goal really is? Is the brain really a “pigeon guided missile???”