Optimal Functioning & Positive Psychology 2001
WS Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) and Cancer Wellness
Morry Edwards, Ph.D.
This workshop will present a basic understanding of the immune system and a review of the latest research in the exciting frontier of interaction among mind and nervous system, endocrine system and immune system known as psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). Factors that modulate feedback in these three systems will be discussed. The different cells and components of the immune system will be described and the different processes of immune function explained. Immune system "uppers" and "downers" will also be revealed. An overview of recent research in PNI and especially cancer will be given. Research considerations will be explored. The contributions of psychosocial factors to cancer onset and progression will be critically analyzed. The role of hope and sense of meaning or coherence are central to optimum functioning despite this catastrophic disease and will be explored. This course will also examine some of the application of PNI studies with self-regulation strategies to clinical work in oncology.
Morry Edwards, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist who has specialized in treating people with cancer and other chronic illnesses for over twenty-two years. He is a long time certified biofeedback practitioner and AAPB member who has concentrated on psychoneuroimmunology. He is currently a Staff Psychologist at Borgess Medical Center and Director of Psychological Services at the West Michigan Cancer Center in Kalamazoo, MI. He also consults with Cancer Treatment Centers of America® in Goshen, IN. He recently completed a book entitled Stress Management for Cancer Patients: A Self-Care Treatment Manual,(www.acornpublishing.com) and may be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Controlled by Neurofeedback: Abreaction for Therapy and High Performance - Guided by Intense Alpha Training (breath-walk) and Alpha/Theta Tools
Uwe Gerlach, Germany
address: Limburger Str. 53a, D-65232 Taunusstein,
Tel.: 06128-748891, Fax 06128-748892, e-mail: email@example.com
Often it is inevitable to provoke abreactions in therapy and high performance training. Some of the well-known power therapies certainly can do that. But often we prefer to enter regions of abreaction with care in order to avoid retraumatization.
Fortunately with neurofeedback we have a guidance tool which acts as a mirror for the single steps of therapy or high performance training. From Valdeane Brown's research we know that abreactions which should be avoided are in the brainwave range of 3 to 6 Hz.
Our goal with patients is to train the alpha/theta 8 Hz crossover region and hold the client during the session in the hypnagogic state for at least say twenty minutes. It is a matter of fact that many clients fall into sleep instead of staying in the hypnagogic state.
The problem is that the time to stay in and explore alpha regions is too short. In Eastern meditation pupils must train alpha for long time. We as western hurried people don't have the time for such exercises. Anna Wise has documented in her high performance mind mirror studies that opening alpha - the passage between the conscious and the subconscious - is a prerequisite for an successful alpha/theta training.
Last year at Palm Springs we presented a walking and breathing exercise called "breath-walk". We repeat the most important features of it during our speach and in a workshop.
Ongoing neurofeedback studies this year reveal that breath-walk is an intense alpha training: the amplitude of the (undifferentiated) 9 to 12 Hz alpha sometimes augments up to three times the normal amplitude in a relaxed sitting position.
Certainly, this new alpha training is a powerful pretraining tool for alpha/theta and earns further research within the neurofeedback frame.
Title and abstract for a 2 hours workshop Miami 2001:
"breath-walk" and neurofeedback - how to practice and control this new tool for alpha and alpha/theta training
We'll show you how to do "breath-walk" during the workshop. For this we first tell you the important details in the workshop room. We install a 1-channel EEG measurement, probably we use a Lexicor NRS-2D. One of the participants is chosen to be measured on the 1-channel EEG before and immediately after breath-walk exercise. After her/his brainwaves are measured and documented, we leave and do an exercise in the region surrounding the hotel for half an hour. Participants should be in a good and healthy condition.
We need a rough brainwave-diagnosis: the relative amplitudes of the spectral bands Theta, Alpha, SMR, Low and Hi-Beta. The data of both measurements - each recorded for five minutes - are saved and the bargraph results can be shown on the PC screen and compared with each other.
"breath-walk" is done the following way:
1) Let me show you how to walk, follow my way to do it, "pace" me, you know what I mean from NLP knowledge. After you have my pace, watch and listen to my breath, do it the same way.
2) the air should be in- and exhaled with permanent consciousness "totally" til the lungs are naturally felt fully or emptily, the breathing rhythm dominated by the walking rhythm. The latter should go into the rhythm of a march.
3) The center of consciousness gradually falls down to the "hara". The two types of breathing (chest and diaphragm) should be used simultaneously.
4) There is no conversation between therapist and client(s) except the necessary communications.
5) In general the training must take place in a lonely nature (park, field or wood) region. Be aware of the fact that in pure nature we are surrounded by the dominant frequency 7.8 Hertz which facilitates the desired crossing of thresholds of normal consciousness.
6) People who don't take part, are not "present", no contact recommended.
7) No extra climbing, because the superfluous oxygen is needed for "crossing the threshold of normal consciousness".
8) Half an hour later we return to our workshop room. We get and collect impressions about what experiences we went through. We discuss it.
9) Immediately after return we measure our person from above on the 1-channel EEG. If we are lucky, this person has had intense experiences, so we should see marked differences of the relative spectral amplitudes to those before the exercise.
Be aware of the fact that this is only the beginning of a training. Nevertheless some of you already succeeded in jumping into another reality, I suppose a vivid, relaxed and sensual intense reality which is worthwile to be explored more often. Maybe some of you go through some strange, may even be anxious moments. Don't worry that's natural, you know as a therapist that anxiousness is always accompanying experiences on a new territory.
As a therapist you should know some psychological facts how this method works and initiates the healing process - we'll talk about it in detail during the workshop:
- similar to our dreamworld during sleep the reality we enter after passing the threshold is totally different from our normal world. This fact is not evident for beginners, but the altered consciousness has ist own laws which shouldn't be confused with normal laws. We feel more vivid, it is a drug-like world, but we experience ourselves very vital, totally positive and gay. The usual defence mechanisms are weakened
- if somebody is phobic she/he may come near traumatic events; now the intensity of the exercise should be reduced; ask the person whether she/he is able to continue or better sit down and make a pause; continue as soon as possible
- unlike the strategy in Stan Grofs holotropic breathwork it is not the definite goal to go deeply into the abreactions; it may happen or not; let the client decide
- more important is to repeat the training several times a week during a period of several months; maybe you know that it is difficult to remember the insights gained in an altered state of consciousness and to transport its logic into the normal mind; an often repeated training helps to fix the insights for use in usual reality
- you as a skilled therapist should know how to interpret dreamlife; if there are few abreactions, an amount of the psychic energy of the healing process goes into dreamlife; here the classical psychoanalytic therapy helps a lot; as the defence mechanisms are weakened, the problems of resistance are of minor importance; be aware of the phenomena of psychological transfer!!
Brief bio - Dr. Uwe Gerlach, Germany:
Today I'm 56 years old, my profession formerly was physicist. My normal career was in the field of materials science. I did a lot of scientific research and worked many years as a materials engineer. My second career began in the early 80's with a severe sickness consisting of a deep depression and phobias. I cured them with the aid of bodily centered psychotherapy (holotropic breathwork) and two years of daily deep relaxation training. The relaxation methods were breathwork, floatation tank and sauna. In addition to psychotherapy I experienced transpersonal phenomena and spiritual transformation similar to descriptions of Stanislav Grof.
Since 1990 I am a pioneering part of the Megabrain movement in Germany. I wrote three books around these topics and became an expert of brain technology. From 1991 til today, I offer mental training workshops assisted by light and sound technology. Many workshops take place in great holiday clubs. In the past four years I became interested in neurofeedback and studied its main structure and its actual state-of-the-art. Four years ago I founded my own company "info-brain" in collaboration with medical doctors and trainers experienced in light and sound technology. In 98 I wrote a third book about the whole field of neurofeedback dedicated to lay people.
Cardiac Psychology: A Model and Clinical Interventions for Profound Transformation
Center for Psychotherapy and Complementary Health,
22 Elm Street, City, State, Zip Morristown, NJ 07960 Phone: 973-267-7767 Fax: 215-860-5374
This specialized course is designed for those interested in cardiovascular behavioral medicine clinical work and research. There are four distinct areas of focus, namely (a) Cardiovascular disease related to dysfunctions of the heart and vasculature, (b) Psychological issues involved in dealing/living with cardiac problems and principles of behavior change, the biopsychosocial model, and techniques used in intervention/ prevention, (c) Lifestyle risk factors in heart disease: modifiable and non-modifiable, and (d) Applying the Behavior Medicine Model to Cardiac Risk Reduction, Prevention and Intervention for clients in private settings, hospital and clinic-based programs.
The intent of the course work is to provide the following:
Summary of major research investigations conducted in cardiovascular behavior medicine.
Provide a basic overview of cardiovascular physiology, and medical treatments commonly prescribed for high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, and stroke.
"An ounce or more of Prevention": The interaction among individual health habits, behavioral factors and medical conditions in cardiology, and the biopsychosocial model of health.
Learn about the use of subjective measures used in behavior medicine
clinical and research work.
5. Impart information critical to individual dynamic and cognitive behavioral change for facilitating healthy minds and bodies. Develop a knowledge base, and expand clinical skills to incorporate behavioral medicine interventions into their own clinical practice. Learn about the basic techniques used in behavioral medicine in hypertension and cardiac programs.
**Handouts focusing on cardiac research and intervention techniques
will be provided in the workshop
The New Meridian-Based Energy Therapies in Emotional Healing: What is it and
how does it work?
This specialized workshop is designed for those interested in learning about Energy Therapies. Applications in clinical work, a summary of the
current research in progress and exposure to four types of energy interventions will be taught.
The intent of the course work is to provide the following:
1. Examine the paradigm shifts occuring in psychotherapy and new inroads being made for promoting effective emotional self-management and healing.
2. Provide a summary of research conducted and research in process on energy therapies.
3. What is the meridian system?
4. Learn how to use breathing and relaxation exercies, affirmations, and tapping specific points on the body, and interweave these techniques with psychodynamic and cognitive behavioral therapies.
5 Learn the basic how-to's of these techniques: Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), Be Set Free Fast (BSF), Energy Chords, and the Tapas Accelerated Information Processing Technique.
**Handouts focusing on the energy intervention techniques and supplementary materials will be provided in the workshop
A Zen Master’s Alpha Training; Insights into ALpha, Zen and Forgiveness
391 San Antonio Rd.
Mountain View, CA 94040
PO Box 247
Montpelier, VT 05601
Email regarding scheduling: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email direct to Thom: email@example.com
Short Bio for Thom Hartmann
Thom Hartmann is an award-winning best-selling author, international lecturer, teacher, and psychotherapist. His books have been written about in Time magazine, and he has appeared on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, and on numerous radio and TV shows including "All Things Considered," CNN, and BBC. A former journalist, international relief worker, and the executive director of a residential treatment facility for abused children, he now lives in Vermont where he is a guest faculty member at Goddard College and fulltime writer.
Long Bio for Thom Hartmann
Thom Hartmann is an internationally known speaker on psychotherapy and communications, an author, and an innovator in the fields of psychiatry, ecology, and the intersection of spiritual and cultural transformation. The
founder of The New England Salem Children’s Village (1978) and The Hunter School (1997), he has led national innovations in the areas of residential treatment for abused children and private/public education for learning-disabled children.
Hartmann is the award-winning, best-selling author of eleven books currentlyin print. He is the former executive director of a residential treatment program for emotionally disturbed and abused children, and has helped set up and support hospitals, famine relief programs, schools, and communities for orphaned or blind children in India, Uganda, Australia, Colombia, and the United States. Rostered with the State of Vermont as a psychotherapist, he was the originator of the revolutionary "Hunter/Farmer Hypothesis" to understand the psychiatric condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). He also synthesized the "Younger/Older Culture model" for describing the underpinnings - and possible solutions - to the world’s ecological and socio-political crises, suggesting that our problems are grounded in our cultural "stories" which go back thousands of years. His most recent books (2000) are "Thom Hartmann’s Complete Guide to ADHD," and "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," with a foreword by Joseph Chilton
Pearce and afterword by Neale Donald Walsch.
Hartmann’s books have been written about in Time and many other magazines, he has been on NPR and BBC radio and CNN television (among others), mentioned on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, and has spoken to hundreds of thousands of people on five continents over the past two decades. One of his books was selected for inclusion in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian for its "visionary use of information
technology to produce positive social, economic, and educational change in medicine." As a result of his book "The Prophet's Way," he received an unsolicited invitation in August 1998 for a personal audience with Pope John Paul II at the Pope's summer palace on Lake Gandolfo. His book "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight" brought about an unsolicited invitation for him
to participate in the weeklong AGNT meeting in September 1999 with His Holiness The Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India.
Hartmann holds several degrees in various aspects of complimentary medicine (1971-78), studied acupuncture in Beijing (1986), and is a licensed and certified NLP Practitioner (1994) and NLP Trainer (1996) with the Society of NLP. For this latter, he was trained by Leif Roland and Richard Bandler, who wrote the foreword to Hartmann’s NLP book "Healing ADD."
A recurrent theme in Hartmann’s work is that all true and lasting cultural change begins with personal change propagating through enough people to reach a critical mass. Thus, he urges us all to be conscious and open to the world, showing that doing all you can to save the planet and improve the human condition requires both personal spiritual connection and global intent. He points out that history demonstrates that even the tiniest and most anonymous actions can have world-changing ramifications, and that "when stories change, history changes." (Good examples from the 20th century are the stories that women in America should not be allowed to vote, or that blacks should have separate facilities and schools. Once these centuries-old toxic stories began to break down, cultural change came almost immediately.) Other "stories" that must change include the ideas that our creator is angry with us, that humans are inherently evil (and it’s a woman’ s fault), and that sin and punishment are appropriate models in a culture (as opposed to imbalance and balance).
Waking Up To Personal and Global Transformation
In this passionate yet thoroughly researched presentation, author Thom Hartmann proposes that the only lasting solution to the crisis we face is to relearn the lessons of out ancient ancestors--who lived sustainably for thousands of generations. When you touch this new yet "older" way of seeing the world and hearing the voice of all life, you will discover that you, personally, hold the power of personal and planetary transformation.
Personal & Global Transformation Topic:
2-3 hour Workshop:
Seven Stories that could Change the World
Thom touches on how seven cultural stories have caused global problems, and why changing them can save the world from impending ecological and cultural crises. Touching that place where the survival of humanity may be found is the focus of this workshop.
*Why woman’s rights is the most important of the "human rights" movements now.
*Discover why changing how we think could empty our prisons.
*Learn how viewing time differently can change your life and the world around you.
* Discover Self-Actualization is possible both individually and culturally.
Stephen Larsen, author of The Shaman’s Door and Thom Hartmann, author of ADD: A Different Perception (The Hunter in a Farmer’s World book) are coming together for a
Dialogue presentation about Hunters and Shamans.
Stephen will discuss the age-old shamanic map that can guide the contemporary quest for becoming a Shaman. Shamans are visionary Hunters: ones who take the wild mind into other dimensions—but always come back on the wings of spirit, with gift for the community. Thom brings the neurology associated with the agricultural revolution to the discussion and what that meant to Hunters, who he suggests may be the ADD’ers of our culture. Thom believes that ADHD behaviors come out of a deep "hunger for aliveness." Come and find out what you may share in common with, and learn from, Hunters and Shamans.
A 30 minute presentation
"Transcendental Consciousness: Enlivening the Total Brain"
Russell Hebert, M.A., Psychophysiology, Director, Maharishi Vedic School of Houston
In the classic Vedic literature the state of transcending is described as a state of Samhita or "collectedness" of Knower, Known and Process of Knowing. This means that all duality has merged into unified state of awareness devoid of any kind of activity. (No activity in the senses, mind, intellect or ego or prana- breath). Just pure unbounded awareness of nothing but the Self.
To simplify things Maharishi Mahesh Yogi , the founder of the TM technique, describes the mind in terms of an analogy of active mind (waves on the ocean) and settled mind (flat, unbounded ocean). The domain of TM he says is between active and settled mind. In EEG terms the active mind is represented by beta and the settled (conscious) mind is represented by high amplitude alpha and hyper-synchronous theta. This is what has been verified in the EEG literature. From the psychophysiology laboratory at our University in Switzerland we published TM papers which showed that in 1/3 of the subjects there were periods of suspension of respiration which coincided with the experience of this least excited state of consciousness. These periods allowed researchers to discover discrete periods of high EEG coherence especially in the alpha and theta bands. High EEG coherence in the alpha and theta bands in the frontal-central locus became the "fingerprint" of this extremely quiet state of awareness.
Recently Maharishi Mahesh Yogi from his headquarters in Holland has proclaimed that in the state of transcendental consciousness and only in that state the brain is fully enlivened, a state of Total Brain Function wherein all the neurons in the brain are awake but non-active. He emphasized the importance of this experience in terms of the alternative- damaging our brains through disuse. To be able to use our full mental potential has been the theme of the TM introductory lecture for over 40 years, but it is becoming more clear what this means. But wait! Hershel Toomim is fond of saying "You can't use your total brain at once, the thing would self-destruct from the metabolic heat produced". In order to create this Total Brain state the neurons which subserve the mind, intellect, emotions and senses must be awake but non active, in a collected state. This is what transcending accomplishes.
Cerebral blood flow (CBF) experiments show that there are regional blood flow increases in TM. These increases do not come from increased metabolic activity. TM is described as a wakeful hypo-metabolic physiologic state and the slowing of alpha into theta represents a manifestation of lower levels of brain metabolism. With TM we have found reliable CBFincreases in Hershel's HEG measurements with no increases in Dr. Carmen's pictographs of infrared emissions.This means that during TM CBF is increasing globally through a broader vasodialation mechanism. (strong enough to be picked up in carotid arteries in doppler tests), but not through a mechanism triggered by fast neuronal activity or increased metabolism. The mechanisms involved in increased metabolic activity have been described by ( Gebremedhin et al at the University of Wisconsin Medical College) who have identified arachidonic acid as the release factor which causes increases in brain microcirculation under increased activity conditions. These are the changes picked up by PET scans and SPECT which are showing increases in radioactively-tagged metabolic by-product accumulation.
If not inspired by increased metabolic demand what is the function of the CBF increases found in TM? It will be proposed that the increases are related to a restoring-detoxifying-enlivening mode that holistically prepares the brain for activity. Such a TM-related mechanism has been described with the increases in peripheral blood flow in the musculature which dramatically reduces plasma lactate as a preparation for increased demands on the body. Why not postulate a mechanism such as this to enliven the Total Brain? Logically we can conclude that in order to create this state of total brain function the mind must be completely non-active yet awake, a global alpha-like state. This agrees with Robert Thatcher's functional definition of alpha which he says represents the reserve capacity of the brain.
To substantiate the model of Total Brain Function we are currently employing coherence mapping, microstate analysis and LORETA imaging to depict the least excited state neurophysiologically, postulating a state of high EEG spacial stability representing the "ground state" of human consciousness (Nature's ultimate self-referral balancing mechanism). Published evidence will be presented to suggest that experientially referencing this "ground state" of the mind leads to neurophysiological growth towards higher states of consciousness as described in the ancient Vedic literature..
Relationship as Biofeedback: New Ways of defining Partnership
Stephen and Robin Larsen
Combining the basic principles of biofeedback and human relations skills, the Larsens present a new approach that opens human partnerships to more sensitive attunements and creative use of differences. Their insights are drawn also from depth psychology, myth, and the emerging field of "energy psychology."
Workshop: Open to couples and individuals; draws from the above with a focus on experiential exercises from their new book: The Fashioning of Angels: Partnership as Spiritual Practice. The exercises include how to sense "the third thing" the energy element in a relationship, and work with it constructively. Fairfighting, working with animus and
anima, and opening to the transpersonal or spiritual dimension of the relationship are explored.
"The Tao of Neurotherapy II New Developments in Flexyx' Interactive Light Therapy for Optimal Performance.
Based on his work with Dr. Len Ochs' "Flexyx" Neurotherapy, now amounting to thousands of hours of treatments for a variety of disorders--and for optimal performance candidates--including the author himself and colleagues, Stephen Larsen develops a coherent theory which shows how human responses can vary from rigidity and stereotypic behaviors, to flexibility, metacognition and mindfulness. Depression and anxiety both are examined as functional distortions, and a model of mental/emotional health through flexibility developed.
The Power of Myth: Joseph Campbell's approach to Archetypes as Patterns of Psychic Energy
"Not Freud, Not Jung, Nor Thomas Mann, has brought so widespread and complete and understanding of Mythology to the Twentieth Century as Joseph Campbell." (James Hillman)
What is less well known in Campbell's approach to human psychology based on the energy patterns or configurations embodied in myths. Myths, in their most elemental form, shape our experience of both ourselves and our world. More than a mere Jungian, Joseph Campbell drew on his vast experience of primitive and oriental mythology, as well as modern psychological literature, to shape this perspective.
Stephen Larsen, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus of psychology (SUNY) and directs the Stone Mountain Counseling Center, offering biofeedback/neurotherapy, and transpersonally-oriented psychotherapy. He is the author of The Shaman's Doorway (1975) The Mythic Imagination (1990), and with his wife Robin, A Fire in the Mind: The Life of Joseph Campbell (1991), and their recent book The Fashioning of Angels: Partnership as Spiritual Practice (2000) Robin Larsen, Ph.D. is an Artist and Art Historian and director of the not for profit Center for Symbolic Studies, working with youth at risk, outdoor programs, and presentation of the work of traditional teachers (shamans) and seasonal festivals. She is the editor of Emanuel Swedenborg: A Continuing Vision
WHEN LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH
Judith O.Lubar LCSW-BCD
We love our children and have hopes and dreams for them. If we had parents who gave us adequate love and approval and our children do not match our hopes and dreams we can regroup and set new goals that that match the child we were given. We can travel with them along the path of time on a road we had not conceived until they arrived. Sometimes however our family history, particular pressures of our family of origin messages, and personal needs that have never been met make it impossible to switch. The results can be extremely painful for the child and the parents. This is especially true for some families of ADD and ADHD children for their behavior makes them a lightening rod for parental and sibling anger.
We now know that when the environment is very stressful (as it often is when hopes, dreams and reality collide) changes can and do occur in the limbic and prefrontal areas of the brain resulting in loss of connections and decreased metabolism of these key structures in a very young child. These losses can have profound effects on the interpersonal relationships of these individuals throughout their life. We now also know that specific EEG signatures change with depression, grief and dysthymia. We also know that anxiety can prevent learning. We can actually measure these changes through quantitative EEG and by observing changes of EEG measures over time in the same locations. We can further see these changes on the MRI and SPECT scans.
In this presentation these concepts will be illustrated and amplified with actual family histories presented to illustrate how familymultigenerational pressures create the pain in the family and data of the actual measured negative EEG changes that can be verified . We will also address some specific techniques that can be used to positively change the child’s physiology and normalize the family climate.
- Rollin McCraty, Ph.D.
- Institute of HeartMath .
- P.O. Box 1463
- 14700 West Park Ave
- Boulder Creek, CA 95006
- fax 831-338-1182
- Psychophysiological Coherence:
- The Relationship Between Heart-Brain Dynamics, Positive Emotions, Improved Health and Optimal Performance
- Rollin McCraty, Ph.D.
- HeartMath Research Center
- Institute of HeartMath
- Boulder Creek, California
While much psychological theory and practice has focused on improving health and well-being by reducing negative emotions, relatively little research has explored the impact of positive emotions on physiological processes and psychological functioning. We have found that sustained positive affective states lead to a distinct mode of physiological function that is correlated with improved cognitive function and health-related outcomes.
This mode, which we call physiological coherence, is associated with a sine wave-like pattern in the heart rhythms, increased heart-brain synchronization and entrainment between diverse physiological systems. Although physiological coherence is a natural human state that can occur spontaneously during positive emotional experiences and sleep, sustained episodes are generally rare. While specific rhythmic breathing methods can induce coherence and entrainment for brief periods, our research indicates that individuals can produce extended periods of physiological coherence by actively generating a sustained positive emotion. Using positive emotion to drive the coherent mode allows it to emerge naturally and typically makes it easier to sustain positive emotions and physiological coherence for longer periods, even during challenging situations. When the physiological coherence mode is driven by a positive psychological state, we call it psychophysiological coherence.
The capacity to self-generate positive emotional states and quickly shift to a physiologically coherent mode at will can be developed and refined through the use of practical, positive emotion refocusing techniques developed by the Institute of HeartMath. These techniques enable people to arrest the physiological stress response and prevent the psychological wear and tear normally associated with various stressors.
Studies conducted across diverse populations have associated the use of techniques that increase psychophysiological coherence with a range of favorable outcomes, including reduced anxiety and depression, enhanced cognitive and academic performance, reduced physical stress symptoms, decreased cortisol and increased DHEA. Additionally, practice of these interventions has been associated with reduced depression and improved functional capacity in patients with congestive heart failure, the restoration of normal blood pressure levels in hypertensive individuals, and improved glycemic control and quality of life in patients with diabetes.
The presentation will describe the coherent mode and methods by which physiological coherence can be objectively monitored and quantified. In addition, summary results from several outcome studies will be presented.
In conclusion, psychophysiological coherence is a distinct internal mode that has far-reaching implications for human health and optimal functioning. Physiological correlates of this mode can be objectively measured using straightforward methods. Practical tools and techniques exist by which individuals of diverse ages and backgrounds can learn to self-orchestrate coherence with increased consistency, thereby reducing stress and enhancing health, emotional stability, performance and quality of life.
Ws2 The Freeze-Framer: A Stress Management and Performance Enhancement System that Increases Physiological Coherence
- Rollin McCraty, Ph.D.
- HeartMath Research Center
- Institute of HeartMath
- Boulder Creek, California
- This workshop will cover the background, purpose and uses of a new approach to stress management and performance enhancement training that has broad-based applications in schools, blood pressure control and other health-related areas, sports performance and workplace stress reduction. This computer-based training and heart rhythm education system includes instruction in the Freeze-Frame and Heart Lock-In techniques, which are particularly effective in increasing heart rhythm coherence, improving autonomic balance, and enhancing emotional stability and cognitive performance. The Freeze-Framer can also be used to monitor the effects of techniques such as meditation, controlled breathing and other interventions believed to affect autonomic nervous system activity.
- The Freeze-Framer is a convenient and accurate device that monitors and displays clientsí heart rate variability in real time as they practice the stress management techniques taught in the on-line menus and books included with the system. It plots changes in heart rate on a beat-to-beat basis and analyzes the heart rhythm patterns for coherence. Coherence reflects autonomic nervous system balance, heart-brain synchronization and entrainment of the bodyís major oscillatory systems. The output of the coherence algorithm is used to control three enjoyable games that are designed to reinforce emotional self-regulation skills.
- A small finger sensor detects each pulse and the time interval between consecutive heartbeats is computed. The changing beat-to-beat heart rate is then displayed on the computer screen. In general, a smoother or more sine-wave-like heart rhythm pattern indicates a more balanced autonomic nervous system, increased parasympathetic activity and a higher ratio of physiological entrainment. The ratio of entrainment is calculated and fed back to the user as an accumulated score or success in playing one of three games. The three on-screen games are: (1) The hot air balloon game, in which the degree of heart rhythm coherence controls how high the balloon flies. There are obstacles that must be cleared as the user travels through a moving landscape. When the heart rhythm coherence is too low, the balloon returns to the ground and stops the landscape from moving. (2) The rainbow game, in which the userís level of coherence controls the development of a rainbow that gradually grows until it reaches a pot of gold, which starts to fill and then overflow with gold coins. At the end of this game a score is calculated indicating how much has been accumulated. (3) The meadow game, in which sustained heart rhythm coherence gradually transforms a dry, black-and-white nature scene into a beautiful landscape filled with color, running water and gentle animals.
- Several examples will be presented showing how the Freeze-Framer has been used in diverse settings to decrease stress, anxiety, depression and fatigue, promote improved academic and work performance, lower blood pressure and facilitate health improvements in numerous clinical disorders.
- HeartMath Learning Enhancement Programs Improve Academic Performance and Behavior in School Children
- Rollin McCraty, Ph.D.
- HeartMath Research Center
- Institute of HeartMath
- Boulder Creek, California
In recent years, educators have increasingly integrated programs designed to build emotional competence skills into school curricula. Research has demonstrated that unmanaged emotional stress inhibits higher cognitive processes critical for learning. HeartMath techniques have been shown to increase physiological coherence, an internal mode associated with improved autonomic balance, increased heart-brain synchronization, increased emotional stability and improved cognitive performance. This presentation will describe three studies illustrating how HeartMath emotional self-regulation and learning enhancement tools have been used at the elementary, middle and high school levels to improve academic performance, test-taking skills, emotional health and behavior.
The first study was conducted at an inner city elementary school with a small group of fifth and sixth grade students with learning disabilities. HeartMath tools formed the primary content of a three-week summer session course intended to improve reading skills and thereby allow many of the students to be promoted to the next grade. At the end of the three weeks, improvements in the classroom environment, attitudes and behavior were apparent. Moreover, every student’s reading scores improved substantially (average growth of 1.5 years in grade level). The fact that the course included little traditional reading instruction suggests that increased emotional stability enables students to better access information they have already learned.
In the second study, conducted in the Miami area, the "Heart Smarts" program was incorporated in a middle school curriculum, first as a two-week in-class program and subsequently as a full-year elective course. Students who learned the techniques exhibited significant improvements in nearly all areas of psychosocial functioning assessed, including stress and anger management, risky behavior, work management and focus, and relationships with teachers, family and peers. Furthermore, students who used the self-regulation skills to recover from acute emotional stress were able to positively modulate their stress response in real time, demonstrating increased heart rhythm coherence, physiological entrainment and parasympathetic activity in relation to a control group. We propose that children who learn to make these beneficial physiological shifts at a young age will effectively establish more healthy patterns in their neural architecture, leading to favorable long-term psychological, behavioral, health and performance-related outcomes.
The third study examined the impact of the HeartMath learning enhancement program on reducing test-taking anxiety and improving test scores in high school seniors. Seniors who needed to re-take state-required standardized tests in order to graduate from high school participated in a three-week intensive program. The course included practice with the Freeze-Framer, a computer-based performance enhancement system designed to reinforce the use of the HeartMath tools and promote increased physiological coherence. After the program, HeartMath-trained students showed improvements in test-taking performance that greatly exceeded those achieved through standard academic preparation alone. The HeartMath group demonstrated a mean increase of 35% in math test scores and a 14% increase in reading test scores. These gains represented one to two years’ growth in academic skills. Of the trained students re-taking the math test, 64% passed, as compared to the district average of 42% for all seniors re-taking the test. For reading, the trained group’s passing was 55%, as compared to the district average of 31%. As compared to a control group, the trained students also demonstrated significant reductions in hostility, depression and other key indices of psychological distress, as measured by the Brief Symptom Inventory.
In conclusion, results suggest that interventions that increase emotional stability and physiological coherence can be efficiently implemented in educational settings to promote significant improvements in academic performance, psychological well-being and behavior.
Rollin McCraty, Ph.D.
Director of Research
Dr. Rollin McCraty is Director of Research at the Institute of HeartMath, a nonprofit research and educational organization located in Boulder Creek, California. The Instituteís research has laid the foundation for the development of interventions which have been demonstrated to reduce stress, enhance performance and promote physical, mental and emotional stability, and improve quality of life.
Dr. McCraty has an extensive background in research and development, systems engineering, radiational physics and instrumentation design. He was co-founder of a successful engineering and manufacturing company involved in electrostatic problem solving and developed a new technology that revolutionized the industry, designs that are still in use by most of the worldís high tech companies.
In 1989, McCratyís research interests led him to the Institute of HeartMath where he helped to establish the HeartMath Research Center. Here he is able to apply his system engineering background to the study of human electrophysiology, currently focusing on unraveling the mechanisms by which our mental and emotional systems interact with and affect cardiovascular function, autonomic nervous systems balance, and hormonal and immune system health. Additional research endeavors center on stress reduction and emotional physiology, as well as enhancing individual and organizational productivity and performance.
Dr. McCraty has presented at numerous scientific and medical conferences and has authored a number of scientific papers on heart rate variability, cognitive performance, and the effects of stress and positive emotions on human physiology. His papers have been published in such journals as American Journal of Cardiology, Stress Medicine, and Integrative Physiological and Behavioral Science. He has been interviewed for numerous publications such as Prevention, Natural Health, Men's Fitness, and American Health magazines, as well as having given dozens of television interviews including ABC Good Morning America, CNN, Life Time-New Attitudes, Discovery Channel-Beyond 2000 among many others.
Meditation, Slow Wave Sleep, and Ecstatic Seizures
SHORT DESCRIPTION (25 words):
A description and analysis of phosphene images suggests that the EEG
patterns of advanced meditators and healers may be generated by slow wave
LONG DESCRIPTION (580 words):
Electroencephalographic studies of advanced meditators and healers report three types of cortical EEG patterns: (1) high-amplitude occipital alpha which, unlike normal waking alpha, is not blocked by sensory stimulation;
(2) theta-delta predominant in the frontal and central leads with occipital alpha occupying less than half of the epoch, as in stage 1 NREMS; and, (3) a sudden shift from the theta-delta patterns to lower delta frequencies, followed by a second shift to high-voltage beta and gamma surges at the vertex or over the temporal lobes. Little is known about the kinds of neural mechanisms that generate these unusual EEG patterns. This
presentation proposes a new hypothesis about the neural mechanisms involved based on an analysis of phosphene images.
The presenter will describe two sets of phosphene images, one he often observes at sleep onset or early in meditation, another he observed on one occasion when his attempt to meditate in the early morning hours while in a sleep-deprived condition had dramatic and memorable consequences. The
phosphene images described here parallel descriptions of light visions described in the ancient Vedic scriptures and in yoga meditation texts in the Hindu and Tibetan Buddhist religious traditions. In modern contexts, these lights are often referred to as 'cakras' that manifest the progress of 'kundalini energy' moving through a subtle body.
Based on an analysis of the spatiotemporal characteristics of the phosphene images, the presenter suggests that the phosphenes represent the activation of sleep rhythm oscillators in the thalamus: (1) the threshold images are
annuli that appear at intervals similar to the synchronous spindle bursts fired by the thalamic reticular nucleus (RTN) and have shapes that reflect rebound bursts fired by thalamocortical (TC) cells in the visual relay of the thalamus, the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), after the release of
spindle wave inhibition; and (2) images of expanding waves of amorphous, mist-like phosphene match what is known about the propagation patterns of the cortical slow (< 1 Hz) waves that interact with TC cells to generate delta activity in corticothalamic circuits.
The presentation describes how phosphene images associated with states of calm concentration evolve into a different set of images associated with paroxysmal experience. These paroxysmal phosphenes match descriptions in yoga meditation texts of the light images that signify the final stages of kundalini rising and then its culmination in blissful consciousness of union with the cosmic light.
Based on analysis of the spatiotemporal characteristics of this second set of phosphenes, the presenter suggests that the paroxysmal symptoms are generated by the following mechanisms: (1) destabilization of the RTN spindle oscillators, manifested by a shift in timing from spike bursts fired at 0.2 Hz intervals to > 2.0 Hz intervals; (2) emergence of
hypersynchronous (spike-and-wave) activity in corticothalamic circuits which does not generalize to the cortical mantle; (3) cortical driving of hypersynchronous activity in the hippocampus (H); (4) outbreak of paroxysmal discharges in the contralateral H, triggering the onset of a bilateral mesotemporal seizure. This experience can be classified as a
simple partial seizure because consciousness was not significantly impaired and no amnesia occurred. Studies of EEG patterns associated with simple partial seizures show resemblances to the pattern reported in advanced
meditators and healers where there is a shift to low delta, then a second shift to beta and gamma surges at the vertex or over the temporal lobes.
If this analysis is correct, it suggests a need to reconsider the health implications of those kinds of meditation techniques that purport to be specifically designed to induce ecstatic visions.
Presenter: Donald Moss, Ph.D.
Title: Phenomenology, Illness, and Consciousness
Brief Program Description: A simplified