May
04
2010

  Temporal Squishing

I was all set to have another lovely alpha session when I got to J's office this afternoon, but she informed me that based on my last observation, she mulled it over and this weekend decided that I should graduate from the alpha protocol and move on. Bummer!

Although she's probably right. After Friday's session, I felt the residual happy-buzz wear off almost exactly 2 hours after our session ended, and then was irritable the rest of the evening. J interpreted this as my body rejecting all the extra alpha, and giving the message that it's had enough of the excessive alpha, it got the point, and will now use alpha when appropriate.

After the Friday night low, I felt GREAT the rest of the weekend. Even though we didn't have a session yesterday I still felt great today, despite it being four days from our last session. Previously, I'd had trouble staying positive from Friday to Monday, I really needed the treatment every other day. But the alpha training appears to have "taken" now, so hopefully I'll feel good all the time now. Although J said we can revisit the alpha protocol periodically in the future, as needed.

So the new protocol is something J calls "Temporal Squishing". The electrodes are placed on my temporal lobes this time (somewhere slightly above or behind my ears), and this is an eyes-open protocol. Actually, it can be done either with eyes open or eyes closed, which is a good thing, as it turns out.

Because this protocol exhausted me. The first time through (we did multiple short sessions of just a couple minutes each, with long breaks in between, unlike the alpha where we had worked up to about 45 minutes continuously) I kept my eyes open and watched the screen. The top part of the screen has a line graph, the bottom part of the screen has colored bars representing the different frequencies and amplitudes of my brain waves for each side (left/right) of my brain, in the temporal region. There are also sounds in this protocol. It is very much like the alpha protocol in that the tones are like wind chimes, except of sounding like chimes, they sound like a pipe organ. So when I get the "reward" bell, it is very distinct, unlike the last protocol where the reward bell was more subtle.

After the first training set, I felt very tired, and went ahead and closed my eyes while waiting for the next set. During that one, I started out with my eyes open, but couldn't even keep them open the whole two minutes, or whatever the time was, I was so tired I went ahead and closed them, and just listened to the brain music. I tried to open my eyes for each subsequent set, but I could never keep them open the whole time, it was just too difficult to do without straining myself.

I asked J if other people feel tired when doing this protocol, because she had not listed this as a possible effect when she was preparing me for the first time. She said it isn't unusual; when this part of the brain has been sustaining high-wavelength activity for a long time, once it gets even a slight break, the brain will often take advantage and try to keep it shut down for as long as possible to give it a rest. I conceded that I did have a lot going on this weekend, so it probably was tired from overuse. But J shook her head and said, "No, I'm talking about when this part of the brain has not gotten a break in years, and it really needs the rest. A busy weekend doesn't even register." Oh, I see. J suggested that if I continued to feel tired this afternoon, I should be kind to myself and go ahead and take a nap.

I had to concentrate a lot to stay alert for the 30-minute drive home, and I was getting progressively more and more tired as time went on, and fortunately T agreed to watch W for a while longer so I could take a nap. I thought I'd just sleep for 30 minutes, but he let me sleep and hour before he woke me up, and I could have slept longer. I suspect I'll sleep soundly tonight.

The first few alpha sessions had a bigger disorienting impact on me than later sessions, so I presume it will be the same with this. I may have to nap after these first few sessions, but hopefully I'll adjust after that, and start to see other positive changes as a result.

I may try to meditate myself into an alpha state on my own at home. I think even just a few minutes per day will keep those neural pathways open so I don't lose it. This is not something J recommended, it's just my intuition.