In 2014, whilst living in Bali starting Zen Brain Lab (our brain resilience & wellness centre in Bali) I came down with Dengue Fever-for the second time.
What that means is that when you get a second strain of Dengue Fever you get REALLY sick–for me this meant I ended up unconscious on the bathroom floor of our villa.
I had to be rushed in the backseat of a car in the middle of the night to the nearest hospital over an hour away where I was dangerously ill and bed-bound in hospital for days.
Luckily, I recovered from the acute phase in about a week and was able to go home, but I was basically unable to function.
For weeks after I had no appetite, crushing brainfog, fatigue and memory issues with headaches, dizziness, nausea and had to cancel my telemedicine medical practice for a few weeks.
I also had a weird heart rhythm that would come out of nowhere and leave me feeling slightly out of breath and feel my heart skipping beats.
This was pretty scary since normally I’m quite lucky in that my brain works really well.
I meditate and eat the best brain fuel and supplements. I am blessed with a great memory and had hacked my productivity to quite high levels.
But now I was lying in bed for days barely able to string a sentence together and literally unable to do much of anything.
Even scarier was my normally amazing memory seemed to have deserted me and I wasn’t getting deep sleep.
But this is where my neurofeedback training kit comes in.
I had used it to treat clients of mine who had similar symptoms with chronic fatigue, chronic lyme symptoms and post-viral brainfog and fatigue and now I needed it myself for the very same reason.
Here’s what my brainmap looked like:
This map shows the dominant frequency of the alpha brainwave band.
Alpha activity is between 8 and 12 hz, and normally in a healthy brain, we want to see the majority for the alpha activity between 9.5 and 10.5 hz.
Ideally this map should be green, but a blue map is indicating that the alpha activity has slowed, to the 8 – 9hz range.
We often see this signature in conditions where people experience problems thinking clearly with brainfog and in low energy states like adrenal fatigue and people with thyroid issues.
I knew from experience with clients and patients that many people never fully recover from the brainfog and fatigue from getting dengue for the 2nd time, so I put myself on a daily neurofeedback training program to accelerate my recovery.
It took me 6-8 weeks of training but at the end of it I was back to my fully functioning self again!!
My 2nd brainmap showed my alpha activity had returned to normal, back to the 9.5hz to 10.5hz range.
You can see in this map the blue colour has mostly turned green.
I had used what’s called the peak performance rhythm training protocol, which is also known as sensory motor rhythm training (SMR).
I used it to speed up my sluggish alpha brainwaves and literally ‘wake up’ my brain again but without causing anxiety or hyperarousal.
It works by increasing the 12-15 hz brainwave frequency or Low Beta, the ‘in the zone’ or ‘flow state’ frequency over the motor strip area of the brain.
It is an incredibly powerful protocol and helps regulate the thalamo-cortical loops (which is basically how the frontal lobes speak to the limbic system) and is very stabilizing for the brain which is why it has proven effective in 100s of research studies to help a large number of medical conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, insomnia, anxiety and ADHD.
There are also many studies showing it enhances performance, focus and productivity in many different types of people and peak performers and has even been proven to improve the performance of surgeons during surgery!
After each session I would feel a bit calmer and more focused and feel a bit more like my normal brain was coming back online.
The coolest part is that your brain starts to make more SMR and rebalance even BETWEEN sessions. It helps your brain start to neuro-regulate better so you get more and more of the brain benefits not just while you are training, but all the time as you do more sessions.
There is even a cool story about this technique was discovered….
Barry Sterman, PhD. was a sleep researcher at UCLA who stumbled upon neurofeedback in 1965.
He had been experimenting with cats and found that he could train them to make more of this 12-15 hz frequency by giving them a pellet of food each time their brain increased the 12-15 hz frequency.
A year later he was doing some research again using cats for NASA to test the toxic effects of exposure to rocket fuel in animals before sending humans into space.
By chance, he discovered that the cats he had used in his previous experiments who had learned to produce more 12-15 hz were far more resistant to the stress and seizures that were induced when they were exposed to the toxins.
Their brains were far more resilient!
With this breakthrough in cats, the ability to increase their resistance to seizures, Dr Sterman then went on to experiment with drug-resistant epilepsy patients.
Instead of food pellets, the patient was shown a green light when they produced more 12 -15hz. When the patient produced SMR a green light came on. When she was not producing SMR a red light came on. Her task was to keep the green light on to make more SMR.
The results were incredible – A 65% reduction in grand mal seizures when nothing else had worked.
The results were replicated in several other laboratories throughout the world and published in the medical journal Epilepsia in 1978.
This SMR brainwave work was then tried successfully with children and adults with ADD/ADHD and this paved the way for this peak performer rhythm neurofeedback training to assist with all types of conditions.
And it is all because of an accidental discovery with Ultra Resilient NASA cats!! :)