Fun

It’s great to hear of people who have obtained health and well-being benefits from AVS. There is no shortage of conditions for which AVS is useful.

Self-diagnosis and attempts to use technology beyond the level of comprehension of the individual isn’t good to hear of. The recent rash of cheap (and seemingly quite nasty) EEG devices seems to be encouraging many to attempt advanced and sophisticated techniques that may be inappropriate to the individual, of no demonstrable benefit or beyond the ability of the device or individual to perform adequately. Unless a deficiency/excess of a particular rhythm has been correctly identified and organic causes have been eliminated there is no intrinsic virtue to being able to produce more or less energy at any particular frequency or location – the brain automatically selects the right gear for the task at hand. Most of the disorders that can be addressed with AVS have substantial crossovers with other conditions and most are just too much/little of perfectly normal function, where normal function is established by consensus (and the convenience of society) rather than any clinical measure (ADD, ADHD, depression, anxiety, etc. are all diagnosed by symptom checklist and response to medications prescribed for each educated guess. Correctly treating the right disorder is usually a process of trial and error with success/failure largely defined by the subject’s subjective impressions. Use of AVS for such purposes is just the same – if it feels as though it works then it probably does, whether or not the condition for which it was applied is present. There are many trials by specialists in one area of mental/physical health or another. Determining whether their outcome is meaningful in any particular case requires that the entire report be read and its parameters clearly  understood.

Bio-/Neuro- feedback are valuable tools in the hands of a competent operator or where the purpose is sufficiently defined to justify the individual tackling a steep learning curve. Biofeedback, such as GSR or HRV is generally much easier to set up and understand than neurofeedback and equally useful for promoting relaxation techniques.

Relaxation isn’t easy in today’s society and AVS is a great way to provide a conducive environment. For a start, one has usually allocated a block of time in which to be unavailable. The sound and light will limit external intrusions. The beat will gently nudge the brain towards the rhythm associated with the desired state.

Meditation is another popular pursuit and all that can be said of AVS for relaxation can be said for meditation – except that there is no established cause/effect between brain rhythm and the experience of meditation. The presence of delta or gamma, as measured in experienced meditators, is not proof that the individual is in a meditative state and delta/gamma may not be present when the individual is in a fully meditative state (alpha and theta meditation can be every bit as real/deep). Meditation is defined by what’s being done with the mind, not the mechanics of the brain.

Metaphysical pursuits taken seriously are a bit of a joke. There is no consensus regarding the reality or nature of the realms/experiences under investigation or the means by which they may be accessed, and nor is it likely that there ever will be, beyond that which is implied by the pseudo-scientific jargon of the field. There is nothing that can be said to generally “work”. Even when it “works” it is usually an incommunicable, individual and quite likely unrepeatable experience. AVS is perfect for metaphysics as a personal interest and foundation for personal higher understanding. There are plenty of AVS sessions/protocols to try.

Some of the devices on the market claim unique characteristics or extraordinary effectiveness. Usually the designer will confess to not really knowing why the product is special and while it might do something different it probably isn’t any more effective than a typical AVS device, apart from the fact that the user has probably paid such an exorbitant price that they are unlikely to admit to unremarkable results.

Rather than tackling AVS as a big serious thing it seems to me that it is worth taking a step back and just enjoying it as a recreational pleasure. For most individuals each rhythm range will have a perceptible and distinct feeling and choice of session type can be based simply on whether the experience is pleasurable or not. For the recreational user EEG is more interesting open-ended rather than for feedback – open-ended shows what the brain did with the stimulus rather than attempting to direct the brain into a rhythm that may or may not be useful/appropriate at the time or for the individual. There’s a good chance that positive results will follow any reasonably appropriate session (beta wake-up isn’t great just before bed, and delta sleep probably isn’t the best preparation for an exam) if only due to time out from the ordinary world.

Whatever else it may be, AVS should be fun. It might provide some perceptible benefit, might become a hobby/interest/passion/artform (in which case acquisition of hardware/software is liberated from justification), might evolve into an income earner, but if fun/pleasure aren’t significant motivators its usefulness is likely to be overestimated.

Enjoy!

Cheers,
Craig

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