Posted September 23, 2013 by Dr. Henri Montandon in altered states

Get relaxed and that’s an order!




In his best-selling book PSYCHO-CYBERNETICS, Dr. Maxwell Maltz introduced the Relaxation Response, a volitional program for turning OFF the fight-flight-freeze (FFF) hyperadrenalized survival response and turning ON slow pulse, calm visage and smiling insides. Following Dr. Maltz’s death in 1975 at age 86, mountains of research have established the validity of his initial formulation: to relax is to be healthier.

Now a team of neuroscience researchers at Hebrew University of Jerusalem have introduced relaxation with a twist, aka Competitive Relaxation. At their web site EEG Project, they show how to build a simple, low cost EEG machine that allows participants to try their relaxation skills competitively. Two players sign in, hook up and relax, no holds barred. The person who can stay relaxed the longest, wins.

     Losing the relaxation contest? Relax harder!





Their work signals an interesting neurophysiological conundrum. Competition is assumed to be a big turn-on for the FFF. Dr. Maltz’s work, as well as research from many others, was assumed to show that the Relaxation Response was like a bipole switch in the brain; turn it on and the FFF was turned off. The EEG Project, on the other hand, seems to show that competition can be disconnected from the FFF, and even brought into  service of the Relaxation Response.

What is this, if not a great topic for a dissertation?

Go think about it, and relax.

An initial study comparing EEG of subjects with eyes opened and eyes closed validated the cool running of their self-made electroencephalogram. The results were analyzed using Matlab. The actual results are in accordance with the expected results. You can clearly see the difference between the two graphs in the frequencies around 10Hz. When the eyes were closed (red line), the power density of the alpha waves was about 5 times stronger than when the eyes were open (blue line), as expected.

Thanks to Itai Raab, Boaz Ben-David, Tal Remez, Onn Elboher, Dr. Amir Ben-Shalom and Dr. Oren Shriki.


Dr. Henri Montandon