What are the best wholefood supplements?

There’s a lot of uncharted territory when it comes to supplements and there is some risk involved. Typically not nearly  the risk of pharmaceutical drugs, but you could have a reaction to something you’ve never taken before and if you take too much of anything, it can make you sick.

If you drink six litres of water in one hour, it will kill you.

There are additional risks if you’re taking prescription drugs. Taking certain supplements with pharmaceuticals could cause serious side effects that may even be life threatening. I am not trying to scare you, but you should do further research beyond this blog post to be aware of any potential risks and be cautious.

There are thousands of supplements on the market and it is easy to get overwhelmed. What to take, what brand is best, how much to take…

There s a lot of scientific research on certain compounds proven to have significant health promoting effects.

If you’re on a tight budget and it s a stretch just to afford to eat an organic plant-based diet and juice, that’s ok. Forget supplements, just remember nutrition is the foundation of health and healing. You’ve got to get the diet right.

If you think you re going to take a bunch of supplements and keep eating burgers, pizza and ice-cream washing it down with cans of beer and continue smoking, then you are fooling yourself and you’re wasting your money.

A lot of us have been brainwashed. We’ve been conditioned to put our faith in magic bullets (which are pharmaceutical drugs). And then we bring that same mentality into the natural world and we just want one pill, one natural supplement, one natural cure to fix our problem.

In most cases, one pharmaceutical drug isn’t going to fix your problem and neither will one natural supplement.

In order to find out which supplements to take, you should get the nutrient levels in your blood plasma tested and then supplement what you’re not getting in your diet.
If you don’t have access to blood plasma nutrient analysis or if you just want to get more nutrients into your body with the approach to overdose on nutrition, giving your body more than enough and letting it use what it needs, I recommend taking whole-food supplements.

Wholefood supplements in contrast to nutraceuticals do not just give you one isolated compound in high dosage, but a whole plethora of compounds including phyto-chemicals, micro nutrients, vitamins, amino-acids, minerals, antioxidants, fatty acids etc.

Here are three of my favourites:

Amla/Amalaki/The Indian Gooseberry

Amla is the highest antioxidant food on planet Earth, and it has the second highest concentration of Vitamin C.
It’s very hard to find Amla fresh, almost impossible. It’s bitter and sour and pithy and just awful. Buy organic amalaki powder instead (on Amazon).
It’s super potent, so start with 1/4 teaspoon mixed into water or juice, smoothie or oat meal and get it into your body.
I add it to about 20 ounces of water that I drink first thing in the morning.

Moringa leaf powder

Moringa is one of the most nutrient dense plants on planet Earth. If you compare gram-for-gram, it has: 10x the vitamin A of carrots, 17x the calcium of milk, 15x the potassium of bananas, 25x the iron of spinach, 9x protein of yoghurt. It actually contains all the essential amino acids. It’s an amazing superfood.
You just add 1/2 a teaspoon or a teaspoon to water, juice, smoothie or you can add it to your oat meal in the morning.

Vitamin D3:
Vitamin D3 is the #1 anti-cancer vitamin. I can’t say enough good things about Vitamin D3. More than 3,500 studies have examined this vitamin, and overall they have shown the following:

The lower the levels in the body, the worse and more degenerative any health condition will be. That’s any condition from Alzheimer’s to astma, dermatitis to depression, and colitis and cancer. The higher levels of Vitamin D3, the better you feel and the fewer symptoms you have.
A landmark study came out in 2016 which found that women over 55 with blood concentrations of vitamin D higher than 40 nanogram per millilitre had a 67% lower risk of cancer compared to women with blood levels lower than 20 ng/ml.

The researchers concluded that the optimal levels for cancer prevention are between 40 and 60 nanogram per millilitre. The study also found that most cancers occur in people with vitamin D blood levels between 10 and 40 ng/ml.

A 2005 study in the European Journal of Cancer found that women with blood concentrations higher than 60 ng/ml had an 83% reduction in breast cancer compared with those lower than 20.

Some cancer experts say that 60-80 ng/ml is really the best range for your blood level for Vitamin D3 leading to an 80 percent reduction in diabetes occurrence and 77 percent reduction in all cancers.

Now the best source of vitamin D is sunshine.
If you’re living outside the tropics it might be difficult to get enough sunshine to get your blood levels that high, so that’s why supplementation makes sense. You may have read that you need vitamin K2 to absorb D3, which is why some vitamin D3 supplements also contain K2, but many clinical studies have shown, it’s not necessary and that D3 is easily absorbed in gelcap, liquid drops and oral spray form without K2.

So, check your blood work and depending on where your D3 level is, you may need to take between 5,000 – 10,000 international units per day to get your blood level over 60ng/ml. Make sure you retest in 30-60 days to see where you’re at and adjust your D3 intake accordingly.

Vitamin D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it’s better absorbed (up to 60 percent better) when taken with a healthy fat, such as organic ghee, coconut oil, avocados, olive oil, or nut butters.

Prevention is key to lifelong health, and Vitamin D3 helps precisely that. Interestingly enough, one can also use Vitamin D3 for acute health problems. When you are coming down with a cold or flu, bronchitis, sinusitis, or some other minor illness, I recommend that, at the instant you feel  start to feel achy or have a sore throat  or a fever, start taking higher doses of Vitamin D3 for three to five days. For example, take 20,000 to 30,000 international units (IU) daily for three to five days and then return to 5,000 IU or your regular dose once the cold or flu has subsided enough. This increase in Vitamin D3 helps up-regulate the immune system and cause soldier cells to become more active  and help assist the body’s own innate abilities to heal itself.
D3 up-regulates the immune system so effectively that pharmaceutical companies are currently undertaking clinical trials to make Vitamin D3 a prescription drug.

Yes you read that right: in the future, Vitamin D3 may become a prescription drug.

Finally, make sure that whatever Vitamin D3 you take, does not contain fillers or unnecessary incredients. It should contain a vegetarian capsule, Vitamin D3, L-leucine, and silicon dioxide (to stabilize it).
Avoid D3 supplements that have multiple inappropriate ingredients, such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), colours, and other fillers. The same goes for Vitamin D3 in liquid form.

What is the best diet?

There are about 20,000 genes in the human genome. The genes are static and do not change, but they can lead to develop up to  4 million different bodies, because each gene can make over 200 different protein structures depending on its environment. The biggest environmental factor is nutrition. 

The biggest environmental factor on the human body is nutrition. 

So, don’t believe anybody, or any doctor in particular, who tries to tell you that it doesn’t matter what you eat.

This way of thinking is not only absurd, it is completely ignorant, and grossly uninformed.

Science understands that food fuels our body, giving us the ability to function appropriately. If your body were a car, you would be careful to give it the right type of fuel. 

You wouldn’t put kerosene or lighter fluid in your car, nor would you put cheap gas in a Ferrari.

But when it comes to what we eat, we do just that – choose the cheapest fuel possible. It’s easy to understand how kerosene would ruin your car, but when it comes to our bodies, we do not acknowledge the consequences of using the wrong fuel, partly because our bodies are too good. It just takes too long before bad food choices show their consequences.

What diet does fuel our bodies best?

In my eyes the best diet should be able to reverse any disease by tapping into the body’s ability to heal itself. The optimum nutrition should minimise the risk of developing diabetes, cardio vascular disease, cancer or any other disease of the western civilisation.

So, which diet do you think does just that? The standard American diet? Just joking.

Maybe the Mediterranean diet? All the studies on the Mediterranean diet have shown that, compared to the standard American diet, it is

able to reduce heart disease and related conditions by approximately 75%. That’s amazing, but what about the other 25%? Why did those people on the Mediterranean diet still get heart disease even though they were eating this incredibly healthy diet? Wasn’t there a diet that could prevent heart disease for everyone?

Yes, there is!

A plant based diet reduces heart disease and related conditions by 95 percent. It can reduce the risk of heart disease even more by increasing the intake of plant-based proteins, reducing the intake of animal-based proteins (even seafood) and eliminating the heavy use of refined oils.

The most comprehensive report on diet and cancer in history was published in 1997. This first report took over four years to complete, reviewing 4500 studies from thousands of researchers across the globe – a landmark scientific consensus document written by the top cancer researchers in the world. Download the summary of the third update of this report from 2018 here.

After all that work, what was the number one recommendation?

Choose a diet that is predominantly plant based, rich in a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans with minimally processed starchy foods.

 

Chris Wark, a cancer survivor himself, promotes a whole-food plant-based diet as the centre piece for the radical lifestyle change necessary to survive a cancer diagnosis.

On his website Chris Beat Cancer you’ll find many testimonials from cancer survivors that used his programme, based on a whole food plant based diet, to recover their health.

There are no cancer survivor stories out there on the internet of people who survived cancer with a ketogenic, paleo or Atkins diet.

With every piece of food you put into your mouth you either promote disease or health.

Most people don’t understand, that what you put at the end of your fork, is more powerful than any drug you find in a pill bottle.

 

How to hydrate yourself in the morning…

The first sensation most of us register when we wake up is thirst. If you’ve managed to sleep well, you’ve just gone seven-plus hours without drinking a drop of water. If you’re in a dry climate, worked out the previous afternoon, or partied hard the night before, you likely hit the pillow at a fluid deficit out of the gate. Depending on the temperature of your room, you may have even accelerated the dehydration process through sweat. In combination, the vapour from respiration and perspiration can often amount to a pound of water lost overnight. As a result, we regularly wake up feeling like we’ve been nursing on a cotton ball.

You would think that the logical response to this condition would be to get up and drink some water, to lubricate all those critical internal components we need to fire correctly for our bodies to be most effective today and for the long haul. Instead, what most of us do is hide under the covers, hitting the snooze button like a snare drum until the last possible moment, at which point we hurry out of bed, strip our clothes off, step into the shower and pour gallons of water over our body, then dump three more quarts through a drip coffee maker. We rarely think to actually drink any of this water before it goes down the drain or through the filter, which is insane; if the physical sensations we experience when we wake up happened to us in the middle of our day, we’d say “Damn, I’m thirsty” and then crush a glass of water. Starting the day, though, it always ends with us holding a cup of coffee.

There are studies on both men and women showing that even mild dehydration resulting from fluid loss equaling roughly 1 percent of your body weight can cause headaches, moodiness, irritability, anxiety, and fatigue.

Decreases in mental performance and short-term memory loss can start at as little as a 2 percent loss in water. You ever find yourself being 1 or 2 percent lighter in the morning than before bed? That is enough.

But it isn’t just the water itself that is the problem. We lose electrolytes and minerals over the course of our sleep as well. Minerals are key to modulating and supporting numerous body processes, from the muscles to the organs and even the brain. Without adequate minerals, many of the body’s normal functions start to diminish. Well, guess what, we are just as bad at replacing our minerals on a regular basis as we are at getting ourselves moving and into the sunlight to start our days.

Hydration

Sixty percent of the average adult human body is made up of water. About the same percentage of Earth’s surface is covered by water. The world is water, we are water, yet here we are, every morning, essentially starving for it. And we wonder why we wake up feeling miserable so often.

A glass of water from the bathroom faucet or tipping your head back in the shower is not going to cut it, however. This isn’t just about curing cottonmouth. Health coach and sleep expert Shawn Stevenson calls that first glass of water in the morning “a cool bath for your organs.” Another way of putting it: it’s priming your internal fluids before hitting the road.

Just swap your first-thing-in-the-morning coffee for some water and minerals, in a drink Aubrey Marcus calls the morning mineral cocktail. You don’t have to eliminate coffee—God forbid, coffee is delicious—just hold off on it until you’ve hydrated properly and can mix it with some fats like butter or coconut oil to slow it down. The components of the morning mineral cocktail are water, sea salt, and a splash of lemon.

Morning Mineral Cocktail

0.4 to 0.7 litres of filtered water

3 grams sea salt (=flat tip of a tea spoon)

1/4 lemon, squeezed

  • The water should be room temperature. When you’re looking to maximize mineral absorption and aid digestion, room temperature is always best for any beverage.
  • Sea salt contains upward of sixty trace minerals above and beyond the sodium, chloride, and iodine in regular table salt, including phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, potassium, bromine, boron, zinc, iron, manganese, and copper.

    Together they are essential for healthy bodily function and contribute meaningfully to optimal performance. Sodium binds to water in the body to maintain the proper level of hydration inside and outside our cells. Along with potassium, it also helps maintain electrical gradients across cell membranes, which are critical for nerve transmission, muscle contraction, and various other functions. Without it, needless to say, we would be toast.


This post is an extract about hydration from the first chapter of Aubrey Marcus‘ book:
Own the Day, Own Your Life

 

Aubrey Marcus is the founder and CEO of Onnit, a lifestyle brand based on a holistic health philosophy he calls Total Human Optimization. Onnit is an Inc. 500 company and an industry leader with products touching millions of lives, including many top professional athletes around the world.

To hear more from Aubrey Marcus, listen in on one of these podcasts:

Keeping healthy blood glucose levels

We should all be concerned about insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome X, and diabetes – different names for a health condition in which your blood glucose is elevated above normal levels.

One must understand that blood glucose is one of the most important things to keep within the normal range, and the most current scientific data indicates that keeping it in the lower part of the normal range is better.

Terms like “insulin resistance” and “metabolic syndrome” have been used to describe what is occurring prior to and up to the development of full-blown diabetes, which is when elevated blood glucose starts a cascade of other health problems. For example, with elevated blood glucose, one can develop high blood pressure, an increase in lipids (cholesterol), an increase in weight, and a host of other problems that are far better avoided.

If someone has elevated blood sugar or diabetes, they are at fourfold increased risk of developing heart disease. Why? Because when blood glucose is elevated, insulin (the well-known hormone secreted from the pancreas that helps bring glucose into the body to be utilised as fuel) resistance develops over time because of the continued consumption of highly refined carbohydrates and processed foods (e.g. white bread, white flour tortillas, doughnuts and pastries), highly sweetened snacks (e.g. candy bars) and sugary drinks (e.g. soft drinks), and other triggers that cause inflammation of the pancreatic cells.

This inflammation in turn causes an imbalance whereby the body cannot absorb glucose into its cells, muscles, and organs, and the glucose instead remains in the blood stream. This excess fuel – or energy – that the body cannot use is then converted to fats (both excess weight and elevated lipids/cholesterol).

Additionally, once blood sugar is elevated, there is an increase in the metabolic pathway to convert more omega-6s, triggering more inflammation – not only systemically but also in the internal lining of the arteries – leading to more cholesterol and plaque formation. This plaque formation is the body’s attempt to calm the inflammation initially, but when there is chronic inflammation, the repair becomes a hindrance. This pathway of inflammation and the complications from it become a vicious cycle.

If you obtain most of your calories from highly processed and refined foods, this creates spikes in your blood-glucose levels, and over time your insulin loses the ability to bring it down.

All food has a glucose number, called its glycemic index (GI), which tells how much your blood glucose will rise once you consume that food. White bread is the standard measurement to which other foods are compared, as it has one of the fastest glycemic indices.

Carbohydrates with a low GI (55 or less) will make your blood glucose rise slowly and fall gently over a longer time. Carbohydrates with a high GI (70 or more) are digested and absorbed quickly causing your blood glucose levels to spike and then crash.

White bread and similar highly refined grain foods have been “pre-digested”: The manufacturing process removes the whole-grain and fiber content in addition to other core nutrients. This makes the processed grain product easier to chew, cut, slice and pull apart, and it also increases the rate of absorption and conversion to glucose. As a result, blood glucose spikes immediately after consuming these refined foods. While that doesn’t sound very appetising, these types of foods are popular, because a glucose spike gives a quick, satisfied feeling of having instant energy. But soon thereafter, energy levels crash, and you feel hungry again. And so you eat again. This rapid cycle is part of what makes these foods so addictive.

Food companies create their foods so precisely, that once the average teenager at school or adult in the workplace eats a snack, his or her physiology is basically on a timed cycle to spike and crash exactly as food companies want it to. Most of these packaged products have been calculated to create that specific rollercoaster of soaring highs followed by a massive crash – timed to happen right before the next class or workplace break.

Avoid this rollercoaster ride by not allowing yourself to get on it to begin with. That is the willpower you need. Try to learn not to put these foods into your grocery cart when you go shopping. Do what you can to replace these quick-fix foods with something that you really like that is genuinely satisfying – generally foods that don’t come in a box.

And when you eat, stick to three meals per day. One of the worst dietary advice in the last years has been to eat whenever you feel hungry. As a result you are having snacks every couple of hours sending your blood glucose levels on rollercoaster rides all day long.

 


This post is a summary of the relevant chapters of Sunil Pai‘s book:
An Inflammation Nation – The Definitive 10-Step Guide to Preventing and Treating All Diseases through Diet, Lifestyle, and Use of Natural Anti-Inflammatories

 

Dr. Sunil Pai, MD is the founder and medical director of Sanjevani Integrative Medicine and Lifestyle Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was one of the first physicians to become a Fellow of the Program in Integrative Medicine at University of Arizona directed by Dr. Andrew Weil, the “father” of Integrative Medicine and was one of the first Board Certified MD’s in Holistic Integrative Medicine in the United States.

To hear more from Dr. Pai, listen in on one of these podcasts:

Rebounding for Longevity

The best exercise for detoxification is rebounding. That’s jumping up and down on a small one-person trampoline.

Rebounding

Rebounding & Increasing Vitamin D

Your lymph system gets rid off the metabolic waste in your body, but it doesn’t have a pump like your cardiovascular system.  It only moves when YOU move.

SO when you’re sedentary it’s not moving very much, but when you’re walking, when you’re doing physical work, when you’re picking things up, when you’re putting things down, every muscle contraction in your body moves your lymphatic system, even breathing (especially deep Wim Hof breathing).

To stay healthy you need 30 to 60 minutes a day of deliberate, moderate aerobic exercise, like Rebounding.

Rebounding is easy. Anyone can do it and you can do it for a long time without getting tired, because it only requires a gentle bouncing motion where your feet don’t even leave the mat.

But what effect can an easy activity, like half an hour of rebounding, have on your body?

“Not much” is probably what you think, but a well-known 2007 study  found that breast cancer patients who walked 30 minutes a day and ate five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day, had half the recurrence after 9 years compared to patients who didn’t exercise as much or eat as many fruits and vegetables.

That’s incredible. Anybody can do that!

2014 study of over 4,600 Swedish men with early-stage prostate cancer found that the men who walked or biked every day for 20 minutes or more, had a 30% decreased risk of dying from prostate cancer and a 30% lower risk of dying from any other cause compared to men who were less active.

The bottom line is: If you want to stay healthy, you need to create daily habits that keep you in motion. It doesn’t have to be one long block of exercise. You can break it up any way you want: 10-20 minutes Rebounding in the morning, 10-20 minutes around lunch time and another 10-20 minutes in the evening. Do it while you’re watching TV or rebound outside and fill up on Vitamin D at the same time.

Apart from activating your lymph system, the G-force resistance you experience during Rebounding strengthens your entire musculoskeletal system: your bones, muscles, connective tissue, and even organs.

Just gently bounce on the Rebounder.

Stick to a basic bounce until you get bored and then go all 80s Aerobics or Disco. Anything is allowed!

 

For further information, check out:

  • Introduction video by Chris Wark (from “Chris Beat Cancer“)
  • Al Carter is THE pioneer of rebound exercise. Enjoy his lecture/rebound session here.
    Carter is the founder of ReboundAir and the author of  “The Miracle of Rebound Exercise” (published in 1979!)

The mystical Pineal Gland and its Functions

The Pineal's location within the brain

The Pineal Gland is also called the pineal body, epiphysis or ‘Third Eye‘. It has the size of a grain of rice and the shape of a tiny pine-cone (hence its name).
It is tucked in a small groove between the two hemispheres right in the centre of your brain.
The pineal gland is not covered by the blood brain-barrier so it can secrete its hormones straight into the bloodstream.

Mystery has always surrounded this tiny organ. Modern medicine knows little about the gland’s role, but it has a rich metaphysical history. René Descartes believed the pineal was the “seat of the soul,” the interface where the mind meets the brain.

Pinealocytes

Pinealocytes

Pineal Gland’s Function

The Pineal’s function is not fully understood yet.
Pinealocytes are the main cells contained in the pineal gland. The primary function of the pinealocytes is the secretion of the hormone melatonin, which regulates your circadian rhythm, seasonal rhythm and your sleep/wake cycles.

In a study from May 2013 the researchers Barkera, Borjiginb, Lomnickaa and Strassman confirmed the existence (and, they argue, production) of dimethyltryptamine (DMT) in the pineal glands of rats. Further research has to be done to determine whether endogenous DMT in humans also originates in the pineal gland.

Pineal Gland and Third Eye

Nearly all vertebrate species possess a pineal gland. In some species of amphibians and reptiles the pineal gland is directly linked to a light-sensing organ.

The parietal eye (very small grey oval between the regular eyes) of a young bullfrog

Parietal Eye

Reptiles (mostly lizards, frogs, salamanders and some fish) have a so called parietal eye, also known as a third eye or pineal eye. This eye acts as a calendar: It can see days getting longer and nights getting shorter, and the reverse, and so tells the brain how seasons are changing. It regulates the animal’s circadian rhythm and its body temperature.

The parietal eye uses a different biochemical method of detecting light than rod cells or cone cells in a normal vertebrate eye.

Humans’ Third Eye

The human third eye is a mystical concept of an invisible eye located around the middle of the forehead, slightly above the junction of the eyebrows. This inner eye provides perception beyond ordinary sight and can lead to outer body experiences and lucid dreaming, to name a few.

Scientifically this is not understood yet. So far science has revealed that pinealocytes and photoreceptors of the retina share common components of signal transduction. Whether this supports the pineal gland’s mystical role in human consciousness remains to be seen.

The development of a bony cranium in mammals has obscured light from the brain and the mammalian pineal has lost direct contact with light. Without direct light input, a complicated neural circuitry has developed in which visual information from the photoreceptors of the retina is directed to the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalmus. Within the suprachiasmatic nucleus is an endogenous circadian clock that is reset daily to entrain the clock to the environmental lighting cycle. Output from the suprachiasmatic clock is transmitted to the pineal where during darkness the pinealocytes produce increased levels of melatonin that are released to the circulating blood.

The vastly disparate signaling systems in human photoreceptors and pinealocytes of the pineal gland may actually be variations on a common theme. As the mechanisms of phototransduction in retinal photoreceptor cells has become more clear, it has equally become apparent that pinealocytes have retained a selective group of retinal proteins that are involved in the phototransduction cascade. How the pineaIocytes utilize these proteins and whether the “retinal photoreceptor” proteins participate in signal transduction in the pineal is still unknown.
(https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00966868?LI=true)

Hypnagogia

Hypnagogia is also referred to as ‘hypnagogic hallucinations’ or ‘hypnogogic state of consciousness’.
It is the experience of the transitional state of consciousness when you go from wakefulness to sleep. (The transitional state from sleep to wakefulness is called ‘hypnopompic’.)

In Hypnaogogia you might be seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting things, or experience a feeling of falling or floating. This is similar to when you’re dreaming, except you’re not asleep yet and still able to remember.

Experiencing these hallucinations can be confusing, because it can be hard to distinguish hallucination from reality. They create strong, intricate visual images in the mind that may be distorted in an unrealistic way. As a result, these hallucinations often cause fear. In some cases, they can cause you to suddenly jolt back to reality from the verge of sleep. ‘Hypnic Jerk’ or ‘The Kick’ as they call it in the movie ‘Inception’.)

Visual Hallucinations (Sights)

The beginnings of visual hallucinations occur as phosphenes – seemingly random speckles, lines or geometric patterns that may float around or remain still behind your closed eyelids.

When deeply immersed, you can control these patterns at will. To do this, just focus on changing the direction of the lines. Then mentally demand specific shapes and movements. After that it’s not difficult to have the phosphenes form a familiar face or animal.

Salvador Dali’s ‘The Persistence of Memory’ (1931)

Hypnagogia and Creativity

Artists have been using Hypnagogia as a key to their creativity: Salvador Dali nicknamed it “the slumber with a key,” and used it as creative inspiration for many of his imaginative paintings.

During hypnagogia, the brain is more fluid and open to making connections between seemingly unrelated ideas. This makes it so conducive to creative problem solving.

How to induce Hypnagogia

Thomas Edison and Dali often induced hypnagogia using a similar technique: Both men held something metal in their hands while they fell asleep. As their hand relaxed, the item would clang onto the floor and wake them up.

Scientists have observed the presence of both alpha brainwaves — which are the dominant brainwave mode when we are conscious but relaxed, for instance when daydreaming or meditating — and theta brainwaves, which are associated with restorative sleep, during Hypnagogia.

Therefore I suggest you try binaural beats or if you can, book a session with the Ajna Light, and make use of  brainwave entrainment to achieve more relaxed states of awareness which lead to the hypnagogic magic.

I experience visual and sensory effects every time I am under the Ajna Light and it can lead me into a deep meditation, which is an excellent primer for lucid dreaming (but that’s another post on its own).

Binaural Entrainment with Beats

Binaural Beats

Binaural beats are an auditory biohack designed to facilitate brainwave entrainment.

Just as pulses of neurons firing are measured with frequency, so too is sound.
The human ear can hear sounds with a frequency (pitch) between 30Hz and 18,000Hz.

The Range of Human Hearing

The Range of Human Hearing

 

How Binaural Beats work

In order to induce any brainwaves other than Gamma brainwaves, you need the brain to follow frequencies below 30 Hz. If you want to use sound waves for the entrainment, the problem is that humans can only hear sound waves with a frequency above 30 Hz. That’s why you need to use the phenomenon of Beats as a bio-hack to entrain the brain:

Wearing headphones, you listen to an audio track that pumps one frequency or tone in one ear and a different frequency or tone in the other ear. This means that there is an almost imperceptible difference in sound coming into your left and right ear.

Hence the term bi (meaning two) and aural (of the ear). The difference in the frequency between the left and right ear will be the frequency of the beating and therefore the target frequency for your brainwave entrainment.

If you want to play around with creating some beats, check out this applet.

Often times white noise (rain) is used in conjunction with these tones to help relax the mind and put it in a more malleable state. The result is that you can target a variety of different brainwave states that can yield varied benefits.

While the effect of any form of music on a human individual is highly personal and therefore resistant to generalization, a variety of research shows potential improvements for everything from cognitive performance to enhanced relaxation.
A UK study with control group from 2005 showed significant reduction in anxiety for pre-operative patients listening to binaural beats prior to surgery (source:  http://www.binbeat.com/images/binauralsandanxiety.pdf).

Where to get Binaural Beats

You can find binaural beats tracks for sale online or on YouTube.
Aubrey Marcus, the author of ‘Own the Day, Own your Life’, has produced two albums of binaural beats. Together you can purchase them for US$35 here.

Click here to download ‘Earth Piece’ for free, Aubrey’s favourite 30 minute track for a mid-day power nap.

My favourite Binaural Beats App is Brainwave: 35 Binaural Programs.

You can get it on iTunes. It’s only US$4.99 and has a programme for all sorts of occasions. Check it out. Definitely worth its money.

What are Brainwaves?

Brainwaves are a measurement of the frequency that large groups of neurons are firing in your brain in order to communicate. They form pulses measured by a device such as an EEG in Hz.

Brainwaves when you're calm and when you're anxious

Anxious & Agitated vs. Calm & Relaxed

It is a handy analogy to think of brainwaves as musical notes – the low frequency waves are like a deeply penetrating drum beat, while the higher frequency brainwaves are more like a subtle high pitched flute. Like a symphony, the higher and lower frequencies link and cohere with each other through harmonics.

The brain does not operate in just one single frequency; the full spectrum of brainwave frequencies are always running, all the time. The dominant frequency determines our mental state – and entrainment temporarily shifts our mental state by boosting one frequency to be louder than the others.

Here are the common brainwave states below:

DELTA WAVES (0.2Hz – 3Hz)

This is the time when your body can repair. Delta Waves are the slowest but loudest brainwaves (low frequency and deeply penetrating, like a drum beat). They are generated in deepest meditation and dreamless sleep. Delta waves suspend external awareness and are the source of empathy. Healing and regeneration are stimulated in this state. You will not remember anything while in Delta.

THETA WAVES (3Hz – 8Hz)

This is a deeply meditative state, associated with floating, heavy relaxation, or very light sleep. In theta, our senses are withdrawn from the external world and focused on signals originating from within. It is that twilight state which we normally only experience fleetingly as we wake or drift off to sleep. In theta we are in a dream: vivid imagery, intuition and information beyond our normal conscious awareness. It’s where we hold our ‘stuff’, our fears, troubled history, and nightmares.

ALPHA WAVES (8Hz – 12Hz)

This is the classic flow state. You are awake but relaxed and not actively ‘thinking’ about everything. Experienced meditators revealed strong increases in alpha activity. Alpha is ‘the power of now’, being here, in the present. Alpha is the resting state for the brain. It has been connected to the ability to recall memories, lessen discomfort and pain, and reduce stress and anxiety.

BETA WAVES (12Hz – 38Hz)

This is your wide awake default mode when attention is directed towards cognitive tasks and the outside world. Many people lack sufficient beta activity, which can cause challenges with focus, emotional stability, energy levels, attentiveness and concentration.
Continual high frequency processing is not a very efficient way to run the brain, as it takes a tremendous amount of energy.

GAMMA WAVES (38Hz – 42Hz)

Gamma brainwaves are the fastest of brain waves (high frequency, like a flute), and relate to simultaneous processing of information from different brain areas. It is associated with the formation of ideas, language and memory processing. The mind has to be quiet to access gamma, but it is a highly desirable state for getting shit done.
Gamma was dismissed as ‘spare brain noise’ until researchers discovered it was highly active when in states of universal love, altruism, and the ‘higher virtues’. Gamma is also above the frequency of neuronal firing, so how it is generated remains a mystery. It is speculated that gamma rhythms modulate perception and consciousness, and that a greater presence of gamma relates to expanded consciousness and spiritual emergence.

What is Brainwave Entrainment?

How many of us have struggled to relax or fall asleep after a stressful day? How many times have you tried to meditate, waiting for your brain to slow down and turn off? This problem occurs in many cases, because your brain is not in the ideal state for restfulness or relaxation.
What does determine the state of your brain? What determines your thoughts at any given moment?
At the root of all our thoughts, emotions and behaviours is the communication between neurons within our brains.

Brainwaves

Brainwaves are produced by synchronised electrical pulses from masses of neurons firing in your brain in order to communicate with each other.
They form pulses whose frequency is measured by a device such as an EEG in Hz.

Our brainwaves are a physiological reaction to our environments. They change according to what we’re doing and feeling. When slower brainwaves are dominant we can feel tired, slow, sluggish, or dreamy. The higher frequencies are dominant when we feel wired, or hyper-alert.

Brainwaves can help us optimize mental functioning for our current situations. There are five common brainwave states: gamma, beta, alpha, theta, and delta and each one is put to its highest and best use in different situations.

Brainwave Entrainment

If you are navigating daily decisions, slipping into beta frequency is the most useful. If you need to surf a big wave or write your novel, alpha frequency is helpful. And if you are trying to rest, theta frequency is most powerful. Unfortunately, it can be a slow and frustrating process trying to rely on our environment alone to get us naturally into any one of these brain-wave states, so sometimes we have to be more purposeful about it. We have to target a specific brainwave frequency.
That’s where brain-wave entrainment comes in. Entrainment can help round the corners so you can reach your intent faster and more effectively. Brainwave entrainment is a method to stimulate the brain into entering a specific state by using a pulsing sound (beats), light, or electromagnetic field. The pulses elicit the brain’s ‘frequency following’ response, encouraging the brainwaves to align to the frequency of a pulse.

Frequency Following Response

This ‘frequency following’ response of brainwave entrainment can be seen in action with those prone to epilepsy. If a strobe flashes at their seizure frequency, the brain will ‘entrain’ to the flashing light, resulting in a seizure. That’s the reason why the Ajna Light can’t be used if you’re epileptic.
On the positive side, this same mechanism is used to induce many brainwave states: such as a trance, enhanced focus, relaxation, meditation or sleep induction. The brainwave entrainment effectively pushes the entire brain into a certain state.


One way to do this is with binaural beat technology, another one is with the flickering Ajna Light.

The more we learn about brain waves, the more we understand how important they are in generating desired states of conconsciousness. Binaural beats are a very basic technology, not too dissimilar from a rhythmic beat of a drum. The Ajna Light on the other hand is hi-tech that can be combined with Binaural Beats.

With the increasingly chaotic environment in which we live, assistive technology like the Ajna Light can be a game changer for a lot of people. Brainwave entrainment is so effective, because it creates an automatic response. You don’t need to do anything special to feel the effect. The only requirement is to lay down peacefully with your eyes closed. Therefore it works for almost everyone and it allows you to experience what states of consciousness, you have usually difficulty reaching, feel like.