Yesterday, we posted about the new movie Limitless, and what would happen in real life if we were to start taking brain-boosting drugs. Brainologist Lee Gerdes gave us some insights into the costs and risks of mind-altering drugs and supplements like caffeine, omega-3s, and even things like ritalin and cocaine. But what is a brainologist, anyway? Gerdes is the author of Limitless You: The Infinite Possibilities of a Balanced Brain, but he’s also the CEO of Brain State Technologies®, a company that does actually claim to boost your brain power and resolve myriad disorders, addictions, and even emotional problems. It hasn’t received the same cult status as Transcendental Meditation, but it does have some celebrity fanfare: Winona Judd says it helped her get over her food addictions, and Gerdes says he’s even helped a NASCAR driver improve his performance.
To find out what a Brainologist does, we grilled Lee on his methods and how we can make the most of our minds:
What is Brainwave Optimization?
It’s an opportunity to utilize technology to resonate with the brain in a way that puts the brain in a high-functioning balance and harmony. We monitor your brain waves and give them back to you as sound, so you can actually start to regulate the brain and calm it down.
Winona Judd said that it resolved her food addiction problems; is this mainly for people who have a serious problem or addiction? Who can it help?
We had a NASCAR driver come in a few weeks ago when NASCAR ran in phoenix. I don’t know if you know about NASCAR but it’s an incredible athletic event. You make choices at 200 miles an hour with subsecond time, and those choices can mean your life or death. (And they also mean winning or not winning.) So a person’s reaction time is incredibly important. So when the driver came in, and he was going to do a session, and he was warming up that night to race the next day, we gave him a reaction time test (which is just a test done on a computer with a mouse). His score was 0.26 – that’s really good. In fact, I was jealous. Then he had a session with us and he did the test again and got a 0.22. It blew me away; the fastest humanly possible would be 0.15, so this is really amazing.
So the answer is: As we find ways to use our brains better we can really do a lot better.
Are we not using our brains at full capacity to begin with?
That’s a hard question to answer because it involves many aspects. I’ll say yes with the understanding that most of us don’t know how to use our brains generally.
If you were a couch potato, our skeletal muscular systems wouldn’t be nearly tuned the way they are. You have to exercise them somehow. We might think about going to the gym to exercise our bodies, but have you heard of anyone saying they need to go exercise their brain?
It’s nonintuitive to think about exercising the brain, because you have to relax it (whereas to exercise our body, we have to tighten it). You can see this in superstars. Have you ever seen a superathlete jumping around all hyped up? No, they walk onto court or field exceedingly relaxed. That’s how they conserve energy and focus.
What about things like crosswords, aren’t those supposed to be good ways to exercise the brain?
Crosswords can be fun, but the best way to exercise the brain is to meditate.
How is Brainwave Optimization different from things like biofeedback or meditation, which are also supposed to help treat stress and balance the brain?
Biofeedback is a way to control the brain because of a need – for example it can tell a person that they’re anxious, and teach them how to identify it internally and control it all the time. They become aware of it and they control it. That’s a way to learn how to control the brain.
Brainwave Optimization teaches the brain to self-regulate. It’s based on similar principles as meditation. It’s a way to shut down function to allow the brain to rearrange itself (but on a more conscious level than sleep). It’s exceedingly important for the brain to self-regulate so that we can actively receive information from beyond ourselves, but in today’s world it’s so difficult because we have so much stimulation.
People are saying that Transcendental Meditation can have a lot of these same amazing effects for people. Do you think it’s worth the hype?
Any kind of meditation process that leads one to be quiet on the inside and leads the brain pattern to itself and have greater depths of awareness; that’s a great thing. For a Buddhist monk it takes 30 to 40 years of meditating for 12 hours a day (and they don’t get breaks for party weekends, by the way). Most of us don’t have that. But what if there’s another way to do that and have cocktail every once in awhile?
A lot of people fix problems like stress, depression, and anxiety with medication. What’s your position on pills?
My mom is almost 101, and all my life she told me: “Son, you have two ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you speak.” She was right; our brains are set up so that 70% receives info and 30% executes. In today’s world, we’re overly encouraged to execute and perform, and we have a real lack of ability to listen. When we get into that execution mode, think about what happens: We expend energy, we move faster, we don’t include others around us. And then we just try to find the right pill so that we can fix it quickly. Today, the older someone is, the less likely you’ll find a significant number out of ten who aren’t on medications. It affects how we think, how we feel physically and emotionally, and it limits how we perform. That has probably been close to the essence of the greatest negative of our world. It robs us of more happy humanity and function than anything else we could have done.
“Brainologist” Lee Gerdes is the founder and CEO of Brain State Technologies® – a global neuro-network of about 130 affiliated offices that offer Brainwave Optimization™ — considered a “disruptive technology” that may change the way we understand sickness and health. With nearly 30,000 clients and growing, Brain State Technologies has the world’s largest inter-relational database of brain patterns, leading Lee and his researchers to a quick pace of new discoveries. Lee’s invention sprang from his own desperate need to resolve the physical and emotional trauma he endured after a vicious assault. An engineer, mathematician and theologian, Lee has dedicated his life to understanding neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to change itself. He is the author of the Limitless You: The Infinite Possibilities of a Balanced Brain