Electric Rubber Bands
It’s been quite the ride thus far with the topics covered and the studies cited.
It appears as though a few additional fields of discussion could have been touched upon but the scientific literature as it pertains to EEG data in regards to those topics are limited at best. However, being already “knee deep” in the field of the “supernormal”, we will touch upon a few eye-raising topics in the second half of this piece.
Let’s touch upon a few points/theories that we believe are key takeaways from this 6-part series. Some of them will be considered to be “way out on a limb” in terms of speculation while others would be considered a bit more modest.
1. Subconscious to Superconscious?
There appears to be a “rubber band-effect” when it comes to predominant brain wave states. What we mean by this is that the slower the dominant wave becomes, the greater the potential of the faster spike/state during “coupling”. In essence, the farther you pull the rubber band into the relaxation brain wave (Theta/Delta), the faster and higher it will snap into the Gamma wave spikes. This observation is based on the following points:
A. “Aha!” moments of insight in which (40Hz) Gamma waves were immediately preceded by a short burst of Alpha waves (8-12 Hz).
B. The study published in the Journal of Neuroscience citing “phase-coupling” between Theta (4-8 Hz) and Gamma (50-150 Hz).
C. The method of inducing hypnagogia described in the Thomas Edison case and the projected slow wave spike that preceded the “insight”.
D. The REM sleep study which showcased Theta/Delta waves coinciding with Gamma Waves spikes in the 250 Hz range.
This would lead us to believe that one might experience deeper, more profound insights in a specific arena of thought if the mind is cleared, relaxed, and passively focused. We postulate that if one were to reach a 6 Hz level (Theta) of relaxation, they would likely spike into a higher Gamma Hz than if one were to only reach a 10 Hz level (Alpha) of relaxation. The higher spike would correlate with more robust, new neural network pathways forming as it pertains specifically to that idea/concept. In reading much of the material relating to hypnosis, it is cited that it is the “subconscious mind” that is largely accessed during slower EEG states. However, it appears as though moments of profound insights correlate with moments of “super consciousness” that appear to coincide with Gamma waves. This is just a theory… somewhat.
2. Egg or the Bird?
Do Gamma waves lead to DMT synthesis or does DMT synthesis lead to Gamma waves? From most of the observed studies and physiological states, there appears to be a correlation with endogenous DMT synthesis and elevated Melatonin levels via slower EEG states coupled with suppressed CO2 levels via a generally relaxed/rhythmic respiration rate, intermittent fasting, & atonia of the muscles (body stillness) . These parameters would also appear to coincide with the eventual formation of Gamma waves during the observed states of sleep, meditation, hypnosis, etc.
However, when it comes to electrically induced lucid dreaming, “The God Helmet” experience, and “NDE’s”, it appears as though not all “altered states” require priming of the body via the described biological parameters. It seems as though a specific frequency of electrical stimulation either via an external source or physical/emotional trauma can invoke transcendental experiences as well. This leads us to believe that analyzing the body from a perspective slightly different than predominantly traditional biology can possibly provide some answers.
3. The Body Electric/The Brain Electric
In Dr. Robert O. Becker’s book, “The Body Electric” he states the following as it pertains to observations regarding electrical current alterations in the brain coinciding with different states of consciousness:
“We immediately found that the back-to-front current varied with changes in consciousness just as in the salamanders. It was strongest during heightened physical or mental activity, it declined during rest, and it reversed direction in both normal sleep and anesthesia.”
“One of the most exciting results of my collaboration with Dr. Friedman was proof that one’s state of waking consciousness could change the perception of pain. Friedman, who already used hypnosis to control chronic pain in his patients, gave several of his best subjects hypnotic suggestions of arm numbness deep enough that they couldn’t feel the prick of a needle. In each case, I found that the frontal negative potential of the head became less negative, often reaching zero, as the client attained deep trance. The reading changed in the same direction as in anesthesia, only not as far.”
“Negative potentials in the brain’s frontal area and at the periphery of the nervous system were associated with wakefulness, sensory stimuli, and muscle movements. The more activity, the greater the negative potentials were. A shift toward the positive occurred during rest and even more so during sleep.”
(DC shift in human brain)
If direct current (DC) shift in the brain coincides with sleep (to a lesser extent hypnosis/meditation), and sleep/dreams correlate with endogenous DMT release, how does this reverberate throughout the body… electrically speaking? Perhaps the shift in DC direction in the brain coincides with the simultaneous increased production of endogenous DMT? Maybe this directional shift in electrical signaling within the brain is the basis for the Wim Hof Method and subsequently the “supernormal” abilities to influence electrical signaling throughout one’s body?
(DC shift in salamander brain coincides with DC shifts in limbs)
It’s rather well known that “pure” water (deionized or distilled) does not conduct electricity. However, when an ionic compound such as sodium chloride (salt) is added to this purified water, the water becomes capable of electrical conductivity. The higher the concentration of sodium chloride in the water, the greater the electrical conduction capabilities of the liquid. When I tend to think of the human body in terms of electricity, it would appear somewhat reasonable that a shift or change in electrical current/capacity would likely coincide with some form of alteration in terms of sodium/chloride measurements in the blood/CSF on an intracellular/extracellular level.
A 1997 study in the journal IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering states the following: “Modelers of electrical sources in the human brain have underestimated human CSF conductivity by as much as 44% for nearly two decades”.
This isn’t surprising based on the greater concentrations of sodium and chloride in the CSF compared to blood. A 2013 study in the journal Science outlines the mechanisms of increased CSF influx into the brain during sleep. A 2015 paper in Experimental Neurology states “Recently human CSF has been shown to be in dynamic flux with heart-beat, posture and especially respiration.”
Is it a coincidence that a high percentage of the human and even general mammalian population experiences “dreams” at a time when CSF influx is as it’s highest in the brain and rhythmic breathing has been taking place for prolonged periods of time?
In 2009, a study published in the journal Science stated the following as it pertains to DMT and sodium: “DMT acts as a hallucinogen, but its receptor target has been unclear. DMT bound to sigma-1 receptors and inhibited voltage-gated sodium ion (Na+) channels in both native cardiac myocytes and heterologous cells that express sigma-1 receptors.”
Q4LT would then send an inquiry to Dr. Meyer Jackson regarding the meaning of this finding as it pertains to the inflow or outflow of sodium in regards to these cells. We received the following answer: “In 2009, The American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology published a paper that answers your question (specifically Fig. 2B). It shows a similar degree of inhibition for both inward and outward Na (sodium) current, both above and below the Na (sodium) reversal potential.”
We’ll be stepping a bit outside of our comfort zone with this “wild speculation” but it appears as though the depolarization of the neuronal membrane via sodium influx might utilize DMT as a “trap door” or “gatekeeper of voltage” to halt both the inflow and outflow of sodium to keep instantaneous repolarization from occurring. This would then appear to lead to a sustained sodium shift level which would manifest itself as Gamma waves via EEG measurement. We’ll refrain from making any other crazy statements in regards to this but the general idea is that while DMT is considered a hallucinogen, it appears as though DMT might also signify a distinct shift in sodium/electrical capacity within the brain’s CSF which then causes perception changes.
Perhaps we can even contemplate the similarities between a single neuron that undergoes the process of depolarization and the entire brain undergoing a similar process as the positive charge shifts from the back of the brain to the front of the brain via sodium flow. Instead of re-polarization taking place so that the normal resting state is realized and DC direction remains unchanged in the brain, DMT is released/produced to keep a sustained level of depolarization in which the front of the brain remains positively charged during sleep and to a lesser extent hypnosis/meditative states. It’s rather intriguing that the 2009 study in the Journal of Palliative Medicine in regards to EEG activity during time of death cites the following: “We speculate that this level of BIS/SEDline activity is related to the cellular loss of membrane polarization due to hypoxemia. We further speculate that since this increase in electrical activity occurred when there was no discernible blood pressure, patients who suffer "near death” experiences may be recalling the aggregate memory of the synaptic activity associated with this terminal but potentially reversible hypoxemia.“
A 1992 study published in the journal Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology outlined the effects of hyperventilation in terms of EEG changes as well as reducing cerebral blood flow due to vasoconstriction. A 1989 study in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry showcased the correlation of increased CSF volume in the brain as a result of hyperventilation.
From what it appears, the lungs/respiration rate act as a pump that pushes CSF into the brain while cycling blood out of the brain simultaneously.
(It’s interesting to note a 2001 paper published in the journal Spine that outlines the CSF volume changes in the lumbar (lower back) from hyperventilation and abdominal compression. The results were as follows: "The volume change (10% reduction in volume with hyperventilation, 28% with compression, and 41% with combined hyperventilation and abdominal compression) is directly visualized to be caused by engorgement of the epidural venous plexus, compressing the thecal sac.” It’s interesting to note that CSF volume in the lower back decreases from hyperventilation while it appears to increase in the brain. Perhaps this is the physical correlate of “rising spiritual energy” cited by the esoteric practices of meditation? It could be the rising/shifting of CSF from the lower spine into the brain which subsequently leads to the transcendental experiences associated with DMT. It’s also interesting to note that abdominal compression could correlate with sitting “cross legged” on the floor which appears to enhance the reduction in CSF of the lower back which might correlate with increased CSF entering the brain. Maybe there is some physiological correlates with this “meditation/energy thing” that can be quantified from a CSF volume shift/electrical perspective?)
Sounds like nonsense? Maybe it is… all I know is that something electrically is likely happening between a person’s ears during DMT/Gamma wave experiences.
4. Brain hemispheric coherence… optimization or overclocking?
While the data from the study published in Cosmos & History clearly showcases the coherence across both hemispheres of the brain from external DMT administration, we have yet to dig deep into whether brain coherence is taking place in all of the “altered states” mentioned. It appears rather clear that the right hemisphere of the brain is predominantly accessed in these states but hemispheric coherence is the most intriguing possibility in our eyes.
In 2009, Dr. Pascal Fries would publish a paper in Annual Review of Neuroscience titled “Neuronal Gamma-band synchronization as a fundamental process in cortical computation”. One of the intriguing aspects of the write-up was as follows: “This segmentation and selection can be elegantly achieved if structural connectivity interacts with neuronal synchronization. I propose that this process is at least one of the fundamental functions of gamma-band synchronization, which then subserves numerous higher cognitive functions.”
Q4LT reached out to Dr. Fries in regards to this and received the following answer: “The gamma-band synchronization that I refer to can be found in both the left and the right hemisphere. When stimulation and task conditions are appropriate, the synchronization can also exist between hemispheres.”
Dr. Fries would also respond with a copy of his most recent findings titled “Rhythms for Cognition: Communication through Coherence”, published in the journal Neuron Perspective in 2015. Some intriguing additional insight in regards to Gamma Waves & interhemispheric coherence can be found in the Annual Review of Neuroscience in 2012.
When we dissect all of the info as it pertains to the Corpus Callosum’s correlation with increased intelligence and it’s definitive role in communicative signals between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, we can conservatively postulate that hemispheric cohesion would lead to a more optimal state of brain operation versus a lack of cohesion. The question is whether a person can sustain hemispheric cohesion across multiple bands of brain waves while maintaining their “normal” level of perception. If yes, does it allow them to tap into “greater” faculties at will? If not, what does that say about the nature of these states?
Utilizing consistent logic in terms of the positive hormonal fluctuation and physiological changes during meditative & sleep states which are projected to coincide with endogenous DMT production, it would outwardly appear that hemispheric synchronization correlates with an optimization of the body and likely the brain as well.
5. Spiritual Guru “Hands on the Head” Mystical Experiences
While we’ve already outlined the study of electrically induced lucid dreaming and the “God Helmet” experiences, an interesting phenomena that has been touted anecdotally throughout the ages is when the spiritual “guru” places their hands on a person and the person subsequently has a transcendental experience. In some cases, the person even claims to have been miraculously healed from a chronic ailment by this occurrence. While much of these reports have been discarded as pure fallacy of the mind, when crudely observing the electrical current directional shift in the brain and body during altered states of consciousness, it opens up the potential of the possibilities.
In 1994, the Journal of Neurological Sciences published a study outlining the effects of specific electromagnetic frequencies on the human brain. The results were as follows: “The effects of 1.5- and 10-Hz electromagnetic fields (EMFs), 0.2-0.4 gauss, on the intrinsic electrical activity of the human brain at these frequencies was studied. Each of 19 subjects exposed for 2-sec epochs exhibited altered brain electrical activity at the frequency of the EMF during the time of stimulation, as determined by spectral analysis of the electroencephalogram. Since brain activity at specific frequencies could be altered by applied EMFs, the results suggest that it may be possible to use EMFs to determine whether particular intrinsic frequencies subserve specific physiological or behavioral responses.”
In 1992, a study in the journal Acupuncture and Electro-Therapeutics Research published a study regarding the bio-magnetic field strength from the hands of Qi-gong practitioners. The results were as follows: “Only 3 subjects of them exhibited strong bio-magnetic field of 2 to 4 mGauss in frequency range of 4 to 10 Hz. This magnetic field strength was greater than that of normal human bio-magnetism by 1,000 times at least.”
If external electromagnetic frequencies can clearly effect brain function, and meditative practitioners of various spiritual practices can alter their own DC flow in their brain and subsequently their hands/body, is it that far-fetched that a person can have a “DMT/spiritual” experience from the guru’s hands?
Maybe… maybe not.
In 1991, the American Journal of Chinese Medicine published a study citing the biochemical functions of cells being influenced by the “energy” emitted from a “Qi-gong” master. When crudely analyzing the cascade of changes that occur in the body during states that appear to correlate with endogenous DMT production, it becomes less and less far-fetched that a vast array of cellular changes would take place based on fluctuations in electrical signaling and very basic Epigenetic principles.
If we are to believe that the brain is the master control center of the body it shouldn’t be all that surprising that a distinct shift in DC direction in the brain would allow for significant abilities and/or experiences that differ when DC direction is flowing in the opposite manner.
This would be considered rather basic logic… yet the complexity of all the details can clearly be labeled as infinite.
(A hard copy version of the articles on this site have been compiled in a book titled “Questions for the Lion Tamer”. It’s for sale on Amazon for $19.99)
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