I recently decided to purchase two mind machine AVS (Audio Visual Stimulation) devices which are basically light and sound generators that alter your brainwave states through entrainment. Why do this? Some studies show that altering your brainwave state may help decrease anxiety, pain, depression and even help with ADD and memory tasks.
In a nutshell, our brain operates at different frequencies throughout the day depending on what we are doing or thinking.
When we are wide awake and concentrating we are operating in Beta and as we relax our brain waves shift to a slower Alpha state. Then next lower state ,Theta, usually occurs when we are ideating or day dreaming followed by Delta which is the sleep and dreaming state. Finally, When we when we are in a deep dreamless state our brains are operating in Sub-Delta.
The mind machines in this comparison are designed to induce the desired brainwave state using pulsing tones and flashing lights which cause our brain to sync or entrain to the frequency of the chosen brainwave state.
The first mind machine I ordered was called Proteus The device is about the size of a pack of playing cards and has an large red led display on the front to show the session number that you are using.
The Proteus comes with 50 preset sessions. You use the up and down arrow buttons to skip to the session you want. The Proteus comes standard with red/green LED light goggles that flicker in sync to the audio tones.
I had a great time with this unit and really enjoyed the included audio strobe CD which syncs the light glasses to the music. Also, it worked perfectly with the Neuroprogrammer 3.
What I liked about the Proteus unit:
- Great battery life
- Compatible with Audio Strobe (works perfectly with Neuroprogrammer 3 software and Audio strobe Cd’s)
- You can program the unit with the free included software
- The light goggles are bright and have two color leds
- Less expensive than other units
- External input to feed music or other source into unit
- Great forum area where users can share their custom sessions
What I did not like:
- The preset sessions do not mention any health benefits so I had to do some research on the web to see what frequencies were clinically shown to help high blood pressure, anxiety, pain etc.
- The red leds tended to create more anxiety
- Cheap sounding headphones with poor ambient noise isolation
In short, a great little unit that has many more features than most mind machines. A Best Buy in my opinion. You can order a proteus mind machine from HERE.
In my research, I noticed many of the clinical studies on AVS were being done by Dave Siever who owns Mind Alive Inc. which makes a unit called the David PAL.
I went to his site and read through the numerous controlled studies on brainwave entrainment particularly the studies dealing with high blood pressure, pain, and anxiety.
I decided to order the David PAL which has 18 built in presets to help with specific health issues. From what I read, the manufacturer considers their mind machines as more than entertainment devices.
The David PAL is smaller than the Proteus and sort of looks home made(made in Canada). The unit has 18 built in presets that address various issues from anxiety to fibromyalgia.
I used the delta and sub delta session for pain and blood pressure control. The unit is somewhat hard to operate if you don’t read the manual. It comes with bright white LED goggles and decent semi-isolating headphones.
My first sub delta session was really powerful. It took about 5 or so minutes before I totally zoned out and fell into a trance-like state eventually falling into a deep sleep.
When I awoke, I felt like I had taken a sleeping pill and was extremely groggy but relaxed. I noticed some of the pain from a previous injury had abated. Cool! I decided to keep the unit.
What I liked about the David Pal unit:
- Presets are based on clinical studies
- The unit is small enough to fit in your pocket
- The light goggles are bright and white with good coverage. No weird color combos that alter my mood.
- HRV (Heart Rate Variability) Sound that helps pace your breathing and create coherent HRV(See heart math EMWave post)
- Headphones do a decent job isolating you from ambient sounds
- External input to feed music into the unit
- Can recharge batteries if you use rechargeable batteries
- Made in Canada (not a cheap Chinese unit)
What I did not like:
- More expensive than other units
- Only has 18 presets
- Average Battery Life
- Headphones are still not very good with music
- Not very user friendly
- Have to buy software to create your own sessions
- NOT audio strobe compatible
In the end, I decided to keep the David Pal because I really liked the presets eliminating the need to use the Neuroprogrammer 2 sessions for my specific needs.
However, the Proteus is still a Best Buy but I was not willing to program the unit and did not care for the preset sessions.
UPDATE: 8/17/11. I have been using my DAVID Pal to help me sleep and it works great when set to Sub Delta. I also ordered their Green Light Eye Set and am really enjoying the calming green glow.
UPDATE:10/21/13 .The DAVID Pal has been discontinued according to Mind Alive and replaced with a newer fancier model called the DAVID Delight.