It's not just your car that might need a tune-up this winter. Your brain also may benefit from one, and the owners of a business called Ashland Center for Brain Harmony claim they can give you one.
Owners Dan Altman, a former software engineer, and Deborah Josephson, a social worker, say they use sound and software to help people optimize their brains.
The entrepreneurs, who opened their business in February 2011, base their work on the research of Lee Gerdes, author of a book called "Limitless You." Gerdes, owner of an Arizona company called Brain State Technologies, says he began researching ways to optimize brain health in the 1990s to help himself recover from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). His research led to a biofeedback technique that reflects the brain's own sounds back to itself using audible tones.
A two-hour session begins with an assessment of a person's brain-wave patterns conducted by either Altman or Josephson, along with physical and mental-health surveys. The results are then entered into a software program that suggests protocols for optimal brain functioning.
Clients are fitted with electroencephalogram sensors at specific scalp points, and they listen to frequencies through ear buds during seven- to 14-minute intervals.
"The experience is like the brain listening to its own noises and reorganizing itself accordingly," says Altman, who suggests people start with a series of visits that include two sessions a day for five days. The 10 sessions and initial assessment cost $1,250. The treatments, he says, encourage the brain to form new neural pathways.
Many people report better sleep after the sessions, which is critical to overall health because many chronic conditions are aggravated by fatigue, says Josephson.
Head injuries, addictions, insomnia, attention-deficit disorder, depression and autism are some of the conditions that might benefit from this type of treatment, she says.
"We know that brain frequencies are affected by trauma, and when corrected, a person can respond more normally to situations," says Josephson. " 'Life' still happens to a person, but he has more resilience and reserves to deal with it. Instead of being angry and getting into trouble or ... being unable to make good decisions, a person's brain frequencies can be balanced so he is more able to deal with present situations."
"While I had my sessions, I felt really at peace," says Kendrah Walker of Ashland. "It was almost like a meditation for me."
Kathleen Jakse of Ashland, who says she has suffered numerous physical and mental effects from having Lyme disease for seven years, says she regularly undergoes optimization "to reset her system."
"Right away, the sessions affected my focus and reading," says Jakse. "They improved my sleep patterns. When I awaken during the night, I can fall back asleep," she says.
Meri Walker of Ashland, who says she has suffered from PTSD most of her life, says the sessions with Altman and Josephson have helped her, as well.
"The vigilantes that have lived in my head, frightening me, took off," she says. "The sadness that has plagued me retreated after brain-training sessions."
To learn more, see the company's website, www.ashlandbrainharmony.com, or call 541-482-1542. The center is located at 180 Lithia Way, Suite 206, Ashland.