PROS: Another high-quality, effective piece of brainwave engineering from Inspire 3. Includes multiple recordings to suit every mood and personality. Support sessions add serious value.
CONS: Users must ensure that they give their brains time in relaxed, unfocused states of mind. Too much time in the Beta state is unhealthy and counter-productive.
Inspire 3, the company behind the Brain Evolution System and the Brain Salon, has just launched a new brainwave-entrainment suite called Nitrofocus. As one might expect, the purpose of this particular set of recordings is to improve concentration, alertness, and focus – qualities that we all need to help us get through the never-ending requirements of modern life. While we have been endorsing products from Inspire 3 for several years, we have a couple of concerns about Nitrofocus that require some discussion.
Which Nitrofocus are We Talking About, Anyway?
One of the problems we’ve always had with Inspire 3 is the slickness of their marketing techniques. As we discussed on our main review page, we were only able to get past that initial skepticism once we saw how thoroughly well-engineered their actual products are. In the case of Nitrofocus – a product that obviously has great marketing potential since so many of us never seem to have enough hours in the day and need to maximize our productivity – the marketing consultants have clearly been busy again. The funny thing is, though, they should have spent less time creating talking heads for their landing pages and a little more time thinking about the name of the product.
Thus, if you’ve been trying to find out what Nitrofocus is, and you’ve done a Google search or two, you will have seen a lot of search results about a body-building product with almost exactly the same name (and a questionable reputation). Sure, there must be a complex maze of trademarks through which to navigate when launching a new product, but mistakes like this plant a familiar seed of doubt in our minds; namely, is the product itself better than the web glitz?
Since Nitrofocus has only just been launched, discussions of the product online are rather limited at the moment, and some of the first attempts at an examination are very disappointing. For example, one blogger who writes about many topics and recommends Inspire 3 products to his readers obviously hasn’t taken the time to look at what Nitrofocus really is and how it works. His discussion presents Nitrofocus as a set of binaural beats recordings, which is 90% wrong and too simplistic. So let’s try and clear these muddy waters a little.
What Nitrofocus Includes and How it Works
Nitrofocus is a suite of five main recordings and seven support recordings. The main sessions are all one hour in length and target low-to-mid Beta frequencies in the region of 13-15 Hz. (For more on brainwave frequencies, see our entrainment page.) This range of frequencies is closely associated with active engagement with the world around us; i.e., physical and mental work, study, and the performance of everyday tasks. These are the frequencies that people with Attention-Deficit Disorders tend to exhibit less often than they need to.
Nitrofocus users are encouraged to play the sessions on a recurring loop, and because the main method of brainwave entrainment is isochronic tones (not binaural beats!), it is not necessary to use headphones. (Binaural beats have their uses in entrainment – particularly for hemispheric synchronization – but they are less powerful than isochronic tones and require headphones.) This means that the sessions can be played while you are engaged in productive tasks that require unencumbered movement. This is not, in other words, the kind of meditation music you listen to in a recliner with your eyes closed; this is a soundtrack for action.
The five main sessions are Classic, Digital, Easy, Workout, and Ocean. While the main purpose of offering this range is to stave off boredom and satisfy varying tastes in music, there are some interesting things going on underneath the superficial sounds. One of the challenges that must be overcome when engineering a “waking meditation” designed to entrain frequencies while you’re active is the problem of background noise. This has been addressed by the inclusion of brown noise, which in the case of the Ocean session comes from natural wave sounds. The other challenge to overcome is the familiar problem presented by isochronic tones themselves. These tones have “square edges” and can come across as unnatural or jarring. To smooth out the soundtrack, and thereby encourage the brain to “get on board,” these sessions employ a technique called amplitude modulation, either as part of the brown noise or embedded directly into the main part of the track. Although the producers do not say so explicitly, this is essentially the same method as the temporal entrainment used in the Brain Evolution System and in the works of Dr. Jeffrey Thompson. In other words, this is the hallmark of sophisticated, state-of-the-art entrainment engineering.
The Critical Importance of the Nitrofocus Support Sessions
We suspect that many users of Nitrofocus will ignore the seven support sessions included in the package. That would be a big mistake, for there is considerable additional value here and, as we shall highlight, some of these support sessions are absolutely essential.
The Four Support Sessions You Cannot Afford to Skip
In our opinion, the first two support sessions, 5-Minute Break and 10-Minute Break, should be considered mandatory. Both sessions take you out of the busy Beta state and down into a more relaxed Alpha state. The first goes down only to 10Hz Alpha, at which point you should remain somewhat alert. This is actually interesting territory (as are most boundary regions), potentially combining an ability to focus on specific details while perceiving the whole of which they are a part; i.e., to see the forest as well as the trees. The second session goes down into fairly deep Alpha (8.5Hz) before coming back up to 10Hz. This will lead many people into a short “power nap.”
The 23-minute Anxiety Reducer more thoroughly explores the Beta-Alpha bridge touched by the 5-Minute Break. Unlike the first two sessions, this one employs binaural beats – requiring the use of headphones – in a deliberate attempt to sharpen the analytical left hemisphere a little more than the emotional right. Both hemispheres are exposed to a combination of Alpha and Beta frequencies, though the left side sees higher ranges of Beta. This is an interesting session, and takes an approach to enhancing performance that could actually have formed the basis of the entire Nitrofocus suite, were it not for the headphone issue presented by binaurals.
Also important is the session entitled Memory Commit, which is 40-minutes long and targets Delta frequencies. This is the exact opposite of the active state of Beta, for this is the brainwave associated with deep sleep, mental rejuvenation, and physical repair. If the main Nitrofocus sessions have been running for hours, it is quite likely that you will need some help going to sleep, and the product suite would be incomplete and poorly conceived without this kind of support session. Although the term is not used by the producers, the method of entrainment employed here is monaural beats, not isochronic tones. Monaural beats are more powerful than binaural beats, do not require headphones (important when you’re trying to sleep), and are less jarring than sharp-edged isochronics.
We feel that the producers of Nitrofocus should have done a better job of emphasizing the need for periods of relaxation in other states of mind besides Beta. We have written many times on this website and elsewhere about the dangers of stress, and stress is inextricably linked to too much time in the Beta state. Thus, many discussions of meditation techniques in general and brainwave entrainment in particular center on the attainment of slower, more powerful brainwaves associated with the subconscious and unconscious minds. There are enormous reservoirs of human potential to be tapped in such territory, and an excessive focus on “getting things done” in the real world will tend to distract people from this opportunity for personal growth, mental health, and spiritual balance. This caveat needs to be borne in mind when using the other three support sessions.
Support Sessions to Use with Care
The remaining three support sessions – not short at 35 or 45 minutes each – take the Nitrofocus concept “to the max.” To be fair to the producers, they have cautioned users about the power of these three sessions in particular. For here, we head up into high Beta and beyond.
The Brain Booster is a binaural beats session with a similar approach to the Anxiety Reducer but no attempt at entraining relaxed Alpha waves. Thus, the left hemisphere is ramped up to fairly high Beta, while the right is not taken quite so far. The session concludes by returning both hemispheres to the so-called sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) around 14Hz. In other words, this is intended to wake you up and, ahem, get your ass in gear. The Focus Gym also aims at clearing any morning fogginess, but this session does not use binaural beats. Users will need to experiment to see whether they prefer the hemispheric approach.
The Analytical Builder takes us into one of the most interesting areas in brainwave entrainment: the Gamma state. Gamma is associated with powers and abilities of extremely high competence, resulting from a unique fusion of disparate areas of the brain. Buddhist monks with years of training in loving-kindness meditations are able to attain the Gamma state easily, but for most of us a little extra help is needed.
These three sessions must not be overdone. The producers are correct to caution users about irritability, anxiety, and insomnia if these sessions are combined on the same day. But we fear that the same warning applies to the whole Nitrofocus course if insufficient attention is paid to deeper states of consciousness. Fortunately, four of the support sessions provide an excellent response to our concern. Used judiciously, Nitrofocus is a powerful brainwave-entrainment tool and a worthy addition to the company’s existing product line.
Free Samples and Other Bonuses
Nitrofocus is sold in MP3 format for immediate download and subsequent portability (an important feature for this type of product, usable anywhere). Purchasers are given a one-week free trial, during which they can try the Classic main session for enhanced focus and the 5-Minute Break to relax when needed. The rest of the suite becomes available if the purchaser is happy with that initial trial.
Alternatively, a free 15-minute sample of Nitrofocus is available here.
Purchasers of Nitrofocus are also offered the chance to purchase the Brain Evolution System and the Brain Salon at deep discounts over their regular prices. We have already had readers take advantage of the opportunity to get their hands on BrainEv and other suites for less than the normal price of BrainEv on its own. See for yourself by clicking the link below: