Archive for the ‘MORE REVIEWS’ Category
Recognizing that the full, six-month Brain Evolution course represents a significant commitment that not everyone wishes to make, the company behind the system (Inspire3, Ltd.) recently added a more accessible alternative called The Brain Salon. This is a set of six, 30-minute sessions, paired up on a set of three CDs. The Brain Salon recordings are designed to alter your mental state quickly and can be used at any time and, with some exceptions, as often as you want. They may also be combined with the Brain Evolution System, since they do not interfere with that program’s long-term development of your mind. (In fact, some users find that their BrainEv sessions are enhanced by first listening to selected tracks from the Brain Salon.)
The Brain Salon does not use Michael Kelley’s 3P-DEAP entrainment process. At first, we were slightly disappointed by that, but on further reflection, this is not really a problem. As we discuss in our detailed BrainEv review, 3P-DEAP is a uniquely complex program designed to challenge the brain to become more resilient in the face of stress, and learn how to choose more relaxed states. BrainEv is a long-term program, so a different technology is appropriate. For the “quick fixes” offered by the Brain Salon, there is no need for such a complex entrainment method. Having said that, this doesn’t mean that the Brain Salon is simple – far from it. The Brain Salon was engineered by a New Zealander called Craig Tice. Tice has 30-years of experience in the entrainment field, and holds a senior position with Transparent Corporation, discussed on our home page. Tice’s work here combines binaural beats with monaural tones, isochronic tones, and some temporal entrainment as well; in other words, it covers all the audio bases. There appears to be less emphasis on the binaurals here, since the user manual allows listening without headphones. (Binaural beats deliver separate carrier frequencies to each ear and are useless without stereo headphones.) But, once again, this is not necessarily a problem. First, the sessions are not as concerned with hemispheric synchronization as is BrainEv. Second, monaural and isochronic tones are more powerful than binaural beats anyway. And, finally, it’s a lot easier to use Brain Salon for some of its intended purposes when you don’t have to wear headphones.
For example, the session entitled Ultra Deep Sleep is intended to be played over speakers at bedtime, descending all the way down to 2 Hz Delta to put you to sleep. Who wants to go to bed with headphones on? At the other end of the brainwave scale, two of the sessions – High Energy Espresso and Razor Sharp are intended to enhance concentration and focus, and can be listened to with eyes open and even while performing tasks. Any MP3 or CD that entrains Alpha waves or lower should not, as mentioned earlier, be used while doing anything that requires full conscious awareness. But these two tracks entrain Beta and high-frequency Gamma waves – interesting and unusual territory, and the opposite of relaxing. The remaining three sessions – Creative Spark, Happy Pill, and Power Chill are designed, respectively, to help you access the problem-solving resources of the subconscious, cheer you up by stimulating serotonin release, or simply help you release stress at the end of the day. We were particularly pleased by the targeting of a special frequency on the Alpha-Theta boundary known as the Schumann Resonance (7.83Hz). This particular frequency offers intriguing spiritual possibilities of connection with the earth.
Taken together, the Brain Salon suite offers a range of options to meet a variety of everyday problems, bringing brainwave entrainment to bear directly and immediately on your quality of life in a highly practical way. To learn more about how these high-quality CDs can help you, click on the banner to the left or CLICK HERE.
On our home page, we talked about how our initial reluctance to recommend the Brain Evolution System fell away once we saw what they were doing behind the scenes. Here, we want to cover the technology of BrainEv in much more detail, so you can see what we mean.
3P-DEAP: The Magic of Threes
Michael Kelley, the chief entrainment engineer behind the Brain Evolution System, calls his technique the Three-Point Dynamic Entrainment Audio Process, or 3P-DEAP. We call it the “Magic of Threes.”
The first set of threes we need to talk about is the unique combination of entrainment techniques employed here. While almost all other brain wave audio products deploy just one technique, the Brain Evolution System combines binaural beats with isochronic tones and temporal entrainment, for unparalleled effectiveness.
Binaural beats, while not the newest kid on the block in terms of technical innovation, are useful for hemispheric synchronization, since both the left and right brains must cooperate in “extracting” the phantom frequency difference between the two carrier frequencies fed independently to each ear. This helps the Brain Ev system achieve one of its fundamental goals; namely, better whole-brain functioning, for an optimal match of left-brain analytical skills with right-brain creative thinking.
Isochronic tones, also referred to as rhythmic entrainment, reinforce the entrainment with discrete pulses of sound delivered to the ears at precisely timed intervals. (The CDs are engineered down to the millisecond.) This is generally regarded as a more powerful entrainment method than binaural beats.
The finishing touch – the piece de resistance – comes from the addition of temporal entrainment. This is very clever indeed, taking sounds the brain has already heard and then deliberately slowing them down or speeding them up, encouraging the frequency-following response of the brain to entrain to the changing pace.
Michael Kelley describes all of this personally in a series of videos on the company’s website. Michael’s diction is as precise and articulate as you would expect from an engineer, and his belief in his creation shines through as he explains the purposes and mechanics of the system. His expertise remains available to you through lifetime customer support.
Your Personal Meditation Journey
The second set of threes appears in an “entrainment map” for each of the six CDs in the series. This map delineates the actual frequencies that are being entrained – showing you the journey you are about to take when you sit back, relax, and let the soundscape wash over you. This is where the Brain Evolution System really sets itself apart from everything else. Instead of entraining just one frequency per session – taking you down to Theta, for example – there are – you guessed it – three distinct entrainment paths on each map.
The three paths vary in significance: there is a prime tier, a major tier, and a minor tier. You can think of them as an interstate highway, a state route, and a narrow country lane. Your brain is actually presented with choices and, quite deliberately, subjected to competing auditory impulses. You see, the designers of the system could simply have taken you on a nice, gentle ride into deep, relaxing states – and on some of the discs that is exactly what they do. But the goal of the system is to strengthen your mind and to enhance your ability to choose a more relaxed state, even in the face of stress. In other words, this is the meditation equivalent of teaching a man to fish: once you have completed the course, you won’t have to be “plugged in” to an audio device to keep yourself centered.
Thus, on many of the CDs, the major or minor tiers will branch off in opposite directions from the prime tier, offering a counterpoint of, say, alert Beta waves while the prime tier goes down through deep Alpha and on into the creative wellspring of Theta. In part, this is done to keep you consciously aware while you dive deep. It is not surprising, therefore, that many users of the Brain Evolution System report having lucid dreams after using the CDs, enabling them to work through long-hidden issues lurking deep within the subconscious mind. This is a tremendously valuable experience.
But the creators of the system also stress that the divergence of the three entrainment paths is there to make relaxation more difficult. This might seem at cross-purposes with the earlier emphasis on combining entrainment technologies for best effect: why bother generating perfect Theta entrainment if you’re going to offset that with Beta? Well, of course, the major and minor tiers are not as powerful – or convincing, if you will – in altering your brain waves. They are a kind of tease: “Fancy a little Beta, do you?”
And it’s alright if you give in to that temptation – if you decide to wander down that little country road instead of taking the major highway to Theta. Your experiences are going to be uniquely yours. Over time, since you will be listening to the same CD for a month before moving on to the next recording, you will make different choices during your meditation sessions. You will learn that you have a choice – that you can control your own mind.
Who Said Meditation Was Boring?
Finally, it is important to note that the incredible richness of the 3P-DEAP recordings makes for a more stimulating experience, and one that your brain is much more willing to accept and, consequently, benefit from. Trying to railroad your mind into one target frequency is, quite simply, boring after a while. And it’s not the way your brain likes to work. As we showed on the EEG scan on our brainwave entrainment page, while one frequency may be dominant, there are countless other frequencies still on display by the brain. The brain is a fertile landscape, filled with multiple layers of lush activity, not a sterile monoculture planted with a single crop by an over-zealous farmer.
As should be abundantly clear by now, we are hugely impressed by the Brain Evolution System, and we think you will be, too. If you’d like to try it for yourself – risk-free for 21 days and with a full seven-month guarantee after that – click the banner below:
What You Need to Know about The Unexplainable Store
The Unexplainable Store is a commercial offshoot of a website aimed at paranormal interests such as ESP, past-life regression, UFOs, and the like. Does that mean it is only for people interested in the paranormal? Absolutely not! The Unexplainable Store started out by offering a range of very-cleverly engineered, high-quality brainwave entrainment MP3s and CDs, utilizing solid scientific principles to deliver some exciting real-world benefits to users. Many enthusiastic testimonials back this up. But you should also be aware that some of the Store’s latest developments are taking it away from these sound fundamentals into less-proven, more speculative territory. You are free to go there if you wish, but we need to be realistic about what works and what doesn’t.
Most Unexplainable Store “reviews” are thinly-veiled sales pitches. From what we have seen on the web, this is the only site that is willing to be truly critical when warranted. As you shall see, we pull no punches here. We want you to be happy with your purchases so you will continue to rely on us for advice in the future.
The best products offered by The Unexplainable Store remain some of their original brainwave entrainment recordings. (If you are not familiar with the various states of human consciousness, please read our brainwave entrainment page or our many meditation articles.) A recent doubling of the product line-up added some recordings that target unexpected objectives, which we will discuss later, but it is the older recordings that have the most merit.
Some of our favorites include the health recordings entraining Delta waves to improve sleep patterns, boost the immune system, reinforce cellular repair, and stimulate DNA regeneration. When so many people in our frenetic modern world don’t get enough sleep, inducing a Delta state makes a great deal of sense (provided it is done in safe conditions that won’t impair waking functioning).
Similarly, the recordings targeting Alpha and Theta waves for relaxation, meditation, creativity, and memory enhancement are all effective and well-supported by scientific studies. We are on solid ground here; these MP3s and CDs can be purchased and used with confidence.
For those with more adventurous tastes, the esoteric recordings for lucid dreaming, astral projection, and Shaman consciousness all receive encouraging reviews from regular users. (One video review from a pretty British girl with a retainer is very sweet and heartfelt. Love it!) These may not be for everybody, but if you’re into this kind of thing, you want to stick with professionally-engineered recordings that entrain exactly the right frequencies; in this respect, Jim McElwee, owner of The Unexplainable Store, is unusually – even obsessively – precise. In the box below, we feature just a few of the many positive reviews from actual users:
Other good points worth noting are the 60-day guarantee on all products, the wide range of entrainment methods (binaural beats, monaural beats, and isochronic tones), sensible pricing, decent-length free samples, and regular tips on how to use the recordings for e-mail subscribers.
As discussed on our Meditation MP3 Review home page, Jim has always been on the cutting edge of the entrainment world. Perhaps it was inevitable that, after a while, he would go too far. There has always been a certain tension between science and superstition in the Store’s approach – a strange marriage between verifiable neuroacoustic research and New Age fringe pursuits. For most professional scientists (though not necessarily the ones in this field, like Dr. Jeffrey Thompson) that tension is simply untenable. And it becomes even harder to live with when science is invoked in a highly questionable way.
Some of the newer recordings are problematic in this regard. For example, who would think of listening to a meditation MP3 to cure acne, combat male-pattern baldness, boost female fertility, or enhance sexual pleasure? In the acne case, it is alleged that listening to Alpha waves will lessen the body’s production of the stress-hormone cortisol, which can contribute to skin problems. For hair loss, it is said that Delta waves will encourage the pituitary gland to release growth hormones to help with hair restoration. Our distant memories of the hormone-hell that is adolescence, and current experience with aging, tell us there’s more than a little wishful thinking going on here. The connection between cause and effect is getting s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d too far for us. Similarly, the pregnancy recording makes vague promises about general well-being from a “gentle Delta wave,” but ventures nothing specific. And the sexual products are described in equally flaccid (sorry – couldn’t resist) terms completely lacking in hard (again – sorry) evidence.
All joking aside, this isn’t funny. There are desperate, unhappy people out there who will spend money on anything that promises to solve their problems. But there has to be more than just a promise. We could say that these products aren’t going to do any harm – that they may have a slight impact on overall health by relaxing us – but even that might be too generous a statement. For there is actual harm in persuading people to do things that won’t work. If he keeps going down this road, Jim risks being considered a quack. And that would be a real shame, because then consumers won’t pay any attention to the genuinely useful products that do work.
Of course, the Store’s Terms of Service explicitly state that products are for “novelty purposes only” and “should not be purchased or used for any medical application.” Their product descriptions are merely “opinion” and offer “no guarantee on progressions.” In other words, caveat emptor.
Finally, we can not end this section without at least a passing swipe at the subject of an earlier post, the recently launched manifestation visualization video. This blatantly commercial creation represents yet another step away from legitimate entrainment tools in favor of useless gimmicks that waste people’s time and money. Worse still, this “easy button” discourages people from doing the vital internal work – like examining their long-held belief systems – that could place them in a position of genuine control over themselves and their lives.
O.K., so what could be worse than all of that? Well, the tension we discussed above between science and the paranormal has exploded in The Unexplainable Store’s latest marketing focus – the year 2012. Yes, it’s The Rapture all over again. Notwithstanding the deranged ravings of Harold Camping to the effect that the world was coming to an end on May 21, 2011 (or, as he now says, Oct. 21), The Unexplainable Store has been sending e-mails warning of something big happening in 2012. We don’t know exactly what, you understand, but something big. Apparently, all the major religions see it coming.
Give us a break, Jim. We’re not even going to bother writing about why this is ridiculous. What concerns us is that the credibility of The Unexplainable Store is being flushed down the toilet with these stupid claims that are sure to fall flat. Why on earth would you want to do that to your business? How can you continue to sell your entrainment products on supposedly scientific grounds and simultaneously spout this poppycock? You can’t. So don’t!
The Unexplainable Store is a bizarre mix of self-improvement gold with speculative muck. Our recommendation is to buy and use the products that have the most convincing body of scientific research behind them, and to experiment with esoterica if you wish. Be guided by the reviews of actual users, of which many are posted on the Store’s website. But always remember that, as with any self-improvement tool, the onus remains on you to improve your life. Brainwave entrainment recordings are powerful tools, but once you have reached a given state of mind you have to decide what you’re going to do there. No recording can do all the work for you.
Good luck, and happy listening!
As frequent visitors to this site will know, we have been recommending products from Jim McElwee’s Unexplainable Store for some time. While we still do so, we’re beginning to wonder if the Unexplainable Store has lost the plot.
Jim has added a lot of new products lately. First there was a near-doubling of the brainwave-entrainment recordings, with the new additions aimed at some highly unconventional objectives. It’s not too difficult to understand how, for example, isochronic tones in the Theta range could help boost memory and creativity. But when you start selling recordings that promise to enhance sexual pleasure, boost fertility, or reverse baldness, then you’re really starting to push the credibility envelope.
The use of crystals as meditation aids is an ancient practice, but the idea that they can be isochronically charged to enhance their effectiveness is boldly innovative and provocative. We will address these issues elsewhere on the site.
Our main concern here, however, is the latest product release: the manifestation visualization video. (Watch a short sample here.) Unlike audio recordings, this product combines an isochronic entrainment soundtrack with video graphics that are alleged to deepen the entrainment effects. That is nothing terribly radical; indeed, some of the first work ever done on entrainment involved variable light stimuli. The problem we have with this product concerns the textual affirmations and pictures that are flashed on the screen.
The idea here is to implant positive affirmations of financial success in the subconscious mind of the listener/viewer. Our objection to this boils down to two basic points:
- One Size Doesn’t Fit All! It is preposterous to assume that one set of affirmations and images will work for everybody. If our own experience teaches us anything, it is that even the slightest difference in an affirmation or visualization can make a huge difference to its effectiveness. This is a subtle art that requires detailed experimentation over time to find a “combination” that unlocks the door to the outcomes we are trying to manifest. And, more basically, do you want the same thing as everybody else? Of course not! If you’re going to look at pictures or recite affirmations, they need to be precisely targeted at what you want. The generic “symbols” of wealth in this video are almost insulting in their gaudiness and simplicity.
- Lazy Shortcuts Don’t Work. You can hardly call this a visualization session when all the visualization is done for you. While looking at images does work to some extent, the process of creative visualization is vastly more effective when your mind’s eye generates the images internally. That process of forming pictures and emotions within yourself is the essence of creating your own reality, the fountainhead of human creativity. That does require a certain amount of effort, but everybody seems to be looking for a quick fix these days – an “easy button.”
Unfortunately, it seems to us that Jim is starting to go down the same commercial trail blazed by Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, which almost overnight transformed a hitherto fringe activity into a multi-million dollar enterprise. Just as The Secret horribly over-simplified the process of manifestation, Jim’s manifestation visualization video completely misses the wondrous subtlety of individualized creativity. It’s ghastly, and severely damages Jim’s credibility in our eyes.
We believe you would be much better off using one of the Unexplainable Store’s existing brainwave entrainment MP3s or CDs. While we do not approve of all of them (read our updated, complete Unexplainable Store review here), there are still some diamonds to be found in the increasingly thick rough. Using brainwave audio alone, you must still chart your own course in life, but these recordings will fill your sails with a helping breeze in the right direction. Click the banner below for more: