By Paula Hamilton

By Anna Wise
The Relaxation Company

I must admit, when I received this four-disc set of CD's, designed to master brain waves, my first reaction was something akin to dread. It's not that I don't like the new influx of technologies designed to assist us with brain wave function, on the contrary! It's just the amount of time the average person has in their daily lives isn't conducive to sitting around listening to four hours (or more) of anything! Regardless of how helpful. Then, I saw the name Anna Wise, the frequency composer on the Sound Mind, Sound Body disc with Dr. Andrew Weil. I perked up, hopeful that the same technique of interweaving the tones and frequencies with music would continue and make it a little easier listening than with just tones and frequencies.

Well, it was more than that, much more. Anna Wise has taken the information accrued from research by C. Maxwell Cade, English scientist and Zen master, and his colleague Geoffrey Blundell. Their invention, the Mind Mirror, works in ways similar to an electroencephalograph (EEG); a machine that measures brain wave patterns. They measured the brain wave patterns of people with "higher states of consciousness", such as swamis, yogis and healers, and found a similar brain wave pattern that emerged with all of them. This pattern was called the "awakened mind pattern". Anna Wise took this to the United States and measured the brain wave patterns of musicians, pianists, dancers, inventors, mathematicians and business people in the midst of the "creativity of business". She also found the same "awakened mind pattern". This four-disc set is designed to help you into that pattern of creativity and insight, by guiding and training your brain waves to replicate patterns conducive to creativity, higher thinking and open the gates to spiritual doors that are more easily obtained in these patterns.

Now, before you start thinking this set of discs should be placed near the snake oil, consider this . . . While cruising the internet for alternative health information I came across a recommendation by the Association for Applied Psychophysiology for the use of biofeedback as an alternative method for treating ADD. The modality is a computer game, which the child starts winning when the correct brain wave pattern is utilized, the premise being that kids with ADD may have brain wave patterns that are low in beta waves and the brain wave pattern can be retrained with the aid of the computer game. Then, if that's not enough to convince you, there's the Tomatis method, which uses sound to heal poor sensory integration, one of the factors in hyperactivity and inattention.

Anna Wise takes groundbreaking ideas and couples them with guided imagery in a medium similar to creative visualization. Fortunately she also has an ideal voice for this type of visualization. The four discs may be listened to separately, yet they recommend you listen to all four discs, in order, to first ensure all the frequencies have been covered in the training process. Since the discs each last about an hour, with some almost an hour and a half, I would suggest splitting up the discs and listening to them over a couple of days. If it's at all possible I would say listen to discs 1 and 2 in one day and 3 and 4 during the next day or two. I had the most interesting experience after listening to the first two discs, I woke up fully remembering my dreams. This wasn't a goal of mine, or even something I was thinking about. It was a nice surprise, however, and what really surprised me was the contents. I had always assumed my dreams were fragmented bits of downloading; I was not expecting such clarity and sequencing in my dreams. I also received an interesting insight on a minor problem that had been puzzling me.

I truly believe this disc set will be a useful tool and allow those who are inclined to make headway into clearing and organizing their thoughts and assist in giving insight and clarity to creative problem solving. The ideas from this research were originally presented in the book The High Performance Mind (Tarcher-Putnam), which I would love to read (hint, hint), but the first disc does come with an excellent booklet that describes the essence of the technology and what the program is designed to do.

I, personally, am so pleased to see this kind of product on the market. We have such little insight into our own magnificent brains and the keys of power to retool and shape our lives that are hidden there. I would strongly encourage anyone with an interest in this area to do a bit of research on it, and would highly recommend this disc set as an aid to that interest. One of the best products like this that I have seen to date.

Available from The Relaxation Company. P.O. Box 305, Roslyn, NY 11576, or call (800) 788-6670.


Presented by the Esalen Inst.
Looking Glass Home Video

Of course any video shot on location at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur is going to be breathtakingly beautiful. And the scenery isn't bad either! Actually, I am usually not a fan of "How to" video's that cover complex sciences such as acupuncture or massage. It usually isn't deep enough for the lay person, and the current practitioners of those arts don't often learn anything new. So I was a bit skeptical that this would be any different. Don't tell my husband this, but sometimes I'm actually glad to be wrong!

Not only does this video have incredible scenery, beautiful, clean production and very knowledgeable people in it, but it also is something you can learn to do, really! The art of massage is complex and involves a varied knowledge base, especially of anatomy. I would encourage anyone who is seriously considering massage therapy as a vocation to obtain this knowledge base and the accompanying certification to be a licensed professional. Yet, if you are currently a LMT or a layperson who would just like to know a few techniques to assist in relaxing a friend or loved one you actually can learn, very easily, the technique of the Esalen massage. I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of the technique used. Not to imply that giving a massage is easy. If you've ever given a real massage, not just a cursory pit stop on the way to bigger and better things, then you know it's hard work. That's another thing I liked about this video, tips by the massage therapists on how not to keep from hurting yourself while giving a massage.

The techniques can be applied to give an entire head-to-toe massage, or section off the body to massage parts that will help relax and ease tension or pain. I especially liked the hand massage, great for those with arthritis pain. There's also the old favorite foot massage, a sure route to any tired nurse's heart!

The benefits of massage are numerous. Since the general function of the body is enhanced when the body is relaxed some benefits include: improved digestion, reduced blood pressure, release of painkilling chemicals in the brain, and a balancing of hormone action, to name a few.

This is an excellent video, I enjoyed it and learned some new techniques. It's a super 85 minutes long, with only about ten minutes on the introduction. Best of all there was none of the usual do half the body, then tell the viewer to stop the tape and do the other half. This was a full body massage. Excellent for practicing along with it. Now, why haven't any other massage video's thought to do that? There's no skimping in this video. The only thing I wished would have accompanied it was a gift certificate to the Esalen institute! Highly recommended, top rate.

Available from Looking Glass Home Video, 5 Lake Drive, Riverside, CT 06878 or call 1 (888) 698-3440. 

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