Check Your Head

From sophisticated (and expensive) to simple (and not so expensive), brain-wave training instruments for the home

Apr 1, 2000
Outside Magazine

If you're feeling headstrong about peak performance and want to try brain-wave training on your own, consider the following in-home options (or see the list of neurofeedback clinics).

Sure, it's the price of a titanium mountain bike, but you may get more bang for your buck out of a Peak Achievement Trainer ($2,695; Compatible with most computers, the PAT includes software, a sensor headband, an instructional video, a nine-lesson manual, and audiotapes. The display is simple: A line shrinks and an audio signal changes pitch when you reach the zone.

One of the more popular in-home units is the BrainMaster 2E ($975; It includes a brain-wave amplifier, sensors, and software for a personal computer. Power up and play a game ($350 extra for the software) that features a flight down the Grand Canyon. Maintain the target brain-wave frequency and you won't crash.

The E2 EEG Brainwave Trainer ($725; is a new, self-contained, book-size device that allows a range of different frequency programs. Rewards vary from chirps to music.

Psychologist Les Fehmi's Open Focus tapes ($50; are among the least expensive portals into DIY brain-wave training. The tapes contain a series of suggested visualizations designed to drop the brain into a relaxed state.

The Sportslink ($295; [email protected]) is not a biofeedback device, but rather an "audiovisual learning and relaxation system." Now in English: Instead of teaching you how to access different brain-wave states on your own, this unit uses flashing lights inside special goggles that nudge the electrical frequency of your brain higher or lower, depending on the chosen program.

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