The Brain Game – Biofeedback for Optimal Performance
The BFE was recently contacted by Athletic Talent Development Specialist & Organizational Performance Consultant Jeff Krushell, who was looking for guests to interview on his podcast series The Krush Brain Game, in which he would be discussing the relationship between the brain and the body, and the use of biofeedback in optimal performance training.
Listeners of Jeff’s podcasts know that he often discusses four priorities he feels must be addressed first and foremost to raise the potential of athletes and performers. They are:
- Sleep, Rest & Recovery
- Nutrition & Hydration
- Posture & Range of Motion
His goal, to explore whether the brain should be classified as one of the top priorities for pushing human performance forward. As someone well versed in the area of peak performance training, Jeff believes, “The brain is a huge piece of the performance puzzle and new advances in technology are not only allowing us to map and track brain performance like never before but it’s also allowing us to train the brain in real-time and in ways that we have NEVER been able to until recently.”
A growing number of professionals are using EEG biofeedback, called neurofeedback, with athletes and others interested in performing at an optimal level. In neurofeedback training, electrical activity is measured in different regions of the brain and subjects are taught to optimize brain function by increasing or decreasing activity in these regions. Training with other biofeedback modalities, such as heart rate, temperature, blood volume pulse, skin conductance and temperature, allows the trainer the ability to focus on the whole picture and the interaction between different training modalities.
It was a great opportunity to have biofeedback discussed in front of an audience that may not be familiar with these techniques. Jeff’s podcasts can be listened to here, and topics specific to bio/neurofeedback are embedded below.
The Krush Brain Game – Part 2
Dr. Erik Peper, President of the Biofeedback Federation of Europe & Professor at San Francisco State University
“Using equipment that monitors physiological signals such as heart rate, respiration rate, skin conductance, muscle activity and brainwaves, athletes can see the effect emotions and thoughts have on their body. When they can see how their body reacts to stress, they can learn to control their reaction, thereby minimizing the effect of stress on performance. The same concepts apply when we work at computers and experience zoom fatigue. Biofeedback makes the invisible visible and provides the feedback to optimize health and behavior.”
The Krush Brain Game – Part 3
Dr. Inna Khazan, Clinical Psychologist – Harvard Medical School & Founder of the Boston Center for Health, Psychology, and Biofeedback
“With mindfulness and biofeedback, we give ourselves a chance to utilize our internal resources most efficiently and effectively, without wasting valuable fuel on things we cannot control, such as our thoughts and feelings, and instead, directing them towards concrete actions that lead to better performance.”
The Krush Brain Game – Part 4
Lucas Borgo, Product Manager at Thought Technology – Performance Products
“The use of physiological monitoring equipment can be a real game changer for both the athlete and the trainer. When you are able to see your body’s physiological reaction to stress, you can more easily learn to control this reaction and be confident that the techniques you are using are having the desired effect.”
The Krush Brain Game – Part 6
Lawrence Klein, Co-Founder of Thought Technology and Vice-Chairman of the Board
“Each individual processes stress differently. A psychophysiological stress assessment looks at multiple modalities such as heart rate, respiration rate, skin conductance, temperature, and muscle tension. When you are able to measure the body’s physiological reaction to stress, you can learn to change how it responds and over time can call upon this skill whenever needed.”
The Krush Brain Game – Getting Control
Dr. Leah Lagos, Clinical Psychologist specializing in both Clinical and Sport Psychology
“I firmly believe that we can expedite any cognitive and mindfulness protocol by first addressing the physiology. So, if you have a heart that is beating at 140 bpm, it doesn’t matter what self-talk you are doing or visualization you are trying to have, it’s going to interfere with your ability to focus and be present and be effective in your mental processes. Learning to actually control your heart rhythms and increase what’s called heart rate variability – the time that elapses between each beat of the heart – actually gives you much greater control over the mind. It’s interesting to think about. We can address the brain through the body.”
We hope you enjoy listening!