Nick Urban explores the topic of brain training with experts Dr. Drew Pierson and Paola Telfer, the creator of Sens.ai. Discover how to boost intelligence, reach peak brain performance, explore transcranial photobiomodulation, and harness the power of biofeedback. Uncover secrets to unlocking your full mental potential.
Episode HighlightsNeurofeedback along with photobiomodulation, makes neurotransmitters more efficient, so you don't need as much to get a lot further. – Dr. Drew Pierson Click To TweetThe brain has an electrical nature and if we look at neurons firing, they are creating electrical activity in the brain that we can measure. – Paola Telfer Click To TweetSens.ai's core essence: It's all about cultivating new mental habits, similar to meditation but with a faster, quantifiable approach. – Paola Telfer Click To Tweet
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About Dr. Drew Pierson & Paola Telfer
Tech entrepreneur Paola Telfer, inspired by her personal experience with the benefits of neurofeedback after a car accident, founded Sens.ai to make brain training accessible to everyone, aiming to enhance focus, brain performance, meditation, and relaxation. Beyond her work with Sens.ai, Paola is an innovator who has designed network intelligence ASICs, managed extensive product portfolios, led technical consulting for enterprises and government initiatives, and cultivated strategic healthcare provider relationships. Her previous startup, Vandrico, focused on using wearable technology to improve safety for field workers in traditional industries.
Dr. Drew Pierson is a dual-certified Doctor in Western and Eastern Medicine, a board-certified Neuro-therapist with 20+ years of experience, and a decorated U.S. Navy submarine veteran. He also served as Head of Neuroscience at 40 Years of Zen, coaching elite executives, enlightened minds, and athletes to peak performance.
Top Things You’ll Learn From Dr. Drew Pierson & Paola Telfer
- How Sens.ai brain training works
- The world’s first 5-in-1 brain training system
- Personalized sessions based on biofeedback signals that upgrade your own brain states in real-time
- Sens.ai offers a comprehensive neurofeedback journey that includes brain boosting with photobiomodulation and meditation
- The system offers gamified protocols, including assessments and recommendations for a variety of conditions such as sleep issues, brain fog, focus, and stress management
- Frequencies and states of mind
- Gamma states allow happiness, insights, creativity
- Beta frequencies improve focus and attention
- Alpha is important for peak performance and flow states
- Theta states impact attention and can help release stress from past experiences
- Delta frequency is crucial for quality sleep
- Importance of peak brain states and their impact on leadership and social roles
- Peak brain states promote inner balance and connection to ourselves and our environment
- How biofeedback and neurofeedback work
- How to assess and then intentionally guide brain signals and peak states
- Biofeedback trains the brain to recognize and replicate desired patterns of neuroactivity
- How positive reinforcement strengthens desired neural patterns
- Photobiomodulation and Frequency Range
- Use of 810 nm wavelengths for transcranial photobiomodulation that stimulates more brain activity
- Sens.ai modes: Boost, Train and Assess
- Boost: Enhance cognition, focus, and mood on-demand
- Train: Make lasting changes to improve sleep, resilience, focus, and mental clarity
- Assess: Measures brain processing speed and reaction time
- How Sens.ai elevates the learning experience of its users
- Assesses and recommends protocols to improve sleep, brain fog, attention span, and stress management
- Personalized sessions build resilience through modulating and integrating brain waves for optimal performance
- Product: Sens.ai Neurofeedback Brain Training Headset (code URBAN saves 5%)
- Teacher: Nelson Mandela
- Teacher: Dr. Barry Sterman
- Teacher: Dr. Siegfred Othmer
- Teacher: Dr. Susan Othmer
- Teacher: Dr. Joel Lubar
- Teacher: Dr. Joe Kamiya
- Teacher: Anna Wise
- Teacher: Dr. Mark Atkinson
- Teacher: Rudolf Steiner
- Teacher: Paramahansa Yogananda
Nick Urban [00:00:05]:
What if you could upgrade your intelligence? And not just your IQ, but all the different forms of intelligence? I’m talking thinking faster, making better decisions, mastering your ability to self regulate emotionally, improving verbal fluency, shooting your motivation through the roof and keeping it there, sharpening your focus and concentration, and even elevating your confidence? Not only that, but doing it the natural route using a technology that even once you stop using it, the benefits stick around for quite a while? Now that might sound far fetched, But there is a system that I’m quite excited about that I’ve been using for about 90 sessions now, and that is called Sens.ai. It’s the world’s 1st 5 in 1 brain training system. Each of your sessions is personalized based on your body’s biofeedback signals, And the session is actually adapted and tweaked and improved in real time. This futuristic technology was just released to the general public. I preordered in the middle of 2022, and it’s finally here. So I brought on the team to the Mindbody Peak Performance podcast to share what they’ve built and how it can transform your mind? Our 2 guests on today’s show are doctor Drew Pearson And Paola Telfer, doctor Drew Pearson is a doctor of both Western and Eastern medicine and a board certified Neurotherapist with 20 years of neurofeedback experience. He’s a decorated submarine veteran that served 6 years in the US Navy, The former head of neuroscience at 40 years of zen, where he guided elite executives, enlightened minds, and athletes to peak performance? Paola, on the other hand, is a tech entrepreneur with a passion to develop technology that improves lives. I won’t give away too much of her story because she discusses that in more depth in the episode itself, But she discovered brain training’s transformative impact on her own life and made it her mission to share this widely with everyone? From there, she founded Sen.aei, and the rest is history.
Nick Urban [00:02:25]:
If you wanna check out the things we discuss in today’s episode, The show notes with all the links and resources and good stuff will be at mindbodypeak.com/thenumber125. And if you’re interested in picking up your own sensing neurofeedback headset, click the link in the description below and use the exclusive code urban to save 5% on your order? And by the time you’re watching this, you can also check out my YouTube review of Sens.ai showing you the practicals of how it works, what my session looks like, and everything you need to know or the written article that I did to accompany that? Both of those will also be in the description of the video and the show notes for this episode. Alright. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, Team Sens.ai. Paolo and doctor Drew, welcome to MINDBODY Peak Performance.
Paola Telfer [00:03:21]:
Hi, Nick. Thanks for having us.
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:03:24]:
Yeah. Thanks for having us.
Nick Urban [00:03:25]:
It’s great to have you guys here. And let’s begin today with a couple of both of your nonnegotiables you’ve done for your health, your performance, and your bioharmony?
Paola Telfer [00:03:38]:
And that’s today in particular? Yeah. I mean, I I always start my day before before checking, you know, my my phone. I always do something for my brain. Like, in the morning, you’re kinda still in this kinda dreamy state, and it’s a really nice time for meditative type practices. So I did, heart rate variability training, so very heart centered with, you know, a gratitude Meditation, transcranial photobiomodulation that was like a nice sort of, alpha tweak, like Tuning up my peak alpha frequency and then followed by some neurofeedback that was a mix of alpha, gamma, and again tuning up that Peak alpha frequency. So that that’s what I did this morning, all within about a 45 minute total, before I looked at my phone.
Nick Urban [00:04:32]:
And for anyone listening in who does not understand any of those words, we will clearly define what each of those mean and why you’d wanna go about those. Doctor Drew?
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:04:43]:
So sleep is nonnegotiable for me. It’s so important to to set up your Sleep environment and have good sleep hygiene and have a a good good night of sleep before you start anything the next day. What I did today, I came in and used what what I call another acronym here. CVAC is a cyclic variable, Altitude, pod, basically, and I combine that with, the good old SunSae And able to train inside something like that and do HRV, photobiomodulation. And I’ll I’ll either do 1 of 2 programs typically in there. 1 is focus. It it prepares me for the day cognitively focus wise? And the other 1 is, Deep Calm, which is a deep relaxation one that we use. I that’s That’s like caramel.
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:05:43]:
It’s just so
Nick Urban [00:05:44]:
sweet. Yeah. And why inside the CVAC machine?
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:05:47]:
I think for stacking and time wise because if I’m using that, you know, 30 minutes, then I have to go and do neurofeedback for 30 minutes. And in the CVAC, it’s increasing vascularity and brain blood Slow and better, oxygenation of the system. So if we combine those, I think I’m getting a better response cognitively from that?
Nick Urban [00:06:10]:
So, basically, you’re amplifying the effects of your
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:06:13]:
training? Yes. And I always do my herbs in the morning, so all the Chinese herbs and, acetylcholine and essential fatty Acids, Piracetam, is typically what it’ll take in
Nick Urban [00:06:30]:
combination. I didn’t tell either of you guys this, but I also did Some training this morning, I did some heart coherence, which is like HRV biofeedback. And then after that, I did a focus session. And we will get into what all of that means in a few minutes, but can you guys first break down what are brainwaves? And we’ve talked about alpha already. We’ve talked about, I I don’t know if we talked about it with beta, theta. People probably heard these terms, but they might not know what they mean. And then at the same time, how does that play into neurochemistry and neurotransmitters? Okay.
Paola Telfer [00:07:05]:
I’ll start I’ll start with a a layman’s Approach and then doctor Drew can can go deep if if we want to. So I I like to use the, the ocean analogy when when we think about brainwaves. So the the brain has a an electrical electrical nature and, like, you’re alluding to with the neurochemicals and chemical nature. But if we look at neurons firing, they are creating electrical activity in the brain that we can measure. We can measure it at the Scalp. So that’s that’s really what we’re doing with with neurotech devices and when you hear the term EEG, we’re measuring that electrical neural activity. And so the the brainwaves that you’re talking about, and there’s 5 bands 5 5 frequency bands that are defined, They’re that oscillation that that’s happening and has been broken down in in in spectrum. And they’re all happening at the same time, which is something that’s important To to note.
Paola Telfer [00:08:00]:
Right? We’re not exclusively ever like an alpha. Alpha just becomes more dominant. It becomes more powerful. And so there’s certain signatures of these 5 that are as they’re combined, one that might be more alpha gamma dominant example. Right? So so what we’re what we’re doing is is right now, let’s say, we’re mostly in a beta dominant state where our attention is directed outward. We’re we’re perceiving our environment with our our senses. And when we go to sleep at night, we’re at, let’s say, at the bottom of the ocean, which is more, you know, delta. And then in between, there’s all these subtle states that are really powerful and and very beautiful That we tend to not be able to tap into with lucidity.
Paola Telfer [00:08:50]:
Right? So if you’ve ever tried meditation and you sit down for a minute and then you fall asleep, That’s us going straight from beta to delta just because we haven’t developed that skill set of navigating the ocean in between. And so, from the top to bottom, if we were to go beta, the next level of the ocean would be more alpha. And that’s more this relaxed, Spa like, brainwave, which is actually still very embodied. You know? Think of, like, hot, cold, you know, baths. Right? Your body’s kinda tingly, but very relaxed. And then a little bit deeper than that, now we’re going into theta. And theta is like, more float tank. Right? Like, think deeper meditative states, and then we go into into the delta.
Paola Telfer [00:09:34]:
So the one that’s missing, the 5th one that’s missing there in that analogy is gamma. And gamma is this sort of enigmatic brainwave state that’s been detected in people who have meditated for many years. They’ve done studies on monks and seen very high gamma amplitude and high gamma synchrony. And so gamma is actually the fastest of all the brainwaves. So it’s actually higher than beta, But we think of it as being deepest. Like, it’s actually a a bit of a juxtaposition. Right? It’s the deepest in the ocean, But it’s like you’ve got sunlight in there. So there’s a lot of lucidity and awareness with it.
Paola Telfer [00:10:12]:
And so, that gamma state is was one that’s very, very creative. Right? I don’t know if you wanna add to that, Drew.
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:10:21]:
Yeah. The only thing I’d probably add to it, gamma is, as far as I’m concerned, Consciousness. It it brings about consciousness, and it brings about these spirit facts of if you see a a red ball And it’s bouncing, and you have to correlate that with the color red, and it’s a ball. It’s doing these things, so gamma really binds that together. Also gives us A memory function too so that if you have, one of the things that we do in in a telephone is 7 digits. Right? And that nests in what we call theta. So gamma nests in these frequencies, and theta is about 7 cycles per second, 47. But in in those, gamma elicits this fact that we can actually memorize things in those 7 digits, And it brings about that, and so people could do much more.
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:11:18]:
But that that’s why I I think when inherently, we tend to have a a 7 number gap or a limit that that we do For memorization, but gamma is one of those uh-huh, eureka frequencies, and it really binds together the, memory from the hippocampus.
Nick Urban [00:11:38]:
So the way I’ve thought about it, I don’t know how accurate this is, but I generally thought that the faster the the frequency, the less restorative. For example, if you go down into the delta when you’re sleeping, that’s what allows a lot of the different biochemical processes to occur, and so the body can repair and regenerate. And maybe with the exception of gamma, I had the idea that perhaps as you go higher, faster frequency, that that’s less restorative and that can be depleting of the brain’s resources, such as when you’re in a beta dominant state indefinitely?
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:12:11]:
Typically, yeah, beta will if you’re doing focus and concentration and analytical thought and problem solving, all the things go along with beta that is can be draining over time. Alpha is much more regenerative, and that’s why, meditation actually brings about that regenerative nature. Theta taps much more into the subconscious, And it’s in that dreamlike state, and I don’t know if I’d call it regenerative, but it releases a lot of stress in that lower frequency, and that can be very regenerative in in that sense since we’re not holding on to that anymore. Delta is a pure physiologic aspect that really taps into hormones and cycles, what we call GLIMP or or brain lymph And, pumping the brain of getting out the stuff that we need to get out and bringing in new nutrients and blood flow and oxygen.
Paola Telfer [00:13:14]:
Nick, I I think it’s a good point that you’re bringing up because it’s really, like, when we when we approach this in in Sens.ai, it was really about Creating a flexible and balanced brain. Right? You don’t want to always be in beta any more than you always wanna be in beta. Right? So we’re trying to help People who are maybe more, more analytically centered to be more heart centered, and vice versa. Right? So people can be more Active in the world the way they want to be depending on the task at
Nick Urban [00:13:45]:
hand. Yeah. I was about to ask why you guys went about this entire mission in bringing this product to life? Like, what is the benefit of getting more granularity in your ability to access different brain states?
Paola Telfer [00:13:58]:
Yeah. For sure. I mean, I I can sorta start with, with how how I I came across neurotechnology. So when I When I first met Drew, many years ago, it was when he was working on my brain. And that was because, I’d had a motor vehicle accident. And so I was in a a a healing journey. But in that in that process, I discovered That it actually improved my meditation practices. Like, I was actually able to more consistently, more precisely, target Different meditation styles, right, where before I hadn’t quite understood the nuances of the different meditation styles.
Paola Telfer [00:14:39]:
And now I realize it it’s been mapped. It’s been studied. So so that was one aspect, but it also really helped me For, I was I was running another startup at the time, and it helped me in my cognitive performance. And so I realized That depending on the type of brain training that you were doing, you could actually be learning to shift gears and it could actually help different aspects of your life. And that’s when my my eureka moment was about, you know, everybody needs this. Right? So, so it was about how do we make this smaller, How do we make this less expensive, and efficacious at scale? Right? So that includes building in, safety measures and, you know, different personalization aspects. So that that’s that’s the why and, I guess, a little bit of the The philosophy of how we approached
Nick Urban [00:15:32]:
it. What is it that you can get out of brain training? Like, say I go in, and I’m have these specific goals regarding performance, Or I suffered a TBI, say, from playing rugby or American football. What are the different Things that it can do. Like, what’s the gamut of possibility with neurofeedback and brain
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:15:51]:
training? Well, that’s a very broad broad thing that we could do. We could take you to the, you know, the the peaks of these type states, The happiness of gamma, the insights that that come along with it, we can help you focus better in certain frequencies where, we have the, like, the beta frequencies. You can help help the attention centers in the brain really bring themselves together to focus. Alpha is is much more of a meditation state, but it’s also necessary for any peak performance if your alpha isn’t up there. If it’s not bursting right before you that throw that that rugby ball or or, you know, kick the Rugby ball or or throw a baseball or something like that or or even while you’re driving. You’re gonna fail typically because it’s an error alert because the the alpha is not there to really promote the smooth flow, And, theta can be high or low depending. And if that’s not regulated properly, you’re gonna either have attention issues Or you’re gonna have stress issues. And delta is so important for sleep, and if you’re not regulated in delta, you’re not gonna sleep well, and that impacts so many people.
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:17:21]:
How many people impacted just nightly because of sleep issues?
Paola Telfer [00:17:26]:
Yeah. So so when we when we started looking at this because it is so broad, it is so wide in terms of, you know, who can it be used for, you know, we looked at it like, well, the ultimate goal is really one of consciousness evolution. Okay? So it’s very it’s a very big, you know, kinda hairy goal. So how can we help people to move from more of the the me centered, like self care, Maybe, evolve into a we, sort of consciousness and into an all sort of consciousness. And we figured that’s That’s really what what we need to do, right, what we as a species need. But the first thing to do is is to kind of Meet people where where they are today. So even if I say, I’m looking for peak performance, but I’m actually having pretty crappy sleep this week, I gotta deal with that first. That that’s that’s important, and and it’s it’s more more critical to deal with today.
Paola Telfer [00:18:22]:
And so we actually start with, what we call an assessment, right, so that people can actually, focus on one thing at a time and go from that point a to point b on sleep first Before moving on to, let’s say, creativity or moving on to deeper states of meditation. I guess the the app is structured To be personalized and to be a journey that goes with you because life, you know, is you’re gonna have to adapt to life. We can’t really control the external conditions. But, we wanted something like like a coach, like a brain coach, like having Drew, right, like, on your In on your shoulder, like, kinda whispering, hey. You should do a little beta today. Right? Like, that’s sort of the idea of Sens.ai is how can we make this so that people have that personalized experience and get what they need during that time. But we also didn’t wanna structure it too much to be, a la carte. So as much as there’s a lot of breadth of programs, we wanted to structure missions.
Paola Telfer [00:19:24]:
And so the concept of missions is If we were doing a study and or we were doing, you know, we were trying to help 1 person at a time and they we wanted to help them, let’s go back to sleep. How was the quickest way for us to get them to better sleep? And so let’s get them to focus on these specific, training programs between these weeks, and and let’s see let’s see if we can make, like, a big dent in that And move move them along the journey.
Nick Urban [00:19:54]:
That was one thing I noticed very quickly. At first, I was concerned that, like, how am I gonna be able to choose between all these? Because After I finish the intro mission, you get to choose your next mission. And, like, wow, these all sound good. Like, how do I choose? But then once you actually start the mission, It guides you, and you don’t have to worry. You would, like, spend 15 minutes just choosing which mission you wanna do to begin with.
Paola Telfer [00:20:14]:
Absolutely. And and, you know, and some folks, like, Lately, you know, since since COVID, we’ve become so aware of, like, brain fog and, you know, stress management issues and things like that. And, and so I think it’s important for us to just acknowledge, like, even as peak performers, we we we have these sort of blocks Right now. And and it there there should be no no shame in dealing with that. And you can deal with it privately as well. Right? So Sens.ai will kinda guide you through through that, step by
Nick Urban [00:20:46]:
step. I think it’s pretty clear that there’s a, like, foundational electromagnetic nature of The brain and of the body as, like, first depicted by I think his name is Robert Becker in his book, The Body Electric, but then and a lot of Science since then. But what about the chemistry side? How is it is there any interplay between working on the brain’s electromagnetic Signature and frequency bands and then also, like, the neurotransmitters or the neurochemicals. Doctor Drew mentioned a minute ago, Taking an acetylcholine supplement, and that’s on the chemical side, but, like, is there any interplay between the 2?
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:21:22]:
There is. Neurochemicals, you know, are very different from the neuroelectrical setup, the neurons firing. Right? The neurotransmitters are communication molecules, and they can be inhibitory. They can be You know, they play a role in motivation or pleasure, mood regulation, attention, learning, and memory, and each one does a different thing. But What we find with neurofeedback in in any form of photobiomodulation aspect, it starts making These neurotransmitters more efficient, so you don’t need as much to get a lot further. And Are the neurotransmitters important? Absolutely. They’re they’re the, you know, chemical communicators between the synapse aspects, But, you also want them to be very efficient. And what we find with neurofeedback, it makes it much more efficient, so you don’t need as much to get a lot longer.
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:22:22]:
And they in that utilization, what happens is is that they’re able to kind of be in in waiting rather than using them all and then be depleted, and then you have a refractory period or a period of time it takes to recover? And it’s gonna bring down recovery times tremendously just because of that.
Nick Urban [00:22:46]:
Drew, Paolo already Scribed her background a little bit, but, obviously, you’ve been involved in this for quite some time. So will you share a bit about your backstory?
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:22:55]:
I got into neurofeedback in the mid nineties and and was able to, train with some of the most incredible people that brought about neurofeedback into, you know, what we know is what it is today? Barry Stearman and, Seifried and Sue Othmer, Joe Lubar, Joe Kamiya, some of these greats out there that, really set the stage for what I do right now, and I I became addicted to how to change the brain without medication, and it worked so well. And I saw so many shifts. And I did pediatrics mainly for for about 5 years, before I went into more of a general practice, and then that evolved into A peak performance practice. And being in San Diego where I’m at right now, I get to work with everything from Fighter pilots to to Navy SEALs to Major League Baseball and, like football, but It really brought about the aspect of what these peak brains and how they operate. How can we affect greater legions of leadership out there too, and that’s where I think Paul and I really, hit it off as far as those conversations bringing about these peak states for leadership and Coherence between hearts and brains and how we can move along as in a society to bring about balance rather than this Disassociation and and disembarkment of our connection.
Nick Urban [00:24:35]:
Yeah. I love that. And one thing That came up when I was first researching this. I love the potential of neurofeedback and brain training. And there is research showing that It’s as great as you make it sound. And at the same time, I was looking at, like, how to actually do this. And it seems like it’s it was only available to The upper echelon of society that have the most expendable resources because at a really high end clinic, a week of Guided neurofeedback can be 5 figures. And for your average population, that’s just not accessible.
Nick Urban [00:25:11]:
And so when you have a system like Sens.ai, It’s taking that cost way, way down and at the same time, allowing you to accrue the benefits every day if you choose to, or at least multiple times a week. Accessible on an ongoing
Paola Telfer [00:25:36]:
basis. Yes. That’s right. For sure. Because, I mean, I I’ve I’ve done clinics like that, and then I was left with, You know, it the the effects lasted for for quite some time, but I wanted to take it to the next level at home. And with meditation alone and breath Work alone, I was unable to do it. And I tried doing it with the devices that were available on the market. And then that’s where we thought, okay.
Paola Telfer [00:26:00]:
There’s a gap here. But to do it right, it’s gonna take us some time, and it did. It took us 5 years. But, but, but, definitely, that that’s the idea is that you could, If you have a daily practice with it, you can take it a lot further.
Nick Urban [00:26:15]:
So you either you guys describe what is, like, biofeedback. I mean, we’ve touched on it a little bit, we talked about, like, what it can do for you. But, like, what is it happening that’s happening in the brain? How are you, like, how are you creating the cues to make this change? What’s the science of it all?
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:26:32]:
What we wanna do biofeedback wise, and all all it means is We’re getting biological feedback. Right? We’re detecting a wave, an EEG or electroencephalography. This electrical pulse coming out, we’re detecting it and providing feedback back to the system. So Much like Pavlov did with the dogs, and if you remember that story about how he Condition the dogs to associate a ringing bell with a, with food, with a a bowl of gruel. And every time you rang the bell, once that came up, they their physiology would respond. And we do the same with neurons. When a person receives feedback during neurofeedback, it’s syncing the brain that that particular pattern of neuroactivity Activity is good or desired. We’re giving them a reinforcement for that, and then we pull pull back the reinforcement when it doesn’t meet the criteria of what we’re looking
Paola Telfer [00:27:35]:
for? The way I think of it too is there’s there’s neuroplasticity, right, that that we’re aware. We can change our brains Very much like we can change our bodies with training. And then there’s operant conditioning, and that’s what that’s what doctor Drew is referring to. And we can think of it too, like, like when you’re teaching a dog to shake a paw. Right? So he’s actually taking an action, and then you’re rewarding that action. And so what we’re doing is we we’re reading The brainwaves when we’re doing neurofeedback training. And when we’re doing the heart rate variability training, we’re reading the heart rate and convert converting that mathematically into heart rate variability. And so that those biosignals, we change them into, audio and visual cues.
Paola Telfer [00:28:17]:
Right. So you’re basically you you are engaging with your bio signals in this audio visual experience. Sometimes it’s just audio because it’s it’s a closed eye, depending on the brainwave. But this whole idea of being able to interact in real time, with those signals is is how you learn. So very much like when someone’s coaching you, it’s it’s not real time. Someone’s like, oh, you should You should swing that this way. Right? Like, twist your body a little bit. And so it’s a little bit, you know, lag in in the feedback, but it’s that same idea of feedback.
Paola Telfer [00:28:52]:
I did something. Someone helped me tweak it, gave me better information, but we’re doing it right with our biosignals. So it’s, it’s much more accelerated learning.
Nick Urban [00:29:02]:
And this is because the brain doesn’t have any external facing sensors per se. So you’re putting a An electrode and EEG on the brain, you’re reading the brainwaves. When it dips out of what you’re training for, You get some kind of feedback or cue, and then the brain recognizes that and doesn’t want that, and then it shifts its electrical activity towards What it thinks you’re looking for, and when it goes into the right band, then it gets a rewarding cue, say, in this case, The software plays a louder sound or a more vibrant sound, and when it gets that, then the brain knows, okay, this is what I’m actually training to maintain right
Paola Telfer [00:29:45]:
now? Yes. And and what’s really interesting about it is that it’s, the feedback is faster than the speed of analytical thought. And so one of the most common questions people ask, like, consistently, I think Drew Drew agrees is, what should I be thinking about? Right? And during neurofeedback, it’s like nothing. It’s it’s like, always happens. And and we we try and explain in many different ways, but the question still comes up. And so it’s it’s counterintuitive, but it’s it’s about not thinking about It’s actually feeling into the feedback, into the sounds, and the visuals. And so you’re right. So we would like, in in our system, We’ve associated certain instruments with certain wavelengths.
Paola Telfer [00:30:24]:
Right? So, you can change them, but purposefully, We have a higher sort of flute, I believe, that’s associated with, like, the gamma sounds. Right? Then there’s, like, a A bit of a lower note, the trombone is associated with the alpha sounds and then a deeper bass associated with the theta. And so, so now when when you’re training, you just need to feel like I like the trombone. I’m I’m I’m you know, I wanna hear more trombones. And then it it if you get into a deeper state with it, it’s I and the trombone are meshing. Now now it’s the meditation is the trombone, and that is how the trombone sound. Suddenly, the volume goes up higher. The trombones become more frequent.
Paola Telfer [00:31:10]:
Right? And as long as that’s pleasant for you, that will feel like a reward, and the brain will just, follow. The brain will just know what to do.
Nick Urban [00:31:18]:
I like to think of this training as like the mirror for your brain that you never had. So it can show areas in which you’re unable to Otherwise, and by training those, all of a sudden that neural pathway becomes more active and the brain can access that even when you’re not using Sens.ai, or any other system?
Paola Telfer [00:31:38]:
You’re, yeah. It’s a 100% right. It’s it’s one of the best analogies, that I I’ve heard as well That I really like because it’s about developing that self awareness, and then with that, you can start doing the self regulation. So often people talk about neurofeedback as self awareness and self regulation, and, I think the term mind mirror was coined. Was that Anna Wise, I think?
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:32:02]:
Yeah. Yeah. That will. Yeah. And that’s the key for all of this. We don’t want a headset on all the time. We wanna be able to Turn on these states of consciousness when we want rather than them controlling us in states of Whether it’s anger or flow or happiness, we should be able to control how we.
Nick Urban [00:32:26]:
One thing that you guys have mentioned, actually, Paolo has mentioned it, is that Sens.ai is more than just neurofeedback. It’s multiple different modalities of brain training and potentially cognitive enhancement? But you mentioned HRV biofeedback or heart coherence, which are the same thing. So that’s a whole separate modality outside of neurofeedback. Yeah.
Paola Telfer [00:32:49]:
I mean I mean, going back to what Drew just said there, we want People to be able to, control their state. Right? So we we want the system to be teaching You how to do it without building a dependency. So that’s why we feel we talk a lot about neurofeedback because that is the The core of it. That that is that is the beating heart of Sens.ai. Right? So because that is really about Training new mental habits very much like meditation, but we’re doing it in a way that’s accelerated and measured. So that that’s why we talk about neurofeedback, but we’ve added The heart rate variability training, because that brings into it the body. Right? So Heart rate variability training or you could refer to it as heart coherence biofeedback is really about balancing the nervous system, so the parasympathetic and sympathetic parts The nervous system, but it’s also about bringing into harmony the brain and the heart. And so it accomplishes this very powerful sort of harmonizing That, really puts the brain we can see it going into, like, an alpha state.
Paola Telfer [00:33:57]:
So it’s a very, It’s a very embodied state. It’s a very primed state for neurofeedback. And so we like the combination of the 2. And and part of that, you know, doctor Drew had mentioned I remember you you told me a story once about how, when you were doing some Some, I think it was some Zen monks. You were doing some some EEG readings on them and that they were they were laughing because, you know, the he thought they thought he’d forgotten the heart. Right? And that he thought the mind was just the brain, And the mind is so much more than the brain. Right? The mind is also in the heart. Right? It’s also in our bodies.
Paola Telfer [00:34:39]:
And so so that’s why and and Drew said, from then on, you know, all we always always train the heart as well. And so we thought that was a very powerful modality to include.
Nick Urban [00:34:51]:
I find it’s the perfect start to a training session. I will do just sometimes as little as 7 minutes of heart coherence training? And it’s essentially just controlled breathing, controlled, like, specific Inhalation and exhalation periods. And I don’t know how much is, like, customized based on, like, my current HRV. And how much of that is just, like, this is consistent throughout all humans? But I find it in just a few minutes, I can go about my day, and be feeling completely leveled and clear headed and ready to go?
Paola Telfer [00:35:26]:
Yeah. It’s it’s act I think it’s one of the most powerful aspects of it. It’s, it’s a an immediate mood shift as well. It’s it’s I found it very powerful that way. And, I would even though we we have it at 7 minutes, I would recommend, like, 20 minutes. It it puts you in into a a very, very different state. So we are using the heart sensor throughout to opt to optimize and personalize throughout that, Which is what what’s unique about about Sen.ai compared to, you know, let’s say there’s a lot of free apps out there Where you can do, you know, breathing, resonance breathing, but it would be something you would program. Right? You would say What what’s what’s the standard one that they use, Drew? Is it, like, sort of more, like, 4 or 5 seconds in, 6 seconds out?
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:36:17]:
Yeah. Typically, you want 4.5 to 7.5 breaths per minute, and it depends on, you know, your in and out. And everyone’s different. Some people, you know, breathe longer, slower. Some people require a little bit faster for that too.
Paola Telfer [00:36:34]:
So what we’ll do is we we personalize it each time, but we’re also learning, what’s what your range is. And so we’ll try and make it quite precise. Right? So it’s, like, 5.25 or whatever it is. But, but, Yeah. Right now, it’s it’s always using the pulse oximeter.
Nick Urban [00:36:53]:
So let’s break down how exactly the system is working. You’re wearing A helmet. Actually, I have it in front of me. I have the the case. And inside, do you guys call it a helmet or a headset?
Paola Telfer [00:37:04]:
We say headset.
Nick Urban [00:37:06]:
Headset. Yeah. I guess that makes sense. It’s right here. You put a couple drops of water on the electrodes. You put it on, you make it fit snugly, and then you choose a mission to train. What’s going on from there?
Paola Telfer [00:37:23]:
Well, Yeah. I mean, first first of all, I’ll just say on on the headset, we have, on the right cup, there’s there’s a ground. So if you see some of the the padding there, that’s a ground sensor. Really important to eliminate, noise around you, so so that needs to touch skin. On the left hand, side ear cup, there’s the pulse oximeter that’s looking at the heart rate. And then on the The blue part we call the flex cap. On top, you’ll see the, the there’s some lights. There’s some LED, like, lights that are specialized for Photobiomodulation, those are those little nubs.
Paola Telfer [00:38:00]:
And those are, using 810, nano nanometer wavelengths? Yeah. That’s the transcranial photobiomodulation, which is, certain frequencies. And so we do frequencies all the way from 1 Hertz to a 1024 Hertz depending on what the program is, And there will be, you know, more programs to come. And, and so we talk about the functions as boost, Train and assess. So boost is those transcranial photobiomodulation, boosts or sessions. And what’s unique there is that because we have the electrodes, we’re able to look at the band And look at where you’re resonating at that time within that band. So for example, if we’re boosting alpha, We can actually see, oh, you’re at 9a half today, or you’re at 10a half hertz today, not just stim 10 hertz blindly for everybody. And so then we might stim you right on your resonance frequency, or in some cases, we might tweak it up a little bit.
Paola Telfer [00:39:07]:
So with alpha in particular, That feels really nice. It kinda gives you a bit of a nootropic effect. Right? So that’s the prepare boost, which is the one I did this morning. And, so that’s that’s boost. Train is, like, we’ve talked about the HRV training and neurofeedback training, and assess is a different thing that we can tackle later.
Nick Urban [00:39:28]:
No. About that, so those LEDs are very small. Can those actually cause, like, a measurable shift in brain activity from, like, So you say 7
Paola Telfer [00:39:37]:
LEDs? Yeah. 7 LEDs. And we it’s about 250 milliwatts per centimeter squared, I believe. It’s pretty pretty strong. And yeah. And like I was saying, 1 Hertz to a 1024 Hertz. So we’ve been, You know, looking at that for about I guess it’s like 4 years really since we had the the working prototypes, that we could do testing with. And what we found was a big difference in the personalization.
Paola Telfer [00:40:05]:
So there’s people that we would stim at 10 Hertz That would have zero effect with the transcranial photobiomodulation. And we realized that once we read their frequency and then stim them there or higher, Now we could actually see their their, their the entrainment on on the EEG. And so that was a big for us, and we, you know, we were, You know, very well, already, you know, designed to do that very, very thing, which is personalized.
Nick Urban [00:40:33]:
You might not approve of this, but one thing I love about the boost mode is that you can put it on and you can go about other things that, While you’re still stationary, like, I can go on my computer and knock out some emails while it’s working in the background, as opposed to training modes where I have to be completely present, focused on exactly what it is that I’m training
Paola Telfer [00:40:54]:
for? Right. You’re right. I don’t approve, Nick. But no. It’s you know, It’s yeah. I mean, it’s it’s we’re we’re multitasking beings. Right? That’s the way it is. You know, in in an ideal world, Yeah.
Paola Telfer [00:41:08]:
Absolutely. People would be doing the meditations with the boost because I think the we talk about it like the content, Right. It’s actually very important. It will it it will, it will accelerate the the boosting objectives if you’re doing the The content, that aligns with that. So we have, for example, let’s say you’re you’re stimming, gamma, right, which is the, the expand boost, And you’re doing a gratitude, meditation track with it. It will be a different experience than if you’re On social media or working during a gamma boost. Would you agree,
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:41:46]:
Drew? Yeah. Absolutely. And, also, if you’re if you’re gonna do something, like that, I would read a hardcover book or, you know, just a physical book. You’ll get a lot more out of it, like, if I stim in focus frequency, and, I’ll I’ll actually read a book. And reading a paragraph will become easier for me during that time. But the meditations along with it are meant to bring the mind into intention about its attention to that and its training rather than, hey. I’m I’m taking a supplement, and I I can do anything in the background?
Paola Telfer [00:42:29]:
And it’s a distinction too between open eye and closed eye, where I think with open eye, you could do a little bit more, multitask. I I think with the closed eye, it’s purposefully closed eye, and this was part of us, you know, being very cautious of, rolling this out, you know, in in mass. Right? So we wanna make sure that these are are stabilizing, you know, nurturing experiences and people don’t have any, you know, headaches or anything like that with it. It’s all very safe and noninvasive, but we wanna make sure that the experience is actually Optimal.
Nick Urban [00:43:05]:
And also I have several other BrainStim devices, and they can be powerful, but they’re definitely not customized or personalized to my current brain state? So I like that you guys have that baked into this device, and not only does that function exist, but it’s also personalized at the same time. Yeah.
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:43:24]:
It was such a big feature to bring that about, and, over time, your your measurements may change and optimize, And we’ve seen that over time with a few people. You’re not a stagnant being. You’re not a you’re not a robot. Thank goodness.
Nick Urban [00:43:44]:
Why’d you guys choose to use light to stimulate the brain rather than either isochronic tones, binaural beats, or, like, Haptic vibrations, something along those lines.
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:43:56]:
We tried a lot of things in the in the beginning, But photobiomodulation provides energy for the neurons. It’s it can go directly into very specific areas of the brain. Like with binaural beats or sChronic, you’re putting in information right into the ears, And if you have a lot of people have auditory processing issues, so it’s not as effective as people think. I think The measurement came out, like, 20 or 30% effective for binaural beats. And it depends on the frequency and what state you’re in, But you’re also putting that information in and hoping it goes to the right place. With the photobiomodulation, we can put exactly where we we want and provide energy for for those neurons. Right? So it goes in. It provides that the ATP cycle kicks up, and you’re able to produce those
Paola Telfer [00:44:58]:
frequencies. Yeah. It it has the the benefit of of impacting the mitochondria Directly and and then, triggering that ATP cycle. So and creating more oxygenation. So That’s that already makes it this great primer for brain training and has these additional benefits. And it’s also noninvasive. Like So even compared to, like you you mentioned, binaural beats, but let’s say compared to, like, other types of, electrical or electromagnetic stimulation, The light therapy is much more noninvasive.
Nick Urban [00:45:31]:
Yeah. And you’re not putting electrodes on different parts of your Head and face and shoulders and neck and everything either.
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:45:38]:
Right. And in the brain, a big part of Our brain operation is brain blood flow too. So the what we call hemodynamic effects. Right? So it’s gonna increase, blood flow, which also increases oxygen going into those areas too, and It increases vascular health. There was a big paper that just came out about that too. And these vascular cells are critical to maintain the The blood brain barrier and the overall cerebral health too. Metabolically, you know, we’re really tapping in to this and and the stimulation of the the cytochrome c, oxidase. It’s a key enzyme in the mitochondrial respiratory chain.
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:46:26]:
So this can lead to that increased ATP or adenosine triphosphate production, and and it’s the primary energy In the molecule, of in in the cells.
Nick Urban [00:46:38]:
One other part of Sens.ai that caught my attention Right off the bat, and it’s actually the reason I preordered it, what was it, must have been around April of 2022, was that you guys also have a whole, like, Functional brain assessment module built into that. Can you explain what that is?
Paola Telfer [00:46:58]:
Yeah. For sure. I mean, When I first started looking at doing, like, third party studies, you know, and and any any of the studies that, you know, Drew Drew shared with me in the early days too, I realized A lot of them were based on, event related potential measurements. These are called ERPs. And this is the The standard sort of methodology, like mathematics behind measuring the speed of brains processing. And so this is how In in labs, they would say whether something was was efficacious in helping the brain perform better. And so, when I looked at that, I thought, well, why why couldn’t we just do that? Why couldn’t we just pull pull that into into the headset? And so that was actually something that that I added, More recently, actually, like, in the last, maybe 2, 3 years, I think we were already on on Indiegogo at the time. And I was like, oh, we’re we’re gonna we gotta go full out with the ERPs because, we wanted to be able to share People’s progress with them.
Paola Telfer [00:48:02]:
Right? So what I would have wanted, you know, I always found it quite anticlimactic, with neurofeedback and really knowing if I had made progress. Right? Because, it’s very difficult to compare, the power of, let’s say, my my gamma waves with your gamma waves, it’s a very it’s a very subjective thing. There’s this The, your hair, the the skull thickness, there there’s all kinds of things. And people just have different amplitudes. So, really, how am I gonna be able how am I gonna be able to track, actual progress? And, because I’m investing time. Right? And so I thought this is something that we should Be transparent about, but also it helps us to learn and improve the system. So we decided to add not just auditory, ERPs, which would have been much easier, But to add a visual component. And so you see we have that controller that looks a lot like a Nintendo Switch.
Paola Telfer [00:48:58]:
And, and so there’s a button that’s left and a right button. And so what we’re able to measure with that, is is pretty much, the speed of the brain processing during a task. So the headset, with with our our custom electrodes, is actually measuring while you’re doing that test on on that controller. And so, you know, as much as we use the ERP, methodology, so the mathematics and the process for that, we don’t present clinical information. Right? So we’re not presenting, like, ERPs, But we are presenting information that anyone who’s into self optimization would find useful. So you can see when you When you notice let’s say there’s arrows. Right? So when you notice there’s a left arrow, you’re you’re aware of it. Right? Buying it as something important to to pay attention to, that’s another measurement.
Paola Telfer [00:49:51]:
When you actually decide I’m gonna push a button, there’s another measurement, that’s the speed of processing. You can actually we can measure the, your accuracy. We can measure, your reaction time, the actual physical reaction time, And, and and even your recognition of when you’ve committed an error and then your adaptation to that, which is fascinating. And so we we help you see that information and track that over time. And pretty shortly, we’ll be able to help you benchmark that within our community. And we’ve done that in a way that’s, novel because it’s mobile, but it’s also been done to 1 millisecond precision, which is A bit of a technical feat. So, we think that we think people will appreciate
Nick Urban [00:50:37]:
that. Yeah. That’s one thing I love that you guys do is you really are gamifying All of this because, yes, it’s cutting edge. Yes, it’s very useful, but it’s only as useful as you’re willing to do it. And by gamifying it, by adding leaderboards, Social leaderboards and personal leaderboards, you make it much more engaging and almost like an alternative, a fun alternative to video games.
Paola Telfer [00:51:01]:
Yeah. Well, I mean, the gamification the the games industry, you know, they’ve done some great work in figuring out what motivates us. Right? So we’re we’re trying to leverage that for, you know, games games for good. Right? Like, how do we actually improve ourselves and leverage tech, to make us More truly human versus the opposite way, which it can obviously be used for as well.
Nick Urban [00:51:24]:
One question I got from my community is that is how are you guys able to Really personalize everything without using and getting the data from a Personal brain mapping, which can be another layer that most people aren’t willing to do. It’s expensive. It takes time. And A lot of the people I’ve talked to said that that’s absolutely necessary, so you guys must have some trick up your sleeve
Paola Telfer [00:51:49]:
here. So yeah. I mean, a brain map, I guess, is is more, more clinical. Right? So the the objective of the brain map is to measure Your brain activity as compared to an average. So they’re comparing you to a database. They look at standard deviations, statistical analysis Based on standard. So I I think that’s still incredibly useful. It’s especially useful if you have, like, maybe a concussion, You know, or or some sort of a pathology? I think it’s quite necessary.
Paola Telfer [00:52:22]:
So how are you different from the norm? What we’re training is very different than Comparing to norm, we’re trying to optimize you holistically. And so there is definitely, a lot of things that you can be seen in your brain wave patterns, in your heart rate variability patterns, in your ERPs. There’s a lot of information qualitatively, that you can share that’s indicative of of what recommendations we can make for for missions, for example.
Nick Urban [00:52:52]:
I forget that you guys asked the qualitative information too about, like, personal like, what your lifestyle is looking like. And then also before each session, asking about How are you feeling in terms of energy, in terms of happiness, focus, like calmness?
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:53:05]:
Yeah. Well, the surveys are very important, and and, also, You know, we’re doing brain maps because I do them at my office. I’m looking for any Pathophysiology, typically. I’m looking for something. So they’re coming in with big issues. There it’s not just for meditation. It’s not just for Attention. So it’s a difference between going to Olympic training center and going to a rehab center For, you know, like a knee or a shoulder or something like that.
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:53:37]:
You know, it’s ours is not medical based in in that sense. I I think, you know, in the future, we’ll have a lot more data and and Be able to provide a a lot more refined information to the brain, but what we’re doing right now is
Nick Urban [00:54:00]:
phenomenal. And because you guys collect the qualitative and the quantitative for each person, You understand, like, the baseline and then how they’re progressing as they train so you can adapt the program. And I say you, meaning meaning your algorithms can adapt the training program as they they
Paola Telfer [00:54:18]:
go? Yeah. I mean, the other thing we’re doing that’s that’s unique there, and back to personalization is we’re we’re taking you know how there’s When you’re doing neurofeedback, there’s a baselining period in the beginning. Right? And we we we’re very transparent. We’re, like, we’re baselining. That baselining period is sorta like how you come in To your day. This is you right now sort of regular. Right? So if you wanna go straight into meditation during the baselining, totally cool. I do.
Paola Telfer [00:54:42]:
Just to To make to make the training that much more, difficult really. Right? But we’re taking baselines across multiple sessions. So that’s that’s pretty, unique because we can do that because we’re at home with you, and we know that it’s always you. And so that helps us to know, are you having a good day? Are you having a bad day? Can, you know, can we nudge you further? Do we have to take it easy on you today? Like, that that’s another level of that personalization.
Nick Urban [00:55:11]:
So when I answer those surveys, you’re actually, like, Adapting my session based on the way I’m currently feeling or report that I’m currently
Paola Telfer [00:55:20]:
feeling. Yes. I mean, if you don’t want to, then you can hit skip 2. But yeah. But if you report, yeah, for sure, that’s that’s, very, very important information for us.
Nick Urban [00:55:29]:
One One thing I had never actually looked into is what I’m supposed to be doing during these sections. And so I’ve been meditating, and I guess I’ve just been hoping that’s the right thing to do. But I also noticed a strange pattern that if I think about something, I let my mind wander, I don’t necessarily lose whatever I’m training. I don’t necessarily drop into an An unfavorable brain state, but also, like, sometimes I do. It seems like there it’s not correlated. Like, my thought isn’t necessarily correlated with the training outcome.
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:56:00]:
Now the the better you pay attention, your intention and attention during the session, which is meditation is Really, attention on on a single thing. Right? And what we’re doing is providing that feedback to that. Most thoughts don’t interfere with that, but the more distracted you get, the less attention you are on task And the less information you’re letting through because of that default mode network, this network that kinda works when we close our eyes. If that’s busy doing other things, you’re not getting all the information you can out of training. And and are you getting some? Absolutely, but You’re not getting you’re just not performing the way you could if you brought that back to the sound, brought that back to the visual, and just stay focused on that?
Paola Telfer [00:56:56]:
Yeah. So we can see the mind wandering in the spectrum, and, you know, it’s Quite different from individual to individual. Right? So that baselining period takes that into account. So we won’t, hold you to the same standard as, you know, like, a monk, let’s say, who’s meditating all the time. Like right? So there’s there’s variation, and we understand that. And so, but we’ll try and bring it down. Right? So the system will be, gentle when it can, And then and then it will nudge you when it thinks you can you can, rise to the to the occasion. So it’s it’s, it’s a bit of a of a nuanced, approach.
Nick Urban [00:57:37]:
You’re right. When whenever my mind wanders while I’m meditating, I do bring it back onto my breath or the audio, whatever it is that I’m Focusing on my training. But then I have noticed that if I’m in a noisy environment, for example, that makes training So much harder. It’s very difficult to maintain any, like, coherence. And I was wondering if that’s a good thing as it it’s like Putting on extra weight on the baseball bat before I swing, it makes training harder or if that’s actually, like, worsening my training. And I have a feeling it’s the latter where it’s actually, like, decreasing the quality of my training and not just making it harder, which is which could be a net positive?
Dr. Drew Pierson [00:58:17]:
Time into it. Let’s say you you’re just beginning. Get in a quiet environment. Learn these states. Once you’re adept at These then you could start stepping into other things around you, whether the guy’s throwing the tennis ball at you or, you you know, there’s a barista So breaking a glass over the corner, these things, if you can maintain your state during that, that’s that’s the key. That’s what you want, but Build up slowly to
Nick Urban [00:58:46]:
that. Well, so what are the common use cases? Why are people turning to Sens.ai? We’ve already talked about, like, athletic performance and, like, recovery from certain, like, brain impairments, like brain fog? It can improve sleep, especially the The deep calm in the evening for me works very well just to put me into a a relaxed a deeply relaxed state. But then also, like, for gaming, when people need to improve, like, their hand eye coordination and their reaction speed and all that, what like, what’s the gamut there of use cases?
Paola Telfer [00:59:21]:
So as you know, it’s it’s it’s gamified so it’s, it unlocks. So let’s say at the me level, the self care level, you kinda touched on it, there’s, after the assessment, o admissions will be recommended and it could be sleep based, it could be brain fog based, It could be attention based or stress management. And so that’s that’s sort of the the basics of of what is at the me level. But generally, again, with the ocean analogy, we’re we’re kind of creating a level of resilience. So we’re doing a lot of alpha, beta, you know, SMR training at that very initial stage, Creating the resilience that we can then leap off from to then do some more, meditative stuff whether it’s mindfulness or Before we get into anything that has theta or anything that has gamma. Right? We we we create that that base resilience. And partly, it’s it’s to build the, the skill set. So until you’ve done the focus training, Right? Which is that beta and SMR training.
Paola Telfer [01:00:28]:
Until you’ve done that, it’s gonna be very difficult to meditate. Right? So people who want You know, get into meditative stuff, well, there’s there’s just a a piece there that will really help you to to make that leap which is is, Is is that focus training. And then with the alpha training, generally, what we’re doing is we’re building that inner calm. Right? So that And that’s useful in in all those various things I just mentioned, whether it’s it’s, it’s in focus training or it’s it’s in sleep or or brain fog, etcetera. So we do that and we do the calm heart, which is again that that, nervous system balancing. So that’s that’s the beginning of it. And then in terms of breadth, then we now we can go into creatives insight states, mindfulness states, Clarity, which is the the gamma brainwave training. And then, there’s concentration, which is more of a focused attention, Single point of focus, more Tibetan style meditative training, those are all at the at the next layer of it.
Paola Telfer [01:01:31]:
And then there’s more layers on top, and now we start getting into more mixes of the frequencies, but also synchrony. Right? So getting all of those brainwaves, if you think of them like, different instruments in a symphony, getting them all to, play the same song In the same synchronized timing. And so now it starts to sound more beautiful. It starts to be more efficient as as a system.
Nick Urban [01:01:57]:
That’s a really important point, and I totally forgot about that, that I wanted to jump in and go straight into training gamma because that’s the brainwave Pattern that excites me the most, and I know with a lot of other systems they let you do that, but there can be potential issues or at least It won’t necessarily be as effective if you don’t have, like, the foundational alpha and coherence and resilience built up from training the other states.
Paola Telfer [01:02:25]:
Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And that’s why we took a systematic approach. We kinda rethought the whole thing from first principles. You know, my my cofounder, and he’s my CTO as well, Corey and I, we come at it from a techie perspective. Right? My Education as a as an electrical engineer. And we haven’t been in the neurofeedback field or the neuroscience field for a long time.
Paola Telfer [01:02:49]:
So we had really fresh eyes on it and just questioned all the assumptions. And part of that was, you know, you know, how do we, To systematize, it was really a matter of how do we make this the most efficacious for people’s investment of their time as possible. How do we get there faster? And and and it’s still, understanding the, the brainwaves inter inter, face with each other. Right? So you would have to get good at beta training before you could be good at beta training, this sort of stuff. And then let’s just take our time with it Because we want to springboard people to the end. Alright? And it’s not most efficacious for them to cherry pick programs as they go. There’s a more efficacious
Nick Urban [01:03:32]:
way. Yeah. I found when I first started out, the calm training was incredibly frustrating because I expected that because I’ve been meditating for A decade or so that I would jump in and have an easy time, but not quite. And then I about 10 sessions in, I started really getting the hang of Calm, But then I went over to Focus, and my very 1st Focus session just like that, I had it. It was very easy for me. So I was like, okay, I probably have Like, it’s easy, and I probably have a beta brainwave dominant state already, and then a gamma is also easy. And I’m, like, well, I probably should be focusing more on the Calm side because I need to establish a, like, stronger baseline there and probably less on the focus if it’s coming so easily.
Dr. Drew Pierson [01:04:16]:
Yeah. That’s probably why you you feel, really good with the Deep Calm setting
Nick Urban [01:04:21]:
too. Yeah. I thought Deep Calm was only for sleep. And then after talking to Paola, she made me realize that if this is really helping you, like, come into your work more level headed, your relationships more level headed, and Just show up better. You don’t need to just use this at night. You can use it during the daytime
Paola Telfer [01:04:39]:
also. It’s true. And we’ve had so much good feedback On DeepCom, that program in particular, which is just like a lower alpha, that we are we’re actually we’re probably going to put it into the main, star map. Like, so it is available for people outside of the sleep mission. So stay tuned. It’s on it’s on the road map, on the long list of things we’re We’re we’re doing to improve the app.
Dr. Drew Pierson [01:05:03]:
It’s one of my favorite. The the the analogy I would take is here in San Diego, you Get out on a board and go surfing for a bit. And when you’re done, you just have that deep calm, just that That flow, the the dude setting, I call it. And that’s the same effect of of the, Deep Calm program too.
Nick Urban [01:05:24]:
Yeah. As a athlete and a kite boarder, I can relate. And that is a a feeling that I chase often because It makes, like, the rest of the day just, like, flow and go by so easily that yeah. I I now understand that. And it’s it’s a difficult Situation that you guys are in where you wanna communicate what this does for most people so it’s clear, like, why you would train with this, but then at the same time, without excluding the possibilities of it working differently for different people?
Paola Telfer [01:05:51]:
And it’s good for people to have, you know, in this in this Time of there’s so many gadgets out there and everybody, you know, like, you know, myself included, I I I’ve been drawn to, like, the latest sort of shiny thing. We we don’t want people to, you know, have a sens.ai device and just put it on the shelf. Right? We want people to have a very clear intention. You know, I am going to put in the time to get the most out of it. It’s a it’s a very fully stacked neural stack already, that can have a broad application in my life. And I’m I’m gonna put some investment of time in this for for the journey. Right? So that that’s the kinda kind of, commitment that we’re looking for for for our community.
Nick Urban [01:06:36]:
Yeah. I think this is probably the best brain health, brain performance device I’ve ever come across. So thank you guys for creating it. And at the same time, if someone has 1 or they’re picking 1 up and they want to, as we’ve talked about several times, Amplify the results to do more to get better effects, whether that’s, like, stronger effects or it’s faster or more neuroplasticity from them. Do you guys have any, like, nootropic stacks or exercise modalities you like or anything else?
Paola Telfer [01:07:09]:
I’m sure Drew does. But before he does, I I do wanna say sometimes people don’t realize that there’s meditations in there as well. So as much as there’s the tech part that we’ve talked about, with the boost, the adding the meditation tracks to the boost will really help amplify the effects. So that’s the content part. What do you think, Drew? What what would you stack with it?
Dr. Drew Pierson [01:07:32]:
Nutrient wise, I have my go to’s. I I use a lot of wizard science, the Neuro Rx, Utopia Utopia from, bio optimizers. They do their stack. Yeah. Exactly. Piracetam is my favorite. Everyone has a different racetam they may like, whether it’s anorastam or piracetam or Any of the, more stimulatory rat racetams. Omega threes, adaptogens, lion’s mane is a huge one at night for me, and creatine, I’ll I’ll use a lot.
Dr. Drew Pierson [01:08:14]:
And then the Chinese herbs is needed specifically for me. But you start stacking those things, and they work Well, you know, you you get your sleep. You get your sun. You you you get your micronutrients. You know, the minerals are very essential too. Tried peptides before, but I haven’t seen as much of a shift, with those. Inflammation is is shifted, like, if you’re using BPC 157. I really like that in combination.
Nick Urban [01:08:50]:
Have you used any of the neuropeptides like CLINK or Cmax or Dihexa or any of those?
Dr. Drew Pierson [01:08:57]:
I’ve I’ve had clients use those. I I don’t prescribe them, but they they have been using them, and they really like those.
Nick Urban [01:09:06]:
Yeah. I think consistency, like the basics of health and wellness, as you just mentioned, boring, I know, but they’re also so important. And you’re like, if you’re not sleeping well, Your neurofeedback isn’t gonna be nearly as effective. And if you’re not moving at all, getting any form of movement will make a huge difference. And then after that, like, getting your nutrients and those. And then, like, as the final layer in the cake, for example? You could add some nootropics and targeted nutrients and get better effects.
Paola Telfer [01:09:33]:
Yeah. And it’s actually, you know, a night nice segue to to one thing we have coming up in our road map, which is, we’re gonna have a a community. And so doctor Mark, Atkinson and doctor Drew Pearson here, are going to be running that community. I think it’s gonna be on Mighty Networks. That’s what it looks like right now. But it’ll be called the Superconscious Collective, and it’s it’s a place for these sorts of conversations around, supplements and all the other things in life that are not the Sens.ai headset to help you optimize around it, and make sure that you’re you’re leveraging it as best as you can and optimizing your whole self. Right? So we have the the 2, the 2 best doctors I I know, running that, so I I hope the community enjoys that.
Nick Urban [01:10:20]:
Yeah. That’s the the community aspect is gonna be huge. And, like, the social leaderboards too, that’s also helpful, but, like, having more people talking about this kind of thing, I’m really looking forward to that. We’ll start to wind this one down. Are there any topics that you guys feel are important to cover that we haven’t talked about yet?
Paola Telfer [01:10:37]:
Could be up up and coming things. So one yeah. 1 one of the I mean, you know, we’re we’re always optimizing the app. Like, our our, you know, Small but mighty team is is very active and busy. So you might have noticed a lot of updates, as as we as we go and and roll out. So one as an example, on the signal check thing, maybe an interesting thing to to mention, we We noticed that a lot of folks that were in, like, let’s say, in in in apartment buildings, maybe older buildings, were having more EMF problems. So that’s something that we’ve recently adapted for, and sorted through. Right? So because our digital signal processing, which means, You know, we’re we’re looking at the at the EEG, and the EEG is this tiny, tiny, tiny, like, microvolt sim signal.
Paola Telfer [01:11:29]:
Right? So it’s like, I think it’s if we were gonna look at a double a battery, that’s, like, 1.5 volts roughly, we’re we’re looking at 500,000 times The size of the EEG, like, signal is that small. So so for us to be able to decipher that from eye blinks, The EMF, a jaw clench, all of that. It’s it’s a lot of digital signal processing. Right? That’s a lot of mathematics. And so we use a type of mathematics which is called wavelet math, you know, which which is is is more precise on timing, and we actually are doing that throughout the session. And so you’ll see pop ups if we lose signal because we decided early on that philosophically, we were going to be very transparent about that and never train noise. Right. So we’ll just stop, we’ll tell you.
Paola Telfer [01:12:17]:
But then through that process, you’re kinda learning and going, oh, okay. So I actually I can’t be like chewing gum during this. Oh, okay. I won’t do that. Right? Because we don’t want you to waste your time either. So so there’s been adaptations on that, and I think you’ll see, like, improvements that have already been made, on on that front. And, and I think that’s just really important to just just call out. From a road map perspective, one of the things we’re really excited about is rolling out group synchrony.
Paola Telfer [01:12:47]:
So that’s some that’s an area of of interest. It’s an area of of research. It’s something, we’re really passionate about, Drew, myself, and the and the team. And, and so that is, coming in in the in the near term. We’ll probably start with 2 people, you know, something that we we talked about, we kinda teased in Indiegogo. So that that is coming, imminently.
Nick Urban [01:13:11]:
In back to what you were saying before, the issue I see if you’re training with a really large quantity of electro smog EMFs In your environment is that it’s all of a sudden very difficult for the gear to determine what’s your brainwaves and what’s the background electromagnetic radiation. And therefore you might be training and getting very different signals and responses than you would if it wasn’t there? Like, you might be thinking you’re avoiding beta brainwaves, and you’re actually training beta beta brainwaves?
Paola Telfer [01:13:43]:
Yes. That that would be a risk if, Yeah. If we weren’t doing it the way we are doing it. That’s right.
Nick Urban [01:13:49]:
Well, it’s been fun hosting you guys so far. I have a couple more questions. But before we get there, How can people connect with you, follow your content and work, and pick up one of these awesome devices for themselves?
Paola Telfer [01:14:03]:
sYeah. Well, our our name is the same as our URL. So it’s sense sens.ai is how we say it, and it’s written s e n s dot a I. So that’s the best place to find us. We also have a YouTube channel, where you can learn more about us. I would encourage you to check out our blogs. We have quite a number of blogs that are quite in-depth, if you’re really interested to dive deep with us. And, Yeah.
Paola Telfer [01:14:31]:
I guess that’s those are the 2 main things. I mean, obviously, we’re on Instagram and and Facebook as well and LinkedIn.
Nick Urban [01:14:37]:
Mhmm. And I’ve also done a couple different reviews of this product. I did a written article, which will be in the show notes below as well as a YouTube video That will be released soon, so stay tuned for that. And I believe that Paula and team set up a code, and that’s, I think Urban, and it’ll save them 5% on their order. Now if there was a worldwide burning of the books, And between the 2 of you, you get to save the works of 3 teachers. Who would you choose and why?
Paola Telfer [01:15:10]:
I’ll take this. So that’s a huge question first, but, but I think There would be, if I was gonna look across the spectrum, I think I would say Nelson Mandela, you know, for his, the way he embodied leadership. Right? And and really from from what we need in this world, and and looking forward, it’s really about, reconciliation versus retribution. Right? That’s it’s a very powerful message that he sent. And I look at, you know, the work of Rudolf Steiner, who was the founder of the Waldorf, education system. My son went through Waldorf for from kindergarten to to grade 6, and, and I think He, Rudolf Steiner also contributed a lot to biodynamic, agriculture, and holistic medicine. So I think that was very, very important work. And, and then the other one that personally was a lot of impact for me spiritually and as a as a child, really left a mark.
Paola Telfer [01:16:16]:
It was, Paramahansa Yogananda. And so he he taught a lot about, you know, divine truth sort of transcending, dogmas, transcending culture, and really about, having heartfelt direct experience versus intellectual understanding of truth. Right. And that’s that’s really what what what we’re trying to bring forward with Sens.ai in that, we’re we’re trying to we’ve purposely gamified it, Right? So that it is, not pattern recognition with things you know. It suspends disbelief so that you can have this direct experience. And really that’s that’s an inspiration from Paramahansa.
Nick Urban [01:17:00]:
Beautiful. I got a question about the brain networks that Sens.ai trains and or effects, can you guys, like, really quickly run through that?
Dr. Drew Pierson [01:17:08]:
There’s a few different ones. So we train along the center line. And Along the center line is, like, 3 major technically, it’s a rich club network that really And that’s 12 major networks that all combine. Right? And default mode network, the salient network, and the executive networks are are some of the Three main ones that we really hit, and and those hit 80% of how we function. There there’s some Core correlation and compensatory mechanisms, you know, with with other networks, but those are the main ones that will really come up, Especially, you know, frontally in the frontal cingulate, as we call, and and and the posterior cingulate too. Having these communicate Makes all the difference. And as you start meditating and getting into alpha, we’ll we’ll notice alpha in the back of the brain here, and then we’ll see it move forward As you progress and and you get better at this, and then that creates a better bridge for synchrony and Those exquisite states that you get into where you kinda feel the top of the head kinda pop off. You feel, oh, I’m at 1 right now, And it’s an incredible feeling.
Dr. Drew Pierson [01:18:24]:
So as you develop that, the the headset really Has those areas to to stair step you all the way up into those
Nick Urban [01:18:34]:
states? Cool. Well, let’s wrap up with One thing that the sens.ai tribe doesn’t know about each of you.
Paola Telfer [01:18:43]:
So as much as I love brain stuff, I also love mountain biking, you know, skiing, hiking, and paddle boarding, and recently, started doing pickleball. So.
Nick Urban [01:18:58]:
I can relate. I grew up mountain biking mountain, and I do all those. And pickleball has recently, as of the last, like, 2 years, Come into my hobbies.
Paola Telfer [01:19:08]:
Dr. Drew Pierson [01:19:10]:
I I think for me, chocolate is my passion, and I the my next year, I’m a professional Chocolatier, but next year, I wanna become a master chocolatier. I wanna go to France and and, you know, make some good chocolate.
Nick Urban [01:19:26]:
Paola Telfer [01:19:26]:
Nick Urban [01:19:27]:
Is that milk chocolate or dark chocolate?
Dr. Drew Pierson [01:19:29]:
No. Dark chocolate. Yeah. I I I want the the those flavonols. I want those things that really Add to heart health, cardiovascular, and brain. I combine them with Chinese herbs and, their.
Nick Urban [01:19:41]:
Yeah. I do that too. I didn’t even realize that was a A thing, but I combine some adaptogens with 88% cacao dark chocolate. Although, don’t ask about the brand because I’m sure it’s not gonna be in the top Five most renowned brands of dark chocolate. Well, it’s been a blast hosting you guys today. Are there any final thoughts or takeaways you’d hope listeners leave here today
Paola Telfer [01:20:02]:
If people just want to, you know, take better care of, of their brain and maybe they they’re not not, going to buy a Sens.ai device. Right. There’s there’s meditative practices, that have a lot of scientific backing, right, that that they can start. But very simply, it’s also just, breath work, and in particular, heart coherence, you know, practices. So there and that can be incredibly simple. There’s free apps for that. There’s a a a company, that really pioneered this space Called heart math that you’re probably familiar with that has a much, you know, very very inexpensive device, that just does the heart coherence. And that by itself, can do a lot of wonders for your brain health and your your nervous system, which is, you know, paramount in in in improving the the brain health.
Paola Telfer [01:20:53]:
So just encourage people to kinda take the 1st step
Nick Urban [01:20:56]:
there. Wonderful. Yeah. I’m a fan of doing the free and super cheap things first. And once you Do those, or you wanna take a shortcut and get better results faster? Then you can look into the technologies and the different upgrades. But, I mean, that’s the way most people start is with, Most accessible, easy ways to start and then eventually progress from
Paola Telfer [01:21:16]:
there. Yeah. Actually, one more thing there is, doctor Mark Atkinson that works with us, He wrote a couple blogs, on brain health optimization tips, and that’s more lifestyle based and very specific on nutrition and things That, and I can I can make that available to your tribe, as a PDF? I think that would be a nice another nice first step.
Nick Urban [01:21:39]:
That’d be awesome. And I will put a link to that and everything we discuss in the show notes of this episode. But, Paolo and Drew, Thank you for joining me on the podcast. This has been a long time in the making since I ordered my Sens.ai, I don’t even know how many months it’s been, 18 months, 19 months ago, and I’ve had great experiences so far. So thank you guys for creating an awesome product and making this more accessible to the world.
Paola Telfer [01:22:05]:
Thank you so much, Nick. Thanks for your
Nick Urban [01:22:12]:
Subscribe and hit the thumbs up. I love knowing who’s in the 1% committed to reaching their full potential. Comment 1% below so that I know who you are. For all the resources and links, meet me on my website at mindbodypeak.com. I appreciate you and look forward to connecting with you.
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This Podcast Is Brought to You By
Nick Urban is a Biohacker, Data Scientist, Athlete, Founder of Outliyr, and the Host of the Mind Body Peak Performance Podcast. He is a Certified CHEK Practitioner, a Personal Trainer, and a Performance Health Coach. Nick is driven by curiosity which has led him to study ancient medical systems (Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hermetic Principles, etc), and modern science.
Music by Luke Hall
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