We offer you three research topics in this section of our website:
- Discover Why Relaxation is so Critical to Our Well Being
- Explore the Benefits of the Alpha Brain-Wave State
- Examine How Suspension or Flotation Promotes Deep Relaxation, Learning and Healing: In Other Words, Take A Flying Float and Relax!
We are applying this research to our suspension swing study with children, adolescents and adults within the Autism Spectrum including Asperger’s Syndrome. Our current findings are on Our Alpha Wave Environment Autism Spectrum Research pages.
Interesting Finding: One finding points to the importance of the provider whether it be the parent, therapist, teacher—whomever to also acquire alpha wave state for increased communication and learning WITH the person within the Autism Spectrum.
Hopefully, the next time you reflect upon this research, YOU will actually be experiencing it for YOURSELF in your very own AWESOME suspension swing!
Alpha Wave Engineers *Suspensory Organized Methods Environment.
*The term “suspensory” was created by combining suspension and sensory as it relates to the swing’s sensory integration benefits.
1. Discover Why Relaxation is so Critical to Our Well Being
Relaxation research tells us that relaxation is our natural state of being. The more familiar we become with being relaxed, the more we will be able to calmly handle events in our everyday life. We will start to become more aware of situations and circumstances that cause us to contract and become frustrated and we will be more able to choose calm and peace rather than react or be at the mercy of our stress-filled environment.
Our stress filled environment comes from a number of sources including information bombardment and today’s hectic life style and pressures. We spend most of our time in a state of mental and physical tension or dis-ease. We tend to hold our breath, unknowingly clench our jaws, frown, and tighten our muscles. The consistent contraction of our muscles drains our energy, causing fatigue. As a result of being tense, we suffer from bad backs, headaches, poor digestion, heart problems, and a string of stress-related illnesses.
“We now believe 80 percent of illness is stress-related, that whatever your genetic weak link, stress will trigger it,” notes Richard Brown, M.D., associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University. He adds, “Going to a spa is wonderful, but until you teach yourself ways to achieve peace of mind from the inside, you’ll remain vulnerable to stress.”
Thus, each time we take in a worrisome sight, sound, or piece of information, we activate the sympathetic nervous system, triggering the fight or flight response. The results of this activation are increased heartbeat, tensing of the muscles, blood pressure and blood sugar levels rise, the digestive system and immune system are suppressed, and the body is flooded with the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These reactions are the exact opposite of those connected with the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes relaxation and calm. Scher, H. (April 2007). Cultivating calm. Good Housekeeping, 140.
Most people find it difficult to relax because they have never learned how to do it. Although there are volumes of simple meditation and deep breathing techniques that relax the mind, body and spirit, many people still feel that these techniques are time consuming and sometimes hard to follow or remember.
Our Alpha Wave Environment suspension swing automatically solves the relaxation “dilemma” for you.
Our Alpha Wave Environment suspension swing brings you to an immediate state of relaxation thanks to the zero gravity effect of the swing’s design. The womb like hug gives a sense of security and lightness recalling the time when you were in the womb. The swing’s atmospheric suspension and the gentle swinging or cochlear movement produces an alpha wave state. This state occurs when the brain emits slower electrical patterns, the brain’s most relaxed state of wakefulness. Once the body is suspended in the hammock chair, most muscular activity ceases, a state of relaxation presides and the mind follows in a state of calming alpha wave. This relaxed alpha wave state allows the neuroelectrical system and blood circulation to function efficiently. Alpha waves produce tremendous therapeutic benefits by relieving stress related conditions causing fatigue and illnesses.
As the body starts to relax, certain physiological changes occur—pulse rate lowers and muscular tension releases. Relaxation brings mind and body into balance, reduces fatigue, releases and expels toxins and revitalizes the entire system. Studies on sleep research show that a short period of deep relaxation is more effective in reducing tiredness than an entire night of restless sleep.
Daily Health Assurance: We are dedicated advocates of relaxation as an essential part of your daily self-care ritual. The mental, physical and emotional benefits of being in a relaxed alpha wave state generates your easiest and least expensive health assurance. In effect, your alpha wave environment suspension swing promotes your daily health assurance.
2. Explore the Benefits of the ALPHA BRAIN-WAVE STATE (8-13 Hz)
Alpha waves are brain waves between 7.5 Hz and 13 Hz that peak around 10 Hz. The beginning of relaxation occurs during this wave length. The graph of the alpha state show high frequency, low amplitude brain waves. During alpha awareness the mind is relaxed and alert. It is a state of passive awareness, composure, and of physical and mental relaxation. Emotional sensations in the alpha state include a sense of well being, pleasure and tranquility. Alpha appears to bridge the conscious to the subconscious.
- Improves your mental processes – concentration, clarity of thinking,
decision making, memory
- Calms your body and mind while it maintains alertness
- Stimulates imagination, intuition and higher awareness
- Allows you to sleep better, fall asleep easily, stay asleep through the night
- Lowers levels of cortisol – keeps you healthier by boosting your immune system
- Alpha waves increases levels of DHEA and Melatonin – slows aging process and improves sleep
- Alpha brainwaves increases learning ability, improves memory
Alpha brain wave production is the hard drive of our brains. One consequence of the modern stressful lifestyle is that we forget how to produce alpha brain waves. With an emphasis on multitasking we easily fall victim to anxiety and stress-related diseases. Anxiety and stress reduce the efficiency of our immune systems. People who produce more alpha brain waves experience less anxiety and their immune systems appear healthier.
Increased Creativity: Scientists studying highly creative people have found increased alpha brain waves. The brains of creative people can generate alpha brain wave bursts, and do so when they are faced with problems to solve. Any time you have an insight or an inspiration, you know your brain just produced more alpha waves than usual. Increased creativity is helpful for everyone. One way to increase creativity is to increase alpha brain waves.
Peak Performance: Peak performance is another activity for which alpha brain waves are helpful. Recently, sports scientists have shown that increases of alpha brain waves precede peak performance. One key difference between novice and elite athletes is in their brain waves. Just before their best free throws, an elite basketball player will produce a burst of alpha waves. Just before their best strokes, elite golfers will produce a burst of alpha waves. The alpha brain waves seemed to be essential for peak performance.
Gazing Upward and Focusing Attention to Induce Calm: When an individual is in the normal awake state of Beta, they are consciously processing thoughts. This is the thinking and worrying state that many people find themselves in when it is time to sleep. Gazing up induces calm and focuses awareness by giving the mind something simple to deal with, a cognitive distraction. Parallels can be seen in hypnosis and meditation. The hypnotist instructs the subject to focus his or her attention on an object or fixed point, such as a spot on the ceiling. Focusing is also important in meditation – it is extremely beneficial to have the eyes physically looking at the spiritual eye while meditating. Simply stated, meditation is focusing the front part of the brain on a mundane task so the rest of the mind can be at peace. This is the precursor to an Alpha state.
Raise the Eyes – Change the Mind State: Though they did not know exactly how, the ancient spiritual ones knew that the act of looking up altered the state of consciousness. Ancient wisdom tells us to “look up to the spirit and find peace”, which also has a literal interpretation.
Swami Kriyananda wrote in the Art and Science of Raja Yoga, “The position of the eyes suggests the general portion of the brain in which the consciousness is centered. In particular, when the mind slips toward subconsciousness and the energy becomes centered in the lower brain, the eyes tend to look downward; when one is involved in the world, or otherwise active on the conscious level, the energy becomes centered more in the mid-brain, and the eyes tend more naturally to look straight ahead; and when one enters a state of super consciousness, the eyes are drawn automatically to gaze upward.”
Alpha Wave Environment Accelerators: This research, triangulated with current brain research, is applied as part of the Alpha Wave Environment Accelerators where visual arts are displayed on the wood or metal bar above the suspension swing, thus inviting the person to lift their eyes up toward the art work triggering brain activity to enter alpha wave state.
Examine How Suspension or Floatation Promotes Deep Relaxation, Learning and Healing: In other Words, Take a Flying Float and Relax!
In concert with research on floatation, including Michael Hutchinson’s findings in The Book of Floating, parallel benefits are found with our suspension swing’s floatation, or zero gravity characteristics that create alpha brain waves.
The alpha wave suspension swing creates an experience of nearly total weightlessness. By reducing gravitational pull, tension on our musculoskeletal system and central nervous system are relaxed liberating and redirecting energies that promote access to the alpha state.
Floatation and the ensuing alpha state promote the healing process by decreasing the production of lactic acid and adrenaline while increasing the production of endorphins. This accelerates rehabilitation and redistribution of oxygen and nutrients, reduces blood pressure, pulse, and heart rate, and lowers oxygen consumption.
Neurochemicals: The brain secretes numerous neurochemicals, which influence our behavior. These neurochemicals secrete hormones that affect our sense of happiness, anxiety, depression, sleepiness, etc. Each individual produces different amounts of these various neurochemicals. Individuals, for example, who create more endorphins, or natural opiates, experience more pleasure as a result of a given experience than those individuals who create fewer endorphins.
Experiments indicate that floatation increases the secretion of endorphins at the same time as it reduces the levels of a number of stress-related neurochemicals such as adrenaline, norepinephrine, ACTH, and cortisol. These substances are attributed to causing conditions as tension, anxiety and are related to ailments such as heart disease, hypertension, and high levels of cholesterol.
“I Feel Like I’m Back in the Womb: Once in the suspension swing, people frequently remark, “I feel like I am back in the womb.” This sensation coincides with enclosure memory recalled in the suspended state and is also attributed to a neurochemical theory of the “return to the womb.” This sense of release, comfort and contentment originates from our prenatal period when we may have experienced a sensation of bliss since our expectant mothers produced up to eight times the normal endorphin levels.
Increasing Right Hemisphere Functions: As shown in the graph, the left and right hemispheres of the brain are specialized and process information differently. However, in complex tasks, both hemispheres are engaged. Recent research indicates that suspension or floating increases right side function. The state of suspension reduces external stimuli therefore allowing more focus on the specialized right side areas and the processing of internal messages.
Alpha Wave Accelerator Swing Cover: Reducing external stimuli in the suspension swing is enhanced by using our swing cover found in our Alpha Wave Accelerators. The swing cover creates a peaceful, organic enclosure where calming alpha waves and reduced external environment stimuli help create internal equilibrium resulting in profound relaxation that produces positive physical and mental effects.
Homeostasis, Our Natural State of Equilibrium: Through suspension therapy, we are seeking to recreate our natural state of homeostasis which is the optimal zone of equilibrium, balance and harmony. When we consider the mind and body as a single system, we understand that this optimal state of balance is more easily achieved by returning the body to a state of homeostasis. This is organically achieved in the swing by creating alpha waves and reducing the external stimuli that often disrupts our state of homeostasis, our state of balance and harmony. The mind and body’s constant struggle to adjustment and achieve equilibrium while exposed to the outer stimuli of noise, lights, and movements—of external pressures is quietly released by just stretching out in the lightly enclosed swing.
Thus, with reduced external stimuli, focusing and learning are enhanced. These two aspects are key in communicating with persons who have autism because now we are able to calmly devote our time together to augment social, cognitive and language development.