The exact physiological mechanisms to explain how exercise improves stress have not been delineated. Human and animal research indicates that being physically active improves the way the body handles stress because of changes in the hormone responses, and that exercise affects neurotransmitters in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin that affect mood and behaviors (9,11). In addition to the possible physiological mechanisms, there also is the possibility that exercise serves as a time-out or break from one’s stressors. A study that tested the time-out hypothesis used a protocol that had participants exercise but did not allow a break from stress during the exercise session (5). Participants were college-aged women who reported that studying was their biggest stressor. Self-report of stress and anxiety symptoms was assessed with a standard questionnaire before and after four conditions over 4 days. The conditions were quiet rest, study, exercise, and studying while exercising. These conditions were counterbalanced across participants, and each condition was 40 minutes in duration. The “exercise only” condition had the greatest calming effect (5). When participants were not given a break from their stressor in the “studying while exercising” condition, exercise did not have the same calming effect.
Hemispheric synchronization: Whether it’s optimal or suboptimal to operate in a state of hemispheric synchronization remains unknown. Some speculate there are numerous benefits of brain waves operating in “sync” as a result of entrainment. There may be an increased communication between the right and left hemisphere of the brain – which could improve certain functions. However, it is also important to realize that increased hemispheric synchronization may not be as beneficial as many have speculated.
This unique session works the opposite to most sessions. It attempts to to ‘dis-entrain’ the brain, breaking stuck thinking patterns and allowing a fresh way of thinking. The recording contains random and chaotic isochronic tones spanning 7.83 to 18 Hz, played over a background of gamma-embedded noise. Use this session to sit back and allow fresh ideas and new connections to form. Finishes at the illuminating14Hz sensorimotor rhythm frequency.
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