Brain Power: Improve Your Mind as You Age Hot
I must be getting cranky in my old age— oops, I’m not supposed to reinforce limiting beliefs or ageisms, according to this collection of tools and resources to enhance and improve your brain function. So let me start again. While there is nothing wrong with this book, and much that is right—-in that the information is useful and well presented—-the so-called “blueprint” for brain power is mostly common sense and commonly known guidelines for healthy living. In my own words, here’s the standard healthy living “prescription,” which is essentially what is covered in this book, and you tell me if you have never heard or read these tips innumerable times in other wellness-related contexts:
1. pursue new interests and learning
2. nourish your body and keep active
3. get quality sleep and rest
4. maintain an active social life and positive intimate relationships
5. learn stress management
To be fair, two strategies that might be considered age and/or brain power specific that are also included in Brain Power:
• don’t buy into ageism;
• do brain exercises for memory, speed, and recall, or play brain games, such as chess or bridge, and so forth
The one tool that I find exceptional within this book is in the penultimate chapter on brain synchronization, which co-author Kelly Howell created the audio technology for, called “BrainSync.” A free demo download of BrainSync is included via the book.
In a nutshell, brain synchronization is when the right and left brains “talk to each other.” The way this occurs is by taking two sine waves close to each other in frequency (but not the same), layering them in soothing music, and playing one wave sound in each ear (you listen to the music through headphones): the brain tries to “resolve” the differences between the waves, which results in the “binaural beat frequency”—this is not a sound heard with the ears, but a type of resonance the brain creates. When the brain entrains this “phantom frequency” it can affect mood and mental states—especially useful for achieving a deep meditative state/ relaxation response quickly and easily. (For more information about brain synchronization/ entrainment, see my editorial on Brain Beats.)
To summarize, this book is a fine review of general and practical tips for well being, but don’t expect much that is groundbreaking for improving brain power other than the above mentioned Brain Sync (keeping in mind that brain synchronization research too has been around for several decades, although there is much greater understanding of its benefits and applications today).