Blog Post December 2011
Read about how Brain State Technologies CEO and Founder Lee Gerdes went from graduate of Doane College in Crete, Nebraska, to creator of a new life-changing modality that is helping people across the planet. Lee is featured in December 2011’s Doane Magazine as one of four “great role models” in an article titled “The Optimist.”
Writer Rebecca Svec shares that “these Doane entrepreneurs didn’t talk to us about a job, they talked about passion and offered their own definition of entrepreneur…someone whose work is intrinsic to life. Someone who has found purpose.” Be sure to watch Lee talk about his work in the video that appears at the end of the article.
President’s Report Edition Edition
W I N T E R 2 0 1 1
Lessons From the Field
“most people will ask (of a new product): what does a widget do? if i am asked what our widget does, i say: it helps people be the most human possible.”
BY REBECCA SVEC PHOTOGRAPHY ALLAN RECALDE
t h e
hat do you suppose would have happened, Lee Gerdes ’68 asks, if he had gone to an engineering school instead of liberal arts? He was all math and science when he graduated high school. But he ended up at Doane College in 1964, forced to take courses he considered “irrelevant and painful,” like art and music appreciation.
He was the only student in his advanced optics class. He can still do a spot-on imitation of the distinctive fluctuations in Professor Kenneth Rossman’s voice that forced Lee to stay awake in class and to absolutely love history. In four years’ time, the campus turned him into a professional observer, he says, someone who looks for answers rather than boundaries. “Without that, without Doane, I would not have had the dots to connect,” he says. His dots have helped more than 35,000 people worldwide now, and the number grows daily. Lee graduated with majors in math and physics and began what he thought was his journey in life. He rose to elite ranks in computer processing and software fields. As a vice president of solutions for a software company, his team came up with the consumer predictability algorithms for “If you like this book, you’ll like this one”—now a retailing technique for Amazon® and other online companies. In 1992, he was living a privileged life in San Francisco and wanting to give back. The night his life changed, he was helping with a church ministry program for people infected with HIV. Four youths assaulted him with a baseball bat as he locked a gate after the event. The attack left deep physical and emotional scars. He developed symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); sleeplessness, night sweats, outbursts of
anger, irrational fears and anxiety. He couldn’t stand anyone coming up behind him. He had a hair-trigger temper and tough standards for those around him. Over the next eight years, he tried cognitive behavioral therapy, physical therapy, antidepressants, neurofeedback, biofeedback, prayer and more. He was frustrated by his lack of progress. One day he decided to look at his problem through the lenses that were most familiar: math, physics and computer software. He wanted to know: Could his brain heal itself?
He began looking at his brain patterns through Electroencephalography (EEG). When he felt good, he charted his brain activity. When he felt bad, he recorded that, too. Distinctive patterns emerged as he analyzed the data. He set out to see what would change if the patterns from the “good day” dominated and the hemispheres of his brain were in balance. For him, the results were life changing and his quest for a cure com-
The scope extends to the other end of the spectrum, Lee said, to the “well who want to be better.” They use Brainwave Optimization to improve athletic performance and general well-being. The client list includes CEOs and celebrities, from professional golfers to NASCAR drivers. You may have read about Lee in O Magazine, Parade and USA Today; you might have caught an interview he gave on Fox News. Growing up in Auburn, Neb., his now 101-year-old mother told him his purpose in life was to find a purpose. Brain State Technologies is it. He has seen people cry when they see their brain patterns because it is often their first glimpse and validation of the problem that has plagued them. It gives him an almost physical pull to his work, he said, an urgency to discover how many people Brain State could help and to make the technology available to them.
Kurt undergoing treatment.
Case Study: KURT SAUER
sant headaches plagued the former Stanley Cup Player and Phoenix Coyotes defenseman. His four boys couldn’t hug him without hurting his neck. He couldn’t run any- more or sleep through the night. A line-up of specialists didn’t help. Then his wife saw a comment in the Arizona Republic
neck injury in a pre-season game brought Kurt’s career to a halt in 2009. The hit was minor, but inces-
from Dianne Price, Brain State Technologies’ public relations coordinator. That led to Brainwave Optimization sessions, and four months later Kurt telling the newspaper that Brain State had given him his life back. After three days of treatment he slept through the night. He began playing football again with his sons. “I was running for the first time again without pain…” The headaches diminished, too. Kurt hopes that the progress in healing the balance in his brain will lead to healing in the body, plete. At first, Lee viewed enough to enjoy life with his family and return to the ice at some level. “My dad always said we it only as something that didn’t know the power of our mind…This, that I’m dealing with right now, is the power of the brain.” had helped him. But when the process also helped his son, Peter, go from nearly quitting college to the dean’s list, both knew BrainIn 2004, he and Peter opened their company’s headquarters wave Optimization™ was something they needed to share. in Scottsdale, Ariz. “We always thought big, but had no idea Today, Lee’s company, Brain State Technologies, has more how big this could be,” said Peter, Chief Information Officer and than 150 affiliate offices in 17 countries. It has helped clients with Chief Operations Officer. Today, he said, Brain State Technologies insomnia and anxiety, veterans with PTSD, mothers with postis the largest provider of its kind worldwide. The office in Scottspartum depression, children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, dale encompasses a center for Brainwave Optimization sessions, people who were violent to others or to themselves, and clients technical support, development, education and research. Every ages 18 months to 101 years with other cognitive, emotional and 24 hours, affiliate offices automatically download clients’ physical challenges.
we come at it with a certain trust, a belief system that deep down we all want the same thing: happiness.
information to the central server. All things technical fall in Peter’s realm. His dad, with his Master of Divinity degree, is the “bluesky, big-picture person” Peter says. “I’m at ground level. My head is in the details to make it work.” Talk with Peter or any of the employees in the office and they collectively speak of a goal to help larger numbers of people rather than profit. Each has a story about the client they can’t forget. For technician Jenny Steil, it’s the young boy with OCD who pulled his eyelashes out; who could not sit still and was violent to teachers and peers. Her eyes fill when she talks about the visible changes after his sessions; his calm demeanor, his weight gain, the way he chatted about new friends. For Dianne Price, Lee’s fiancée and the company’s public relations coordinator, it’s her daughter, who suffered with Attention Deficit Disorder, sleeplessness, anxiety and seizures, but is now a happy, thriving new mom. For Lee, it’s a young man who came to Brain State Technologies through a recommendation from the state juvenile program; someone who had witnessed his father commit unspeakable crimes and had himself turned violent. “Look at this,” Lee says, holding up before-and-after photos of the young man. In the second picture, the teen’s heavy-lidded eyes and vacant look are gone. His smile is lit from within and he is finally living successfully with a foster family. In Lee’s eyes, the beauty of the process is its ability to provide what the individual’s brain most needs. There are no “averages” or one-size-fits-all solutions, he said. It’s non-invasive.
Lee’s son, Peter, serves as the CIO and CEO.
Its effects last, he said, because once the brain drops the patterns it no longer needs, it prefers to remain in the healthier state. “It doesn’t matter what is causing a problem. We put the brain in the state to fix it. We come at it with a certain trust, a belief system that deep down we all want the same thing: happiness.” The importance of treating clients without making them talk about a specific problem is best seen in soldiers with PTSD, he said, who don’t have to revisit the dark place they have been to get better. Brain State Technologies has helped more than 600 veterans so far. While he has removed the invasive part of treating the brain, he knows he can’t remove the stigma. It’s an issue in society that needs to be addressed, he said, sitting up tall in his chair and talking with his hands about this subject that is his passion.
Technician Jenny Steil monitors brainwave patterns during a session.
“In our culture if our arm is damaged, that’s visible. People will help me with that. But if I have a mental illness they will shun me and isolate me. The difference is we see and understand the arm, we don’t see and understand the brain.” His profession does not come without some critics. He has converted many with numerous clinical trials. A study with the Nevada Department of Corrections working with violent inmates had a significant success rate, Lee said. None of the inmates repeated violent behaviors and all furthered their education. Current trials include an insomnia study and a migraine study at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina. The Wake Forest studies are headed by Dr. Charles Tegeler IV, M.D., a neurology professor who completed Brainwave Optimization as did his daughter. It helped his daughter with chronic migraines and ceased his problems with premature ventricular contractions (PVCs). “It has been a delight and honor to know and work with Lee. I look forward to making discoveries and hopefully changing the way some patients are treated. If justified by the results, my hope would be that untold numbers of people might one day benefit from this therapy,” Tegeler said.
What is Brainwave Optimization?
Brainwave Optimization™ is a process that uses advanced neuro-technology to help people overcome brain-related barriers that prevent them from performing at their highest mental, physical and emotional levels. Scientifically known as HIRREM (High-resolution, Relational, Resonance-based, Electroencephalic Mirroring™), the process was discovered and developed by Lee Gerdes, founder and CEO of Brain State Technologies, a company based in Scottsdale, Ariz. During brainwave optimization, EEG sensors are affixed to the scalp and connected to a computer that detects brain energy, which is then broken down by the computer into frequencies. The computer then reflects the brain’s own optimal wave patterns back to it in the form of musical tones, played back to a client through ear buds. As the brain resonates with the transmitted sounds, changes occur in the neural network, returning the brain to the balanced state Lee believes is lost when a person undergoes physical or emotional trauma. Clients generally take two 90-minute brain optimization sessions per day for five days. It costs about $2,000, but varies with the number of sessions required. It sounds intimidating, but for clients it’s as easy as spending 90 minutes in a comfy recliner, wearing sensors, and then earphones, hooked to a computer. The headphones play the brain’s wave patterns back in musical tones that sound like deep timbres and soothing chimes.
Lee hopes Brain State Technologies’ vast database of related brainwave patterns will provide valuable research data to medical and psychological treatments of the future. His research shows distinct patterns in the brain frequencies of people with certain behaviors, a subject he devotes space to in his 2009 book Limitless You: The Infinite Possibilities of a Balanced Brain. It frustrates him when people talk about Brainwave Optimization only with the fear of something new. “There is nothing to lose if you are a soldier coming back from Iraq who has been through every talk therapy and drug there is, or his family who becomes hopeless when he gives up. There is so much to be gained for all of us when one of us is working from our greatest gifts—and that requires an optimized brain.”
Case Study: WYNONNA & NAOMI JUDD
f all the celebrities on Brain State Technologies’ client list, none have publicly demonstrated the power and scope of brain conditioning quite like Wynonna and Naomi Judd. The Judds, who first rose to fame as a country music duo in the 80s, came to Lee and Brain State Technologies in 2008. They took Lee on a journey, too, from mentions in O Magazine and People Magazine, to his appearance on The Judds’ reality TV show.
Case Study: U.S. SOLDIER
ane’s” son didn’t lose life or limb while serving in Afghanistan. But that didn’t mean he came home whole. Combat with the Marine Corps took something away. Her son “Adam,” the comic in the family, the artistic and easygoing one, was different after eight months in Afghanistan. He was jumpy in crowds; had nightmares, cold sweats and angry flare-ups. Despite their close relationship, he answered every inquiry with: “I’m fine.” He reached a breaking point one day and she convinced him to try Brainwave Optimization. As an employee at Brain State Technologies, she knew the company had successfully treated hundreds of soldiers with PostTraumatic Stress Disorder. She convinced her son to take eight sessions while home on leave. He started talking about feeling good, then happy, then focused and no longer depressed. He started sleeping again, without nightmares. She knew he would be all right the day he told her he got in trouble with his sergeant for acting “too happy.” “I can’t even talk about this without falling apart because I think it could have gone in a very different direction. I can’t thank Lee enough,” said Jane.
Lee with Wynonna and his fiancée Dianne Price. There’s no question, Lee said, working with the highprofile pair in front of cameras added an element of stress, but it raised the stakes in a good way. Wynonna credits Brain State for her success in dropping 55 pounds and quitting stress medications. “How did those things happen?” Lee asks. “I wasn’t working with Wynonna to lose weight, just like I was not working with the soldier to remove his phantom pain, or the NASCAR driver to increase his reaction time. But it all works for the same purpose: to give the brain a chance to balance.”
With the German publication of Limitless You: The Infinite Power of a Balanced Brain, word is spreading of author Lee Gerdes’ work toward providing an advanced neuro-technology that brings the brain into balance and harmony. In this article for Visionen, a magazine about spirituality and health, writer Christian Salvesen connects Gerdes’ work with both the emerging science of brainwave measurement and neuroplasticity and the spiritual views of German theologians Paul Tillich and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Limitless You can be purchased in German language from www.luechow-verlag.de.
CEO and Founder
Brain State Technologies
Scientists are literally salivating over this week’s near-discovery of the so-called “God Particle” at the CERN Hadron Collider in Switzerland. Though the reasons for the search for this particle are inordinately complex, if the hints of the particles so far discerned are confirmed, it will validate what is known as the Standard Model of Physics. What we theorized will have proven correct.
And so it is with Brainwave Optimization. Though we don’t always understand why, we have mounting evidence that when we apply EEG sensors to your scalp and play back to you the sound of your own brain, the Brainwave Optimization works in the way we predicted. Some of the evidence: Sleepless people sleep. Addicts no longer crave. Learning challenged children become capable students. Depressed people smile. Although we are determined to understand the reasons the process works, as humans we just don’t have all the necessary knowledge.
Nobel Laureate physicist George Smoot was once asked if he thought that the most basic questions about life would ever be answered. He responded, "It depends on how I'm feeling on any particular day. But every day I go to work, I'm making a bet that the universe is simple, symmetric, and aesthetically pleasing—a universe that we humans, with our limited perspective, will someday understand."
My quest for understanding the seemingly incomprehensible way in which the brain can be trained began over two decades ago when I was hit in the head with a baseball bat. I happen to be a curious type–a computer scientist, data analyst, and spiritual being. From the moment of the attack, I began to seek a new understanding of myself, my brain, my life, and my purpose. It all plays out in my book, Limitless You: The Infinite Possibilities of a Balanced Brain.
Today my work is to help people improve brain functioning: to think more powerfully, see more clearly, love more openly, and transcend boundaries. Every day I analyze brainwave patterns. Most times, nature’s patterns make sense. Sometimes they raise huge questions.
Often I find myself comforted by a strong sense of "knowing" even when full rational explanations are absent. I understand and accept that the data I sometimes see is apt to be driven, in part at least, by a kind of energy that may still be beyond human grasp.
Some of us call this “intuition.” Others of us know that intuition is really just the brain working faster than our ability to comprehend. The feeling of “knowing” based on intuition is more than just a feeling–it is something that is detectable and measurable in brain patterns. It’s a dynamic that moves more quickly and more powerfully than we can see and clearly measure or control.
I also connect the “God Particle” discussion with the placebo effect–the beneficial effect that arises from a person’s expectations concerning a treatment rather than from the treatment itself, as well as the opposite or negative effect.
If a person is highly invested in negative judgment and actively engaged in gossip, complaining, or I’ll-be-happy-when thinking, their mind and body don’t have the same opportunity for a positive response. Negativity can cause the brain pattern to be less receptive to “God Particle” energy and more entangled in “me” energy, which is ultimately isolating.
The positive psychology movement of the last decade has merit in that it allows our brain to be more receptive to that “God Particle” (or unknown) energy and unleash the peace and joy that exist within.
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