If relaxation is above all an art of living with oneself, it no longer needs to prove its benefits for our health and our lives. But it nevertheless makes the brains of CEA researchers bubble. They have just developed a headset to measure our state of relaxation. For what purposes? To better manage our states of stress? Well, not really...
Relax is presented by the CEA as the helmet that offers the best compromise between ease of use and accuracy of brain activity measurement. It is very simple to install which makes it usable by everyone. Based on a very innovative technology, Relax works without contact gel, and with precision in almost all individuals (depending on hair mass and scalp thickness). It measures brain waves but does not interact back on the organ. It can be used at home or in the office, and does not require a medical environment.
Thanks to the information provided by the headset and its application on a smartphone or tablet, the Relax user can check his state of relaxation. What's the purpose? In the future, the technology could be adapted to control computer applications such as virtual reality, video games, or assistance systems for people with disabilities.
This is the first system to measure brain activity by electroencephalography (EEG). (1) operating with dry electrodes (no contact gel). It is intended to be a new standard for developing and distributing medical (it is compatible with medical certifications) and comfort or leisure applications.
Although there is no scientific data on the specific subject of "EEG and relaxation", it is known that relaxation, like mindfulness meditation, can alter the EEG pattern of certain areas of the brain. How does it work?
Recording an EEG is completely painless and non-invasive. Its different patterns correspond to the differences in electrical potentials detected between the different electrodes.
Where does that difference come from? Mainly from the greater or lesser activity, depending on the region, of the neurons in the different layers of the cerebral cortex. But the contribution of each individual neuron is extremely small. In addition, the signal has to pass through several layers of tissue such as the meninges, skull bones and skin to reach the electrodes, which further reduces the signal. The signal perceived by the EEG can therefore only correspond to the simultaneous activity of several thousand neurons.
The EEG will never tell us what a person is thinking about (fortunately!), but it can tell us if a person is thinking, if they are just awake, or if they are asleep. More precisely, the amplitude of this signal (which translates into more or less deflection on the EEG trace) will be proportional to the degree of synchronization of nerve activity in the neurons of a given region of the cortex.
Indeed, when a group of neurons is excited simultaneously, their weak signals add up and become perceptible to the electrodes on the surface of the skull. Conversely, when the stimulations received by the dendrites of a group of neurons are not synchronized, the EEG pattern corresponding to the summation of these signals is weak and irregular.
We can say, roughly speaking, that when the cortex is engaged in the analysis of information coming from a sensory stimulation or an internal process, the activity of its neurons is relatively high but also poorly synchronized. Each small group of neurons being activated by different aspects of the cognitive task to be solved, the synchronization is therefore low and consequently the amplitude of the EEG is also low. Beta waves will then be dominant.
On the contrary, during deep sleep, the cortical neurons are no longer involved in information processing and many of them are additionally stimulated by the same slow and rhythmic influx from the thalamus. The strong synchronization then brings the EEG to the high amplitudes characteristic of delta waves.
We can thus understand how this helmet will allow a complete introspection of our brains to better adapt games, virtual reality and other addictions according to its state ...
After the Relax, all we have to do is buy the Melomind headphones, which relax us with a pair of headphones that play soothing ambient sounds and stimulate the brain.
How would you like to live zen, life under a helmet?!
(1) The electroencephalogram (EEG) was first developed in 1929 by the German psychiatrist Hans Berger (1842-1926).