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One boy, one passport, one million dreams. Gas & Gander is a blog capturing the essence of the brands and companies I love, the cities and cultures I embrace, the food and drinks I enjoy and most of all, the travel I experience. Most of all Gas & Gander is a super fun & informative guide with an abundance of information. Come and join me on my adventures at Gas & Gander. Currently based in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

INTRODUCING MUSE | THE BRAIN SENSING HEADBAND

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INTRODUCING MUSE | THE BRAIN SENSING HEADBAND

Sean Loughran

The wise words of Bhagavad Gita - When meditation is mastered, the mind is unwavering like the flame of a candle in a windless place.

I went into this review with a full education on meditation, three months of intense practice in the Northern Himalayas in Rishikesh, India. However, after leaving the beautiful surroundings and comfort of my ashram I found it incredibly hard to incorporate meditation into my daily life. I used every excuse in the book; too tired, didn't have enough time, couldn't be bothered, you get it, right? 

I came across Muse at BestBuy about 6 weeks ago. My initial thoughts were that it was some silly North American fad that just about anyone would buy into. My Indian meditation teacher would laugh at the thought of using a headband to reach a state of meditation. I decided to give it a go anyway with the initial thought of reviewing the product for 7 days, not even believing I would make it through the week. 21 days, 265 minutes, 1042 birds and 30,000 calm points of meditation later and I've become somewhat addicted to Muse. I feel as though I could write a novel about my experience with the brain sensing headband but I'll keep this as brief and to the point as possible. 

After downloading the Muse app on my iPhone and going through the fairly easy set up, and making sure the device was picking up my brain signals, my first 5 minute session began. I was slightly terrified when I heard the thunder in my ears, but noticed the more attention I paid to my breathing, the more calming the weather became. 

I tune in again after a massage and spa day at the Shangri La Vancouver and find it my calmest session yet, with more than 100 birds chirping (the birds chirp when you're in a calm state of mind). Wednesday March 23rd was one of my toughest sessions with the device, after a long hectic day at the office I have to admit that the idea of meditation just as I shut my laptop at 8:45pm was daunting, but I managed to make it through a ten minute session. The further into the meditation, the more frustrated I found myself becoming as my mind kept drifting back to work. The device surprisingly picked up on this, and that's when I decided that I would commit to using this device for an extended period. 

Saturday March 25th is another incredible meditation session with Muse. It's been one week since I first turned on the device. That day started out with a hike in Deep Cove and I think being surrounded by the beauty of British Columbia and taking in the fresh air really helped. It was my first 15 minute session and I managed to stay in a calm state of mind for more than 10 minutes. I feel extremely alert, focused and happy after this session. Stress level is at 0%.

March 27th is a true breakthrough for me, the most powerful session I've experienced. I felt as though I was in this state between being awake and asleep, focused on absolutely nothing but my breathing. It felt extraordinary and I slept like a baby that evening. Another amazing session takes place on April 3rd.

I could give you a daily diary of my experience with Muse but I know that would probably bore you to death, and you're probably thinking, how on earth does this device work? 

Muse is a powerful, compact, electroencephalography (EEG) system. EEG is a test that detects electrical activity in your brain by using small, flat metal discs (electrodes). Your brain cells communicate via electrical impulses and are active all the time, even when you're asleep. In common medicine, EEG tests are used to help diagnose conditions such as seizures, epilepsy, head injuries, dizziness, headaches, brain tumors and sleeping problems.

Muse have taken this innovative technology and invented a device that picks up live feed from your brain and records it on a chart on your cell phone. That may sound scary to some people, like it did to me after watching that VR episode of Black Mirror - but it's really not that scary once you get over the first session. The research on Muse is phenomenal and I recommend you check it out here. The device is being used by brain researchers at some of the world's top research institutes and has been featured globally by the highest ranked publications. 

Saturday April 8th and my morning starts at 8am at Integrative Wellness in Vancouver where I'm having some Naturopathic Assessments done. The one I'm most curious about as research for this post is the Nerve Express - a non-invasive test that assesses the balance of your Autonomic Nervous System. The ANS is divided into two parts, the sympathetic and parasympathetic, which have different functions. The sympathetic is responsible for triggering a fight or flight response and modulates our reaction to stresses. Alternately the parasympathetic allows us to rest, digest and focus more internally on body recovery. The first thing my consultant notices is that I'm reacting extremely well to the testing and she's convinced the meditation with Muse is playing a role in my positive results. 

Last but not least, just as I'm about to shut off my laptop and tune into Muse for an evening session, I wanted to make this point. I don't write about what I don't believe in and I'm not sponsored by Muse to give a good review of this product. Quite frankly, I wouldn't be writing anything about it if I didn't see the benefit. Since introducing Muse and meditation into my life again, I've found that I'm genuinely more relaxed and focused. 

Buddha once said "You cannot travel on the path until you become the path itself."

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