A short history of HEG and the inventor:
This product has been around for 10-15 years but I purchased it around 5 years ago after shopping on Dave Asprey’s website the Bulletproof store. It was branded at the time by Dave as “The Focus Brian Trainer”. Since then it’s founder Johnathan Toomin has had production problems and has gone off the radar causing the bulletproof store to halt the selling of the product in early 2015 . It can still be purchased online at various outlets though one of which I’ve linked at the end of the blogpost. These are becoming harder to find online due to production being lowered but I still believe regardless of the diminishing media attention and hype around it HEG is one of the most underrated biohacks of our time and something that Im certain everyone reading this can benefit from.
How did HEG Brain Training come to fruition?
Inventor and neuroscience graduate Johnathan Toomin was inspired by his grandfather Hershal Toomin who invented the “technique” of Hemoencaphalography . He (Johnathan) then planned to move to Bengaluru in India in order to outsource production which would half the cost of the device to $500 this most probably never came to fruition as the price is still at $800-900 with one website in the UK even selling it at £1500. Make sure you purchase off the US site as its far cheaper even when you take into account shipping cost and import tax. For purchasing at the best price we recommend the link below at the end of the blog post .
How does HEG differ from other forms of Neurofeedback?
Most neurofeedback is based on measuring EEG or brainwaves. In Hemoencaphalography (HEG) neurofeedback, we’re not looking at the brain’s electrical waves rather HEG detects changes in the brain’s prefrontal cortex. The result is a much simpler feedback signal that’s easy to follow for anyone. It goes up when the brain activates (increases it’s blood flow to the prefrontal cortex) and down when the brain loses focus and deactivates (blood flow decreases in the prefrontal cortex) . None of the complex hard-to-interpret rhythms of EEG, and no difficult decision as to exactly what to train. More blood to the prefrontal cortex of the brain has many benefits with this area having been associated with being responsible for: planning, complex cognitive behaviour, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behaviour.
What actions to take prior training in order to get the best out of your Neurofeedback sessions:
As with EEG you need to really be disciplined with your diet prior to commencing HEG brain training if you want to see good results. This means a strict diet that can support good cognitive function. Make sure you cut out ALL dairy, gluten, alcohol and sugar which commonly can impair prefrontal cortex function and thus impacting on your results. I recommend following the bulletproof diet infographic: https://blog.bulletproof.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Bulletproof-Diet-Infographic-Vector.pdf
So how do I set it up?
Hemoencaphalography is not difficult to do, it may sound complicated but the typical neurofeedback newbie can pick it up within 5-10 minutes. Setup is quick and easy and can be done by anyone with or without a neuroscience background.
Step 1. Install the HEG Life game ( literally took me about 5 minutes) and plug the HEG into your laptop using the usb that will be supplied to you.
Step 2: An image will come up on the screen (usually a man walking up and down) and you will need to focus and put attention onto it to ensure the screen moves forward. When it moves forward more blood flow will go to your prefrontal cortex when it goes back it’s a sign that blood is leaving the prefrontal cortex. For a video illustration of how this works please look at the video below at the 22:30 mark :
Step 3: Do this for around 3 minutes per site on the prefrontal cortex to begin with EVERY OTHER DAY (as overtraining can cause serious negative side effects) after a month you can move it to 5 minutes per site. As with most biohacks its important to start slow and build up a tolerance .
- Only one reading to control. Unlike other forms of biofeedback HEG just controls one reading which is the percentage of additional blood going in and out of your prefrontal cortex from the time which you started your session. That’s it! Zero other variables which you have to worry about making it fantastic for beginners who fear they will get too overwhelmed by the complexity of neurofeedback.
- Easy for beginners to pickup. HEG doesn’t require much to get the ball rolling. Setup will take around 15 minutes including installation.
- Can help to mitigate migraines in some individuals (for references on such studies see the Youtube link above)
- Increased blood flow to the prefrontal cortex which means better concentration and better focus.
- Helps combat depression and anxiety.
- Great “Warmup” for EEG, the two used in conjunction can have great benefits in enhancing cognition.
- Though the headband does look a bit a flimsy it’s actually well built and is sturdy enough to last a long period of time I’ve personally had mine for 5 years .
- Can be used infinite times for friends and family. There’s no brain mapping required like with EEG and no “limit to 200 sessions” like with Neuroptimal. .
- Can be used all ages.
- Hefty price tag compared to other biohacks coming in at around $850 UK readers will obviously have to pay a steep import tax in addition to this and high shipping costs.
- Lowers Alcohol tolerance in some people of which I can say I personally felt that hangovers got worse after using this device but it’s an unfortunate trade-off some will need to make. I also strangely experienced getting drunk quicker after HEG sessions. So I think it’s best to cut out alcohol while using HEG.
- Overtraining can have some negative side-affects these include headaches and anxiety. Make sure you don’t overtrain and over stress the brain as I said before start low with 3 minutes per site and then move up to 5 minutes per site every other day after around a month’s training. Far too many people overtrain when it comes to HEG and it’s just not worth it.
- You do actually have to “work for it” and learn to train your brain and this does require effort to focus on the screen in front of you unlike EEG which requires 0 mental effort during a session.
We all want the blood flow in our prefrontal cortex due to the obvious benefits of it especially in our hectic lives which are driving our brain’s insane with decision fatigue and destroying our willpower reserve one Instagram click at a time . HEG is simply the best at replenishing willpower reserve and if you have a spare $800 lying around I would seriously contemplate buying one of these. The cumulative effects of being: More organised, less tense/more composed and able to concentrate more will yield more than $800 worth of benefit in the long run. Despite it being somewhat forgotten about in the biohacking community I still think it’s the best “biohack” out there in terms of returns of investment and should be seriously considered by all.
To buy visit (this was the best price we could find and we are not affiliated with the website in any shape or form) : https://www.eegsales.com/HEG/nIR/Peanut/kit.htm