Mindfulness In Practice: Exploring Innerspace
With the ever-increasing demand to service patients that suffer from anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and the compounding stressors of everyday life, practitioners find themselves asking:
“How can I help my patients learn to become more accepting and aware of their experience in the present moment?”
Both mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) techniques have grown in popularity over the past few decades since their inception. Mindfulness has been touted as one of the most cost-effective, patient empowering therapies for a range of conditions centered around the importance of mental health. Setting the stage for positive personal transformation, some view mindfulness as Cognitive Based Therapy (CBT) on steroids.
Meditation has been extensively validated by leading neuroscientists for improving brain health and being able to literally change the structure of the brain. Furthermore, meditation has been shown to be as effective as antidepressant medication such as SSRIs in treating depression and is one of the most effective treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder.
A key concept in the approach of mindfulness-oriented therapy is awareness and acceptance first, followed by change. By empowering patients with the skills they need to become mentally agile, mindfulness helps our patients learn how to lean into the discomfort of their internal experience and gain control over their day-to-day reality — ultimately improving their clinical outcomes and overall quality of life.
Meditating With Muse: Improving Patient Outcomes
Beginning and maintaining a mindfulness practice can be difficult, even for those with the best intentions. For new learners, being able to identify the subtle differences in fluctuating mental states can be challenging — especially in order to begin to actively shift between levels of distraction and focus.
Muse allows patients to experience the benefits of meditation without the uncertainty that can be associated with traditional meditation practice. Additionally, Muse solves the common problem of adherence to practice by making meditation easy.
Meditation Made Easy:
- Gamification = engagement + enjoyment
- Tracking = accountability + motivation
- Real-time feedback = control + attunement
What The Professionals Are Saying: Muse In Practice
We’ve been fortunate enough to have several health care practitioners integrate Muse into their practice – with amazing results.
Dr. Tom Diamond Ph.D., RCC, BCN, Board Certified in Neurofeedback had the following testimonial:
“Muse is an excellent first step into both meditation and Neurofeedback. My clients are quickly able to learn Muse’s clear and well-organized program, and they are thrilled to see their scores rise as they gain meditation and relaxation skills. Muse makes self-driven brain change practical and enjoyable for many folks who would otherwise shy away from the difficult startup phase of meditation or the higher cost of traditional neurofeedback.
As a neurofeedback practitioner, the Muse has helped me develop a whole new series of lower cost, entry level sessions that significantly increase my marketing opportunities. And the Muse compliments my other services, motivating clients to grow into higher level services, such as brain map assessments and traditional specialist-driven neurofeedback. I also offer training for practitioners in my Muse-enhanced services.”
Here’s what Michael Decaire, MA, C. Psych., R. Psych., RP. and Dominika Zarzeczny, ND., BSc. have to say about how they have used Muse in practice and how they have seen it impact their patient’s treatment progress:
Meditating With Muse: How Does Muse Help?
Muse is designed to help novices learn to meditate and form the habit of a regular and rewarding practice. By being able to experience real-time feedback on fluctuating mental states, patients are able to progressively recognize the difference in mental chatter and calm focus at a much faster rate.
This paired with the ability track and visualize brainwave patterns, milestones, and rewards allows users to quickly overcome the learning curve that other beginners may struggle with.
Anchors and Attentional Loops
At its core, meditation relies on something known as the attentional loop. The meditator places their attention on an “anchor” — such as the sensation of their breath — to help them gently bring their focus back when their mind begins to wander.
As external distractions arise (ie. noise, motion, changes in temperature, bright lights) or internal distractions (ie. thoughts of the past/future, emotions, pain) eventually, the meditator becomes aware that their mind has wandered, and places their attention back on the anchor, and begins again. Each time a patient goes through the attentional loop, the brain’s ability to be aware of and control its own attention is reinforced and enhanced.
Meditation works without the assistance of a brain-sensing headband, but Muse makes the exercise more efficient by giving the user audio feedback to help them know when their mind has wandered. When the meditator loses focus, and their mind begins to wander, Muse senses the changes in their brain and the soundscape becomes more intense.
The increasing sounds serve as a cue for the user to investigate whether their mind is on task or not. It helps the user achieve meta-attention faster than they would otherwise be able to. That means that during a session with Muse, the user will go through more iterations of the attentional loop in a session thereby strengthening their neural pathways. Furthermore, the results at the end of each session help meditators quantify and understand how well they are doing from session to session.
Think Your Patients Could Benefit From Muse?
If you’re a practitioner who would like to improve your own personal practice or if you have patients that you think could benefit from a device that can quickly and effectively teach meditation techniques, join our professional’s program HERE. When you sign-up you’ll have access to 15% off our regular priced Muse headbands with your professional account.