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Relaxation is becoming increasingly important in modern stressful times. Besides special psychological practices or consuming pharmaceuticals, one can achieve a more relaxed state also by applying an appropriate magnetic field stimulation of the head (low-intensity rTMS). Following the entrainment model, we did the research using carefully chosen frequencies of modest MF intensity that followed the principles of clinical trials. The testing was done by electrophysiological methods and VAS. The results demonstrated an objective relaxing effect of MF stimulation, where drowsiness was not stimulated. This outcome is much more evident from electrophysiological data than from the VAS ones. From the latter results, we noticed even a slightly negative reaction to expectations.
Participants and Methods
The research was performed in May 2019 in the laboratories of the Institute forBioelectromagnetics and New Biology (BION Institute) in Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU.
25 volunteers aged from 29 to 76 years (13 women and 12 men) were subject to three different experimental situations:
- Double-blind sham stimulation (Control situation),
- Double-blind true stimulation (Verum situation),
- Informed true stimulation (Informed situation)
In the first two situations, the volunteers were treated with conditions of a clinical trial:
- Prospectiveness (general criteria for the effectiveness of the device’s activity were determined in advance);
- Placebo effect ruled out (volunteers did not know whether they were stimulated or not)
- Double-blind (neither the volunteer nor the research assistant knew whether the MF stimulation was applied or not)
- Randomized (the decisions about sham or true exposure were made randomly)
A PEMF headband device utilizing a frequency of 10.12 Hz on the occiput (1 coil) – with the intensity of 2.5 mT. Coils with another frequency of 3.375 Hz were placed on the occiput (1 coil), temporal lobes – left (2 coils), and right (2 coils) with an intensity of 0.25 Hz.The following parameters were measured: brainwave activity (EEG) in four standard frequency spectra (beta waves from 14 Hz upwards, alpha waves from 8 to 14 Hz, theta waves from 4 to 8 Hz, and delta waves from 0 to 4 Hz), skin conductance, heart rate, respiration rate, finger temperature, heart rate variability, and thorax expansion depth. For the sake of analysis and interpretation of the results, 30 minutes of measurements were split into three parts (each consisting of 20 data points with a calculated 30-second median)
- A much higher number of statistical differences between either Verum and Control or Informed and Control in comparison to Verum vs. Informed strongly confirm the objective effect of the stimulating field of the device.
- The expectation that the autonomous nervous system will be stimulated in the parasympathetic direction was also confirmed (especially SC and HR parameters)
- The expected entrainment in alpha waves was only partially confirmed since it showed itself only in the middle period of both situations involving MF stimulation.
- The hypothesis that the passage to sleep will not be stimulated was also confirmed.
- Relatively small differences between Verum and Informed situations speak that they felt better after it, the stimulating magnetic field effect on human physiology is much stronger than psychological influences based on expectancies.
- It seems that in this research situation expecting relaxation brings a measure of stress, which was reflected in a frequent lowering of Informed values in comparison to the Verum ones.
- From VAS and queries after testing, we may conclude that the volunteers predominantly recognized the true stimulation and they felt better after it.
- Much stronger results (statistically regarded and in the magnitude of differences) in the physiological part of the research than VAS and queries confirm our already known experiences that physiology is a much better detector of various fields’ influences than psychology (awareness).
BION Institute: Influence Relaxation by Low-Intensity Transcranial Pulsed Magnetic Stimulation Applying the Entrainment Model. LINK.
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