Optimizing your workspace is another crucial – and often overlooked – aspect of increasing productivity.
Whether you work in an office, at home or on-the-go, here are 4 of our favorite apps to reduce distractions, improve focus and increase your productivity.
The perfect app for the minimalist writer looking for a distraction-free way to transfer thoughts from your head into your computer.
Available on both Mac & PC, the iA writer app is a blast from the past – it’s a word processor that eliminates distractions and actually “highlights” the sentence or paragraph on which you’re working for increased focus.
Scientists at Stanford University have confirmed this, reporting that music – in what’s known as “The Mozart Effect” – can:
improve test scores
reduce learning time
improve clarity and focus
and integrates both sides of the brain
If you’re ready to take advantage of the connection between music and productivity (or simply block out the distractions of your environment) here are two ways you can use music to unlock your potential:
Brainfm: “Better than binaural beats” this scientifically-based, custom brainwave music is designed to increase focus, relaxation or sleep better than binaural beats. Click HERE for a 25% discount, or CLICK HERE to listen to the podcast we recorded with the co-founders of brainfm. While the mobile app is in production, the desktop online player is a game-changer. We highly recommend brainfm.
Muji to relax: This android-based app for white noise is designed to help you relax, recharge, and a rejuvenate your mind. If you prefer white noise to brainwaves or require an app for for on-the-go use, this is a great option.
Work. Walk away. Work. Walk away.
Repeat two more times, then take a longer break and let it all go.
That’s the 1,000-mile-view of pomodoros.
Pomodoros are a technique developed by Italian Francesco Cirillo in the 1980’s. The word itself translates to “tomato”, but the technique utilizes short periods of focused work separated by short breaks.
Usually the work periods are 25 or 50 minutes and the breaks are 5 or 10 minutes respectively best apps. After 4 intervals, you take a longer break (15-30 minutes).
Pomodoros are a favorite method of time-management gurus and productivity hackers alike as there is evidence that frequent breaks improve mental agility.
In addition, these short burst of work keep you fresh, prevent burnout, reduce eye fatigue and can prevent poor posture from prolonged periods of sitting.
Plus, knowing you only 25 or 50 minutes has a sneaky way of pushing you to focus and work to beat the clock.
Warning: After reading this, you may stop bathing!
Ok, maybe that’s an overreaction.
But at the very least, we hope that this episode of the Optimal Performance Podcast forces you to pause, consider and maybe rethink your beliefs on personal hygiene.
As you’ll hear from industry leader Jasmina Aganovic, our modern personal care products are steeped in 100 year-old misinformation that the burgeoning chemical industry pushed onto the personal care industry in the late 1800’s.
Fortunately, modern-day scientists are conducting research that shines light on these missteps and provides answers for how we should be caring for our skin and addressing our personal hygiene.
And it turns out, more bacteria and less sterilization may be the answer…
Confusing Sterile and Clean Actually Leads To INCREASED Inflammation
“Virtually every modern skin condition is rooted in inflammation and if you look at how we’re treating our skin, we’ve confused clean and sterile and that has believed bacteria is a bad thing and that has dictated so much of the personal care industry.”
Like our gut, our skin has a microbiome of it’s own.
Our largest organ and first line of defense, our skin uses bacteria as a go-between to communicate with our environment and our immune system. The personal care industry is built on products that wipe out this microbiome and sterilize our skin – leaving our skin “blind” to it’s environment.
Without communication or sensory input from the outside world, our immune system goes on the offensive – living in a constant state of inflammation. This is the underlying cause of most of today’s skin issues.
Much more, including the elimination of toxic ammonia, using bacteria sprays to replace deodorant and moisturizers, and tips to care for your skin at every age.
MIT-trained Biological and Chemical Engineer Jasmina Aganovic of Mother Dirt is here to explain and entertain. Enjoy!
What you’ll hear from Jasmina Aganovic and Mother Dirt about our skin microbiome:
Similar to the gut, our skin has a microbiome that is crucial to our overall wellbeing future of hygiene
How modern hygiene has negatively impacted our skin microbiome – and what that means for your health and hygiene habits
Clean and sterile are not the same thing – why you need some bacteria in your life
How over-sterilization actually does more harm
Find out which personal care product ingredients you need to avoid
How the chemical industry determined the course of the personal care industry in the late 1800’s – and why it’s time for a change!
Ammonia Oxidizing Bacteria (AoB’s) and why you should be covering skin with this bacteria!
Science lesson: the nitrogen cycle and the toxic by product ammonia
No more deodorant? How an AoB spray can remove your need for deodorants.
Modern humans exist in a state of nitropenia – an unhealthy state of nitrogen deficiency. Learn how Mother Dirt is investigating possible solutions to this through the use of AoBs
Stripping our skin of it’s natural bacteria removes the communication between our skin cells, brain and the environment – causing our skin to go into an “offensive” and alarmed state – otherwise known as chronic inflammation. This mechanism is believed to contribute to most modern diseases of inflamed skin
Join the AoLabs program and be a part of Mother Dirt’s beta-testing team!
Get 25% OFF your first order + FREE Shipping with coupon code FREESHIP25 (link below)
Your skin care needs for each decade from your 20’s to your 50’s and beyond
Post your questions below and we’ll answer them on a future podcast episode.
Why Showering With Bacteria is the Future of Hygiene
Ryan: You are listening to the Optimal Performance Podcast sponsored by Natural Stacks. If you’re into biohacking, performance or getting more out of life, this is the show for you! To learn more about building optimal performance into your life, check out naturalstacks.com.
Alright, happy Thursday all you optimal performers! I’m your host Ryan Munsey. Welcome to another episode of the Optimal Performance Podcast. I wanna offer a warm welcome to our guest this week, MIT trained biological and chemical engineer Jasmina Aganovic. So, Jasmina, thanks for hanging out with us today!
Jasmina: Yeah, thanks for having us!
Ryan: So, for our listeners, you are the president of Mother Dirt. You’ve got quite an extensive background in consumer products in the cosmetics industry. And, you know, as we just said you have – correct me if I’m wrong – you have both biological and chemical engineering degree from MIT.
Jasmina: Mhm, yes.
Ryan: Alright. So, we’re impressed by that. We like big brains around here. So, today we’re gonna talk about our skin biome, which is something that’s pretty interesting for biohackers. We hear a lot about gut biomes and we know that that’s very connected to our overall health, our brain performance. So, this is gonna be a really cool episode for you guys. Sit back and enjoy this one. Before we get to Jasmina’s expertise, a couple of housekeeping notes. As always, go to naturalstacks.com so you can see the video version of this and get any of the links and show notes for the resources that we talk about today. And also, if you have not done so, please head over to iTunes, leave us a 5* review and let us know how much you like the show. Alright, let’s get going. Jasmina, so, I guess, tell us, like I said already we’re familiar with gut biome. What is our skin biome?
Jasmina: So, similar to the gut, the skin microbiome is also an ecosystem. It’s a collection of micro-organisms that, similar to the gut, seem to play a really important role in the health of our skin.
Ryan: Okay, cool. So, what should it look like or – or what should that environment be and what is the reality of most people?
Jasmina: So, similar to the gut – and I hate to kinda keep, kind of restating that statement but science is early on as it is for the gut. Thankfully the skin microbiome is a little bit simpler. But to answer your question, we don’t know what the healthy or the perfect skin microbiome looks like. But what we do know it that modern hygiene has severely affected it. And the fact that we spend a lot of time indoors and very little time outdoors, modern lifestyles basically, has severely affected that. And we believe it’s the link to why so many inflammatory skin disorders exist similar to why we’re seeing a lot of inflammatory gut disorders. And so that’s really the area that our research is – is focusing on.
Ryan: Alright, cool. So, I guess, inflammatory skin conditions you’re talking about psoriasis, eczema, things like that?
Jasmina: Virtually every modern-day skin condition, believe it or not, is rooted in inflammation. And if you look at how we’ve been treating our skin, we’ve kind of confused clean and sterile along the way. We’ve always believed that bacteria’s a bad thing for the skin and that’s dictated so much about the personal care industry and so much of the products and their functionality that we use.
Ryan: Yeah, you guys have a saying called ‘rethink clean’. So, tell us what you mean by that.
Jasmina: Yeah, well we, as it says, we wanna rephrase and restate what clean is. For a really long time, we’ve believed that clean means killing 99.9% of bacteria. And if you ask anyone about what a clean countertop is or what, you know, clean hands are, that’s really what they’ll say. But we’re learning that that’s not true, that clean defined as sterile does not equal healthy. So, we want to go back to clean that comes with healthy and see how we can rephrase it that way. And then the comparison that I always like to draw to the gut is this idea of clean eating where we eat whole foods and we seek out certain foods for their bacterial content as part of clean eating and yet on the skin we’re still very far away from accepting that. So, the gut has definitely pioneered an acceptance of bacteria that, you know, we’re trying to get there with – with the skin.
Ryan: Okay. So, if we wanted to joke about it we could say that we want kinda like sauerkraut or probiotics for our skin.
Jasmina: That’s a good way of putting it, although sauerkraut on the skin doesn’t sound too fun. It sounds messy.
Ryan: It does, it does. So, I guess, then you’re saying that we should not be using hand sanitizers?
Jasmina: So, here’s what I will say. From a scientific perspective, the studies that have analyzed the effectiveness of hand sanitizers versus washing your hand with plain soap and water show a very negligible difference between the 2. But more importantly is the fact that we have integrated hand sanitizers and products that are meant to sanitize for not just our hands, which admittedly are touching a bunch of quote-unquote dirty things on a constant basis. So, if we were to be very meticulous about killing bacteria, the hands should be an okay place to do it. But we’ve applied that to our entire body’s hygiene and the reality of it is is, like, my shoulder doesn’t get nearly as dirty as my hand so why would I sanitize my shoulder as much as I do my hands? So it’s about recalibrating expectations on that and – and also recognizing that sanitizing is probably not necessary for most people unless you work in a hospital, for example.
Ryan: Okay, cool. So, you know, along those lines, you guys have – at Mother Dirt you guys make some really cool products and we’ll talk about some of them. The AoBs we’ll get into. But, since we’re talking about cleaning the shoulder, I guess, what’s the difference between the cleaner or the shampoo that you guys have versus what you might see in a supermarket with regular soaps and body washes?
Jasmina: Sure. So I’ll start off by saying that similar to the gut, the skin is an ecosystem. And what we’re learning about the different parts of the body as it relates to the skin is that they are all different ecosystems. So, if you think about what the ecosystem of your armpit is gonna be, it’s gonna be different from your face, it’s gonna be different from your hands. So, that’s an important statement to be able to – to make. Um, most products out there contain harsh surfactants, things like SLS and SDS, to which most bacteria are very sensitive, especially the good guys that tend to be pretty sensitive anyway. But more importantly, the whole industry is built around the idea that bacteria is bad. So, everything from the fact that they all include preservatives to the fact that the QA and the QC process is created to make sure that no bacteria can grow in the products. All of these products are formulated with these things in mind. So, if you think about any product that you use, even if you’re a low-maintenance person, they all contain preservatives and preservatives are formulated to prevent bacterial growth. So, imagine lathering and slathering that stuff on multiple times a day and what that’s going to do for the ecosystem of your skin. So, that’s a big one that we like to point out and it goes to show how deeply entrenched the industry has been since, really, the 1800’s on this idea that bacteria is bad.
Ryan: How did that philosophy come about? Where does that come from, do you know?
Jasmina: It was – it was largely a timing thing. Right around the time that the chemical and the personal care industry was starting to grow, this was like the 1880’s and the 1890’s, that was also – I think the year was 1879 that bacteria was officially linked to disease. And we learned more about bad bacteria than we did about good bacteria. We didn’t know this idea of good bacteria until fairly recently. So, the timing of it was very coincidental. We knew that bacteria caused disease a few years before this personal care and chemical industry started growing. So, it was a big influencer from the get-go.
Ryan: Okay, so we’ve just always had this thought process of just kill it all and –
Ryan: – like you said, sterilize. Okay.
Ryan: So, you mentioned a couple of ingredients. Do you have maybe some kind of a resource or a list that we can put on our blog with the, you know, the video version of this so we can say: ‘Hey, click this link or look at this pdf and these are all the ingredients that you wanna try to avoid in your skin care products,’?
Jasmina: Great question. And we hope to one day. If – if your listeners are interested they can go to biomefriendly.com. This is kind of a landing site for this area of research that we’re focusing on. We started getting that question a lot, where people wanted to know what to go for and what to avoid. So, what we’ve developed is a screening platform for ingredients and raw materials so that we could create our own product but maybe perhaps one day also certify other people’s products. We’re really early on, so we aren’t at the point to be able to create a definitive list. But the other important thing that we realized along the way is that it’s not just singular ingredients, it’s interactions between ingredients. So, it really comes down to the formula.
Jasmina: So, if you see that a formula doesn’t have SLS, which I definitely can say is a culprit, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be biome-friendly. So, the biggest guidance that we can give people at this point of time is just anything that has a preservative in it is probably not going to have a great effect on the biome. But that’s a really wide net and it makes it a little bit difficult to maneuver in today’s era of personal care. So, we’re trying to develop that a little bit more before we can give people, kind of, specific insights that are truly accurate.
Ryan: Okay, alright. So, let’s talk about these ammonia oxidizing bacteria. What are they and how did you guys become, you know, so involved with them?
Jasmina: Sure, so we call these bacteria, we call them AoB for short because ammonia oxidizing bacteria is just way too long and hard to day. We call them the peace-keeper, the peace-keeper bacteria and there’s a very specific reason for it. This bacteria’s actually found everywhere in nature. You’ll find it in the ocean, you’ll find it in the dirt, kind of, hence where we get the name Mother Dirt from. They’re really a soil bacteria, so anywhere that the soil touches you will find this bacteria. And if you think about how we as humans used to live, we were way more immersed in the environment, we were way more immersed in nature. We were walking barefoot; we were swimming in lakes and rivers and streams. And we were constantly inoculating ourselves with this stuff. But this bacteria happens to be sensitive to preservatives, to SLS and SDS. So, if you look at how our modern hygiene has evolved and also the fact that we don’t spend time outdoors we’ve basically eradicated it from modern human skin in the last 50-75 years is what we approximate. So, the next question becomes: why is this bacteria really important for the skin? Um, I’ll put it this way: if we removed this bacteria from the soil in a potted plant, that plant would die. If we removed this bacteria from any ecosystem, let’s say a rainforest, that rainforest would die. The reason for that is because ammonia in and of itself is toxic. The – I don’t know if you guys know the nitrogen cycle, I don’t wanna get too technical but in basic biology they teach you about something called the nitrogen cycle. And ammonia is one of the waste products of it. And this bacteria consume that and convert it back into the cycle to that things can continue on happily. If ammonia builds up, then it becomes toxic and then eventually that ecosystem can’t function and the toxicity brings the ecosystem down. So this bacteria’s incredibly crucial in making sure that the cycle can continue. So, anywhere in nature where you will find ammonia, you’ll find this bacteria, which is virtually everywhere in nature. The only exception is modern human skin. Through our sweat, we are constantly producing ammonia. And so, it begs the question: why doesn’t human skin have it today? So that was a little bit of kind of the seed um, the seed for us.
Ryan: Okay, cool. So, the way our audience thinks is we have this problem, how do we fix it? So it sounds like the solution is to expose ourselves to dirt more or be outside more.
Jasmina: Be outside, yeah.
Ryan: Okay. And to stop stripping ourselves of those AoBs, you know, through the over-sterilization when we clean our self.
Jasmina: Yes. Our philosophy is less is more. So, if you already have a minimalistic routine, which I – I would believe that a lot of your listeners do, good for you. And we’re kind of pushing in that direction. And along that philosophy, what we’re finding with our users when they – when they – basically, it’s a spray, it’s a live bacterial spray – when they spray it back on their skin they actually find that they can use less. So, deodorant is a big one for us. We’re, like, 60% of our users are able to stop using deodorant. And the question is, like, how? How is that possible? Because we’ve become so pre-conditioned to believe that we need all of these products, especially things like deodorant.
Ryan: So, what’s going on – if we spray it in our armpit then, you know, for somebody who may be a skeptic will that, I guess, give them some reassurance. You spray it in your armpit and –
Jasmina: Sure. So, why don’t I talk about the mechanism of the bacteria? So, we talked about the fact that it consumes ammonia. And the fact that it does that is really important. Ammonia on the skin has a high pH and disease states are typically associated with high pH’s. The build-up of ammonia is what causes diaper rash in babies, just to give you a sense of really how toxic it is. So, the fact that it removes that is good in and of itself, it brings the pH down to a healthy level. But then where it gets really interesting is what the bacteria outputs. So, they consume the ammonia and then they turn it into something. So, there are 2 things that are produced as by-products. One is nitrite and the other is nitric oxide. So, they’re kind of big words in and of themselves. But nitrite functions as – in medical literature it’s called an anti-infective, although we don’t really push it as that. But the mechanism that we see happening there is that it helps keep the bad bacteria at bay, so it helps keep them in check. So, in the case of the armpit what we believe is happening is odor-causing bacteria – these are the things typically associated with BO – are diminished. Um, because our sweat in and of itself does not smell, it’s the interaction of it with these smelly bacteria. So, if we’re able to get rid of smelly bacteria and neutralize them then that is a good thing. So, our need for deodorant decreases. And this is, I’ll say, a radically different approach than how deodorants and antiperspirants are created. Antiperspirants are created so that you stop sweating, which I would argue is, like, why would you go against your biology? And secondly, they’re created to kill all bacteria and micro-organisms. And there’s an interesting conversation that we can have about what happens when you sterilize the skin, why that’s actually a bad thing, what it leaves your skin susceptible to. So, that’s the mechanism that’s happening with the nitrite. And with the nitric oxide, this is like a, it’s called, like an anti-inflammatory but effectively it’s a calming and a soothing agent that really is good for sensitive skin and helps restore balance in that realm. So, that’s kind of a specific example of the armpit. And it’s interesting what happens in other ecosystems as well.
Ryan: So, let’s talk about that nitric oxide for just a minute. We’ve had – Paul Jaminet was on a previous episode of the podcast and I’m not sure what his affiliation is with you guys but I know that there was something there and he brought it up. And that’s actually – that was our first introduction to Mother Dirt. And he mentioned that the AoB spray converted the ammonia into nitric oxide and that it was re-absorbed through the skin.
Jasmina: We don’t know that for sure. Paul seems to think that it is but we are doing studies to understand what the diffusion through the skin is if at all. So, yeah, we don’t – we don’t know.
Ryan: So, that – and that was gonna be my question is, you know, is that a bad thing if it’s reabsorbed or – ? Because, I mean, these are things that your body has tried to excrete through sweat.
Jasmina: So, I’ll be really specific. What your body is excreting is waste and that waste is ammonia. What the bacteria are doing are breaking down that ammonia and converting it into usable items for your skin. So, that’s that cycle that I talked about. So, I wouldn’t – I wouldn’t label nitrite or nitric oxide as waste by-products at all. If anything, I would called them being recycled and reused back into the system so that your skin can be healthy and function. That’s what I would view more of that – what I would view more of that as. Nitric oxide is a really interesting one for us and it was something that had triggered a lot of interest from the founding team here and certainly something that we’ll keep on looking at. Nitric oxide, or the discovery of nitric oxide, let do the Nobel Prize in 1998. Because it’s such a crucial signaling molecule for the body, there is this body – there is this body of belief that modern humans exist in a state of neutropenia, which is basically nitric oxide deficient. And that is believed to be not a healthy state and potentially linked to several issues. The big race has been, you know, how can we re-introduce nitric oxide back into the human body and it’s proven to be difficult because it’s a gas. So, gases are not stable so you can’t really deliver it. So, there was a lot of interest in what we’re doing because you potentially have bacteria that exist on the surface of your skin that are just constantly producing this gas bubble around you that is self-limited and potentially could be absorbed, although we really don’t know. Where we’ve chose to focus is on the skin microbiome as a whole and inflammatory skin disorders. And hopefully one day we can return to studying nitric oxide and potentially the effects of that on um, on the skin. So, that’s a really tricky one! A really interesting one for those who can crack it. And obviously why Paul was really interested in it. But we’ll see.
Ryan: Yeah, very cool. So, let’s go back. You said we could have an interesting discussion on, you know, what happens to the skin and what it’s susceptible to without those bacteria. So –
Ryan: – let’s hear a little more about that.
Jasmina: Sure. So, we know that our skin is the biggest organ, we’ve heard that before. And we’ve also heard that the skin is the first line of defense against the environment. We thought that that was just, like, skin cells. But recent studies – and the first one that comes to mind is one that came out recently from UPenn which is the role of bacteria on the skin and potentially their communication with your immune system. So, the idea is that the skin is the first barrier to the environment and specifically it’s the bacteria that live on your skin that end up playing the intermediaries. And they are the ones that communicate to your skin about what to do, how to function and if they should elicit an inflammatory response. So, that’s an interesting way to look at things. So, what happens if we get rid of all of the bacteria that are on the surface of your skin? You lose that communication pathway between your skin cells, potentially your immune system, and the environment. And what that does is it puts your body in, like, a hyper-inflammatory response state because it doesn’t know what’s happening on the outside. It has no way of hearing it. So, it goes on the offensive. So, it’s constantly trying to battle something because it’s trying to protect itself and it doesn’t know and it’s not hearing anything from the outside. Um, the other interesting avenue that we’ll add is that typically when we sterilize the good guys, who are a little bit more sensitive, are pretty much eradicated immediately. And the bad guys are a little bit more robust, this is what makes them bad guys. Part of being an ecosystem is that you have a balance. A healthy ecosystem is a balanced ecosystem and everyone is functioning and contributing as part of that society. When you get rid of a significant portion of them what that does is it creates an opportunity – it creates an imbalance that creates an opportunity for the potentially problematic ones to start to create issues. So, I’ll give 2 specific examples of this: acne and staph infections. So, all human beings, it is believed, have p-acne on their skin, the acne causing bacteria. If we were to swab you and if we were to swab me, we would both have p-acne on our skin. So, why don’t we have acne? I’m looking at your skin and your skin seems to look really great and I would hope that mine does, too. But, why is that? Why do we have acne-causing bacteria but no acne, right? We have that bad guy there. Well, something is happening in that ecosystem to keep them in check. So, they’re not actually causing a problem because all the checks and balances are in place. Staph is another great infection. All human beings have staph bacteria on their skin, but why do some of us have staph infections and others don’t? It’s because there’s an imbalance in their ecosystem that creates an opportunity for them to go from contributing member of that ecosystem to a problem-maker or a troublemaker in that ecosystem. So, more and more people are talking about bacteria not as the source of a problem, but the imbalance being the source and the root of the problem.
Ryan: Okay. And that’s what makes it so important that we protect that balance and don’t strip ourselves clean. So, I think the thing that stood out to me at the very beginning of what you just said was it’s almost like the more we sterilize our skin, the more we put ourselves in an inflammatory environment, which is – it’s very interesting. I mean, ’cause we think we’re doing the opposite.
Jasmina: Right, right. Well, that was the same thing for the gut, right? And I hate to, like, keep on bringing up these parallels but the human body is an ecosystem, that is fundamentally what we are learning and figuring out how to keep that ecosystem balanced and healthy is probably going to be one of the keys to overall and general health.
Ryan: Well, I don’t see any problem comparing it or bringing up the gut. I think that’s something that our listeners, really, at this point they understand and we can relate to. So, we know that the gut is connected to things like serotonin production and so many other different cognitive performance areas. It’s interesting that you said that our skin has that communication and the impact on the immune system and inflammation, which we know can affect performance and overall health. Is it connected to anything else that we may see manifest in performance or happiness? You know, I mean, obviously, like, you know, odor and cleanliness and appearance.
Ryan: But anything else?
Jasmina: So, right now we’re focusing on those more cosmetic areas. And there’s a very specific reason for that. We – we’re grounded in research and as excited as we are about all of the interest in the microbiome, both the gut and the skin, we do wanna be very measured with what is being mentioned and promised. It’s very exciting to hear about some of the research that’s coming out but at the same time the field is really early on and so we don’t wanna be, kind of, selling all sorts of craziness in terms of concepts. So, we’re focusing on the basics: body odor, cosmetics and, you know, reliance on personal care products. And you know what? That is – that is actually pretty profound in and of itself. If you look at how we’ve been programmed to use products and we’ll use that as a beginning step and hopefully as our research advances we can continue to share more. We certainly do hope to be the leader in the skin microbiome. There aren’t as many players in the skin microbiome as there is in the gut.
Jasmina: And we want it to be a community effort which is why we have an AO Labs program where our users can kind of participate in our research. But little by little, I think, is our – is our perspective and our approach. Wouldn’t be surprised if we found out some more interesting and fascinating things at all. But just wanna be careful about claims and stuff that’s made.
Ryan: Yeah, of course. Tell us about the AO Labs.
Jasmina: Sure. Um, AO Labs is our way of holding on to our origin story and why we started. We – Mother Dirt was not part of the original plan. Selling products was not part of the original plan. What the original plan was to be a pharma company that focused on AoBs as a therapy. We started off focusing on wound healing and that was where we started analyzing the interaction of this bacteria with – with the skin. And that triggered a few – a few thoughts for us and intrigued us about what the impact of personal care is on the skin. And we did a study to better understand that. And that study was written about in the New York Times article by Julia Scott in 2014. Um, that article generated so much interest in our work that it – it kind of woke us up to the fact that we were working on something that was not only important to the academic and the medical community, but important to people period. Um, because so many people were looking at the world around us wondering why we were having more and more problems with our skin versus less and less. Parents who are raising kids with all sorts of issues that they didn’t grow up with. You know, a parent goes to the dermatologist and their kid has crazy eczema and the dermatologist says: ‘No big deal, it’s just a little bit of eczema. 1 in 6 kids has it today.’ And the parents think: no, that wasn’t that way when I was little. So, we struck a chord. A chord that wasn’t just about the science but it was about the idea of clean. So, we started selling the product as a beta – kind of a beta period. And we sold out immediately. And it started, basically, a 9-month backlog. And the most important thing that came out of all of that was the curiosity of our users and their openness about how they were using it and what they were noticing. That shaped what we did next. And it’s been – it’s been such a tremendously influential part of our company where we all of the sudden went from a biotech that had 30 data points to this consumer company that had thousands of data points. You know, typically companies work for years to be able to get there and we got there in a matter of months. So, we want to preserve that. We wanted to preserve the community effort around that, we wanted to meet our users where they were and we wanted them to participate in the learnings and the process. So, we created AO Labs, it launched a few months ago. It’s still kind of in its – in its inception. But what it is is it’s a member program. It’s, like, 20 dollars annually. It’s not about making money. It really is just about making sure that people know that they will actually be called on to participate in things. And there are new products that we look for feedback on there, new biome-friendly formulations. And also questions about things that we’re trying to troubleshoot and solve. Body odor is a big one. I mentioned that 60% of our users are able to give up deodorant. Well, we really want to know what’s happening in those other 40%. That was one of the first ones that we started and is still in progress. So, that’s – that’s basically the crux of AO Labs and the inspiration there.
Ryan: Alright, very cool. So, anybody listening that has an interest in participating can just go to your site and sign up and join that.
Jasmina: Yes! Absolutely.
Ryan: It’s not a physical thing where you have to live in Boston or be in a big city, right?
Jasmina: No. No, we have AO Labs members all across the U.S.
Ryan: Okay, cool. So, you mentioned earlier, like, a minimalist routine when it comes to hygiene. What would you guys recommend?
Jasmina: It’s highly personal, I have to say. There are some people who still would never give up their deodorant and that’s all to them. There are some people who can’t imagine a life without moisturizer and that’s all to them. And there are others that say: ‘I have to use an SPF all day,’ and that’s all to them. The main thing that we encourage with our products is experimentation, and that’s where people are surprised. So, where they can’t imagine stopping the use of their moisturizer, we encourage them after using the mist to start weaning themselves off and see how their skin responds. And that’s where the fascinating stuff starts to happen. So, I can’t recommend a one size fits all routine. We have 3 products that we offer and we don’t necessarily recommend that everyone use every single one of them because there are some people who find that they really don’t need to use the cleanser that much at all. They find that the mist is enough. Water-only showers and just the mist keeps them fresh and clean and they’re fine. So, personal experimentation is definitely, definitely the key.
Ryan: Okay, cool. And just to clarify for people, you know, I know we mentioned the cleaner and the shampoo earlier but the AoB is a mist that people spray all over their body.
Ryan: And you can do it multiple times a day?
Jasmina: Yes. Because the bacteria feed off your sweat, you wanna spray it on after your shower and maybe before a workout or before going to bed or something along those lines.
Ryan: Okay. And you guys just won – at Expo West last week you guys won a NEXTY for –
Ryan: – the whole line? Or the AoB spray?
Jasmina: It was our brand, our brand won the NEXTY award.
Ryan: Okay, that’s awesome! Congratulations!
Jasmina: Yeah, yeah I know. Thank you! We were psyched!
Jasmina: The award is, like, breakthrough product of the year and for a conference like Expo West that was a really big deal for us, especially because we are still so young. We’re not even a year old, I think we’re on month 8 or 9. So, it – it just blew us away and it put us on the radar of so many people, which was really fantastic as well. So, it was just – it was just exposure and I think the continual acknowledgement that people are demanding a different approach and people are expecting a different approach and people are curious about this. Whether they’re curious in a negative way like this is crazy or curious about it in a positive way like I’ve been thinking about this and I’m so glad someone did it. So, yeah, it’s um, it’s very symbolic to us, I’ll say that.
Ryan: Okay, very cool. Well, congratulations.
Jasmina: Thank you!
Ryan: Alright, guys, we’ve got a special offer for you. Jasmina has offered a 25% off plus free shipping discount for Natural Stacks listeners. We will put that link on the video version – on the blog for this podcast. So, go to naturalstacks.com, you’ll be able to find it and we will get you a special discount code from Mother Dirt so that you get 25% off your first order plus free shipping, which Jasmina has told us is a big deal because you guys expedite shipping, right?
Jasmina: Yes, yes.
Ryan: Okay. And that’s because we have to get it – it’s temperature controlled.
Jasmina: Yeah, the bacteria just can’t be too hot or too cold, so we ship it all via 3-day or 2-day shipping in some cases.
Ryan: Okay. And the mist is stored in the refrigerator, correct?
Jasmina: Yes, although I’ll say if you’re gonna use it up within a month then you can keep it on your bathroom counter and it’s perfectly good. But if you wanna stretch it then the fridge is the best place for it to be.
Ryan: Okay. So, I wanna shift gears a little bit. I know you’ve previously been a part of a cosmetic company where you guys looked at what skin care needs were at different points of the aging process. Can you – I’d love to just get a couple of bullet points from you for each age. Like, if somebody’s in their 20s, their 30s, their 40s. What should we be thinking about? How should we be taking care of our skin at those different intervals?
Jasmina: Sure, so let me talk about the origin of all of that. This is back when I was at MIT. I was working at a – at a lab that was um, looking at a different treatment for ear infections. So, we were looking to create an ear drop that was liquid but then when it hit body temperature it would turn itself into a gel and then the gel would stay there and they slowly diffuse the medicine into the inner ear, which would be very attractive for little children that don’t like to sit still. But you can’t test on ears right away. So, you have to come up with – with models leading up to it. And so, the model that we used to test the passage of that medicine through was human skin. So, very not sexy. It would involve, literally picking up slabs of donated human skin from MGH and then what I would have to do is I would have to separate out the layers of the skin. And so, I know that this sounds gross but bear with me here. I – the only pieces of information that I had were whether or not the sample was coming from a male or a female and the age. And it was really frustrating for me in the beginning to deal with certain types of skin samples. And I realized that they were typically belonging to older people. It didn’t matter if it was a male or a female but I definitely noticed a difference in how the skin responded to the medicine and also how my handling of it was as I needed to separate out the different layers of it. And I thought: isn’t this fascinating that there is such an obvious difference between skin in its 20s and skin in its 40s, right? Still, like, generally young skin I would say. And there’s such a tremendous difference in what it is like to work with and how it responds to this medicine. So, that kind of triggered a little bit more research into what the differences are in the skin. And so, to give you a little bit of a breakdown of it, in your 20s the primary challenge that you deal with is, like, free radical damage. So, in your 20s you’re a little bit more [laughs] carefree, you don’t typically have issues. You might not be sleeping as much as you should because you can get away with it, you might not be eating the best diet that you should because you can get away with it. You know, lifestyle aspects. And you’re probably spending maybe a little bit more time out in the sun because you can get away with it. But it all, of course, catches up to you. So, the 20s is a little bit more about antioxidants and helping address some of that free radical damage. In your 30s the rate of cellular regeneration starts to slow. So, this is why some people say, like, they feel like their skin got a little bit duller and it’s not as dewy in its 30s, and that’s maybe terminology typically used by women. But stimulating that rate of cellular regeneration whether it be just through regular exfoliation or other topicals that you could use is one of the key ways to do that. And then getting up towards the 40s and the 50s. The 40s you start to see the earlier signs of sensitivity for the skin. And a lot of that has to do with um, the thinning of the skin layers. And then in the 50s you start to deal with more immune issues for the skin. So, it’s immune layer seems to be a little bit more compromised. And, of course, with what I’m working on now I wish I could kind of go revisit that and, like, sequence those skin samples to see how their microbiomes are different but it’s interesting to have all of these pieces fall into play.
Ryan: Okay, very cool. Very cool. So, when you mention that I can’t help but think things like collagen in the diet. At what point would that be something that people wanna say: ‘Hey, I need to start introducing this’?
Jasmina: Um, well that’s a really interesting point. I would say the earlier the better, but I think definitely the 30s is what – what makes sense. I have to put an asterisk here, I’m not actually that familiar with the studies associated with ingested collagen and how that affects your skin. I know that in general it’s really healthy for your bones and your joints and I’m a big proponent of bone broth and all of that. Um, and I guess I should also mentally think about maybe that’s helping the collagen in my skin but I’m not – I’m not too familiar, actually, with the effects on that. But if I had to make a recommendation it would be the 30s.
Ryan: Okay. Jasmina, where can our listeners get more of you and Mother Dirt?
Jasmina: They can go to motherdirt.com and find out all the information there. And if they’re actually interested in a little bit more of the nitty-gritty of the science and where we’re taking our clinical research, they can also visit aobiome.com, so A-O-B-I-O-M-E.com.
Ryan: So, what’s next? Can you give us any hints or – ?
Jasmina: Yeah, I could definitely give you hints! We’ve continued expanding our portfolio of biome-friendly ingredients. So, what that does is it helps us enhance existing formulas but also, and more excitingly, launch new products. So, we’re gonna be doing a product launch in the coming months and I think you might have sampled it at Expo West. I know that they did bring some. I don’t know if Robin gave you the sneak peek on it, but –
Jasmina: Well, if you didn’t then I can’t say anything. So, we’re gonna be launching, yeah, a new product. And then one of the things we’re focusing a lot on is body odor and seeing if we can come up with a targeted treatment for the underarm area. So, kind of, maybe separating out the mist from, you know, all-over body use to maybe something that’s a little bit more specific as a deodorant as we start to understand through AO Labs, that other 40%. So, that’s a goal for us. We – it’s science so you can’t always put timelines on it.
Jasmina: But it’s – it’s a goal of ours.
Ryan: I would be willing to guess that if you guys can solve the underarm odor issue that – that you might be able to rule the world. [laughs]
Jasmina: That’s a lofty goal but yeah, ruling the world, I’m totally fine with that.
Ryan: I mean, who’s not gonna be interested in that, right?
Jasmina: Hey, anyone who’s a germaphobe, I can tell you right now, would not be interested in that. I mean, I’m – I’m just kidding. I think that body odor is a fascinating thing and for the first time we’re talking about creating a product that doesn’t kill bacteria so I – yeah, I mean, that would be huge if we were to crack it. But not all human bodies are the same so therein is the challenge.
Ryan: It’s true. And I’m upset with Robin that I didn’t get to sample whatever this surprise is.
Jasmina: I know! Well, you can go complain to her [laughs].
Ryan: I’ll do that, I’ll do that. Alright, Jasmina, we ask every guest for their top 3 tips to live optimal. So, what would you say to our listeners?
Jasmina: The first one that comes to mind is meditation and this is something that I’ve started recently. Big recommendation on that. Continuing to read books. I know that that sounds like a very basic one but I read so much when I was younger and into college and then as my career picked up I stopped reading and I really felt like that impacted me. So, now I’m back into that routine and I think that’s great for business and for pleasure. And spending time outdoors. I know that that’s part of our brand but that actually always has been really important to me. I come from south Florida, that’s where I grew up. So, Boston was a really big adjustment for me. And it’s snowing right now today and it’s supposed to be spring. So, yeah, never underestimate the power of just a simple walk outside. I think it does so much to change your mindset.
Ryan: Yes, I would agree with that completely. Alright, let’s push you for a couple more tidbits. What good books have you read recently?
Jasmina: Okay. Um, there are 2 books that I highly recommend. The first is called ‘Essentialism’ –
Jasmina: So, it’s all about going – have you heard of it?
Ryan: I’ve read it. It was Greg McKeown or –
Jasmina: Yeah, yeah. So, I just finished that book and I really – I really like it. I think, especially for people who are really ambitious it’s difficult to get, kind of, spread out all over the place and honing in your focus and making meaningful strides is great. I like that book a lot. And then the second one that I just started a couple weeks ago is Adam Grant’s ‘Originals’.
Jasmina: I don’t know if you’ve read. It’s a fairly new book but I’m really enjoying this book, especially for people who enjoy creative work and are kind of tackling unique things in business. So, I’ve really enjoyed that book so far, too.
Ryan: Awesome, awesome. Thanks for the recommendations. I’m sure our listeners will enjoy that.
Jasmina: [laughs] I hope so!
Ryan: Alright, cool. Well, Jasmina, thanks for hanging out with us today. This has been great. And for our listeners, you guys make sure you check out naturalstacks.com to see the video version of this, we’ll have all kinds of links to the things that we talked about: AO Lab, AOBiome, motherdirt.com. All of the cool stuff that you guys can just click, go visit and continue to read, research and make your own decisions. And also, if you guys haven’t, make sure you head over to iTunes, leave us a 5* review, let us know how much you like the show and we will talk to you guys next Thursday! Thanks for listening!
Still listening to Pandora or Spotify while working?
If you answered yes, it’s time for an upgrade.
Backed by neuroscience and 13 years of music creation, Brainfm’s co-founders have created music that noticeably – and measurably – improves focus, reduces stress, or promotes sleep within 10 minutes.
“The creator of binaural beats said they don’t work – but nobody actually reads the study!” – Adam Hewett, Co-Founder Brainfm
Brainfm is specially designed music that improves focus, relaxation and sleep within 10 minutes.
Co-founders Junaid Kalmadi and Adam Hewett join us on Episode 38 of the Optimal Performance Podcast to discuss the science behind music’s impact on the brain, neurofeedback training, wearable technology, and brain training.
This is a long podcast – because it’s PACKED with great information. Adam and Junaid were amazing guests. We considered making this 2 shorter episodes, but ultimately it didn’t make sense to split this into 2 weeks of episodes.
What You’ll Learn About Brain FM, binaural beats, and hacking performance with music in this episode:
Brain fm = music to help your brain focus, relax, or sleep
The rules music must follow to increase cognitive performance
“Binaural beats are not effective at improving mental performance”
Brain waves and flow states
New paper from MIT: there is a part of our brain with neurons dedicated to music and speech
How brainfm is advancing binaural beats technology to help increase performance, focus, relaxation, and sleep
How the brainfm team puts themselves into the flow state
Longecity forums, Abelard Lindsey, CILTEP and the possibility of EEG trials combining CILTEP and brainfm
Brain training, Neuro-feedback technology, brain games, and increasing your intelligence
When to use relaxed focus vs. intense focus
Using brainfm for physical performance, recovery, and sleep
How to boost slow wave sleep by 20-30% every night with brainfm’s sleep waves
Brainfm’s RELAX music passively improves HRV (faster physical recovery)
Special 20% OFF coupon for Optimal Performance Podcast listeners
EEG’s and what you need to know about popular wearable
Get more from Adam and Junaid at brainfm
Brain fm = “Audio Adderall” + 3 More Tips To #LiveOptimal
http://www.brain.fm/naturalstacks <– This is the link BrainFM set up for the special 20% off discount. They’ve had some issues with it due to high traffic volumes on their site and they’re trying to sort it out.
Get laser-like focus and enhanced memory potentiation with CILTEP
Smart Caffeine improves cognition and boosts energy naturally without the jitters
BioCreatine boosts brain capacity, higher reasoning, and improves strength capacity!
Natural BCAA’s made from 100% botanical sources – no bird feathers or human hair in here
Grass-Fed Protein combines whey, collagen and colostrum for ultimate recovery & health
CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION BELOW WITH YOUR QUESTION OR COMMENT
Boost Focus Immediately with Music (Backed by Neuroscience)
Ryan: You are listening to the Optimal Performance Podcast sponsored by Natural Stacks. If you’re into biohacking, performance or getting more out of life, this is the show for you! For more on building optimal performance into your life, check out optimalperformance.com.
Alright, happy Thursday all you optimal performers! Welcome to another episode of the Optimal Performance Podcast. I’m your host Ryan Munsey and I want to welcome in – we have 2 special guests today. We have the co-founders of Brain fm here to talk about music for the brain that helps you focus, relax and sleep, depending on your goal, within 10 minutes of use. So, guys, hello, welcome, thanks for hanging out with us.
Junaid:Thanks for having us.
Adam:Happy to be here!
Ryan: So, for you guys listening, we have – like I said – the co-founders, Junaid and Adam. These guys are collectively the secretary of snacks and the secretary of snack distribution. [laughs]
Adam:The official titles.
Ryan: These are – these are their less serious titles.
Junaid: Yeah, a little pre-recording joke there.
Adam:I’m completely serious about my title. I take snack distribution very seriously.
Junaid: Hey, hey, hey, create the snacks, I’ll distribute the snacks, it’s an analogy for music. Snacks, music, same thing. Let’s make it happen. Yeah, but Ryan, yeah, so what we’re really doing like you mentioned is we’re making music for the brain to help you focus, help you relax and help you sleep within, sort of, 10 minutes of use. So, kind of think about it like background music when you’re at work, right, you’re trying to, you’re trying to code, you’re trying to program, you’re trying to do creative work, you’re trying to study in college. You listen to our music, you just go to Brain fm, click focus and then you kind of begin and within 10 minutes you’ll get in the zone. That’s – that’s the premise, that’s the promise and it’s been sort of what we’re finding we’ve been having a lot of – recent, sort of, surge. We’ve gotten over, like, over 100,000 users in the past – in the past month so it’s been nice to kind of grow. And so basically, it’s – it’s – there’s a lot going on that we – we would love to dive into it and kind of understanding how this works. But there’s – there’s a component with AI so all the music is kind of generated by an AI engine that my co-founder Adam, really, here is the inventor. And he invented an engine for basically, like an AI engine that creates all the content. Because it used to take us, about – for each 30-minute session it’s an mp3 file and there’s thousands to sort of get personalized to you, when you come on the site it kind of learns from you. Um and, it gives you these sessions and what we realized, one issue when we were starting up, it took like – like – it took a week to make every 30-minute session. It was ridiculous.
Adam: Sometimes a month.
Junaid: Sometimes a month! And we verify this also we have [unclear 00:03:25] from our [unclear 00:03:28]. And we have an EEG control study on this stuff, too. So, when we kind of came about this, like, okay we – we can’t – we don’t have unlimited content. We need to, like, basically, like take so much time to make this content, it took months to make this content. So how about we – how about we just kind of make an AI engine that’s [unclear 00:03:48]. Adam kind of spent 4 months in a basement and came out with this and now we have this engine that’s creating a majority of the sessions – over 90% of it and it’s gonna be 100% of it very soon. And it’s this personalized engine that kind of learns from you, that’s what Brain fm is. And it’s really playing on the relationship with music and brain and pushing to the boundaries of understanding what is music’s relationship to humanity. So, that’s kind of like, a really short, you know, I gave you a lot –
Ryan: Yeah there’s so much in there that we can dive into and kind of explore. But I think the first thing I wanna find out from you guys is, you know, kind of talk to our listeners about how music can stimulate the brain and facilitate that productivity that we’re all looking for.
Adam: Sure! So, I mean, first of all there’s, you know, whenever you’re listening to – I mean, everybody listens to music while they work. And that’s – there’s no exception for me. I mean, I listen to Queen, a lot of Queen sometimes. You know, I’m not always listening to ideal music. But whenever I really, really want to focus I will listen to Brain fm. But there’s rules for music that won’t distract you, that will actually focus you. You know, certain bpm rates, you don’t wanna use certain frequency ranges, certainly not lyrics. And that’s kind of why a lot of, you know, there’s a lot of services out there that are like: ‘Okay, here, we’ll play some classical music for you,’ you know. Or they’ll talk about the Mozart effect or something like that. But those aren’t built with the brain in mind, you know. Like if – I think if, you know, Chopin came back or Beethoven came back from the dead and found out that people were listening to – listening to his music just ’cause they didn’t like it and [laughs] and they’re just like: ‘Didn’t distract me so I’m just gonna listen to it,’ yeah, they wouldn’t be too happy. So, there’s – yeah there’s’ a bunch of kind of rules around building music in general and the AI does that. But there’s a better way to directly stimulate the brain. If you – and we can get more into this later and get kind of really heavy into this – I can geek out to whatever extent you want but be prepared!
Ryan: You go – you go as geeky as you want and if it’s too far we’ll pull you back.
Adam: Oh yeah – yeah, pull me back from the brink. It’s probably wise.
Junaid: You’ve gone too far!
Adam: Well, just kind of an overview, I guess. So, there’s ways to structure music, sound, modulated in certain ways that will elicit a very direct and predictable effect on the brain. I mean, you see it on an EEG if you’re trying to say, raise, you know, um, beta which is kind of associated with focus and attention and learning, memory, that kind of thing. So, it’s – if you wanna do that then you can structure it a certain way and you’ll actually see on an EG it will spike up at – at what you’re stimulating. If you do it right. So, that – and so we’ve done that and we’ve been – I’ve been doing this for 13 years and it’s taken a while but we’ve learned over the years how to very, very consistently and for the majority of the population get a great result. And – and you can actually feel it now, too. In the past it’s – with this research, you know, like 20 years ago, you know, you would – you’d use something like this, you know, binaural beats or whatever and it was probably just mainly placebo if not fully placebo and then you would – or – or, you know, maybe it did something for some people. But it wasn’t as evolved. It wasn’t and companies weren’t testing it as rigorously, you know, we’re constantly testing on an EEG, we’re working with universities, we’re work- we have a neuroscientist always on staff at all times.
Junaid: Totally! And one thing I’d like to add real quick here for people who – since you brought up, Adam, binaural beats – I think there’s a lot of misconceptions around for it. And part of what we would like to do is unwind some of the things and just, like, telling you the facts. Just being transparent about stuff! So, binaural beats was kind of discovered in the early 70’s by Gerald Oster who was a very – he’s one of the most renowned auditory neuroscientists of the century. And he coined the term binaural beats and discovered it. And within his own research paper – that first one – no one read the study! It’s online, just Google ‘Gerald Oster binaural beats ‘. No one read the study! And they’ve been marketing it. He denied that there are uses of it. And binaural beats is a very, sort of, if you wanna think about in a techni- I’m sure you have a techie audience. You kinda wanna think about it as, like, dial-up Internet, or like the wheel, you know. It’s just older technology. It’s just that simple. And what we’re trying to do is create, like, the hovercraft. Or create – or, like, fiber optic Internet, right? There’s just – we’re advancing on the technology itself and there’s innovation to do here and that’s really what our story is about. And you can go and experience that by just going to Brain fm, try it and, like, that’s what we say: ‘Don’t trust us, don’t trust anything what we say. Ignore 100% of it, alright? And just go have your experi- any of you can.’ I don’t know, it’s kind of a [unclear 00:09:28]. But, like it’s just –
Ryan & Adam: [laughs]
Junaid: – just go try it out. And it’ll consistently, sort of, come about as a thing. And when – just make your own decision, that’s what we always say. Just trust your own personal experience.
Adam: Yeah, that’s the best part about the innovation that we’ve done, you know, in the last 5 years. It’s just – it’s an experiential process or thing now. You know, you just go on and you can feel it, as opposed to just trusting that it’s working, you know. Like you have these brain games, like Lumosity or whatever. Just like, you’re just trusting that it’s doing so- yeah, you’re getting better at the game it’s telling you, but you don’t know if you’re getting smarter. This is something that you’ll- you’ll get 10 minutes into it, 20 minutes, you’ll just realize that you haven’t been paying attention to anything around you.
Junaid: Totally! And [unclear 00:10:12] – even to that point, Adam, I’d like to say about brain games, there’s a very – there’s a very, sort of, there’s a lot of misconceptions with it, too, right. And there’s a lot of misleading things that have been going on. But, for example, BrainHQ with – I forget the doctor’s name – Dr. Max uh, [unclear 00:10:33], he’s done some very, very great work.
Ryan: Alright. While you pull that up, we’re gonna take a quick pause. I just wanna remind our listeners, you guys head to the blog version of this so you can hopefully see the video. This is the first time we’ve had multiple people on a video, so hopefully the video works out. Even if the video’s not there, we will definitely have links to the studies that these guys are mentioning. We’ll have links to the website.
Junaid: Sweet, awesome.
Ryan: We’ll have links to BrainHQ. Anything that we talk about! That’s the whole reason that we have the blog version of this. So, listeners, make sure you guys head over there and that’ll actually be at naturalstacks.com. For you guys that have been listening for a while, we are transitioning away from the Optimal Performance domain, putting it all on the naturalstacks.com site. So, you’ll be able to see the podcast directory there. And if you haven’t done so yet, please go to iTunes, leave us a 5* review, let us know how much you like the show. I’m gonna give these guys and Brain fm a 5* review right now. I’ve been experimenting with it for about 2 weeks and I can test – attest to what these guys are saying. That within 10 or 15 minutes, your environment, your mood, everything shifts. That’s really the only way I can explain it. You know, the first time I logged in, I filled out the profile and immediately after listening, the stress about getting it done, the work – getting the work done, went away. You get in this zone and –
Ryan: – it just – the information just comes out of your head and it pours out. And I think for anybody who’s out there and you have to produce quality work on a deadline, I think, I mean, to me to be able to think clearly, to be able to put it out there and –
Ryan:– have it accurate and right the first time. I love what you guys have created.
Adam: Oh thanks, man.
Junaid: Totally, yeah! And we’ll – or what you’re kind of describing is kind of teetering on a flow state, when you really get in the zone.
Junaid: And we’ve been actually talking to Steven Kotler who wrote the book ‘Rise of the New Superman’.
Junaid:Yeah, he’s – I mean, flow states are – we’re exploring in our partnership the Flow Genome project.
Ryan: Yeah. That would be amazing. ‘Cause I know – I’ve seen him speak, I’ve read that book.
Adam: I – I mean, I can go into that a little bit if you want me to.
Ryan: Yeah! Please do.
Adam:There’s a lot of misconceptions about that. First of all, saying that you’re in a theta state would kind of imply that theta is kind of like the dominant, you know, brain wave that you’re in at that time. And that’s – it very, very rarely happens in adults at all. In kids, it’s common, but it’s not in adults. And you don’t – you definitely don’t want that to be the goal. We – we actually never use theta because it’s – it’s – if you have too much theta in your brain, it’s just generally kind of associated with ADD, even closed head injuries. You don’t want too much theta. But whenever we were talking to Kotler, we had – we had a discussion and it seemed to me like it wasn’t so much, you know, that theta is, like, the dominant state or – he actually talked more about alpha. And that makes more sense to me because – and so here’s the thing. Whenever you become an expert at something, like driving, for example. Whenever you’re – whenever you first learn driving, you’re in a high beta state. You’re learning, you’re like: ‘Ah! Oh my god! I’m going 10 miles an hour, it’s insanity!’ And – and you can’t – you can’t concentrate on anything but the road. So that’s beta, and that’s whenever you’re learning, that’s whenever you’re concentrating very hard on something. But once you become an expert, you can easily, you know, just daydream while you’re doing that because the brain becomes very efficient whenever it’s – whenever you do something often and you become an expert at it. Brain doesn’t need as much power, it doesn’t need as many cycles, you could say, to do the same task. And that’s why whenever you drive to work you often just forget, you know, like, I don’t even remember anything about my journey, I was thinking about a movie I saw last night or something, you know? And that’s kind of – and that could be called, like, a flow state, you know, because you’re just doing something that you’re so good at that you can literally daydream while you’re doing it. You can be completely relaxed. You can just, like, you’re so good at it. And that – so, lower frequencies like that are associated with experts but that doesn’t at all mean that simply stimulating alpha or, certainly theta, is going to make you an expert or get you into the flow state. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite. We – we tend to stimulate low beta um, sometimes near alpha, but we modulate it. We go around and we’ve experimented for a long time and we found a very, very good protocol that works for the majority of people and works for experts as well as people that are just learning. Just trying to get good at whatever they’re doing.
Junaid: And actually –
Ryan: Go ahead.
Junaid: And actually – I actually spoke to Steven Kotler about this. And he was talking – it was sort of a conversation and I was like, you know, like: ‘We’re obviously finding these results, Kotler’. Like – like, you know. And he would say – and Kotler said: ‘I’ve talked to some of the best neuroscientists.’ ‘Cause that’s what he’s – he’s a journalist for the New York Times, WIRED Magazine and he interviews scientists and he’s – he’s a research writer, right. And he’s – and they’re saying like, there’s a lot – so basically the story of this, kind of, if we take a step back. Let’s just kind of take a step back. Is really there are different parts of the brain and how they are kind of organized and how they kind of relate to each other. And one basic part of the brain is the auditory cortex, right. And we’ve known for the longest time that it’s used to process music, sounds, complex environmental sounds in general. And its, kind of, role is to – its functional property is to identify sound, right, auditory cortex. But if you kind of take a step back and for the research, basically a lot of – or, for the longest time people have had a lot of different arguments in the scientific community. Like, okay what’s going on here? Like, what are the specific things here? And MIT did a mic drop, science mic drop moment over the past few months. And they took a step back themselves and analyzed all this research. And they took a more broader view about the auditory cortex and they said, without necessarily being reliant on one previous hypothesis, they, for example, took – like, they measured 10 subjects in an MRI with 165 different sounds, including, like, random stuff like toilet flushes. And they – pretty much the end product of that was they created a matrix of the sound in the brain. And they – and they really narrowed it down to 4 components. And within those 4 components, there’s 2 components that they stumbled on. There were like: ‘Oh my god.’ It was a holy shit moment within science and MIT led it. And it really came down to 4 components and narrowed it down to 2, which was the brains relationship to speech and music. What is going on here with the auditory cortex? Why does it fire up? Why is there a dedicated, essential part of the brain that is firi- and it is – the brain is rhythmic. Like what is going on here? All these research is pointing to. And basically, it’s kind of opened a new dialogue within humanity and within science right now because there’s a dedicated neural population that is – that is, like, interacting with each- and what is going on?
Adam: Purely for music.
Junaid: Purely for music! And for speech, too. That’s what I MIT is. But, like, for me, like – what is – and they’re going as far as to say – the early, early suggestions – and there’s a New York Times article that I can forward you on this – that there’s a strong possibility of speech, language itself being evolved from music. Like – like and – and it’s funny but, like, if you think about more anecdotally, you know music’s relationship within your life. Right, you can – you can think of those times that you’ve had musical pieces that, like, draw you in a movie theater. And you just like, you know, like, if you think of ‘Interstellar’. That – that was a dope movie. It was so good! And it’s just like Hans Zimmer killed it, you know what I mean? Like, there’s – music gets – and in a concert, when you’re there you just, like, you just, like, get into this one hive mind and just like – like you’re with the musician. So, music we’ve kind of known has this long relationship and, like, it’s one of, like, the greatest people over time have also kind of attested to it. Einstein said he often thought – he kind of viewed the – viewed the world – he saw his life in the terms of music. He daydreamed in music. He – he – and his quote was, I think: ‘I often think in music. I live in my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.’ That was his quote. And, like, Henry Wadsworth is like: ‘Music is the universal language of mankind.’ And music is the universal language of mank- it’s like okay, you can say that with a really intell- like, a smart intellectual man thousands of years ago and like, MIT is finding that now. So it’s just – it’s just a very – it’s a very exciting time, I think, as – even if you’re not a scientist – to kind of pay attention to what’s going on with music’s relationship to humanity. And even if – if you’re a fan of, you know, Eastern perspectives, like Confucius. Like, he had a quote with: ‘Music produces a kind of human pleasure which human nature cannot do without.’ Like it’s – and that’s classic Confucius quote, that’s just like –
Junaid: Just dropping like that. But Lao Tzu – like there’s – the list goes on and on. Like – like – like Stevie Wonder. Like, you can think about the greats and you – just go and search ‘music great people quotes’. Like, you will find a list. Like it’s just – it’s all over the spot. So yeah. That’s – that’s a little bit what’s going on with music’s relationship with humanity. Which is really – really with the Brain fm story is, which Adam sort of, has been charging.
Junaid: For 13 years.
Ryan: So you mentioned earlier that binaural beats may not be as effective as people think they are. What are you guys doing differently to take that to the next step and make it as effective as you have?
Adam: Sure. Well, binaural beats, they kind of capture the popular imagination because they’re actually produced in the brain. So what happens whenever you have 2 very similar sounds, tones in particular, is whenever they combine they add and subtract from each other to create a beat. So that’s why they’re called binaural beats. And it’s the beats that produces brain wave entrainment, that actually creates a corresponding spike in activity in the brain. But you can create beats a whole bunch of different ways, you know. Monaural beats. Actually, Gerold Oster in that study in which he coined binaural beats said that monaural beats work a lot better. But again, nobody read the freaking study so that’s, you know, decades of misinformation later. We finally have the internet and people can look at the freaking study! So anyway, but – so we simply are creating rhythmic stimuli in a different way. We modulate the music, for one thing. We – so, for example, I can – in 2005 I created a way to say, you know, you could have an entire symphony and I could single out the strings section or, like, the violin or trumpet or something. And then I could modulate that so that it’s, kind of, it sounds like a vibration kind of. And if you listen closely to Brain fm you’ll hear like a flutter or a vibration. But if you’re not listening for it you might not even hear it. But – ’cause it’s pretty subtle. And the reason it’s subtle is because I disguise it as what you would normally hear in an instrument, you know, like vibrato, tremolo, the typical vibrations that instruments make. So, it sounds like that. It sounds very natural. And another thing that we do is that the AI, which not only creates music but it aligns all of the sounds. Every note, every drum beat. For nature sounds, for example, this is the example I like to use. I think it’s more relatable. But picture a rainstorm, you know, hundreds of thousands of drops. But every single drop is aligned exactly to the phase of the modulation that we’re trying to produce. So not only are we creating a beat, but – and modulating all the sounds to that beat – but the sounds themselves are actually aligned to everything we’re trying to do. And the result is that you get a very enjoyable piece of music that, you know, to the untrained ear is just like: ‘Okay, this is music. That just happens to be making me feel really great.’ But um, what’s really happening it that it’s creating – it’s a rhythmic stimulus. So, I should say that whenever we say beats it’s not – we’re not talking about, you know, beats in a club where it’s like [beat sounds].
Ryan: Yeah, its’ not house music.
Adam: It’s not like that! These are very, very rapid, you know, like [clicks]. Like, like that only faster. So um, yeah. And yeah it’s – it’s not – you don’t expe- if you don’t expect it then it’s not really detectable. It’s very, very enjoyable. But it’s produced in a very profound effect on the brain.
Adam: And yeah, so that’s –
Ryan: Okay. So, now –
Adam: I hope that made sense.
Ryan:Yeah, yeah! So, I wanna ask you guys then, with all the wisdom and expertise that you guys have and with what we just talked about with flow states – if you guys – if I pressed you guys and said, you know: ‘Hey look, you’ve gotta – you have to get yourself in the flow state today,’ how would each of you do that?
Junaid: So first – I – we can speak anecdotally, I do wanna be up front. Ultimately it depends on your own personal experience and trust that. And with a lot of the stuff that the Flow Genome Project is really doing. I, first of all, highly considered going and going to Flow Genome – flowgenomeproject.com and they have a flow fundamentals course that really educates. ‘Cause there’s a lot of stuff going on here and if we really wanna get into flow state, you know, and they take the time, they’re the best people in the world to, kind of, just go [unclear 00:25:21] – more than understand the fundamentals, and that’s what it is, the flow fundamentals course. So, I could speak anecdotally. Adam, I’ll let you – how do you, kind of, get in the zone?
Adam: Well, I – I just, I frankly just listen to Brain fm and start doing things. I mean, it takes me a while to get into the zone. But once I’m there – really the – the issue for me, at least, is not getting into the zone. Like, I know how to get into the zone. It’s just, I listen to Brain fm and then I start doing whatever it is I need to do. And then I get into the zone. The problem is staying in the zone. ‘Cause if somebody calls me, if, say, you know, if I messaged online. I sometimes had to be kind of terse, I’m like: ‘In the zone, bye!’ You know, it’s like, I can’t – ’cause if I – if I’m taken out of that then it takes me so long to get back into it. You know, it’s like a wait, it’s another half an hour and so, yeah. I mean, but I – I mean since, I mean, I’ve been doing this for 13 years so it’s – and that’s – that’s the – it’s just music. That’s how I do it. I listen to music and then I do – I start doing whatever it is I need to do. And then I get in there. It’s just a matter of staying in it that’s the problem.
Ryan: You guys. Yeah, go ahead.
Junaid: For me, I’d say I like to – I kind of do a lot of, like, I do big picture stuff. And then I have to get in the weeds and kind of, like, run executional, like daily start-up hustle stuff. And for me, jumping from big picture stuff to start-up hustle is – it’s just like a very um, it requires an intense amount of focus for business. Right now, we’re in the early stages, right. We’re just kind of getting up so. And, it’s going well, which is kind of the problem. Which is just like too much, too much inbound! We’ve gotta bring out a winner, be on top of. So we – focus has been, you know, like a very relevant topic. So I kind of, I constantly experiment with stuff. So right now, my current one I’m doing is I like to – I just sit down and – I’m really biased – but I depend on, if you go to Brain fm within focus there’s an intense focus option within there. And that is, like, my go-to. Like 90% of our customers, that’s like the number 1 thing right now that people are going. But it’s really resonating with them, ’cause it’s an experience that is consistently working. So that is the first thing. And I personally like to, kind of, supplement it with – with a lot of different – like, I mean, some sort of tea. Like, really, it really is that simple. And right now, I’ve been getting on a lot of the hibiscus, hibiscus tea. And mixing with the black mint and just, like, that combo is so good. It tastes delicious and it’s like, you just take, like, Yogi tea or any random one. You don’t have to go as, you know, you can be a great – I’m like, I love the tea world. Like, but for efficiency just take, like, a hibiscus and a black tea with mint and put it in. Wham bam, man. It is an experience. Or – or a little cold-brew coffee. Like, if you need to go on a podcast. Like, that helps, too.
Ryan: Yeah, okay.
Junaid: If you need it. I usually rely on tea.
Adam: Your podcasts used to – you mentioned stacks. And um, I – when I owned a house in Columbus, Ohio, I had an entire room, wall to wall with supplements. I was very active on the, it was called [unclear 00:28:53] at the time. Now it’s – what is it? Longevity.
Adam: LongeCity. Oh yeah, yeah. LongeCity.
Ryan: That’s – that’s exactly where Abelard created CILTEP, which was our first and that’s our flagship product.
Junaid: You know, you know and I’ve actually, in Chicago, I ran a biohacking meet-up and Abelard came and spoke about CILTEP before anything. It was – Tim Ferriss just like, someone Tweeted at him or something, I don’t know what happened, don’t take my word on that. But like, he – he, like, I think was experimenting with CILTEP and we got a bunch of supplies. And I tried it out. I’d love to even take the discussion there. I’m very curious into what you guys are doing as well. But yeah, Adam.
Adam: Well, I mean I get – again, I could talk all day about that. I experimented quite a bit and I got – now I’m down to, kind of, 1 or maybe 4 drawers of things that’s just kinda – but I don’t use it as often now. But I was able to find one’s that I actually – I actually think worked and I was able to find thousands that didn’t, I don’t think, worked at all. But I think that’s probably a different discussion because we would literally end up taking up the rest of the time.
Ryan:[laughs] You –
Adam: I know – I know about Brain fm, I like talking about new –
Ryan:Yeah. And that’s –
Adam:This is not the place, Adam, don’t do it.
Ryan: We’ll get into nootropics and all that stuff on another episode. You guys are strictly our hacking with music. But I think it would be interesting to get some –
Ryan: Yeah, if you guys are using the EEGs and other tracking devices it’d be really cool to, you know, see what’s going on in the brain with the music, with and without CILTEP.
Junaid: Totally! I would love to – I would love to have an order and – Adam, how about we experiment? We – we’re just – we’re constantly testing stuff. And I would love to see what happens.
Ryan: Let’s make it happen! I will send you guys some product, you guys put it to the test and report back to us. I’m sure our listeners would love to –
Adam: Yeah, that’d be great!
Junaid: We’ll put a post out as well on our [unclear 00:30:54].
Junaid: And kind of say, hey this is what’s going on. Like, will this – we’ll share with our audience. They’ll – they’ll resonate with anything related to focus. So, yeah!
Ryan: So after we record we’ll get your address. We won’t ask you to share that live. [laughs] So, you mentioned earlier, guys, about – you kind of brought up Lumosity, BrainHQ. What do you guys think about those methods to train the brain?
Adam: Um well, I think the, you know, I don’t know much about BrainHQ, though it does seem more scientifically validated. It has some really cool, really great people behind it and then maybe they’re not making as many claims. But I think that the – the real issue here for me – at least from what I understand and again I’m not completely, you know, I’m not an expert on this but the idea is how do we increase what’s called fluid intelligence. Which basically means, okay, you know, you’re good at this game that we’re giving you but does that transfer to, you know, can you comprehend a book easier? Can you read faster? Can you um, you know, talk with pretentious hipsters at pretentious neighborhoods? You know, it’s – is that actually gonna transfer and the answer is usually no. They – the only thing that I’ve seen that’s ever even had the scientific community at least a little bit excited was the n-back test but that’s since been kind of disproven as far as fluid. But it does increase other things, like working memory. You know, how many, you know, little bits of information can you store or can you keep in your brain at any one time? And these – these are – I believe that there are – there’s many things, in fact, that would increase your IQ score. You know, I mean, there’s actually a lot, if you look up studies on this [unclear 00:32:59] – neurofeedback studies, actually there’s brainwave entrainment studies that have literally increased IQ scores. That’s actually very malleable because it’s reliant on very kind of specific, you know, measures. Like attention, you know. If somebody has ADD and then you give them ADD therapy of some kind, they’re probably gonna score higher on an IQ test. Now whether that relates to what scientists are calling fluid intelligence, that’s a different issue.
Junaid: Yeah, I have a –
Adam: So I think that it’s, you know, depends on your perspective.
Junaid: It really does, yeah, it really does. There’s some obvious things going on, to add into Adam’s point. The ultimate goal is fluid intelligence. I mean, Adam is really educated and it’s great to be his co-founder. He’s like one of the most brilliant people that just drops, like, neuroscience knowledge here and there and I’m like: ‘Thank you! Thank you!’ Along the way. Like, over the past 2 years.
Adam: Thanks, buddy!
Junaid:[laughs] He’s an awesome co-founder, [unclear 00:34:00]. But I – one of the things that I’ve kind of understood is, first of all, let’s kind of acknowledge and put into the attention Lumosity just got sued by – got fined by the FTC for $50 million, right. And the announcement went live in January and everyone covered it. If you haven’t heard it already. Like, Bloomberg, Time Magazine to Times of India, it doesn’t matter.
Junaid: Like, everyone’s covered it. And it was because they’ve been making misleading marketing claims which is – which is a really important moment because it is – it was, like, undeniably kind of true. And you have to be kind of careful with this stuff. And often times from, like, and everyone that has to kind of learn from this experience. Now, that being said, Lumosity is brain games, right, and there’s basically, cognitive games, right. Like, just, like, the goal is to enhance cognition, enhance fluid intelligence. BrainHQ, however, is a little different. And it’s actually led by, one of the co-founders is Doctor Michael Merzenich, Merzenich. I know – I’ll send his link. But he’s – he is one of the most – he’s – or, he’s a pioneer of the century kind of person. He’s been leading brain plasticity research for about 5 decades. And he is the co-founder and chief, sort of [unclear 00:35:24] of the science team within BrainHQ. And, I mean, like, documents and his – he’s published over 150 articles in leading peer-reviewed journals, like science and nature. And received, like, the Russ prize, the [unclear 00:35:38] prize. Like, this guy is, like, the scientific real deal. And like, he’s – he’s earned – he’s – we kind of went – he’s got his PhD from John Hopkins, too, which is actually a very important research institution with a lot of people what they’re doing right now. So he’s – and there’s – so point being, there’s a lot of – you shouldn’t – if I were you, if I was a consumer right now of this stuff, I wouldn’t discount it just because of Lumosity, that’s what I would say. I would keep an open mind still. Because, like anything, there’s new variables popping up all the time, right. Within science. It’s – it’s changing. It’s not this, like [clap]. It’s dynamic. So I would just keep an open mind with it. And within that I would say Dr. Michael’s work is quite – quite – and we should really think [unclear 00:36:27] what he’s done in general for – within the science community. And um, BrainHQ is a little different from Lumosity. And we kind of respect – we as Brain fm respect BrainHQ more. So, that’s – that’s – and again, anecdotal. Trust your own experience at the end of the day. If it works – if you’re a Lumosity guy and – or gal and you love Lumosity and it’s working for you, like, ignore, like just, you know what I mean? It’s just ultimately it’s about, it’s America. And – and globally, okay. It’s about human freedom, alright?
Junaid: Whatever you want!
Ryan: Got you! Alright, so you guys mentioned earlier that your intense focus is one of the most popular areas. And for people who have not been to Brain fm – correct me if I’m wrong, I’ve only been there for a couple of weeks – but the user can select what use they want for or why they’re listening to the music and it’s –
Ryan: – it’s sleep, relaxation or focus or work. And within that focus you have relaxed focus and intense focus. Is there a different – like, what is the difference in the beats that you’re sending for relaxed versus intense?
Adam: Um, well the – the protocol itself is only slightly different from a brainwave perspective. It’s slightly lower and definitely kind of less intense in certain areas, you know, would be disproportionate towards lower, kind of, areas. So, to kind of foster more creativity. Because you’re not – you’re not so much like okay, I need to learn, I need to, you know, this is more relaxed focus. It’s more for okay, I’m reading a book, I’m reading a good book. Or, you know, I’m trying to maybe prep myself for creative writing or something like that. The – but there’s other – there’s a lot of other aspects to Brain fm. For example, there’s – one of the things we really innovated on is kind of a 3D sound. And I don’t know if you noticed it but with intense focus the sounds will start out kind of one the side but they’ll focus in. And soon they’ll be about a screen length away. So, it really draws your attention just because it sounds like the music’s coming from in front of you. So, it’s something I’ve been working on for a long time and just recently perfected. But I can place the sound, even thousands of sounds, anywhere in 3D space, you know, above you, below you, anywhere. And it sounds very, very realistic. So, whenever you’re doing a sleep session it’s kind of, you just have these things traveling around you very slow. It kind of feels like you’re rocking in a hammock or a cradle or something like that. ‘Cause the ears have a lot to do with balance, so it’s pretty cool.
Junaid: It’s kind of like VR if you think about it. If you walk into a coffee shop and you can’t recognize the difference between a coffee mug and a fake coffee mug – and a VR coffee mug. But the – it’s just like, it looks real. You want to pick it up. That’s the latest stuff going on with Oculus, with Facebook. It’s just, like, so that’s the same with what Adam was, like, kind of invented. And then it’s been perfecting and keeps improving upon is that – the audio version of that. It’s like you can’t recognize the difference between the sound coming from a glass here or if it was an actual – actual –
Adam: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I’ve been – I’ve been helping to make kind of a demo. Like there’s this famous, like, barber shop demo that was recorded with a microphone. They had a microphone that looked like a human head. They put 2 – 2 microphones in the – the ears. But I can create that, just, you know, if you just give me a bunch of barbershop sounds. Like, I can create a little sound. I think I could probably make it sound even better, but –
Adam: So, it’s all – it’s virtual. So, basically the – that has a lot to do with every single session. You know, what’s the purpose of the session? Is it relaxation, is it just kind of fun, is it sleep, is it -? If it’s focus we can do a number of things. We can put it in front of you. Or, for example, if you’re in a coffee shop we can – actually, we went around to every Chicago coffee shop and I would design the sessions right there to kind of, okay, I could place a sound that is just kind of static in different places around you so that it draws your attention there subtly, as opposed to the barista banging nonstop over there or some, you know, people over here talking, speakers up above you. So, it’s kinda like we would place it all around and it kind of has a noise-cancelling effect and at the – but at the same time it’s not – it’s actually adding noise that’s helping you get into the state that you want to be in. And with the relaxed focus we don’t tend to focus as much in the front, we also kind of have things going around over here. We’re trying to kinda draw your mind not so intently, you know, to what exactly you’re looking at. So, it’s a bit – it’s just a bit more fluid and the protocols are slightly different. But the overall – and the music is slightly different. Well, not slightly different. It’s dramatically different. So, you’re gonna, you know, the combination of all these kind of subtle things is a dramatically different effect. And you’ll definitely feel it. I mean, um, yeah. If you try to, you know, study or something with the relaxed focus you’ll be like: ‘Ah, I just feel like thinking about – I feel like daydreaming,’ right. I feel like – you know?
Junaid: If you need to get stuff done and zone in, go for intense focus. If you wanna do relaxed work like read a book, journal for fun. Like, if you wanna do things that don’t require you’re like – you know, you need to get in the zone use relaxed focus. But if you wanna get in the zone ASAP, like, pick intense focus. Those are the 2 options right now. That being said, I do wanna say, like, we’ve only scratched 2% of what we’re doing right now at most, Adam says, of the potential. This is innovation here. Cycle of innovation where we explore uncharted territory, navigate it and test the results on ourselves first and then our team and then our, like, little, like our – now we have so many users. We can just say hey, like, we have – we’re gonna put live like a kind of like a – like a lab section within it so we can get immediate instant feedback.
Adam:We’re actually doing –
Junaid: And – we’ll have qualitative feedback as well as, we want to pursue more with EEGs, too. Like we’ve got 2 pilot studies with – on EEG control. But, like, we wanna – so that’s kind of our process, how we go about every innovation cycle. It’s, like, how we think about it. Like, we go – Brain fm goes through innovation cycles that keeps getting better and better and better over time. So one of the things I wanna bring up is that we’re actually working with the Olympic wrestling team right now. With coach Matt Lindland. Matt Lindland, he won the silver medal for America in Sydney 2000. And he’s been a UFC fighter for 10 years. I think, like, Chuck Liddell [unclear 00:43:42]. And he is – he is a beast, he’s a machine. He’s like a very – he’s an awesome person to talk to but also, like, just the man – the man’s mind is just like, you know, I – what it takes to win the Olympic medal. I, like, I’m just – he’s just – he’s on another level. So um, he’s – but he’s – actually Steven Kotler introduced us to him.
Junaid: So, he was interested in a sleep app. So, we kind of just started talking about sleep for performance and kind of recovery. Sleep is key for an elite athlete of that performance. The rest of the team were basically now, like, we’re gonna be making, like, we’re – a Brain fm version for them. And with other Olympic teams, any kind of other peak performing, this can be used for physical performance, too. And we wanna be slowly navigating the territory of physical performance with running and exercise. ‘Cause we can – we can – like, think about, like, if you could normally run 3 miles, now you’re doing 5. And you’re recover, and you’re performing.
Adam: Yeah. The recovery is primarily what he was interested in. We convinced him to do more with focus but the sleep sessions that we have are pretty incredible. I can go into that a little bit if you want me to.
Ryan: I do want you to do that! I’m glad you guys brought up sleep ’cause I was gonna ask about that. But then, before we do that, I guess my question is if we were gonna use it for sleep and if we’re gonna use it for performance I’m not gonna do those things with my computer attached to headsets. Is there a mobile version? Or is there one in the works?
Adam: Well it’s – it’s mobile – the site’s mobile-friendly right now but yeah we are – we’re very, very close to releasing both an Android and iOS app.
Junaid: We’re internally beta testing it right now. I’ve got it on my phone.
Adam: I know, I know, right. Like I’ve been waiting for this to –
Junaid:[unclear 00:45:31] Coming soon. We’re gonna release a light version. We’ve got Marco on our team that we – we went on a hiring [unclear 00:45:37] because we didn’t expect to have this surge. Like, it all started in November and, like, November, December, we kept, like, just doubling, doubling, doubling.
Ryan: You guys – and, you just – last week you hit number 1 on Hacker News, right?
Junaid: Yeah, that was – and that was accidental. Jasmine from our team coordinated this meeting for us.
Adam: Yeah, we did not expect that.
Junaid: Jasmine accidentally posted it! She’s never – she barely uses Hacker News.
Adam: I was just having a relaxing Sunday evening.
Junaid: I know!
Adam: Just vegetating. And then I get: SOS! We need help!
Junaid: I know, me – me and Adam, we’re talking history, philosophy of life. Just shooting the shit on a Sunday night just relaxing, we like to, like, check in weekly with each other as co-founders. So, like, and then, like, oh my god, we’re on the front news of Hacker News and we’re getting like 500,000 people like right – like right now.
Ryan: Time to crank up that intense focus beat, right?
Junaid:Yeah. [laughs] Yeah, exactly. I did. I totally did, that’s so funny. I didn’t even – without even thinking [unclear 00:46:31]. That’s funny. But, yeah.
Ryan: So, that’s awesome. Congratulations to you guys. Adam, tell us about the sleep stuff now.
Adam: Um, yeah. Let’s see, where to start. So, I’m a life-long, very, very severe insomniac. And for the longest time, you know, my own technology couldn’t – it couldn’t help me at all. I spent, you know, 11 years just trying desperately to find some way to do it. And a bunch of kind of innovations came together, like the 3D sound creates this kind of interesting environment and makes you kinda feel like you’re rocking or it’s – it’s very relaxed, kinda. And it’s interesting and kinda dissociates you from your daily worries, which is really my problem. Like, I had this overly chatty mind that won’t just shut the hell up whenever I’m trying to sleep.
Junaid: As do everybody, man! It’s –
Adam: Yeah, yeah. I think a lot of people have that. But, so I – that was the first part of it, the sleep onset. You know, how do I get myself to sleep? But then Giovanni, our lead neuroscientist is actually a sleep expert and works in Northwestern circadian rhythm department. So, he does sleep studies all the time. And so we started talking to him, working with him. And he was a friend of mine at the time. And so, we were talking about slow-wave sleep which I’ll get into in a second. But we started talking about it and I said: ‘Okay, I’ll try to create a protocol that stimulates that.’ And it ended up just having ridiculous effects. It’s insane to even talk about because it sounds so ridiculous. But – and the reason that I’m gonna talk about it is because I’m so confident in it and it’s so obvious whenever a sleep study is done. Like I just hope that a bunch of people who own sleep labs are listening coincidentally to your show this time and are just like: ‘Well, I wanna test this.’ [laughs] So um, it’s – it’s just literally an mp3, you put it on and, you know, just keep listening to it for 8 hours. And your slow-wave sleep will increase by 20-30%. And to put that in perspective, if you simply – tonight you pull an all-nighter, you don’t sleep tonight. Tomorrow, whenever you go to sleep, your slow-waves will only increase by 10% to compensate. So, and we’re increasing it nightly by 20-30% and it’s – it’s incredible. And that has a lot – so this – slow-wave sleep is the deepest form of sleep, the deepest stage. And this is where your body’s repairing itself. It’s getting rid of toxins like beta-amyloids and Inosine. And it’s consolidating memory. A lot of people think that memory is consolidated in REM. Some of it is. Emotional memory is. But REM actually has a cooler purpose – I think it’s cooler – it checks memories validity. It’s kind of like a checksum of memory. Whenever you’re dreaming, whenever you’re in REM it’s going through – ’cause memories are very malleable. It’s easy to kind of change a memory just by kinda, yeah I think that’s – I think everybody kinda knows about that. Like witnesses will have their memories kind of changed or something.
Ryan: Right. So, then this mp3 that we listen to for 8 hours or the entire time we’re sleeping, is that what’s in the sleep section of Brain fm or is this a different -?
Adam: Oh no, it’s the same! Yeah, and it is – and it’s –
Ryan: So we should be listening –
Adam:– hours of mp3 I mean it’s
Ryan:– we should be listening to that the whole time we sleep.
Junaid:Totally, sleep –
Adam: Yeah, just the entire time.
Junaid: Yeah. Sleep – you just put it on. We recommend a sleep audio mask.
Adam: Oh yeah, yeah. You don’t wanna use regular headphones because especially as an insomniac, the main problem that I see when people are like: ‘Oh, sleep sessions. You know, gets me to sleep and I feel good but it’s not as – it’s not as great as I hope it would be.’ And it turns out they were wearing, like, you know, Apple earbuds or something. It’s like, I can’t help you, man! I can’t help you! [laughs] And like who – who sleep like this? You know, nobody.
Junaid: Can you tell which phone Adam has [unclear 00:51:11].
Adam: Vampires, you know.
Junaid: So, I –
Adam: There’s a great – great sleep masks out there that are very, very comfortable, wafer-thin speakers, have very great sound and they’re cheap! Like 22 bucks. Go out and buy some.
Ryan: If you – if you can send me the links to the one that you like, we’ll put it on the show notes and that way our listeners can just –
Adam: Oh, yeah! Yeah, that’d be fantastic, thanks!
Junaid: Actually, go to Brain fm, too, within you can click the sleep section there’s an Amazon link within there for any of you who use Amazon.
Junaid: You can just [unclear 00:51:39] straight to there. We’ve gotta do a better job of messaging that up front and making it – and we’re working on that. [unclear 00:51:45] A lot of people don’t know about the sleep session and how powerful it is. Like, I use it every- I’m not even an insomniac.
Junaid: But I use it. I can fall asleep anywhere. Like, I literally can fall asleep anywhere.
Adam: He can fall asleep standing.
Junaid: I went to high school in Bombay. Like, I used to go back on rickshaws. Like, you had to take a rickshaw to go to school, like, and I would fall asleep and it is loud. Like, you’re talki- like, Bombay crowd and it’s an hour journey. So, I – I – and I used to just sleep wherever. I was just like [unclear 00:52:11]. I used to work. I used to just like, play a lot and – cricket and stuff. But like, so pretty much, like, I can fall asleep anywhere and I have no issue with sleep but my experience with the sleep session has been quite surprising, frankly. Even when Adam invented it he started using it. He cured his own insomnia with it. He had 2 decades of insomnia but I was like: ‘ I don’t have insomnia; I don’t need this. I don’t need Brain fm sleep.’ And then when I started using it and um, then [unclear 00:52:40] blah blah blah, but, like, still my experience is and – and hundreds of other people who don’t have insomnia what they’re saying is quite, quite profound so far. Um, is that you wake up – first of all you will fall asleep, you will stay asleep, you will wake up with energy and ready to go. That is what [unclear 00:53:00].
Adam: And most people are waking up a bit earlier, too. And it makes sense ’cause slow-wave sleep it – whenever you get rid of certain toxins like adenosine, you end up – adenosine’s a key – as far as I understand it, and I’m not an expert on this but I was talking to Giovanni and he could probably tell you more but it keeps you asleep and whenever it’s all flushed out you wake up. And we haven’t shown this in a study yet. I’m really, really hoping to because it matches, you know, it’s kind of, again, this is an insane result. Like, I feel weird just even talking about these numbers, like 20-30% but it’s – it’s – it was there and every single subject it was remarkably consistent. And I was the only insomniac, you know, that used this. Whenever we did it with 3 subjects they – none of them were and they all got the same insane result. You know, went to sleep and got 20-30% better. And so, I guess what I was saying with memory consolidation earlier is that this will help you not only recover because this is the part of sleep where your body is repairing itself, but it will help you learn and learning is – not only just memories like okay, I ate this for lunch yesterday but skills, too.
Adam: So, that’s why we were getting involved with the Olympic wrestling team because he –
Ryan: Skill acquisition and recovery.
Adam: Yes, skill – as far as we understand it from him there’s a lot of relearning and you can be really good at American-style wrestling but European-style wrestling, which is the Olympic style wrestling is kind of Greco-Roman. Yeah, so there’s a lot of unlearning and relearning that goes into that so yeah, we’re super excited and they’re really excited. We’re gonna help them a lot.
Ryan: That’s awesome.
Junaid: Yeah, and the Olympic team, they’re elite athletes, these are elite athletes. These are people dedicating key parts of their lives will be within their 20s to perform. Right, like, these people are winning the gold. They wanna win the gold. And they’re being trained by the guy who won the last, like, more major medal. And it’s not – it’s [unclear 00:55:11] – to share it with. Like, it’s not the regular wrestling when you think about it in America, in North America. It’s more a – it’s, again, it’s an international form of wrestling and it’s actually very popular in Iran and in Turkey, traditionally, over the years. Including Europe. They were actually on a trip, they just got back from Hungary. So, it’s an international form of wrestling and it just requires – and America will hopefully win the medal. That’s the goal, right, that’s obviously – let – but let’s do our part and let’s, you know, see how it goes. But yeah, it’s – for physical performance with Brain fm, we’re gonna be stepping into that, too. And this is kind of our avenue to do it, to really use elite athletes. But what if we had elite athletes that we could just test stuff on and get the results, you know what I mean? In the really short amount – like that. We’d get the results like that. Through the app! Through the app!
Ryan: I’m raising my hand as a volunteer.
Adam: Oh, yeah.
Ryan: You can hook me up to whatever you want!
Adam: Well we – he did initially call us for sleep and we convinced him for – ’cause, you know, the preperformance anxiety, we can help a lot with that. But there’s also um, you know, focus without the, you know, negative effects of like a boat-load of caffeine or, like, you know, many of the supplements, like, will just increase my heart rate like crazy. And then it becomes, you know, like whenever I was really, really into supplements I would have to really scale back or not even take them at all right before a workout. I had to be very careful about that because if I raise my heart rate and everything I start, you know, sweating profusely before I even get to the freaking gym then it’s probably a bad sign. I won’t have a good workout. But what we can do is increase focus without any of those side effects. And so, we can get, you know, okay say you wake up and you don’t really feel like practicing today or working out. Well, people are – a lot of our customers are calling our focus sessions audio Adderall. What happens whenever you take Adderall, you wanna do things that you don’t normally wanna do. You really wanna get, you know, really wanna get to work. You know, I’m gonna read Moby Dick like 7 times. [laughs] You know, and it’s – so it’s – we convinced them to. And they’re really excited about it and they’re gonna be using it, you know, in warm-ups and putting it on the speakers and I expect it to be a very, very great help.
Junaid: Totally. And – and I do wanna say, like, you know, our users consistently keep coming. And you can just, like, Brain fm’s account I keep, like, Retweeting. And we all just keep Retweeting any of the testimonials. So, if you guys have anything in your story, it’s like, I will read – me and Adam read every single one. Like, Tweet, like, type it out and then Tweet at us. Just as BrainfmApp and we’ll respond. And we’d love to know what your experience is. Even if it’s bad, let us know. Even if it’s great, let us know! Whatever is your experience, kind of, let us know and we’ll –
Adam: If it’s bad, private message me. [laughs]
Ryan: That’s a good rule of thumb.
Adam: I don’t care. I like all feedback.
Ryan: Hey, real quick while we’re talking about that give us all of your social media handles. We’ll put this in the show notes as well.
Adam: I’m BrainFMAdam on Twitter. I just recently got on Twitter so [laughs] I have like 5 followers.
Ryan: Hopefully that increases after this show.
Adam: – take it seriously. I don’t even think Junaid follows me, like I don’t –
Junaid: I follow you! I [unclear 00:58:46] – following you! [unclear 00:58:49]
Adam: Liking things and Retweeting or responding to um, people’s accounts of Brain fm and it’s a lot of fun.
Junaid: Mine is J-K-A-L-M-A-D-I, jkalmadi, J-K-A-L-M-A-D-I, J-K-A-L-M-A-D-I. It’s a trip, every time I think about it. I should make that simpler. But it’s – for our account, if you actually just Tweet at BrainfmApp. We’re trying to get it to just Brain fm right now.
Junaid: Come on, Twitter, respond back to our e-mails. We just want that handle. It’s suspended. The account’s suspended for some – so if you go to – if you go to twitter/Brain fm it says account’s been suspended. It’s been there before and I’m like, please, who suspe- who – someone did some shady thing.
Ryan: Yeah. And it wasn’t you guys!
Adam: Yeah, it was not us.
Junaid: It wasn’t us! So, I’m just like, so we’re just BrainfmApp. And we’ll – I would love to hear what your thoughts are with using it while focusing at work or with anything, really, even for sleep. And we haven’t even gotten to the relax category yet.
Adam: Yeah. There’s a lot of cool stuff with the relax, too. A lot of cool stuff.
Junaid: There’s basically 2 use cases in the relax section, we can cover it for a second.
Ryan: Yeah, go for it!
Junaid: Um, basically there’s a quick relax option and a meditation option right now. If you kind of think about the quick relax option, it’s a way within 10-15 minutes to have, basically, a way to get, like, reduce your anxiety, reduce your stress. And it –
Adam: Increase your HRV which is an independent – an independent study was done. And they didn’t even inform us! We didn’t know about this until it was published. And so somebody, one of my customers e-mailed me and was like: ‘Have you seen this study?’ I’m like: ‘No, I’ve not!’
Ryan: Can you send that to me? We’ll put that out as well.
Adam: Oh yeah, it’s on our site, too. Front page.
Adam: That, yeah. It’s amazing. We’ve since contacted the guy that did it in Italy and he’s on our advisory board now. But yeah, completely independent study. Raised HRV. I mean we’re – as far as I know we’re in a very, very select category of therapies that can passively raise HRV. I mean, you don’t have to think about anything, you know. You don’t have to do positive thinking, you don’t have to do breath work. It just works. And it works really, really well.
Ryan: So that would be another way that you guys could facilitate physical performance as well.
Adam: Oh, of course! Yeah, yeah. And that’s, yeah, another reason – another way we kinda convinced the Olympic wrestling team to kinda go – go all out with Brain fm.
Adam: Integrate it into everything, guys! While you’re eating, sleeping. [laughs]
Ryan: That’s awesome!
Junaid: `Yeah, and it really goes back to music’s relationship to humanity here. Like the really, like, we’re – this is all just music, right? This is all just – this is already things that you know. This – don’t, like, it’s just – we’re already – we already know anecdotally, we already have an account to Spotify or Pandora and we listen to our favorite songs and we, like, love it. And we feel things. What if you made music for the brain and made it focused – focused for focus, relaxation and sleep? That’s our premise and how it kind of came about. And this is based on 13 years of Adam’s work. So, he’s actually got audio brainwave training software for neuroscientists and psychologists that’s kind of, like, the gold standard for auditory neuroscience software right now. And it’s called Neuro Programming [unclear 1:02:14]. And we’ve reached, you know, like Olympic athletes in the past. We’ve reached – we’ve had – Dave Asprey was a customer. And Dave’s been, you know –
Adam: Yeah. We went up to him one time it’s like at first he was like: ‘Alright, I don’t know who you are.’ And I was – oh, I was like – I was kind of shy, I was like: ‘I mean, I make a couple software programs, whatever.’ And he was like: ‘Oh, man! I’ve got you on my laptop right next to my bed right now!’ [laughs] Like: ‘Oh, cool!’
Ryan: That’s awesome!
Ryan: Alright, so guys we’re coming up on the end. We already covered your Twitter handles. If you guys are on Facebook let our listeners know where they can find you there and then of course, the website brainfm.com.
Adam: I think I’m mind.adam.hewett, H-E-W-E-T-T. But if – yeah, just look up Adam.
Ryan: We’ll – I’ll –
Adam: Yeah, we’ll – we’ll, yeah.
Ryan:I’ll find it, I’ll find it and I’ll put the link.
Junaid: It’s just – it’s just brain.fm, www.brain.fm, www.brain.fm or brainfm.com. Both go to the same spot. But, yeah. Ryan: And you guys offer a free 7-day trial, right?
Junaid:Um, 7 – we give 7 free sessions.
Ryan: 7 sessions.
Junaid: Right now, 7 free sessions. But for your audience we can make anything happen, really. So, we’d like to give them 20% off, first of all. And what would you like the code to be like? Brainfm/op?
Adam: Ryan Munsey.
Ryan: Or Natural Stacks. Let’s just do Natural Stacks.
Adam: I love Ryan Munsey. [laughs]
Junaid: Brainfm/naturalstacks will be it. And just go to brainfm/naturalstacks and you will get a 20% off coupon. And we can make it into a 7-day trial if you want, how about that?
Ryan: Whatever works for you guys!
Junaid: Okay, cool. How about we do – we’ll –
Adam: We’ll figure it out, we’ll figure –
Junaid: The 7 day sessions are, like, enough to really get a great experience. It sounds like oh, 7 free sessions! Great!
Adam: The vast majority of our customers buy after the very first session.
Junaid: Yeah, we’ll have – actually it’s the 4th session is the highest.
Adam: Oh, has it moved?
Junaid: The 2nd one is after the 1st session. The 4th session is where people get convinced personally. And then they’re okay, let me upgrade. Half our current purchases are annual sales right now.
Ryan: Okay. Yeah, you guys have a great deal on that one.
Junaid: Yeah, we have a great – exactly. And with the discount of 20% it’s just a steal. It’s just like-
Ryan: Right, right. And –
Junaid: And that’s the goal. We don’t want – we wanna charge – we wanna be up front with, like, we wanna, you know, be fair about our price. And like, the way we think about it is what we’re – what is something that we wanna go for it. And what – so what’s an app that we wanna build? What’s an app that we wanna use. Like, we just – how do we wanna treat our customers? Like, how would we wanna be treated, you know what I mean?
Junaid: It’s just like it’s – we do this – that’s kind of the culture within our team.
Ryan: Well, and I’ll share anecdotally also that the first time I used it I did the intense focus and I was amazed when I finished the work that I finished it that quickly. And it was just kind of like coming out of a tunnel. And I was just like holy crap, that really, really worked.
Ryan: But then, the interesting thing was the next morning I just – I – that was kinda, like, later in the evening. And then the next morning I woke up and was just in a great mood. I shared it with my fiancée and she experienced the same thing the next day. She used it that evening and then the next day. So, it’s not just the work and the focus or whatever session you use it for but I think, at least in our experience, it has effect beyond that listening session.
Adam:Yeah, yeah. There’s actually a lot of evidence that brain wave entrainment persists. In fact, some of the definitions of entrainment are that it persists. But um, and we’re seeing that a lot, like with the insomnia or yeah, with insomniacs using the sleep session it’s actually very common and it happened with me, miraculously, that I – I still use it every night but I don’t need to. If I – if I’m traveling or whatever and I forget my sleep phones I can sleep fine. And keep – I used to be on, like, some people are on Ambien. No, no. I was on – I was on things that I’m – things and on dosages I am hesitant to mention. [laughs] I was very, very severe and it’s –
Adam: So, that – that has persisted. And it definitely does have positive effects after the fact.
Adam: It’s something that we don’t mention yet because we have not studied it formally. You know, it’s still, kind of, you know, we need to get more information on that before we start a clinical study on that.
Junaid:Totally. And – and –
Adam: Yeah, it’s definitely being reported, yeah.
Junaid: Yeah, so and for us, like, we’re trying to be proactive about research here. And if there’s anyone in the audience that’s listening that is a research science and is interested in studying the relationship between music and the brain, audio stimulation and the brain or even AI and music. William Blake from MIT Media Lab reached out wanting [unclear 01:07:26] after Hacker News. And they’re – MIT is studying AI and music, so – and – I think, goes by Bill. Bill actually was kind of like a protégé. He was under Bob Woodward. Bob Woodward was one of the most legendary journalists [unclear 01:07:42]. Like Bob Woodward. Like it’s – I was like: ‘Oh my god, Bob Woodward!’ It’s – yeah, but he’s – yeah – but any who, so please reach out to us. Reach out by Twitter or even our first name at –
Adam: Even if you’re skeptical ’cause if you’re skeptical and you happen to own an EEG lab, you don’t like the cut of our jib and you’re just like: ‘I don’t like that red-haired, ah. No, I don’t like him. I’m gonna prove him wrong.’ Please contact us. [laughs] I hope that we are descended upon by thousands of skeptics because I love – ’cause the results are so obvious on an EEG. So, yeah. But a good EEG. That’s something that we should say. People using Muse, EMOTIV, that kind of stuff. You know, I – they have proprietary things going on in there that, you know, sometimes people are saying: ‘Oh, the Muse it raises it crazy levels!’ And other people are saying it only does it a little bit or, you know, it’s just not – those aren’t –
Ryan: So what – what is going – what’s going on with the, like, the Muse or any of those other ones?
Adam: Um, well they’re –
Junaid: Adam, I’ll let you take it.
Adam: They’re – yeah, they’re – I mean I’d say I like EMOTIV the best out of all of them because they use saline electrodes. Or at least they did. I think that their newest one is dry electrodes. Dry electrodes are kinda the problem here because you can only really measure from one, you know, unless you’re bald, you can only measure from one place, the forehead. And, you know, ’cause you need skin contact to get that, kind of, conductivity.
Adam: So –
Junaid: Taking a step back, Adam, on dry electrodes. What are dry electrodes? Right. Like, I think there’s – there’s 2 – with an EEG, there’s consumer grade EEGs and medical grade EEGs. You’ve heard about the medical grade EEGs with all those EEG caps you see, like, all over your brain like that. You know what I mean? And you can see those different things. Just Google EEG, you’ve seen it. You’ve definitely seen it. It’s in movies, it’s in a very rare pop culture thing, like, you know, going through the MRI, you know what I mean? Like, brain machines like when there’s a nervous moment. Like, and it’s part of the human experience, too. So, within – so consumer grade EEGs is like, kind of like 3D printing almost. Like, you know, let’s kind of take what’s already there and make it into consumer 3D printing which is really the revolution right now. Or the Renaissance, rather. And that’s what’s going on with – with EEGs. So, Muse – there’s a lot of different headbands that have been funded on Kickstarter like Kokoon and we’re definitely, like, on the pre-order list of all of them and own all of them, including the medical grade. Like, we – we have like – we all have so many EEGs.
Adam: Yeah, we have a bunch of EEGs.
Junaid:In general – yeah, we – we – ’cause we’re – this is what we do. This is, like, we just love doing this stuff. And, like, we need to be testing. So um, there’s consumer grade and there’s – as anyone in the audience, if you own a Muse, great. But it is – you have to understand there are certain limitations just as an EEG. Right now there’s consumer grade EEGs that have dry electrodes and sticky electrodes. The dry electrodes are basically, they’re, like, that’s it, they’re dry. And sticky actually has a way to actually be attached to the skin, which is –
Adam: And it uses a conductive – it’s very important to mention that it uses a conductive paste of some sort. That – and saline electrodes it’s – what I meant by that is you soak some cotton in saline and saline’s, like, salt water is very conductive. So you need to amplify that, you know, the – we’re talking micro-volts here. This is very, very small, you know, units of electricity. And you need to amplify that to get a good result. So, yeah it’s – I’ve been disappointed with the vast majority. Like I don’t mean to single out Muse, I’m sure that they have a lot of –
Junaid: But actually, I actually own a Muse and as a customer I actually do appreciate what they’re doing and it does work for me with meditation. It kind of tracks – and it is whenever you [unclear 01:11:43]. It’s actually – I do – and it’s like one anecdotal thing, I do endorse my personal experience of it being positive. But again, the Bluetooth issue is a little b- like, so in general this is just consumer – it’s just a movement. Right, this is – let’s – don’t – let’s not single out companies, let’s try to figure out collectively how you can get a consumer grade EEG, like, if that’s a thing. Like, even if – it’s a whole otherly territory, right. So just being knowledgeable and don’t kind of just say: ‘Oh, screw consumer EEGs.’ Or like: ‘Let me buy them all!’ Like, just take a more open mind right now. There’s this – that’s what these companies are doing, too. And let’s – let’s sort of, like, all kind of navigate it together. But I think with – with specifically, like, for example, there’s ones that, kind of, like literally the laws of physics are impossible, right.
Adam:Yeah, I was –
Junaid: There are certain EEGs that are out there –
Adam: I was just gonna say that there are a lot of Kickstarter campaigns that actually got fully funded for, like, half a million dollars that – for anybody who knows about, just, how electricity works. It’s like, really, you don’t have a ground? You don’t have a reference? Okay. [laughs] That’s interesting. Okay. But, yeah.
Junaid: And there was one of them that got 2 million dollars recently. I won’t, obviously, mention them by name ’cause it could [unclear 01:12:56]. But basically it’s, like, you know, a headphone that is, like, over your head. So basically, if you have hair. Think about it visually. Imagine this. How can an electrode with a headphone that you’ve – like think of a Beats headphone but with an EEG, that’s the concept. And then there’s – it’s gonna be touching. But if you’re a woman or if you’re a man, like, with all of us that have hair or, like, it won’t work unless you’re bald. And, like, and, like – what? And you’re supposed to be listening and it’s a beautiful design and it’s, like, comfortable and all this stuff. But, like, it’s – you’ve gotta be [cough] – in general, we’ve gotta be mindful ’cause the same thing that happened at Lumosity, right. They got fined 50 million dollars. Like, I’m very cautious with this territory and I think Muse is doing a better job, in general. And I really respect them for what they’ve done so far. [unclear 01:13:44] a lot more to do. And they’ve been proactive about it. But there’s, again, like for any company, right, there’s a lot to do. And there’s a lot of misinformation with EEGs going on with Kickstarter campaigns. And certain ones are good, certain ones are not so good. It’s about, like, just – just do your research, almost. If you’re a dork about this stuff do your research.
Ryan: Most of us are interested enough to consider ourselves dorks. I don’t wanna call our listeners dorks, but yeah. I – this is what we like to listen to and research.
Adam: I’m a dork, I don’t care. [laughs] Honey badger don’t care if he’s a dork.
Ryan: Before we let you go, we close every episode asking our guest to give us their 3 tips to live optimal. Since there’s 2 of you guys, let’s go 2 tips from each of you.
Adam: Use – use Brain fm. That’s – that’s [laughs] first of all. But, you know, actually I would actually say that – know your body chemistry, know yourself. Take your health into your own hands, you know. It’s – most – many times whenever I go to the doctor I’ll have a problem and it’ll be the same thing, like: ‘Oh, we don’t know! Let’s just experiment with things.’ And you end up having to kind of experiment with your own body many times and you can’t be afraid to do that. You need to be cautious about it and do your research but don’t be afraid to try things out. And take your health into your own hands. That’s – that’s really helped me a lot, at least.
Junaid: I would say 2 things that – I’m not gonna say Brain fm ’cause Adam already said it so I don’t wanna give it, too. The first one I’d say is, in general, what is your frame of mind? And being really mindful about the frameworks that you think about. It’s been really key. Kind of, having self-awareness. And understand that as a human, part of the human experience that we all share together and we all know individually is that what you kind of believe as your own limitations become your own limitations, right. That’s anecdotal but like, if you believe there are no prerequisites to, like, following what you really wanna do and improve what – what do you wanna be putting out in the world, right? What do you wanna be doing? Go do those things. And if you have limitations, be self-aware. And how do you mitigate them, right? How do you approach them? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Be self-aware. So, I think, really, like the first one is self-awareness and really the frameworks of how you think about the world, right. Like we’re all viewing this world through different lenses. How you – like what is consciousness, which is the other thing. Which is like really interesting research in neuroscience right now. But that’s sort of, like, the Olympic gold for neuroscientists. Like, what is consciousness? Like Obama had – I don’t know if you’ve heard like 300 million dollars to BRAIN Initiative. Go check it out, it is amazing. There’s YouTube videos on it. Like, he’s giving a speech to some of the most renowned scientists of the world. Like, we’re talking about the head of DARPA. Like, the head of the – and we’re talking about NIH. Like, these – these people are, like, really exploring. And we’re doing a lot as a people right now. America is kind of, like, Obama has really put, like, it’s like, alright, this is a priority. Like affordable care act, the same way. So, I – I’d say the first reference is really self-awareness and your frames of mind. The second thing I would say is with anything related to – related to, like, you know, either Brain fm or CILTEP or anything, right. Like, trust your own personal experience and try things, be open-minded. Be curious, right. You don’t have to, like, buy a supplement and be on it. You don’t have to, like, listen to b- like, cancel at any time. Like, send us an e-mail. You know what I mean, like, with anything, really – and there’s so many tools, right. There’s herbs, there’s teas, there’s a lot of, like, even, like classical Western medication is a tool. Think of everything as a tool in your tool belt, right. And then go out and try different things, right. Like you make your own decision. Like, take – like – really jumping on Adam’s point, like, take control of your, like, be more self-aware about your health and – and make decisions.
Adam: Yeah, to clarify that I – I didn’t mean that I’m against going to the doctor or taking Western medication. I’m not against pills at all. I think – I – and in fact I think many supplements like Huperzine A is actually much more powerful than its prescribed counterpart. But yeah, I just wanted to clarify that. [laughs] I think, you know, being a human is hard. It’s hard. And you should use whatever tools you can get a hold of. And there’s not – no one that is right, it’s all of them. You need to use everything you can to be at your best at all possible times.
Junaid: Yeah, but then again pills have been over-prescribed, in general. That’s why we – we [unclear 01:19:13]. It’s just there’s a lot of, like, fuckery going on with the, in general, a lot of things. And we shouldn’t be Ritalin prescribed. It doesn’t – it blows my mind that we’re prescribing amphetamines and there – like, 3 year olds! Like, it’s never, like, okay, do we know the long-term impacts? Are we studying this? Over, like, 3 decades before giving them this? Like, are – these are your children. Like, what did you want – and it’s just, there’s lack of information. So, I think the more we put the information out and the more we, kind of, get informed is key. But, then again, they’re a tool among many tools, just like Brain fm, just like CILTEP, a lot of these things. And with ours it’s just music, it’s just like – and what we’re discovering, I don’t know, like, what I’m sure you guys are really pushing forward is like what else can we do here? You know what I mean?
Junaid: Like, what to explore.
Ryan: Yeah, and I mean, to us that is the essence of, you know, this whole biohacking movement is how do we optimize the human experiment – experience? Like how do you – how do we get better physical performance, better mental performance, better sleep, better focus? All of it. And it’s what tools are at our disposal? How do we use these tools? What is each tool doing? So you guys nailed it. Those are awesome. Um, Junaid, Adam, thank you guys. This has been amazing. For everybody listening, hope you guys have enjoyed this as much as I have enjoyed it.
Adam: Oh yeah! Sure.
Ryan:Make sure you head over to naturalstacks.com, we’ll have the hopefully video version but definitely all the links to videos, studies, all kinds of cool stuff that we talked about, all the resources. Links to brain.fm/naturalstacks so that you can get the 20% off discount that these guys so graciously have hooked us up with. And if you haven’t done so, make sure you share the Optimal Performance Podcast with somebody that you know who will benefit from what we’re talking about. So, as Junaid mentioned earlier, you know, if you know somebody in a sleep lab, if you know somebody with commercial EEGs, share it. Let’s get some more studies done and let’s help more people live optimal. So, thank you guys for listening and we’ll talk to you guys next Thursday!