What's the difference between the Koren Helmet and Shakti? Top of page
The Koren helmet was developed by Stan Koren and M. A. Persinger At Laurentian University.
This is the one most extensively reported in the literature and demonstrated on many television documentaries.
In point of fact, there is no such thing. There are many helmets, and there are many ways of using any one of them.
The solenoids ( or magnetic coils) can be placed over different areas of the brain to get different effects.
When an article appears in an academic journal describing one of the experiments, it will not describe the helmet.
Instead, it will tell you which areas of the brain were stimulated in that experiment. The research papers do not
discuss a single apparatus, but rather a range of hardwares. In many cases, hardware was built to test a specific
hypothesis. While it might be possible to build a single headset that will be able to administer all the procedures
described in the literature, not only would it be a very cumbersome and expensive piece of equipment, but it would
also be capable of delivering some rather unpleasant sessions.
Another feature of some Koren helmets not possible with Shakti are rotating magnetic fields. Imagine a small wheel
over each ear, with coils arranged around the outside. Every once in a while, the wheel makes a partial turn.
The movement of the magnetic fields, a as well as the signals embedded in them, facilitate experiences. The principles
behind the rotating magnetic field helmet can be used with Shakti, but it involves switching signals, or changing
signals from one side to the other during sessions manually.
In fact, Shakti can be as effective as the Koren Helmet. One study found that
Shakti and the Koren Helmet were equally effective in all bands except one, where Shakti was more . effective.
Can I have experiences like the ones I saw on TV?
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You need to know that not everyone is equally sensitive to the experiences you saw on television. Secondly, those
sessions were done in sensory deprivation. In an acoustic chamber. A large portion of temporal lobe activity at
any given time is dedicated to monitoring ambient sound. To liberate these pathways and make them available for
more interesting experiences, you need total silence. Some Shakti participants have tried using white noise, but
it was not effective.
You also need to know that these sessions all went on past 30 minutes. That's how long it takes for Shakti to activate
brain structures sufficient to induce interesting experiences.
Another point is that most of those sessions happen at night, when the brain's melatonin levels are on the rise.
Of course, you should use your common sense when you think about those television documentary. No documentary producer
is going to spend money showing you anything less than the most interesting footage.
I believe it is possible for each human brain to have access to these experiences, but my experience with Shakti
so far has taught me that different brains need different session designs in getting to them.
Can Shakti be combined with other mind technologies?
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Shakti can be combined with other mind technologies in much the same way as it can be combined with meditation
A few people have tried simultaneous application of Shakti and other mind technologies, and usually the experience
has not been very good. What has worked, in several different situations, is doing a Shakti session first, followed
by a session with something else about an hour later. This seems to apply to both traditional spiritual practices
and the more recent "mind-machines".
One person did a Shakti session, apparently without effect, and then lay down to take a nap. He experienced lucid
dreaming in vivid colors.
Another had been out of body experience while falling asleep about an hour after finishing his Shakti session.
Still another sat down to do meditation and found that his practice was enhanced. Of course, people do meditate
during their sessions. Interestingly, the most enthusiastic reports come from those who meditate after their Shakti
sessions, rather than during it.
A good metaphor to explain this effect would be to imagine that Shakti is activating specific brain structures,
making them more available to contribute to other methods. When it comes to other mind technologies, the situation
becomes more complicated. There many to choose from. Summarizing experience gained in the Shakti project, we can
say that it's best not to use them at the same time. Shakti principles and those underlying light and sound machines,
binaural beat generators, etc. are quite different.
What about the studies that say that the amygdala is involved with negative
emotions? Top of page
The amygdala is involved in all emotions, not only the negative ones.
Many research reports speak of the amygdala as though it were one thing, but for many possible Shakti session designs,
the fact that there are two, one on each side of the brain, becomes important.
If you medical and scientific journal articles about the amygdala, it's important to bear in mind that many of
them are based on animal studies. The primate amygdala, excepting in humans, has 12 nuclei. The cat amygdala has
In humans, the amygdala is an intensely social in it's functions. It seems to recognize emotions on other's faces,
to give one example. Humans rely on our social structures as our main evolutionary strategy. Our self-esteem can
go up or down according to the words others say to us.
One cannot over emphasize the importance of relating to others for human beings, and the extent to which we differ
from other species.
This gives the human amygdala, with it's 20 nuclei, more to do. Generalizations based on animal studies may not
apply to humans in as many instance as is often supposed.
Like all other structure-specific signals, the amygdaloid signal should first be used in short sessions over each
side of the brain, one at a time, before longer sessions should be done over one side only.
For most people who respond to it, the amygdaloid signal's effects are positive over the left, and negative over
However, the amygdaloid signal, when applied to both sides at once, is one of the signals most reported in published
scientific literature. With this session design, issues of amygdaloid 'handedness' (lateralization of function)
do not appear.
It's also important to recall that successful sessions with this signal have emotional
(affective) effects, not 'hedonic' ones. The amygdaloid signal is not a "pleasure machine", even though
it's effects can be quite pleasurable.
What kind of Sound Card is Best with Shakti?
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A Sound Card that's good for use with Shakti is one that has adequate output,
and is able to produce really low sounds. (low-frequency response)
Sound Blaster PCI cards are the suggest sound devices for Desktop computers
The following have been tested:
SoundBlaster 16 (ISA is Good, and PCI is Excellent)
Creative AWE 64 (Excellent)
Turtle Beach series (uses Crystal Chipset) (Good)
Crystal labs (Good)
Not suggested, due to poor low-frequency response:
There are several signals with this software - which ones were used
in the published studies?
Of the signals here, the one used most in published was the amygdaloid signal, where it is often referred to as
a "burst-firing pattern" or as "burstx".
This signal has elicited some very intense experiences in these studies, using
an acoustic chamber. Sensory deprivation is an important component in the setup for dramatic experiences.
Tissue polarization refers to their acquiring a magnetic charge.
There is no evidence that this occurs with any neural magnetic stimulation, most
importantly with TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation), a clinical technique that applies fields hundreds of
times stronger. Shakti signal strengths are measured in the Milligauss range, while TMS fields are measured in
There are one thousand milligauss in a gauss.
Shakti fields are not strong enough to polarize tissue. In fact, there is no sound
card that can produce a field as strong as TMS.
TMS has passed many safety trials, and no polarization has been found with it.
The probability that Shakti signals can polarize tissues is vanishingly small.
How strong are the magnetic fields?
When the volume is properly adjusted, the field strength should 'peak' at 10 milligauss.
Some people have done well with sessions up to four times 'louder', but this is not suggested unless the basic
volume yields 'dud' sessions. Even then, the best way to proceed is to is to increase the volume gradually, This
only applies to men. For women, it has been found in lab studies that lowering the strength can be more effective.
How well-tested are these signals?
The amygdaloid signal has been used by over 2000 people, including both those
in the laboratories at LU, and in the Shakti Project.
The hippocampal signal has been used by over 150 people, including both those
in the laboratories at LU, and in the Shakti Project.
The alternate hippocampal signal has been used by over 30 people in the Shakti
The caudate nuclear signal has been used by over 100 Shakti users.
The 40hz modulated signal is newer, and has been used by only four people at this
time - all successfully. The Modulate 40 hz "Chirp" signal ahs been used by only a few people.
The event-related potential signal awaits pilot subjects.
The Thalamic burst-firing pattern awaits pilot subjects.
The 7.4 hertz Schumann resonance signal awaits pilot subjects.
I read somewhere that changes in amplitude (volume) in the signals are
causing unpleasant effects - Is this true?
No. This is mis-information, based on guesswork, and possibly a corrupted sound card.
This claim originates from an interested colleague who did not have a Shakti unit, but was rather only offering
a guess. No evidence was offered to support his claim. He was influenced by a report from an participant who had
overdosed on a medication. The medication, an anticonvulsant, caused a seizure. Records of the real story are on
file with the FDA, as well as with the author of this software.
A few (less than ten) people have applied 'corrective' sessions to stop unwanted
effects. These met with success in all instances. The sessions in these cases used the same signals, with a different
design. If the changes in amplitude were causing trouble, the corrective sessions would not have worked, because
the amplitude changes were the same.
Another reply to this claim is that there is a kind of distortion that can make
the amplitude changes more abrupt, but this has to do with sound card issues, not the Shakti signals. Examining
the signals derived from a sound card corrupted in this way would demonstrate quite abrupt changes in amplitude.
Comparison with the audio files would reveal a discrepancy.
Negative effects may be experienced during two phases of a series of six weekly
sessions. Theses are well-understood, and are known as 'metabolic snapback'. It usually happens the fourth day
after the second of these sessions, and recent experiments with sessions every three days strongly suggest that
repeating the session on the third day (NOT the day after or the second day after) seems to 'pre-empt' 'snapback',
so that it's less likely to happen, if it happens at all.
The final point is that the Shakti signals are based on both amplitude and frequency
modulation. Fields without amplitude modulation will not approximate the brain's own signals/patterns, which is
one of the basic premises of the research on which Shakti is based.
That there was a substantial reduction in reports of snapback following an upgrade in the Shakti signals late in
2001 is also relevant.
Is the FDA unhappy because Shakti was being furnished to people under
18 years old?
No. This is a completely fabricated accusation. It appeared online during
late summer of 2002. It's author withdrew the statement in an Internet forum.
The author of this software was contacted by the FDA, who felt that a
research proposal for the helmet used in the Shakti project constituted a medical claim. Their concerns, which
had nothing to do with safety issues, were addressed.
What is "The Bosto Debate?"
The "Bosto Debate" was a debate that happened in early 2001.
A colleague used multiple identities to spread fabricated statements about Shakti in an online discussion forum.
These included safety issues, Shakti's originality, the source of the signals, and included an attempt to encourage
a hostile e-mail campaign to the LU neurosciences program faculty and graduate students. The effort failed - the
author of this software remains a member a member of the research group, and the director of LU neurosciences accepted
data from Shakti participants for analysis.
I read somewhere that there was some problem with using a gauss meter
to set the volume - Is this true?
No. This is another confused statement from an online discussion forum.
The Gauss Meter is a good tool to measure the strength of a field - but that's all it does.
There has been some criticism of it's use with Shakti on the grounds that it cannot fully characterize the Shakti
"Characterization" refers to a complete reading of the entire
signal, including it's component frequencies.
That kind of reading is done with an oscilloscope, or FFT (Fast Fourier
Transform) hardware or software, or software that reads the audio signal on it's way out of your sound card. The
Gauss Meter does not do signal analysis, it only measures field strength.
These latter analyses have been done, and no unexpected components appear
in the Shakti signals. The gauss meter's inability to do signal analysis for each person who sets their Shakti
volume using it does not detract from it's value as a tool for showing the strength of a field.
How important is it to maintain the schedule when doing a series of
It's a good idea to keep to your schedule. The interval between sessions
- how many days - makes a big difference. The after-effects of a session done three days after the last one, and
one done four days after can be dramatically different.
Can I see some of the references to the published studies?
Yes. Click on the "ABOUT" tab, then select "Formal Description" References appear at the bottom
of the page.
What are the basic safety guidelines?
1) Don't do sessions two days in a row unless you are doing a corrective session.
2) Observe a three-week break between series of sessions
3) Observe a three week break between one hour sessions, excepting in case of 'dud' sessions, in which case a one
week interval will suffice.
4) Don't use Shakti if you have reason to believe your brain is compromised
in any way.
5) Avoid one, two, four, five and six day intervals between sessions.
Seven day and three day intervals are best. Seven day intervals are the best tested, while three day intervals
are the most promising at this time of writing.