An “E – Interview” with Chuck Davis,
Creator of the ROSHI EEG/Neurofeedback System
Editors Note: Within the AVS / light and sound community, Chuck Davis is known for his knowledge and experience in developing brainwave measurement and entrainment systems. I was fortunate to meet Mr. Davis during a Winterbrain conference a few years back and try his ROSHI EEG/Neurofeedback system. Having used other EEG/NFB systems before, I tried the ROSHI, and taking into account the large number of interested people in the room, found achieving the targeted alpha frequency difficult to attain at first, but after a few minutes felt capable of maintaining that frequency easier than on all the other systems. The ROSHI is definitely “user friendly”.
Chuck has developed one of the finest EEG / NFB systems available in the ROSHI and has recently, in conjunction with Ray Wolfe, created an EEG / AVS interface that will certainly en- hance any neurofeedback training session. Before reading Chuck’s replies to those questions, let’s begin with a little background and contact information:
“After having spent a couple of “lifetimes” in aerospace and the music business, looking for an alpha training instrument, I met Hershel Toomim, of BioComp, in 1979. He was develop- ing BioComp system, on an Apple.
We got into some interesting ideas. After hours of rapping, he hired me. Thence came his BioComp 2001. I designed the infrared communications part. Most anytime, one can find me at 1.323.292.2550.”
Q: How did you initially get involved in eeg/neurofeedback? Did you start out in light/sound or biofeedback? When was that?
A:” During the late ’70s, while in the music business, I started hangin’ out with the `consciousness’ crowd, est, Esalen and the Perls gang, Reichian folk and knew the Late Robt Monroe. Experienced and studied his stuff. Hung out w/ Glenn and Lee Perry and their Samadhi Tank, before they went big time. My first “snap” into pure space, no time, was in the tank. While working for Hershel, my intuitions started to make sense to me. One day, at Hershel’s, this guy came in with a Synchro Energizer. The light bulb flashed on. What better way to set the flicker rates than the brain, itself? This new technique is not concerned with sin- gle frequencies, per se, but /any/ total number of stationary frequencies. Well, almost. Ten years ago, while scanning thru patents, to be sure that I wasn’t going to be stepping on any toes.”
Q: What does ROSHI stand for?
A: “In zendos, there’s a robed fellow that walks around with a little stick. If, during your “sesshin”, you should start dozing off to la la land, you get to experience a whack from that stick. He’s called the Roshi; same as the Maharishi. A teacher/trainer/guru who’s been there, done that. I’ve told a couple people that one of the reasons that called the system, ROSHI,
is that I didn’t have the balls to call it “Maharishi”. I went to school on those folks, with my de- sign rules following the TM® model. The power of the mantra to organize the brain/mind/spirit interface.”
Q: What gave you the motivation for creating the ROSHI?
A: “What is meditation, really? While in Japan, in the ’60s, I asked why those monks sit like that all day. “It toughens you up.” Huh? Needless to say, that stuck with me, for twenty years. I couldn’t afford the other stuff, not even Hershel’s, so I designed my own. In late ’85, I bought an Amiga A1000. It was a perfect opportunity to teach myself effi- cient real-time programming, while putting all of my neurofeedback design rules into one program. It was a truly personal project that went commercial.”
Q: What aspects of your system (ROSHI) are unique, ie, what other NFB systems lack?
A: “First, there’s response time. When I first started writing the code, in 1988, `Visceral’ or *pre- conscious* control of a screen display was on my mind. I figured that the feedback had to be fast enough that the brain operator couldn’t trick it. I’ve received a few barbs about ROSHI’s response time not being that relevant. How would `they’ know, since `they’ don’t know how to do it?”
Q: Could you please explain, in simple terms so us neophytes can understand, what the ROSHI does and how an individual can learn how to operate it?
A: “When a person is deeply, deeply relaxed, into just “blackness”; from there, you use your tal- ent to coach the client to do the ROSHI General Practitioner Protocol [RGPP], or whatever mo- dality you choose to use. From this “space”, with the subject’s critical-logical mind is “quieted”, the client is learning to (Witness the training, rather than `trying to do’ the training. Learning to focus one’s attention, with the least amount of effort; the zone. From this “space”, the immune system, too, can do its “housekeeping”, as it is not being /disturbed/ by the noisy incoherent “conscious mind”. The Complex (adaptive), C (a), EEG coupled L&S protocol, appears to in- duce the brain towards focused attention, it appears to accelerate the boost of the brain’s me- tabolism, blood flow, enough that the subject is able to maintain awareness, during training, without falling to sleep; whereas the average person would have long wandered into zzz land. With this ability to induce the brain to “normalize” itself, through time, the brain begins to pro- duce the neurochemistry necessary maintain this “new” operating region. You can call it a “neuro-mantra”. This EEG driven/coupled protocol is a time domain kinda system. It uses par- tial wavelet/chaos stuff, as it adapts to whatever the raw EEG is doing, even up at subcortical brainstem speeds. With this wideband C(a) protocol, the brain becomes an active phase error detector. With the brain inside of this “closed loop”, phase corrections begin to take place. This takes energy, bloodflow. Wake up, wake up! Now, when the subject has approached this state of “samadhi”, quietude, the trainer can begin coaching to whatever NFB protocol is cho- sen. On the other hand, one can boost the performance of their tapes, CDs or whatever. This combination, along with your current TOVA, MMPI, Beck or whatever, makes for a most pow- erful training system that you’ll have, IMHO, of course ;)”
Q: I understand that you and Ray Wolfe have developed an interface for the ROSHI that allows for the synergistic integration of l/s stimulation. Can you tell us about it?
A: “Yes, indeed! About a year ago, my source for EEG amplifier boards “lost” the ability to deliver anymore of these boards to me. The structure of the ROSHI(AVS) software is segmented into three parts. None of these three protocols “knows” that the other exists. It is left up to the trainer/clinician/Roshini to integrate them into any protocol they should decide to mock up, for their client’s situation. By moving just the C(a) subroutines onboard the EEG unit, this new EEG front-end gets to be operated as a stand-alone EEG coupled L&S system that can operate on top of, or with *any* BFB/NFB setup. As the serial port communications will be “open platform”, this will allow other “neuro- hackers” to do their programming thing. The ROSHI(AVS) software is a different kind of thing, I think. When coupled to the stand- alone ROSHI2 front-end, it becomes a full blown interhemispheric NFB training system. Briefly, regardless of training modality, it is always pushing the brain operator to be in synch. It brightens things up.”
Q: How often do you personally use the ROSHI? What are your personal goals for doing so? Do you incorporate other modalities while training (light/sound, tactile stimulation, etc.)?
A: “Myself, I do C(a), with EMDR. The ultimate goal of ROSHI is to vanish. I’m not a clini- cian or a trainer. Yes, ROSHI will drive magnetics and CES.”
Q: What’s your definition of the perfect eeg/neurofeedback instrument? If light/sound are part of it, what color LEDs would you use? What type sound stimulation?
A: “Heck, the ROSHI(AVS) NFB system, of course. I leave the choice of LED colors to the cli- nician. I use a simple beep, at training threshold. When I tell people to /make/ the tone beep, they can’t. But, when I instruct them to find a mind “space” where they can *allow* the feedback tone to happen, a little grin comes over their face and, for them, the concept of time begins to vanish; first order meditation. Two different sets of Tru-White® HemiStim type of LED frames are shipped with the system.”
Q: What considerations should someone new to NFB take into account when shopping for NFB equipment?
A: “This is a general response from an exhibit I attended, at Winter Brain, in Miami: “Roshi (tm?) and the Roshi Roshi (Chuck Davis) were present and, as usual, inundated with requests for demo’s. The new model of the Roshi, which runs independently of a computer, is going to be a really neat device. Can’t wait to get one. My Roshi(AVS) session really woke me up, in mid-afternoon, when presentations were putting me to sleep, and left me lucid well into the wee hours.” This recent report was from a Ph.D. clinician who had heard of the ROSHI(AVS), since ’95. From another clinician: “Oh yeah!! That’s what I love about ROSHI. If one is ready to go transpersonal, the ROSHI is ready to take you there.”. As usual, a person should look for price/performance.”
Q: Of all the research studies you have been involved with, is there one in particular that has left a lasting impression on you?
A: “The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation”, Evans-Wentz “Neurofeedback Treatment of Depression with the ROSHI” has been published, by D. Corydon Hammond, Ph.D., Vol 4(2), in the _Journal of Neurotherapy._ Being able to take a person from the deepest near suicidal depression, to peak performance, without drugs, and to outperform other protocols, is quite a reward for me.”
Q: What do you believe are the most important issues facing NFB today?
A: “Getting more public and HMO acceptance. Zero Prozac, zero Ritalin, please!”
Q: What do you see the future of NFB being?
A: “Strong. NFB is just beginning to look at expansion into more areas, the chiropractic, physical therapy, golf…”