I’m on my back in a dimly lit room on the seventh floor of a Dallas research hospital. A device roughly two feet tall resembling an oversized egg is wheeled up behind me, its single blue clawlike appendage nestled possessively over the top of my head. “How’s that?” the doctor asks.
A thumb drive containing my information is inserted, and a man’s tinny voice buzzes from within the plastic shell announcing that a session is available. “Lie still with your eyes closed. Treatment begins in five, four, three, two, one. Treatment begins now.”
Welcome to the future of psychiatric care: low lights, an old massage table, and three spinning magnets. In a world seemingly awash in chemical solutions and all the hardship that has come to entail, prepare yourself for the rise of bioenergetic medicine. In the six-week, double-blind study sponsored by device manufacturer NeoSync, neither I nor the doctor administering treatment know if the ergonomic appliance vibrating on my head is generating a potentially therapeutic magnetic field or merely rattling in place.
“OK. I’ll be back to check on you,” says the lab-coated doctor in calf-length boots and with long, springy curls, as she drifts past a sign warning of strong magnetic fields. I’m to keep my eyes closed but not fall asleep. If the device, an object of intense interest at 16 human clinical trials taking place around the country, is indeed functioning, there should be three magnets spinning inside, generating an energy field timed to oscillate across my brain’s surface at the same frequency as my own unique alpha wavelength of 10 cycles per second.
The hope is that the energetic boost delivered by that magnetic field will stimulate patches of my brain that have grown quiet, if not dormant, stilled by decades of drug-resistant depression. I try to imagine what these awakened neurons – transmitters that in healthy brains communicate things like happiness and pleasure – would mean, before cursing myself quietly, as depressives will do, for thinking things could be different. …
Read more at The Austin Chronicle.