Originally posted October 24, Psychology Today, Digital Altruism blog - Dana Klisanin, Ph.D.
As consciousness hacking gains a greater footing in our culture, psychiatrists, psychologists, and wellness experts are moving us from a mindset of fixing what’s broken to a drive toward health, optimization, and enhancement. The work of Dr. Hasan Asif, a pioneer in the area of neuroenhancement, demonstrates this new mindset.
Dr. Asif sits back in his chair and smiles beatifically. It’s a calming idiosyncrasy that harkens back to the legs-crossed, pipe-smoking psychiatrist of yesteryear talking to patients who tell tales of their childhoodfrom plush leather chaises. But the scene is updated in important ways; his patient is reclining in a hydraulic chair facing a 32” television with a 3D image of their brain writ large. Connected to a mouse and computer at the back of the room, the image is swiveled from left to right offering a visual presentation of every angle and aspect of their brain.
“He needs more alpha in his anterior cingulate,” says Dr. Matashashvili, Asif’s partner. Indeed, the anterior cingulate, responsible for a large majority of executive functioning, is a wintery blue, something Dr. Asif explains as being too low for this particular patient. He checks his instincts, "Is he on any stimulants?”
“No,” comes the response.
He adds, “Then we need to up train gamma in his cingulate and give activating theta burst in the middle frontal at Fz"
Like most pioneers, Dr. Asif’s life is his work. Ten-hour days, six-day weeks, and nearly a decade has been dedicated to mastering the practical application of what stands as the cutting edge in modern neurotechnology. A combination of TMS, qEEG, neurofeedback, infrared, and microtesla-pulsing neuromodulators are the instruments through which he helps patients achieve brain wellness. His results speak for themselves. Successfully treated cases range from schizophrenia to PTSD, depression, addiction, and more. Dr.’s Asif and Matashashvili seem to be quietly changing the frontiers of brain modulation and how we think about the brain itself.
In an industry often slow to change, business opportunities seem in overwhelming supply for Asif and his Brain Wellness Clinic. "After an article in The Washington Post last year, we were booked with more than we could handle.” With three clinics in two countries and neuropsychiatrists from around the world seeking him out to teach them his methodology, Asif is scant in time.
Perhaps even more interesting than the idea of tech-driven Brain Wellness Clinics cropping up around the world is another project the pair have undertaken.
"Earlier this year, I was interested in moving into the world of performance enhancement. I posted on the New York Consciousness Hacking Meetup group to find people with similar aims. That’s where we met.”
Dr. Asif is referring to his partner, Devon White, an expert in behavioral design. The two met and found an immediate synergy in their work, as well as their drive to pioneer wellness on a massive scale. Within months, White’s wife Julie joined the team and a new venture was conceived. Field was born.
Field is a kind of gym for the brain that pairs the technology and methodology of Asif’s Brain Wellness Clinic with the performance and behavioral design protocols of White. It is a training system that goes beyond wellness and well into the domain of boundary-pushing neuroenhancement, resulting in an integral approach to human well being.
According to White, their intention with the first club is to stabilize balance and optimal brain functioning as the initial step with all new clients. From there, he says, "the sky is the limit: increased creativity, enhanced IQ, ready access to Flow.” And these are just a few on a menu of options that feels like something out of a sci-fi movie about the future. But that future is now, as an increasing number of neurostimulation devices hit the market and experts like Dr.’s Asif and Mantashashvili are sought out by their peers in an effort to replicate their effects with patients and clients alike.
Field is on track to open its first location in Manhattan in 2018. With the accelerated pace of change in wellness and technology, it won’t be long before "consciousness hacking" gyms become mainstream.