You're Getting Sleepy...Sleepy: Pzizz

Contrary to the belief harbored by many of my PC-using friends, I do read magazines and articles that are not Apple-centric. As proof I present my subscription to Discover Magazine, which offers up science and general technology to the masses in bit-sized and easily digested pieces. I use to read Omni Magazine as well, right up to the time the science/New-Age/anarchist monthly stopped paper publication in 1998. In fact, I still have a few Omnis around here somewhere.

I was devastated when Omni shut down. While the magazine made stale and stodgy science look like a lot of fun it also poked and prodded at the fringes of science, covering topics that few "serious" science and technology journals would touch: flying saucers, cryptozoology (i.e. Big Foot, The Loch Ness Monster, and so on), extrasensory perception (E.S.P) and more were common fare in Omni, and I devoured them like a fat kid might take on a triple-scooped cone of Rocky-Road.

Omni Cover at for Jan. 1991 issue
(Courtesy of Wikipedia)
Thatis not to say that I believe green skinned aliens are, as we speak, abducting clairvoyants and mutilating innocent cows while Sasquatch and Nessie watch with bemused interest. I do, however, believe that there are many unanswered questions snubbed by mainstream science for being too controversial.

I also believe that Manis next evolutionary step is not tied to technology, as some believe, but lays dormant within us, waiting for some environmental trigger or confluence to present itself. I know, it sounds like Iive watched one too many episodes of Heros, but Iive had these beliefs long before the shows was a glimmer in its creatoris eye.

So you might imagine my joy upon finding and reading an article on hypnosis in a recent issue of Discover; the March, 2007 issue, I believe. Itis the Graceis Gravity Maps issue. (The issue number/date does not appear anywhere on the magazine. Probably due to using a white font on a white background. It happens.)

The article, Blinded By Science, written by Bruno Maddox, recounts a recent experience he had with a hypnotist on a late night flight to Cincinnati. (Great article Bruno!) In the article Mr. Maddox mentions a device called a Pzizz which is supposed to help induce a hypnotic state from which you awake feeling refreshed and raring to go.

Of course, being the techno-bohemian that I am, I Googled Pzizz and was surprised to find that not only does Brainwave Enterprises still make and sell a Pzizz device, but also software that works on any iPod, Mac, or PC. So, now, along with becoming a physical training coach, a karaoke machine, and a party in a box, your iPod can help you reach nirvana, or at least catch a power-nap before the next big meeting.

What does Pzizz do exactly? Pzizz uses a combination of relaxation techniques and what is called "binaural beats" to induce a state of deep relaxation. Once in this relaxed state the application tries to help you maintain it for a prescribed period. When the session is over you awake feeling refreshed and alert.

Iive read about devices, tapes, and CDs that are suppose to do things like this, and have even tried a few with varying results. Whatis different about Pzizz is that you can create the relaxation program yourself instead of buying it canned. This is significant, according to the Pzizz site literature, because your subconscious mind wonit get bored listening to the same thing over and over again. (And there are few things worse than a bored subconscious mind, Iim here to tell you.)

Thatis all well and good, but what I want to know is does it really work? Will listening to my iPod or Mac reduce stress, improve my cognitive functions, improve my feeling of well-being, and rid me of this persistent itchy rash? We shall see; Iim going to give the software a try and write up the results in my Just a Peek column later this month.

In fact, this is a great opportunity to do some experimenting: Why donit some of you grab the Pzizz demo and try it, and comment here your first impressions. Then, when I post the review you will presumably have used Pzizz several times, and you can offer up your experiences with the software as well. Sounds like fun, no?

So, here we are, embarking on a quest to improve ourselves and take a tiny step forward in our quest to better our species through binaural beats. I think the editors of Omni would be proud.