May 2023 - BOBI

Unilateral Hand Contractions: Using bobi for Boosting Performance

Unilateral Hand Contractions: A Novel Approach to Performance Enhancement and Improved Mental Health

In our quest for improved mental and physical performance, science often uncovers surprising techniques. One such approach is unilateral hand contractions. This simple action of gripping and releasing one hand repeatedly, typically around an object such as a ball, is a significant area of interest for researchers, thanks to its influence on brain function.

Unveiling Unilateral Hand Contractions: The Intersection of Simple Actions and Complex Outcomes

Unilateral hand contractions may appear straightforward, but its implications for brain function are profound. Pioneering research reveals that these contractions impact our brains in a complex and far-reaching manner, with specific outcomes determined by the hand we engage in the activity. The consequent activation of the contralateral hemisphere, or in other words the side of the brain opposite to the hand in use, is fascinating for its potential emotional and cognitive impacts.

Moreover, current studies show that certain brain areas, such as motor and language regions, previously considered independent, are, in fact, interconnected. This understanding has deepened the interest in unilateral hand contractions, highlighting their potential influence on cognitive and linguistic processes.

Performance Enhancement: Harnessing the Power of Unilateral Hand Contractions

The concept of optimal brain functioning is pivotal in understanding the performance-enhancing potential of unilateral hand contractions. For example, research has concluded that squeezing an object with your left-hand leads to increased creativity by artificially activating the right hemisphere of the brain.

Other key research findings include:
• A comprehensive study (Activating the Right Hemisphere Through Left-Hand Muscle Contraction) found that left-hand contractions of a rubber ball improved ‘novel language comprehension’. The researchers suggested that these contractions offer “a simple and efficient method for boosting right hemisphere activation”. Another study (Getting a Grip on Memory: Unilateral Hand Clenching) discovered “large or very large” effects of unilateral hand contraction on enhancing human memory.
• Unilateral hand contractions were found to increase activation of the cerebellum, a crucial brain region associated with motor coordination and cognitive processing.
• In a study (Sports cases from choking under pressure) replicated across different sporting activities, athletes who squeezed a ball with their left hand, prior to performance, did not show deterioration under high pressure situations.
• Repetitive handgrip contractions improved motor performance in the opposite hand, demonstrating potential applications in motor skills enhancement and physical rehabilitation (Benefits of repeated unilateral handgrip contractions ).

Alpha Brain Waves, Stress, and Anxiety: Unveiling the Mind-Body Connection

Antonio Lennert, in his work ‘What Happens To Your Brain When You Surf?’, asserts:

“When Alpha wave activity increases, we are reaching peak performance”.

 

Monitoring brain wave activity has shown that left-hand unilateral contractions result in increased alpha brain waves. These waves, one of five types (Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, Theta), are instrumental in achieving a relaxed mental state.

 

Brainwave frequencies and brain state
Brainwave frequencies and brain state, Shutterstock

 

The increase in alpha brain wave activity has been linked with several mental health benefits, including reduced stress and anxiety levels. It can even help people maintain better focus. Consequently, increasing alpha wave activity has become a therapeutic goal for conditions like anxiety and depression, with various interventions, including biofeedback and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), aimed at achieving this state. There has also been a massive increase in the consumer market for dietary supplements that aim to stimulate alpha brain wave activity.

PTSD, Neurodivergence, and Alpha Brain Waves: Towards a Better Understanding

Research (Brain waves and PTSD) focusing on the impact of PTSD on the brain has found that many individuals with PTSD exhibit abnormally reduced alpha brain wave rhythms. Brain training targeting modulation of alpha brain wave activity has been recognized as an effective treatment modality for PTSD, given its potential to alleviate the hyperarousal associated with painful memories.

Alpha Brain Rhythms
Alpha re-bound following neurofeedback

On another note, unilateral hand contractions, by shifting the hemispheric brain balance, can influence thought processes significantly. It is now recognised that this technique represents a viable therapeutic intervention and could aid individuals with language impairments, or other disorders related to hemispheric imbalances. For instance, a recent study (Unilateral muscle contractions enhance creative thinking) concluded that: “Through the intentional activation of the right hemisphere, these individuals will have an opportunity to improve their understanding of figurative language, boost their creative thinking, and perhaps even enhance their social skills.”

Harnessing the Power of Unilateral Hand Contractions with bobi

Understanding that unilateral hand contractions have profound benefits for performance and mental health, the question becomes, how can we integrate this into our lives most effectively?

Eminent German Psychology Professor Jurgen Beckmann, known for his pioneering work within sports performance, has researched the benefits of unilateral hand contractions throughout his career. He concluded a key feature of unilateral hand contractions was the requirement for a certain level of resistance. He further emphasised the hand motion needed to be a “dynamic movement, like pumping”.

Enter bobi, a groundbreaking consumer wellness device specifically designed for this purpose.

bobi, comfortably held in your hand, becomes your partner in the exercise of unilateral hand contractions.

An added boon of using bobi is its role in regulating your breathing rate. This not only complements the exercise but also amplifies the stress-reducing benefits of unilateral hand contraction. The combination of this simple action, performed with the aid of bobi, becomes a potent tool for managing stress and enhancing focus in everyday life.

In Conclusion: bobi, A Potent Ally in Brain Health and Performance Enhancement

Our brains are indeed ever-changing organisms, with new synapses constantly being created or destroyed. Study upon study have highlighted unilateral hand contractions as a novel and readily accessible intervention for mental health and performance. Despite these recommendations, the application of this practice has been limited, mainly due to the lack of a viable and functional consumer device. bobi fills that gap, providing an efficient and effective tool that facilitates unilateral hand contractions.

To echo Antonio Lennert’s words:

“The mind has the power to heal itself, but very often it lacks an effective tool to do so.
Interventions at different and deeper levels are required to produce further change and to help the growth.”

The utilisation of bobi for unilateral hand contractions can serve as that effective tool, enabling us to tap into the mind’s power to heal, grow, and optimise its potential.

In this journey towards improved performance and mental health, embracing bobi as a companion provides a practical, scientifically backed path towards accessing the inherent transformative power of our brains. It’s not just a tool, but a steppingstone towards holistic wellness and peak performance.

Get your bobi here and benefit from the benefit of unilateral hand contractions!

References:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10400419.2015.1087258

 

The history behind the making of bobi

The bobi story, at its inception, involves an unassuming coastal village located in Turkey. At that time bobi’s founder, Damien Thomas, was attending a yoga retreat. Damien had recognised that months of isolation, and exposure to substantial work pressure, was taking a psychological toll. Damien was leading the first international war crimes investigation involving the Islamic State in Syria.

 

Damien in Turkey
Damien in Antakya, Southern Turkey. 2014

 

After returning to practice as a psychologist, Damien had observed the impact of mental health issues, particularly among school students. At the time Damien was working as a psychologist in an outreach clinic at a local high school. Between appointments, Damien rhythmically opened and closed his hand to match a slow breathing rate. This was a profound moment on the journey towards the creation of bobi.

Client after client, no matter the demographic, had presented with dysfunctional breathing patterns. Damien had attempted numerous interventions to support his clients to learn, and maintain, better breathing habits. Very few of his clients found the available supports, including mobile phone apps, to be beneficial.

The intersection between what his clients needed, and his own experience, provided the motivation to bring bobi to fruition.

 

“No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.”   – Victor Hugo

 

The long and arduous journey of bringing a concept to its ultimate conclusion begins with a testing of ideas. Damien had settled, conceptually, on what bobi should do. But translating the concept to physical reality relied on an embrace of the abstract.

The Humble Sprinkler Head

Sprinkler Head
The humble sprinkler head!

The humble sprinkler head represented the first and most significant concept towards bobi’s physical development. Damien, at one point, held the sprinkler loosely in his hand and realised he had stumbled on a key part of the puzzle. Incorporating a valve onto bobi, allowing for ‘control of fluid release’, remains the cornerstone of the device’s functionality.

Over the months that followed, a natural curiosity was tethered with a determination to provide a method of support to his clients. Damien eventually sought collaboration with Australia’s leading industrial design firm, Design + Industry, and a period of scientific exploration began.

 

Bobi Designs On Whitewall
bobi – early design sketches. Courtesy of Design + Industry

 

Damien remained true to his initial vision: Improve the lives of any person through a simple and accessible device that coaches better breathing. Damien had also recognised the importance of physical touch, including as a fundamental human need. Design elements included the incorporation of a back of hand strap that responded with gentle touch when bobi is compressed.

 

The result: bobi

Bobi Internal Render
bobi internal render image. Courtesy of Design + Industry

 

A simple, durable, patented device to coach its users in a preferred breathing practice.
And that is only the beginning of the ‘bobi’ journey. Overwhelming scientific research has not only confirmed the importance of breathing in regulating emotions. Numerous papers are now stating that the very practice of squeezing a tactile device in the left hand has many neuro-sensory benefits, including regulating cortisol, enhanced cognition, sports performance and psychological readiness.

bobi was invented with the clear intention to support anyone to improve their wellbeing.

 

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