Why Team USA wrestlers are using auditory brain stimulation
Read about the latest sports tech news, innovations, ideas and products that impact players, fans and the sports industry at SportTechie.com.
Even the world’s oldest sport needs to update with the times, and Matt Lindland, coach of the USA Men’s National Greco-Roman Wrestling Team, recognizes that. He is always on the lookout for ways to improve his team’s recovery efforts to bring out their best performances on the mat.
“Since Greco-Roman wrestling is a physically taxing sport on the body, reliable and adequate sleep is essential for recovery and overall performance for any Greco athlete,” Lindland said in a statement. “I was actively seeking a healthy sleep based solution and [a friend] recommended brain.fm and facilitated an introduction to the team in early February 2016.”
Junaid Kalmadi and Adam Hewitt, a leading researcher in the field of auditory brainwave stimulation, joined to create brain.fm in 2014. Together, they’ve built a platform that enables users to quickly and easily increase specific neurological functions via sounds from the app.
“Brain.fm uses cutting edge auditory neuroscience software to build musical compositions from the ground up that are specifically tailored to help the listener achieve a certain neurological brain state,” Kalmadi said in a statement. “Two foundational pillars of our science are entrainment and dynamic attending theory.”
The tracks are created via proprietary software that is customized not only for certain effects but also to the individual user. Currently, audio patterns for sleep, relaxation and focus are available on their platforms. Kalmadi explained how the team chose to start development with those areas in mind.
“Focus, relaxation (or meditation) and sleep are three areas where we ourselves needed help with,” he said. “When you are working, reading, running, sleeping —with anything and everything you do—your brain is producing brainwaves. Every mental state has a brainwave pattern directly associated to it. So if you want to change your mental state, change your brainwaves.”
That ability to change mental state was exactly what Lindland wanted for his team—to leave their adrenaline-filled workouts and be able to recuperate physically and mentally. Team captain Robby Smith was one of the wrestlers who struggled in this area, often needing to rely on sleep-inducing medications in order to get a good night’s rest.
“At first, I was using Brain.fm’s sleep music because I had trouble falling/staying asleep, which is crucial for recovery from intense practices,” he said in a statement. “Then, I gradually started also using the focus and relaxation music to help me prepare and get in the zone for practice and then wind down from practice.”
Per Lindland, other wrestlers have also eagerly incorporated the technology into their regular routines, not only for sleep but also for their primary workouts as well.
“Looking forward, the Greco team is excited to work with the brain.fm team as test subjects to develop customized audio for driving % gains in our strength training and recovery routines,” he said. “We will be using heart sensors throughout the process to track and drive performance and recovery metrics.”
While many things about wrestling have stayed the same since the sport’s Olympic debut, embracing new technologies such as Brain.fm will be key in fueling Team USA’s quest to earn gold in Rio.