Shakti represents the latest generation of a technology that has been in use for some years in Lab settings. It's
inventor is a member of Laurentian University Behavioral Neurosciences group, where nearly 2000 (two thousand)
people have experienced neural stimulation of this kind.
Here is a page that provides serious academic references for many of the studies that
provide the foundation for this class of technology, and here is
a PubMed listing for Persinger on Complex magnetic technology.
Dr. Persinger has published more than 300 peer-reviewed academic and medical papers. In fact, he is one of the
most-often-cited authors supporting skeptical analysis of several themes, including alien abductions, and life
after death. My own credentials from His research group are HERE
In one online forum, a man who we'll call "J.S." wrote that what he wanted was to 'debunk something that
hadn't been debunked yet". He tried taking on Dr. M.A. Persinger - a researcher with over 350 peer-reviewed
As part of this, he created an anti-Shakti campaign. He used a few online
forums to claim that it's credentials were faked, that Shakti produced cell-phone-like emissions, and that Persinger,
who was instrumental in the development of the first version of this technology, is some kind of pseudoscientist.
In fact, Persinger is the first scientist to find this-worldly explanations
for otherworldly experiences. He looked at several features of temporal lobe activation, and found that it could
produce the kinds of experiences that are attributed to God, the spirit world, ghosts, out-of-body exepriences
and a range of other experiences.
J.S. ridiculed this work on the basis that neural explanations for paranormal
experience were not valid. He never made any critique of Persinger's methods, but only produced lists of the (many)
publications by Persinger, as though to imply that any researcher who would venture into this field must be a faker.
Tell that to a psychiatrist treating schizophrenics who hear the 'voice of God', and you'll learn fast that these
studies are both needed and long overdue. MORE His main plan of attack was to accuse
Shakti of being dangerous. If he could make people afraid of it, he would cast a shadow over Persinger, and damage
his (and my) reputation. He tried several approaches, most of them consisting of his citing evidence from studies
that looked like they might be relevant at first glance, but actually had nothing to do with Shakti or Persinger's
work at all. He found a study about cell phone emissions, and assumed that complex magnetic fields (like those
used in Shakti) were the same thing. Forum subscribers were quick to tell him how wrong he was. Then he concocted
the story that that 60-hz AC magnetic fields were the same as Shakti signals, so that their hazards (to DNA) warned
of risk. Of course, he glossed over the fact that Shakti uses COMPLEX signals (unlike those that can be expresed
with a frequency - SIMPLE signals), and that Shakti doesn't use a 60hz signal, and that it isn't driven by AC power.
The he tried claiming that no safety studies had been done, even though
thousands of people had used the technology in the lab, hundreds of them used Shakti in their homes, and white-rat
studies abound. link
He ended a comment about placing coils over the head with an exclamation
point, as though that were something shocking. Actually there are many devices that do just that, including TMS
(Transcranial electrical stimulation), used in clinics worldwide.
UPDATE: Later on, J.S. openly said that he did not know
of any specific danger from Shakti.
Further update: The manager of the forum where J.S. posted
his comments removed his thread due to it's libelous and defamatory content.
This class of technology has an excellent track record for inducing altered states of consciousness, and has been
studied extensively from several perspectives.
One person said that he had a two-day headache, but when J.S. took his comments out of context, he clarified his
remarks (in an online forum 7/28/03 - J.S. has since been banned from that forum):
"Ok,maybe the term headache for two days is not the appropriate description.
-I used to do visualizations with the amygdala a while ago, and I could feel that it was in fact working. I could
feel pressure and the long term effects like feeling calm.
I say this because using the Shakti I had the same feelings and effects. The same pressure for the 2 days (not
painful) and calm feelings."
The fellow clearly did NOT have a headache, in the sense that the word is correctly used. I don't mind his comment
half so much as the interpretation "J.S." gave them. J.S., of course, completely failed to notice that
the person had reported a two-day calm from a single Shakti session. But J.S. never claimed Shakti didn't work.
I do NOT claim that the signals come from epileptics, as J.S. alleged. (One can only wonder...) The signals derive
from EEG traces, and one of them does appear in epileptics, but it also appears in the EEGs of "normals".
"J.S." demanded proof that Shakti doesn't cause brain lesions, and I replied that rat studies (commonly
used to study agents that cause neural damage) did not find any evidence to support "J.S."'s concern.
I asked Dr. Persinger about this, and he replied:
"Rats have been exposed during their entire prenatal development
as well as for several weeks during adulthood (1). There is no evidence that adult exposures produce any adverse
affects, even when they are followed for two years. In fact we just found that one kind of nocturnal complex field
may actually reduce the onset of chemical-induced carcinomas. "
In other words, Shakti might be better for your brain than anyone fully realizes yet.
The headaches that do happen associate with one signal - the one derived from the hippocampus, are not headaches
in the usual sense, but rather feelings of pressure. They have not recurred when users persist in doing more than
three sessions. The software has a warning about headaches, and encourages people who are prone to headaches not
to begin use with one specific signal. The order page has informed consent information about headaches, which occur
with 3% or less of Shakti helmet users, while they have been reported with the B-Coil Shakti even less (under two
The release of Shakti was preceded by a safety study, in which over 100 people used the technology. This line of
research has captured the interest of skeptic and de-bunkers because it has be used to elicit many of the experiences
ordinarily attributed to religious sources.
It has elicited reports of lucid dreaming, out-of-body experiences, and brief visions. It has been successful with
enhancing the depth of spiritual practices done after Shakti sessions. MORE
Such a technology, demonstrating that these experiences are best explained as artifacts of brain function, should
be of considerable interest to the serious skeptic.
There is a long history of "Shakti-bashing", much of it deriving from a rival patent holder.
With scores of research papers supporting it, it will not be debunked. Only libeled. In point of fact, it has been
under study in lab settings for over two years, with none of the dangers "J.S." alludes to being evident.
This page replies to a person who alleges that Shakti is a dangerous
device in an online forum dedicated to skepticism.
1) Persinger M. A. Neuropsychological
principia brevita: an application to traumatic (acquired) brain injury.
Psychol Rep. 1995 Dec;77(3 Pt 1):707-24. link
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