Head in the Game by Brandon Sneed

Head in the Game by Brandon Sneed

Author:Brandon Sneed [Sneed, Brandon]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Published: 2017-01-23T00:00:00+00:00

Chapter 11

A Delightful Hijacking

While the neurosignaling promises of Thync and Halo might ring somewhat hollow, there is something else, NuCalm, that also uses electric stim, though as one part of a larger system designed to thrust someone into a deep state of what could be described as forced meditation . . . on steroids.

The NuCalm system consists of a protein supplement, electric stim, light-blocking eye mask, and noise-canceling headphones playing proprietary “neuroacoustic” software. It was first introduced to the world of sports about five years ago, in a back room at a dentist’s office just outside of Chicago.

In the summer of 2012, sitting in a room at the offices of periodontist Dr. Paul J. Denemark, Chicago Blackhawks head trainer Mike Gapski was getting on David Poole’s nerves.

Poole was trying to tell Gapski about NuCalm. Gapski called him a couple days earlier asking all kinds of questions about NuCalm after Denemark told Gapski he should consider using it on his hockey players (Denemark used it on his dental-phobic patients with almost perfect success). But now that they were in the room together, Gapski kept huffing and grunting nonreplies and glancing at his watch, like he had a million better places to be.

Gee, sorry to waste your time, Poole thought.

Finally Poole said to Gapski, “You know what, talk is cheap. Let’s just do it. You have time?”

Eh, yeah, guess so.

“I won’t keep you long— no longer than you want to stay.”

Gapski said all right, and Poole set him up. Sit in this chair, get comfy. Take this cream, it’s a protein supplement thing, I’ll explain later, just rub it up and down each carotid artery, yep. Now these are neurostimulation patches, stick them behind your ears. This thing I’m plugging them into, that’s a cranial electric-stimulation device. Don’t worry, we use so little power— like, 0.1 milliamps— that you won’t even feel it on your skin. Now take this eye mask, get it around your head. Now put these headphones on, they’re wireless, over the ear, block out all sound, and they’ll play our— well, we’ll talk about that later, too. If you want. If you have the time. Okay, all set? Music on? Now just pop on that eye mask and let me know when you’re ready to quit. Whenever you’re out of time.

Ten minutes went by.

Then twenty.

Then forty. Gapski seemed unconscious. That’s when Poole knew Gapski must’ve been really stressed. The more stressed or anxious someone is, the more strongly NuCalm affects them.

At fifty minutes, Poole tugged the earphones away and asked Gapski how he felt.

“I feel good,” Gapski said, slipping off the eye mask. “Why? What’s going on?”

“How long you think you’ve been in?”

“I don’t know. Ten minutes?”

“It’s been fifty-one minutes, Mike.”

Gapski gave Poole a look that said, You’re crazy. Then he looked at his watch. He stood up. “Okay. What the hell. Now you have my attention.”

Poole’s tone is rapid and excited as he tells me this story early last year in his thick Boston accent. “Mike was cooked,” Poole says.


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