Please begin by sharing with our readers a little bit about yourself...
"I was born in Brussels and today live 30 minutes from the city in a completely natural country setting amongst trees and fields. This place is an athanor where telluric energies are optimum and where you can develop the creative procedures in your mind and feel the living energy everywhere around you... I have been enjoying my work for over 20 years. I must confess that I think l've never really 'worked', as I don 't consider the AVS field and all around it as a real 'work' field, but a passionate and very grateful mission. In 1984 I began studies at the effort laboratory of my faculty as scientific collaborator. Basically I specialized in high competition athletes mental training. I was especially involved in the altered states ofconsciousness, brain waves and the super learning process. Simultaneously l've opened my company in parallel with my postgraduate studies.
20 years ago I read 'by chance' an article about John Lilly and the floatation tank mouvance in a very weIl known French magazine called ACTUAL, and before the end of my reading it was a revelation, I found my way ! The fact to be alone in a very protected environment, but connected to the exterior with underwater speakers, was 'speaking' to me a lot. This I prefer much more than a situation where you are close to a professional, with eyes closed, being told to relax while being observed :-) I found my first experience in a tank as... extraordinaire !
It is thus during my doctorate in psychology I began studies about REST (restricted environmental stimulations techniques)... I found this environment so powerful and so wonderfuI that I floated every week for several hours during those 3 years... I think this new behavior developed specifically my creativity which was previously very poor and a special sensitivity about the field of altered states... I met Glen and Lee Perry from Samadhi in LA and also this unique person John Lilly, the inventor of the float tank environment. I was completely seduced by the tank with the deep serene feeling I obtained and quickly became interested in the medical possibilities of this homeostasic environment. The cheapest tank was the "Float to relax" brand that we imported in Belgium for opening a center and for selling it to hospitals. During this stage I created a new method for super learning complex movement during a float session. The results were incredible. I remeber for example that athletes of the national team of gymnastic were learning dangerous movement just with their mind... and when they were coming back to the training room they were able to do it at the first try... at the same time my colleague launched a super learning language school with float tanks and observed the same results: the students were learning spectacularly fast. We had wonderful success in the media and organized as a joke the world record in a float tank during 12 hours in collaboration with the medical newspaper. Some months later we placed tanks on an international racecourse event. The pilots were surprised to recover so quickly during the stops... so with all the success we were encouraged to continue. But the company 'Float to relax' disappeared quickly, going bankrupt and sending us in the meantime a last container order with an unfinished tank containing a 'dark matter' inside which was not stable (!) and we were unable to sell this last delivery. Because of this and because we wanted to continue the distribution we began to manufacture a tank (a beautiful egg shape) and we sold more or less fifty units in the small country that is Belgium, which was not so bad...
But the wind can blow in an unexpected manner... At this moment there were around 30 competitors of tank manufacture in France and Belgium, but of poor quality concerning the technical department. In the following year most of the tanks sold by the competition either broke or were unable to use without an intelligent manual. And in the meantime the apparition in the media of AIDS virus killed the floatation tank field...
For these reasons and after several studies and several experiences in Belgium I was looking for a technology for achieving similar effects on the brain, but if possible less 'heavy' than a big tank that is difficult to purchase (because the high price), difficult to move (because the size), difficult to manage (because the water and the claustrophobic tendencies). Then I found again 'by chance' scientific studies about the research of Dr Lefebure on audio beats and light exposition on the brain (called phosphenic effects). If seems this technology was generating similar effects on the brain like theta state and super learning effects. I was so amazed of the short-term hallucinatory effects of the phosphene process at the beginning of the session... I concIuded it was a powerful way to distract the attention and induce a global relaxing adventure... I felt immediately that I found a new way to drive my training sessions with the advantage of portability... My athletes who traveled regularly could take the machine and use it even far away from Belgium..."
When did you personally begin using AVS mind machines ? What instrument did you use and what was you reaction ?
"At this moment I was also involved in biofeedback and brain waves biofeedback as well as Hemisync from Monroe Institute. A meeting was going to change the follow up. I met Michael Hutchinson in New York who wrote the best seller FLOATING and we began regular exchanges about the 'brain machine' evolution... Michael and I were strangely connected by similarity (age, wife, children, interest in, etc.) as persons belonging to a same tribe or moreover same destiny or mission (?) Even though there were no explanations, l've noted a lot of coincidences and funny parallel circumstances or synchronicities between Michael's life and mine... I also met at this step Dr Glauberman in New York producing very good and powerful tapes of Ericksonian hypnosis. In 1987, I discovered the Synchroenergizer and the MC2, which were built and conceived very close to the 'Alternophone' of Dr Lefebure but with the light stimulation in synchronization. I found the fact of combining audio and light together a lot stronger !
I decided to stop the difficult manufacturing of tanks and build a prototype inspired from these machines in collaboration with a small electronic company based in Brussels. We calI it 'Theta Plus'. The year after because chiefly the demand of the reseller network, l've also designed a very powerful but simple machine called the DREAMER. I met Michael in SF and gave him several units for try tests. I remember Michael wrote a very elegies article about the Dreamer as the best portable machine existing at this time, as powerful as machines costing thousands of dollars (Dreamer cost was 250 US$ at this time). And I began several electroencephalographic studies on AVS. In the contrary of the studies from Monroe Institute and the general knowledge concerning the FFR (frequency following response) with an AVS process I didn't find a clear FFR process. Never mind the different range of frequencies, the results each time were a range between 5 and 8 hertz. And the results were also different because the main frequency is different following the people. We were using a monopolar brainwave analyzer, which briefly is not a difference of potential analysis but an analysis of the potential under the eleetrodes so more precise than the classic eleetroencephalograph analysis. Indeed the difference between 18 hertz and 13 hertz is 5 hertz and the difference between I 0 hertz and 5 hertz is also... 5 hertz (...). We conclude that EEG is not a good system for understanding the effeet of the AVS and that probably the FFR is not the exact process inducing altered states of consciousness with AVS... At this moment we began developing several hypnosis tapes and I began to export the Dreamer to Japan, Korea, Brazil, Europe, etc. "
How often do you personally use audio / visual stimulation ? What is your favorite type of session and why ? Do you incorporate other modalities, such as music, biofeedback or tactile stimulation into your sessions ?
"Between 1987 and 1997 I used almost everyday AVS stim. I was using a new prototype machine called Theta + (a machine proposing aleatoires sessions mixing sweep frequency generator and sweep tonality generator with 4 modalities of stimulations (simultaneous, cruse left-right, eyes then ears, left eyes with right ear). Michael was amazed when I told him the way I was developing the machine, which was a lot different than the machine he was trying while writing his famous book BRAIN MACHINE.
Basically, ail the machines on the market at this time were beginning with high frequencies coming down progressively to 3 to 8 hertz until the end of the session and coming up for the awakening, inspired by the FFR theory. I conclude that the most chaotic seriaIs or combinations of AVS generated the most efficient effects of letting go. At this moment I was also mixing sessions with several of our recordings of Ericksonian suggestion and a Japanese alpha wave biofeedback (in form of Pyramid) opening the AVS process as soon as the alpha waves were disappearing. This biofeedback was built in Japan and I began to distribute this brand on Europe."
What is your definition of the perfect AVS instrument ?
"For me the perfect AVS instrument has to be... SIMPLE to use :-) I understand that I will upset perhaps several users or manufacturers but after aIl these studies l'm convinced that AVS is a very simple process, a lot less precise than the expected theory of FFR. The brain is not so precisely drivable. Never mind several ranges of frequencies, it adapts generally some range of frequencies that witness of a loss of attention, going straight to the border of sleep... I don' t believe anymore to key frequencies inducing some key effects. Of course as we know that some rythms are specifically inducing some states, the perfect instrument is for me an instrument able to dis tract your attention and induce a strong subconscious state. If some new studies demonstrate the contrary, l'm nevertheless ready to change my opinion. But until occurs, this is my position today."
It seems AVS systems are generally more accepted and utilized in Europe than in the US, Why do you suppose that is ?
"I think that manufacturers in the US are not involved enough in scientific research and clinical experience in Hospitals. This is just the difference ! But in terms of credibility this changes a lot of the perception of the classical lobbies in the medical and pharmaceutical world as weIl as the interest and consideration of health ministry departments."
What considerations should someone new to AVS take into account before choosing their first instrument ?
"Once again choose SIMPLE. Experience shows that users choose always to use the same session (...) that means that machine proposing dozens and dozens of sessions are simply not necessary. The cost price of the machine is the same. Manufacturers are influenced by the market and the marketing and then develop too many sessions in order to justify the characteristics of the machine in comparison to the competition. But this is creating a complexity which is contrary to the image. Indeed the numbers of different programs have different names and thus promises (!) which are far away from the real effects on the brain (simple different states of consciousness). Scientists considering these promises think AVS are 'mickey mouse' machines and this presentation is thus a way to deconsider the AVS."
What aspect of an AVS session is most important to you, in terms of ensuring maximum entrainment effects and benefits ?
"The interest for me of an AVS is to induce a powerful letting go, then to maintain a stable theta state, i.e. called the 'sophro liminal' state or the 'hypnotic' state at the border of sleep, again called 'transe' state, a state where you hear without listening. This is what we call “subconscious listening”. It is also a state known (a lot of scientific studies exist since more than 30 years) for generating data process, memory process and creativity. The AVS has to provide a sophisticated software generation of stimulations simultaneously."
You have been involved in this field for many years. What do you feel needs to be accomplished for this industry to succeed in the future ?
"The future of AVS is to be combined with powerful software of audio and voice suggestion. The kingdom of the subconsciousness is unlimited, really unlimited, only to give limits to the possibilities of our brain to build the reality. For me the future of AVS is to fuse with complex software. AVS is just a door. a door to an unlimited space of personal growth and development. This is why l've decided to focus on the development of software and limit my interest to the door. I know perfectly the mechanism of opening the door. Nevertheless, the space behind this door is really to be discovered"... :-)
What do you believe are the most important issues facing the AVS Industry today ? What would you like to see happen ?
"Research, collaboration, exchange, synergies ! The field is still a niche. Not enough users for 10 manufacturers or more (...) the ideal situation would be to adopt specializations and collaboration. Of course this is easier to say than to do. It needs meeting, congress, traveling, etc. I hope we can aIl meet together in the next following years. It is for the best interest of everyone !"
You have created a line of CDs called Audio-Medicine that has been accepted by the government of Belgium as medical modalities for use in hospitals. How were you able to establish CDs as medical tools ?
"Thanks to our 20 years of clinical experience and thousands of hours for the introduction in hospitals we had enough arguments for fighting the pharma lobby here in Belgium and stay as the only brand of CD sold in exclusivity in aIl the pharmacies of the country. Nobody can imagine the time, the patience and the conviction (and the money) we were obliged to invest during aIl these years for entering into hospitals, surgery and awakening rooms, sleep laboratory, etc."
How did you come up with the idea of CDs in the first place ? Could you share a little about how your Audio-Medicine CDs interact with the mind ? What type of results have you seen occur through their use ?
"I think that AVS mindmachines are complementary to recordings. AVS induces AND maintains the ideal state for listening to audio material. As I mentioned above, recordings offer a lot of possibilities of thematics more realistic than AVS even though AVS can be combined easily. It is not a choice to do but a complementary to promote. Another advantage of the CDs is that people can purchase easily FIRST the CDs (where we put advertise of AVS inside the cover) and then turn their interest towards AVS as a second step. We observed that process in the pharmacies sales in Belgium. Unfortunately this is concerning only 8% of the sales of CDs. But l'm convinced this percentage will grow over the years... We have observed great impact on our customers for almost 15 years... We never intended such results in fact. People place the CD reader close to their bed and our voices become their mate every night or beginning of the night. This is a ritual permitting pleasant and quiet dreams. And it is not strange. Just before going to sleep you deliver positive, emphatic and pleasant message to your brain. Not surprising this material is intelligently recuperated as ingredient for dream building... We observe also important medical effect for functional problems exactly as pills can do. A good try test is the title 'Fall Asleep' because you will fall asleep ! We always recommend this title to the doctors, so they can check on their more difficult cases the effect of Audio-Medicine.
Another interesting fact is to notice that the patient become actors in their own treatment... It is different than taking a pill (...) Another fact: prescription processes cancel dialog between doctors and their patients. It is true that the need to speak of their problems take sorne time, several minutes and that the doctors maybe do not have the time to listen to each person. Nevertheless when a doctor proposes a CD of Audio-Medicine, the patient realizes he has been understood in his emotional dimension and generally a good relationship begins between him and the doctor... a sort of connivance, a sort of not verbal agreement as 'you understood me'."
You would like to see a worldwide association devoted to light and sound stimulation. Could you briefly explain what that entails, how it is progressing and how people in this industry can get involved ?
"I think it is time that all the manufacturers, researchers and AVS users are connected to ONE worldwide association. This will give strong credibility to the field and everybody will feel less 'alone' in a world of phama and allopathic users... This will permit aIl of us to win time if FDA or other legal organizations from government ask for studies and evidences."
How can people contact you ?
"My mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Zenlatitudes is my personal R&D structure (English and French version on this site). Recently I have created PSYCHOMED.com SA for the international development of Audio-Medicine recordings. This company is created for the international commercialization, partnerships, venture capitals people and research on AVS and the emotional medicine development. I think Europe and US have complementary views. I admire particularly the scientific experiences of American searchers who utilized the power of the placebo in surgery ! We have pioneers everywhere in the world. This quality of vision is not bounded to some geographic location but to specifie people who were isolated before and then who can be connected together to the world network area or through media as your very nice and interesting AVS Journal !
Today I share my schedule between R&D in Audio-Medicine, emotional management seminars for companies, book writing and business for Audio-Medicine recording. We now have developped a downloading shop “key on door” for any company interrest in becoming partner for encouraging the download of our CDs and there are thousands of Internet sites devoted to weIl being that are interested in offering our Audio-Medicine for sale. This is also an opportunity to present AVS machines in the follow up on aIl these sites (...)
I also focus my interest on sound healing processes and color therapy research.
You can find complete information about and purchase downloadable copies of Audio-Medicine selections at www.mindmachines.com.
I think that the future will be full of colors.To be followed...
Interviewed in may 2008.
Managing Director, PSYCHOMED Laboratories