• Start here. Go the distance.

    Georgetown Sports Massage has been operating in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area since 2004. I engage in several thousand individual treatment sessions per year, mostly on athletes at all levels, and I have developed a highly effective combination of Active Release Techniques (ART), Active Isolated Stretching (AIS), deep tissue, and sports massage for absolute stress and tension relief to help an athlete stay injury-free and recover quicker.



  • Latest News

  • What I Do

    I do a series of assessments that can include a postural assessment, gait analysis, and/or a biomechanical overview looking for muscle imbalances, inflammation, and the root cause of an athlete’s pain or condition. At Georgetown Sports Massage, I emphasize the importance of informed strength training and conditioning to correct any imbalances and weakness the athlete has in tandem with their training, working with qualified strength and conditioning coaches and trainers for the very best results.


    My approach to massage is best experienced in tandem with an athlete’s training. I develop a plan of action and work closely with other professionals to give a holistic approach to help athletes become and stay healthy to achieve their performance goals. See my signature “Performance Continuum” below.

    Performance Continuum

  • Who Am I?

    Hello, my name is Terrel Hale and I would like to welcome you to Georgetown Sports Massage. My focus is on providing the athlete with the recovery and injury prevention needed to ensure that your body is operating at the highest level possible. I know that athletes demand a great deal from their bodies, so to meet that demand, the body needs consistent and specific maintenance and treatment.

    Since founding my business in 2004, I have dedicated myself to assisting athletes to achieve their objectives through a boutique-style approach that marries sports massage and Active Release Techniques with other facets of the athlete’s training. My reputation is of working with seriously-minded athletes who seek to benefit from the broad array of my experience.

  • Qualifications

    Active Release Techniques™

    Certified provider since 2007 (Upper Extremity, Lower Extremity, Spine, Nerve Entrapment, Biomechanics, Active Palpation/Diagnosis, Masters, ART Ironman™ Sponsor, Complex Protocols)

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    Active Isolated Stretching

    Certificate of Completion practitioner since 2005

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    Certified Running Coach

    Certified by The Road Runners Club of America since 2006.

    Certified Massage Therapist

    Licensed in Maryland & D.C.

    Maryland Credentials: License #M02795 expires 10/31/2016
    DC Credentials: License #MT0489 expires 01/31/2017

  • Events Worked

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    U.S. Olympic Team Trials

    Los Angeles

    February 11-14, 2016

    Iron Man Wisconsin

    Sunday September 13th 2015

    Beach to Beacon

    Saturday August 1 2015

    United States Olympic Training Center

    Colorado Springs July 7, 2015 - July 21, 2015

    Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon

    May 2015

    Cherry Blossom 10 miler

    April 2015

    LA Marathon

    Sunday, March 15, 2015

    Beach to Beacon

    Saturday, August 3, 2014

    Catoctin 50K Trail Run

    Saturday, July 26, 2014

    Nike Prefontaine Classic1

    May 2014

    Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, US Championships

    April 2014

    Los Angeles Marathon

    March 2014

    USATF 12K Championships

    November 2013

    Marine Corp Marathon

    October 2013

    Nation's Triathlon

    September 2013

    Prefontein Classic

    May 2013

    Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

    April 2013

    LA Marathon

    March 2013

    New Balance Invitational

    February 2013

    American University Track Team

    Since 2012

    Boston Marathon

    April 2012

  • Research

    Saybrook University is the world’s premier institution for humanistic studies. It is a rigorous and unique learner-centered educational institution offering advanced degrees in psychology, mind-body medicine, organizational systems, and human science. Saybrook’s programs are deeply rooted in the humanistic tradition and a commitment to help students develop as whole people – mind, body, and spirit – in order to achieve their full potential. Experiential learning and professional training are integral components of the transformative education offered through Saybrook’s programs.

    Saybrook University is growing to bring together new disciplines and apply its humanistic perspective to a broad spectrum of practical fields.

    The University comprises graduate programs divided into four cohesive schools focused on specific disciplines and career and professional outcomes:

    Our global community of scholars and practitioners is dedicated to advancing human potential to create a humane and sustainable world. We accomplish this by providing our students with the skills to achieve and make a difference, empowering them to pursue their passions and their life’s work. Our scholars and practitioners are creative, compassionate innovators pursuing new ways of thinking and doing for their professions, organizations, and communities.

    Motivation and Women Marathoners

    [FULL] - [ONE PAGER]

    The purpose of this paper is to address best practices from health and wellness coaching that can facilitate forward motion of women marathoners based on their own internal motivation.

    The Quantum Nature of Informed Consent

    [FULL] - [ONE PAGER]

    The purpose of this paper is to explore the quantum nature of informed consent between the athlete and the sport massage therapist by articulating definitions of quantum theory, ethics, and informed consent. This paper presents the role of knowledge and choice in demonstrating the quantum nature of informed consent between athlete and sport massage therapist.

    Imagery and Sport Performance

    [FULL] - [ONE PAGER]

    The purpose of this paper is to explore imagery and sport performance by articulating by various definitions of imagery in the sport performance context, presenting various imagery modalities that help the athlete, and exploring both external and internal perspectives.This paper present the role of cognition in imagery and enhancing sport performance and offers various theories explaining how imagery works.

    Communication and Borderline Personality Disorder


    This paper explores effective ways in communicating with those diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and how relaxation techniques benefit caregivers in their communication with those diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD).  It defines the condition and proposes mechanisms of action that inform the treatment choices and explains the observed benefits and addresses nonpharmeutical alternatives.

    Protein Intake For The Master Male Marathoner

    [Full] [Abstract]

    This paper explores protein intake for the master male marathoner. What is the lived experience of a master male marathon runner utilizing a whole foods diet for fitness and training in terms of protein intake? Definitions of essential terms are offered with resources highlighting protein intake. The goal is learning to listen to the body’s nutritional needs while training and racing

    A Storytelling of the Marathon:

    How the Integration of the Mind and Body in the Training and Racing of the Marathon is an Embodiment of the Hero’s Journey


    The purpose of this paper is to explore the art of storytelling and bibliotherapy in relation to marathon running by articulating relevant definitions to establish a theoretical structure from which the telling of the marathon can take place. The role of mind-body integration in both the training and racing of the marathon is then presented as an embodiment of the hero’s journey.


    Auricular Therapy and Runners [Full]

    Auricular acupuncture can facilitate the runner’s training and racing performance. The role of patterns in auricular acupuncture for both pain relief and injury prevention are addressed. This paper also offers a brief synopsis of the use and description of auricular therapy, its history and use in relieving pain and possible application to athletes, particularly endurance athletes like marathon runners.

    Adopting an Appropriate Ayurvedic Exercise Program [Full]

    This paper articulates Ayurvedic views on exercise. This paper also explores the Ayurvedic herb withania somnifera or ashwagandha and exercise, looks at assessing one’s unique constitution in terms of adopting an exercise regimen, and then one’s predisposition for high blood pressure.

    How to Induce Lucid Dream [Full]


    Consciousness: Biofeedback, Indigenous ways of knowing and lucid dreaming


    Consciousness: Biofeedback, Indigenous ways of knowing and lucid dreaming


    Terrel Hale







    MBM 5622: Basic Biofeedback


    Instructor: Dr. Patrick Steffen, Ph.D.






    Saybrook University


    October 3, 2016











    “Our realities operate according to law. Science has discovered many, but many others are revealed to us. Science will never discover those laws, because they pertain to a reality that transcends this earth life, and science is forced by both vision and practice to discover the laws of the universe in which we currently live.” Gardner (2007a, p. 555).

    “Life is a dream, both waking and sleeping, in which we seek consciousness in both states. Lucid living and lucid dreaming, or awakening to the dream of life. Shamanistic initiations are an awakening to the imaginal realm that surrounds the concrete…” (Hagood, 2006, pp. 161-62).

    “…His ways of knowing are not personal, temporal, or intellectual but spiritual and ‘of God.’” Gardner (2007b, p. 498).




    This paper articulates consciousness as it is manifested in biofeedback, indigenous ways of knowing and lucid dreaming. This paper also explores this interdisciplinary synthesis in the possible roles biofeedback plays in inducing lucid dreaming followed by suggestions for future directions this interdisciplinary synthesis should take next.


    Keywords: Consciousness, Biofeedback, Indigenous Ways of Knowing, Lucid Dreaming, Cognition, Information Theory





    In terms of approaches to consciousness; biofeedback, indigenous ways of knowing and lucid dreaming can all articulate our psychophysiology in an interdisciplinary synthesis of ways of knowing and yet according to Hale (2016) “there is discord between Western evidence-based peer reviewed knowing and indigenous ways of knowing” (p. 5) despite our own physiology.

    The physiology is true for everyone in the world; all humans have similar stress physiology just as we have arms, legs, eyes, etc. The difference is in what we perceive as stressful and what is considered appropriate coping in response to stress, that definitely differs by cultures (P. Steffen, personal communication, July 21, 2016).


    This difference could be best explained not only by culture (Fawkes, 2010; Kimbles, 2006; Singer and Kimbles, 2004; Singer 2006) but also by consciousness, which may be the same thing. Freidel (as cited in Gardner, 2007c) wrote, “despite the eons of slowly accumulated skills and experience behind them, civilized worlds’ mentalities are ultimately invented. They are conjured out of immediate political necessities, combined with special cultural opportunities, in the work of sages” (p. 141).

    Interdisciplinary synthesis is crucial here. According to Hunt (1995) “synthesis transforms its materials in ways that are often unexpected and unorthodox” (p. xi). With this is mind; Hunt (1995) further stated, “the very fact that disparate materials do go together in a particular way must strengthen the one perspective among the many possible in each area that allows just that synthesis” (p. xi). What follows is such an interdisciplinary synthesis with definitions and explanations of each and then suggestions of the role biofeedback can play in inducing lucid dreaming followed by suggested future directions of where this interdisciplinary synthesis should go next.



    Natsoulas’s definition of consciousness (as cited in Hunt, 1995) is

    a mutual knowledge – ‘knowing or sharing the knowledge of something together with another’ or ‘privy to something with another.’…[from] the Latin root of the term consciousness as literally a ‘knowing’ (scientia) ‘with’ (con) (p. 13).



    Hunt (1995) further articulated what he saw as the ongoing debate over both the nature and function of consciousness in both cognitive science and transpersonal psychology, the later embracing consciousness specifically in its transformations, especially meditative traditions as possible expressions of the “maximum synthesis and integration open to consciousness” (p. 4) and then proposed that consciousness could be the basis of “synthesizing, directing, and volitional capacities of the mind” (p. 4) making the interplay between the brain and the mind “the most fundamental scientific problem of our time” (p. 4).

    Csikszentmihalyi (2008) also emphasized both “the subjective dynamics of experience, and…its phenomenological primacy” (p. 247) and saw consciousness as “an evolved biological process but not entirely controlled by this process since it has the ability to override its genetic instructions and to set its own independent course of action” (p. 24). Csikszentmihalyi (2008) saw the function of consciousness as

    representing information about what is happening outside and inside the organism in such as way that it can be evaluated and acted upon by the body. In this sense, it functions as a clearinghouse for sensations, perceptions, feelings, and ideas, establishing priorities among all the diverse information. Without consciousness we would still ‘know’ what is going on, but we would have to react to it in a reflexive, instinctive way. With consciousness, we can deliberately weigh what the sense tells us, and respond accordingly. And we can also invent information that did not exist before: it is because we have consciousness that we can daydream, make up lies, and write beautiful poems and scientific theories (p. 24).


    Finally, Csikszentmihalyi (2008) saw the clearest way to examine the main facets of

    what happens in the mind, in a way that can be useful in the actual practice of everyday life, is consciousness based on information theory. This is because such is an expression of phenomenology and deals more with phenomena than any anatomical structure or neurochemical process or even unconscious purposes. For Csikszentmihalyi (2008), what the mind experiences is the result of several electrochemical changes in the central nervous system because of biological evolution. This phenomenology implies any mental act is understood best by looking first at it straight on when it happens rather than through the perspective of any theory or field of study. Information theory is how Csikszentmihalyi (2008) chose to experience and understand consciousness, which he saw as an interdisciplinary synthesis of knowledge about how sensory data are both processed and stored and then used in the interplay between memory and attention.

                complexes. Meier (1984) wrote

    the word ‘complex’ is derived from the Latin deponent verb complector meaning to entwine, encircle, envelop, embrace, take possession of. The verb compeo means envelopment, embracing or mutual entwinement. We shall therefore use the technical term ‘complex’ to designate a content of the psyche which constitutes a relatively self-contained whole (the ‘vessel’ which is filled or overfilled), and which itself consists of several parts that are held together, intertwined and mutually embracing, by the agency of a strong emotional tone (the ‘feeling tone’), which is identical and common to them all pp. 201-202.


    Jung (as cited in Jacobi, 1973), defined complexes as

    psychic entities that have escaped from the control of consciousness and split off from it, to lead a separate existence in the dark sphere of the psyche, whence they may at any time hinder or help the conscious performance. The complex consists first of a’ nuclear element,’ a vehicle of meaning, which is usually unconscious and autonomous, hence beyond the subject’s control, and second of the manifold associations linked with it and marked by the same emotional tone; these in turn draw their content partly from original personal disposition and partly from outside experience (p. 36).


    The conscious and the unconscious played important roles in Jungian psychology and to understand their relationship is to better understand what Jung meant by complexes (Beebe, Cambray, and Kirsh, 2001; Fidyk, 2016; Gildersleeve, 2016; Kast, 2014; Kirsch, 2001; Krieger, 2014; Shin, Lee, Han and Rhi, 2005;Young-Eisendrath, 2001). Saunders and Skar (2001) proposed that complexes are

    created through self-organization within the brain/mind and saw self-organization as a process of large complex systems generally accepted to operate within the brain and to be important in it’s functioning. Examples of self-organization in biology are related to the psychic processes that form the complexes (p. 305).


    Jacobi (2002) in her book Complex/Archetype/Symbol in the Psychology of C.G. Jung wrote

    according to Jung, it is not dreams but complexes that provide the royal road to the unconscious. These words indicate the dominant, the central role that he assigns to the complex in depth psychology… Jung came to this conclusion on the basis of his observations in the course of his experiments on the process of association. He noted that the ‘complex-indicators’ not only provide a direct proof of the existence of an unconscious realm of the psyche, but also provide information regarding its hidden contents and their emotional charge (p. 6).


    Jung wrote the foreword to this book and in it he referred to the role in which complexes play in our conscious life.

    The thing that most impressed me was the peculiar autonomy the complexes display as compared with the other contents of consciousness. Whereas the latter are under the control of the will, coming or going at its command, complexes either force themselves on our consciousness by breaking through its inhibiting effect, or else, just as suddenly, they obstinately resist our conscious intention to reproduce them. Complexes have not only an obsessive, but very often a possessive character, behaving like imps and giving rise to all sorts of annoying, ridiculous, and revealing actions, slips of the tongue, and falsifications of memory and judgment. They cut across the adapted performance of consciousness. It was not difficult to see that while complexes owe their relative autonomy to their emotional nature, their expression is always dependent on a network of associations grouped around a center charged with affect (p. ix).


    Smith (2007) furthered this same articulation. He does this in what could be considered a more indigenous way of knowing involving shamanism, (Smyers, 2001) showing Jung as a bridge (Groesbeck, 1989) between Western evidence-based peer-reviewed ways of knowing and the former. Smith (2007) saw Jung’s therapeutic response to the pathological complex as the process of making it conscious. Jung’s understanding of ‘making conscious’ implied more than intellectual knowledge. It meant effort and healthy ego as well as the ability to endure suffering while facing complexes. Only when these complexes were discharged, assimilating their emotional element and transferring energy could the complex’s energy be dissolved. Only then could the complex’s contents become integrated in a more natural way, which contributed to Jung’s integrated personality (p. 131). As long as these complexes remained unconscious they could grow and become harmful to the integrity of the psyche. While remaining unconscious, “the archetypal core of the complex” (p. 132) acted like a magnet attracting negative energy in the form of “images, ideas, affects and other associations until it can become very swollen and powerful” (p. 132). Smith (2007) also saw this state as a kind of possession since this “splinter psyche, or complex, has totally taken over the individual’s psyche and life” (p. 132). In cases of both psychosis and pathological dissociation, the complexes could take on the quality of a

    possessing spirit with one or several personalities.

    Smith (2007) saw Jung’s approach in terms of these complexes as one of integration of interdisciplinary synthesis and of restoring consciousness but not so much as exorcism

    or extraction as it could be for the traditional shaman dealing with possession or intrusion. Jung’s underlying therapeutic purpose is not one of removal/extraction of a pathogenic force, which is what exorcism implies, but of integration and restoring consciousness and for

    Jung, restoring consciousness is a significant part of the therapeutic process and he saw both the

    structure as well as the energy of the complex as essential parts of our psychic whole and well-being and instead of being removed should be restored to what Smith (2007) referred to as “the harmonious relations within the totality” (p. 132) and this process requires consciousness.

    Smith (2007) finally suggested this process of becoming conscious as a Jungian therapeutic method of either casting out or casting off “the compulsive-autonomous character of the complex” (p. 132) and in this respect, what.needs to be removed is the complex’s

    energy and its damaging intrusiveness with which it interferes with personality’s integrated functioning and not the complex itself. In other words, removing the excess energy and intrusiveness is the goal and this needs conscious work or consciousness.

    According to Smith (2007), in traditional shamanic therapy “this type of conscious work

    is at a minimum and the shaman may rely upon the power of suggestion to abreact pent-up energy and then reinstate repression and therefore relativize the functioning of the complex in an overall psychological economy” (p. 132). Some psychological studies of shamanism have interpreted the shaman, when exorcising destructive spirits as “sending them back down into the unconscious with ritual means and reinstating the repression barrier” (p. 132). “The Shaman is another vector to get into a deeper consciousness and experience neurological learning” (J. Boyd, personal communication, July 26, 2016).

    Consciousness is the beginning of understanding biofeedback, indigenous ways of knowing and lucid dreaming and forming and then maintaining the necessary interdisciplinary synthesis between each of these. Biofeedback can be better understood and experienced through consciousness of both the practitioner as well as the patient/client and these are quantum, non-linear and always changing phenomena and biofeedback can measure this.


    Moss, Sella, Andrasik, Donaldson, Lehrer, Plasson, Peper and Sterman (2003) both defined and explained biofeedback as

    an evidence-based, non-pharmacologic treatment developed over the past 35 years, with

    documented applications to many common disorders in physical medicine. The biofeedback treatment paradigm is simple. The biofeedback therapist places a

    sensor or several sensors on the surface of the body, measuring specific physiologic processes. The biological signals processed electronically, and an auditory or

    visual signal is displayed to the patient. With feedback, the patient develops more awareness of the physiological process, and gains partial or complete control over the

    process. Biofeedback instrumentation is able to monitor musculature throughout the body, peripheral temperature, respiration, cardio-vascular activity, cortical rhythms, and other physiological processes. Biofeedback instrumentation can be used for general relaxation, or more strategically, to modify specific physiological mechanisms contributing to a disorder (p. 165).

    Peper, Tylova, Gibney and Harvey (2008) defined biofeedback as

    the monitoring by any means (usually electronic and hopefully, noninvasive) of physiological signals. These signals are then processed, quantified, and displayed back (fed back) to help develop self-awareness and control over a person’s physiology. This way, the person may achieve insight and control over how he/she moves, thinks, emotes, and reacts. At the same time, a coach, teacher, experimenter, educator, or clinician may use the signal information to facilitate the educational and healing process as well as to quantify physiological activity (pp. 1-2).

    Nagai (2016) also defines biofeedback as a training

    technique through which one can learn to control usually uncontrollable inner body functions, such as brain waves, heart rate or electrodermal activity (EDA). These 'hidden' biological signals are measured from a participant and fed back during the training, e.g., through visual and auditory changes on a computer screen. With practice, the participant learns to control this feedback, and ultimately to control their bodily responses without needing the feedback (p. 919).

    Peper and Shaffer (2010) described biofeedback’s historical interdisciplinary synthesis.

    From its birth, the Biofeedback Research Society (BRS) was an interdisciplinary group, a synthesis of varied research interests. For example, EEG researchers…were interested in the brain mechanisms underlying attention and consciousness. Several viewed the EEG as a tool for discovering the language of consciousness. Some hoped that through technologically controlled meditation, conscious awareness could be enhanced and satori could be achieved. Some perceived the EEG as the Yin Yang symbol from Chinese philosophy—an excellent metaphor for their competing, yet complementary, perspectives. Mechanistic researchers contended with humanistic meditators. The tension between these camps has generated our field’s joy, excitement, and challenge. Biofeedback belongs to both practitioners and researchers, and it intersects multiple disciplines and perspectives such as humanistic and transpersonal psychology, neuroscience, neurology, parapsychology, internal medicine, sports coaching, nursing, somatic therapy, psychology, physical therapy, and consciousness studies (p. 142).

    For LaVaque, Hammond, Trudeau, Monastra, Perry, Lehrer…and Sherman (2002), the guidelines of biofeedback recognized this interdisciplinary nature of clinical interventions developed by interdisciplinary panels and was applicable to practitioners from all disciplines (p. 273-274) and according to Frank, Khorshid, Kiffer, Moravec and McKee (2010) biofeedback was a mind–body technique in which patients learn how to modify their physiology for the purpose of improving physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health, yet another manifestation of biofeedback’s interdisciplinary synthesis (p. 85).

    Indigenous ways of knowing provide significant and traditionally neglected perspectives on both consciousness and unconsciousness to both biofeedback and lucid dreaming. Understanding what indigenous ways of knowing are can further the apparent interdisciplinary synthesis where biofeedback can play a significant role.

     Indigenous Ways of Knowing

    According to Kassam (2009),

    when engaging indigenous knowledge, the disciplinary boundaries of the biological and

    social sciences become permeable, requiring an interdisciplinary mindset. Various terms have been used for the knowledge of indigenous peoples. It has been labeled people’s science, folk-ecology, rural people’s knowledge, ethnoecology, ethnohistory, ethnobiology, ethnobotany, ethnoscience, local knowledge, traditional environmental

    knowledge, traditional ecological knowledge, simply traditional knowledge, indigenous ecological knowledge, and even indigenous technical knowledge. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it serves to make the point that there is a diversity of terms for

    indigenous knowledge (p. 84).


    For Aikenhead and Michell (2011), defining indigenous ways of knowing should begin by “clarifying the terms: Indigenous, knowledge, and coming to know. This clarification creates a step toward bridging Eurocentric sciences and the diverse knowledge systems of Indigenous peoples worldwide” (p. 63). Aikenhead and Michell (2011) defined the first two:

                indigenous. Indigenous peoples, according to the United Nations, are the descendants of the first people to inhabit a locality and self-identify as members of a collective. They are recognized by other groups or by state authorities, and they wish to affirm and perpetuate their cultural distinctiveness in spite of colonial subjugation and pressures to assimilate. Indigenous people generally share a collective politic of resistance arising from commonly shared experiences of oppression (pp. 63-64).


    knowledge. The noun ‘knowledge’ does not translate easily into most Indigenous languages, in part because English is a noun-rich linguistic system while Indigenous languages are verb-rich. When translated into English, the corresponding Indigenous expression for ‘knowledge’ often results in something like ‘ways of living’ or ‘ways of living in nature’ in place of ‘knowledge of nature.’ The phrase ‘scientific knowledge’ fits the context of Eurocentric thinking, whereas the expression ‘ways of living in nature’ generally fits an Indigenous context, although different communities may prefer different wording (p. 64).


    Ermine (as cited in Aikenhead and Michell, 2011) gave an example of the third:

                coming to know. Meaningful learning for the Nehiyawak (Plains Cree people) is captured by the English phrase ‘coming to know’, which means a Nehiyaw (a Plains Cree person) is on a quest to become wiser by living properly in his or her community and in nature. To live properly includes the action of living in harmony with the natural environment for the sake of the community’s survival. This sense of learning is shared by most Indigenous communities (p. 69).


    Maryboy, Begay and Nichol (as cited in Aikenhead and Michell, 2011) also stated


    Wisdom is based on generations of knowledge; close observation of natural order, and a cultural and spiritual consciousness articulated through traditional holistic language…another manifestation of Indigenous wisdom is active intelligence. In short, scientists pursue knowledge in an analytical and critical way, whereas Elders pursue wisdom-in-action as lifelong learning and as advice for a community’s survival (p. 69).

    Both biofeedback and lucid dreaming could be experienced through these same definitions and perspectives. Indigenous ways of knowing informs both with valuable and traditionally neglected perspectives resulting in a much richer interdisciplinary synthesis, particularly in regards to lucid dreaming.

    Lucid Dreaming

    Lucid dreaming can be experienced as a manifestation of indigenous ways of knowing. Indigenous ways of knowing include shamans and dreamwalkers and add important perspectives to this interdisciplinary synthesis crucial for future research.

    dreamwalking. Suaso (2011) documents the life of a spiritual teacher and shaman known as Dreamwalker and the technique of dreamwalking, which Suaso (2011) defined as the

    purported ability of a spiritual practitioner, such as a shaman, to enter into the dream state of another person for the purpose of training and educating that person to attain mutually agreed upon goals (p. 1).

    According to Suaso (2011), lucid dreaming and “dreamwalking” are similar but not the same which she discovered when she studied the experiences of this spiritual teacher or Dreamwalker and 11 of her students who participated in a study that described both the characteristics of dreamwalking, their experiential reports of dreamwalking memories and their perceived benefits of this process. Suaso (2011) compared characteristics of dreamwalking to other practices like lucid dreaming where she gathered both self-report questionnaires and structured and unstructured interviews and from a former study of this shaman or spiritual teacher called Dreamwalker. Suaso (2011) explored the life events that established Dreamwalker as a shaman and conducted and reported on the dreamwalking episode of each of these 11 students through their own experiences and concluded that these students had both the memories of the dreamwalking as well as acknowledging Dreamwalker’s presence. According to Suaso (2011), such occurrences and qualities of experience are similar to lucid dreaming but with two important differences; Dreamwalker’s facility to enter these student’s dreams and their own awareness of her “purported ability to set intention” (p. ii-iii).

    Susao (2011) identified similarities between dreamwalking and dreaming, specifically the REM state and before initiating a dreamwalking experience with a student, Dreamwalker would wait until a student entered this stage because according to Mahowald et al. and McNamara (as cited in Susao, 2011) this is the time of slowing brain wave activity associated with dreaming and for Dreamwalker, it was during this state that it was easier to contact a student and detect any vibration of energy allowing for quicker access. Dreamwalker would then connect with the dream process or facilitate an entirely new one depending on what she wanted her students to learn (p. 86) and student’s dream reports supported Dreamwalker’s intent. According to Susao (2001) these dreamwalking experiences are both interactive and experienced in real time where dreamwalking matched activities during the waking state (pp. 86-87) and in this regard, Foulkes, Hartman, Hobson and McCarle (as cited in Susao, 2011) all viewed dreaming as either a neurological process, or a psychological one, or an interdisciplinary synthesis of both and Susao (2011) definitely saw dreamwalking having both (p. 88).

    As mentioned, Susao (2011) found both lucid dreaming and dreamwalking occurred during REM sleep and that they both contained many of the same qualities Austin (as cited in Susao, 2011) presented such as “enhanced perception, increased light intensity [where] the dream scene can take on a richly beautiful luster” summarizing lucidity as being “accompanied by unusual perceptual clarity, visual enrichment, and delight” (pp. 91-92). Several of the student dream reports identified these same qualities. Dreamwalking experiences also correlated with Piller’s (as cited in Susao, 2011) description of lucid dreaming with its ”strong element of self-reflective awareness” (p. 91-92) where, according to Susao (2011), these students were “very aware of the lesson potential and took opportunities to process these events with Dreamwalker in order to better apply the experiences to their daily lives” (pp. 91-92).

    Lucid dreaming can also be experienced and understood from Western evidence-based peer-reviewed knowing. For example, according to LaBerge (1980),

    although we are not usually explicitly aware of the fact that we are dreaming while we are dreaming, at times a remarkable exception occurs, and we become conscious enough to realize that we are dreaming (p. 163).

    The term, lucid dreaming, derived from van Eeden (as cited in LaBerge, 1980) means being able to “freely remember the circumstances of waking life, to think clearly, and to act deliberately upon reflection, all while experiencing a dream world that seems vividly real (p. 163). LaBerge (as cited in Zadra, 1991) suggested, “the consciousness as experienced by a lucid dreamer is not unlike that which is experienced during the waking state” (p. 2) and according to Blagrove and Hartnell (2000), a lucid dream is defined as “occurring when an individual becomes aware that they are dreaming, and, while remaining asleep, can control some of the events or content of the dream (p. 41). According to Voss and Hebson (2015), lucid dreaming may also be defined as “the conscious awareness that one is dreaming while dreaming. Instead of incorrectly assuming that one is awake, the dreamer gains insight about her or his real state of consciousness” (p. 1) and saw lucid dreaming consciousness manifesting the following 8 characteristics:

    (1) Insight into the fact that what one is currently experiencing is not real, but is only a dream, (2) a sense of realism, pertaining to the similarity between emotions, thoughts and events with wakefulness as judged after awakening from the dream, (3) control over the dream plot, (4) access to waking memory, (5) thought about other dream characters, (6) positive emotion, (7) negative emotion, and (8) dissociation akin to taking on a third-person perspective” (p. 5).

    For Stumbrys, Erlacher, Schadlich and Schredl (2012), “in lucid dreams the dreamer is aware of dreaming and often able to influence the ongoing dream content” and saw lucid dreaming as “a learnable skill” (p. 1456). For Hagood (2006), “lucid dreaming is awakening to dream, to the waking and sleeping dream, to the imaginal that includes both [and believed] it is our egos that awake from the illusion of our duality, our separateness and isolation, our conflict with others” (p. 169) and finally, LaBerge (1980) determined the psychophysiological conditions under which lucid dreaming occurred focused on consciousness.

    Biofeedback and Lucid Dreaming

    In regards to using biofeedback to identifying which measurements correlate with altered states of consciousness, [one] could probably also identify the state in which a person is present and aware in what Marina (Smirnova) referred to as the ‘betwixt and between (personal communication, K. Odell, September 7, 2016).

    Susao (2011)’s research method did not include biofeedback so there were no physiological measures taken in her dissertation research. Watson and Herder (1980) looked at how to increase responsiveness to stimuli by learning to increase production of alpha EEG waves. Alpha waves are associated with relaxed alertness and tranquility, a subjective feeling of pleasantness, and a low level of concentration in laboratory situations and according to Oglive, Hunt, Tyson, Lucescu, and Jeakins (1982) this has direct application to inducing the lucid dream state (Bray, 2014). and biofeedback could assist in achieving and then measuring such a state. Suaso (2011) viewed her research as “an illumination…that expands our knowledge about dreaming and suggests an additional way to utilize human consciousness” (pp. 96-97) and it was her hope that future research continued to explore this and expand on some of the issues her research identified like the physiological functions related to dreamwalking and any similarities to REM sleep or other stages of sleep which biofeedback can facilitate or the affect on recipients over an extended period of time leading to more clarity in any developmental process that occurs with brain function and levels of consciousness within the mind (pp. 96-97). This is also something biofeedback can both train and measure.

    LaBerg (as cited in Zadra, 1991) “concluded that the most promising dream actions for the task at hand would be volitional eye movement (recorded by electro-oculograms) and forearm muscle contractions (recorded by electromyogram) (p. 5).

    Zadra (1991) also thought that

    the use of signaling in the psychophysiological study of REM sleep has been applied successfully to investigate the extent to which dreamed patterns of respiration are paralleled by actual patterns of respiration, to examine lateralization of alpha activity during specific dream activities…in linking dream speech to the expiratory phase of the respiration cycle, to examine the relation between EMG activity and various dreamed limb activities, and in determining how close dream time estimates resemble real clock time. The findings of these studies indicate that there exists a close parallel between the physiological effects of various dreamed activities and the corresponding effects that would be observed if such activities were carried our during the waking state (p. 6).


    LaBerge (as cited in Zadra, 1991) saw


    all of these results [supporting] the conclusion that the events that we experience while asleep and dreaming produce effects on our brains (and to a lesser extent, bodies) remarkably similar to those that would be produced if we were actually to experience the corresponding events while awake. The reason for this is probably that the multimodal imagery of the dream is produced by the same brain systems that produce the equivalent perceptions. Perhaps this is why dreams are so real: To our brains, dreaming of doing something is equivalent to actually doing it (p. 7).


    The fact that our brains turn off muscle response while we are asleep and dreaming so that we do not physically act out our dreams and hurt ourselves in doing so is also the explanation for sleep paralysis, people wake and can’t move because their brain has not yet turned their motor functions back on (K. Odell, personal communication, September 7, 2016).

    LaBerge (2007) also studied lucid dreaming in terms of the psychophysiological components of consciousness during REM Sleep. This emphasis on consciousness is something

    biofeedback facilitates and measures and could also be useful to induce lucid dreaming in both the sleep laboratory within a clinical context as well as within a Dreamwalker’s dream or even help to initiate a Shamanic journey. It could be a useful technique that could reliably induce such dreams and further facilitate the induction in a subject who is experientially unfamiliar with this dream state. It could also aid in psychophysiological studies of REM sleep that typically

    require lucid dreamers to have such dreams within a limited time period available in the sleep laboratory and further facilitate the attempt to increase the frequency with which an habitual

    lucid dreamer already experiences lucid dreams and could also facilitate the reliability of lucid dream induction. According to Gackenbach and LaBerge (1988), the conscious mind and the sleeping brain inform lucid dreaming. They suggested the following 13 techniques and approaches with with biofeedback could aid in the induction and measurement of lucid dreaming. These are:

    (1) electrophysiological variables, (2) dream phenomenology, (3) lucid-awareness training, (4) alpha feedback training, (5) intention and suggestion techniques, (6) action-specific intention, (7) mnemonic induction of lucid dreaming, (8) posthypnotic suggestion, (9) REM-Minding techniques, (10) tactile cues, (11) auditory cues, (12) combined techniques and (13) hypnagogic lucidity techniques (pp. 105-131).


    Smell is not on this list but could also be added at some future date where biofeedback could also be used in future research of aromatherapy and lucid dreaming induction.

    Regarding the psychophysiology of lucid dreaming, Gackenbach and LaBerge (1988) also suggested 6 other ways or means where biofeedback could facilitate and measure:


    (1) lucid dreaming physiologically verified, (2) physiological correlates of the initiation of lucid dreaming, (3) temporal distribution of lucid dreams, (4) EEG activity during REM lucid dreams, (5) NREM lucid dreams and (6) psychophysiological relationship during REM sleep.


    Biofeedback has a role in each (p. 6) and there are probably many more yet undiscovered.

    Moss (2004) purported Heart Rate Variability biofeedback, or HRV biofeedback, is a relatively new technique to change the variability and dominant rhythms in their heart activity. If one can apply HRV biofeedback to medical and psychiatric conditions including: anger, anxiety disorders, asthma, cardiovascular conditions, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, etc. (p. 5) why not for inducing and then measuring lucid dreaming? According to Moss (2004), biofeedback already assists diaphragmatic breathing, relaxation, meditation, the cultivation of positive emotion, and heart rate variability (HRV). These are all interrelated maybe even interdisciplinary techniques, which can be helpful in improving heart health as well as overall well being. HRV changes facilitate transformations in thought and emotion and this interdisciplinary synthesis using biofeedback can be effective in training subjects to increase their own heart rate variability (p. 9). Biofeedback variability can also be used to induce lucid dreaming and then measure significant physiological changes.

    Bulkeley (2016) wrote,

    The state of sleep is sufficiently calm and quiet to be studied using current brain imaging technologies. This line of research has led to the realization that lucid dreaming may be closer, in neurological terms, to meditation than it is to either ordinary REM sleep or waking consciousness (p. 266)


    and Voss, Holzmann, Hobson, Paulus, Koppehele-Gossel, Klimke and Nitsche (2014) proposed that the stimulation of a sleeper’s brain during REM sleep could induce lucid dreaming. Voss and Hobson (2015) concluded that sleep is a hybrid state within a state-space continuum and Hobson (2009) saw lucid dreaming as a protoconscious state. Biofeedback has an important role in the study of consciousness in this lucid dreamscape (Barrett, 2001; Csikszentmihalyi, 2008; Hobson, 2009; Wamsley, Perry, Djonlagic, Reaven and Stickgold; 2010).


    According to Hale (2016), “for some researchers, the end point is to substitute (indigenous ways of knowing) with the reproducible rigors of Western scientific evidence. How this is done, however, should also be the endpoint” (p. 17) and according to Wardle (as cited in Hale, 2015), “evidence is not synonymous with randomized controlled trials and scientific knowledge is not a substitute for traditional knowledge [and visa versa] and traditional knowledge is not an “inferior’ or ‘underdeveloped’ form of knowledge” (p. 54). For Wardle, (as cited in Hale, 2015) “evidence based research” and traditional or indigenous ways of knowing can “coexist in evidence-based medicine (EBM) because, or even though, they both have “different aims and structures, and make different contributions to knowledge” (p. 54). Furthermore, as Wardle states, (as cited in Hale, 2015) “professional opposition to evidence-based medicine in the complementary integrative medicine (CIM) professions has no philosophical or traditional base” and only by “embracing EBM, can CIM professions truly embrace their own philosophies and traditions” (p. 54). Hale (2016) also wrote that “with our emerging knowledge of the central nervous system, evidence-based scientists will one day be able to measure intention, chi, and other components of [lucid dreaming] that our current Western scientific limitations are now unable to measure, provide evidence for or reproduce with exactness, and this will only further help explain and support the efficiency of [lucid dream induction methods whether Western evidence-based or indigenous]” (p. 16). Because in our current academic milieu according to Wilson (as cited in Hale, 2016), “the problem with science is that so much of it simply isn’t” (p.1).

    Future research directions need to have synthesis for any sustainable discoveries and applications as well as continue to focus on the study of the mind and the brain and the neurological articulations of lucid dreaming and how biofeedback can facilitate the interplay within this fluid state. Lucid dreaming is a skill that can be learned with the interdisciplinary synthesis of both Western evidence-based ways of knowing as well as indigenous ways of knowing (Aikenhead & Michell, 2011; Barnett and Thorson, 1999; Boyd, 2015; Castaneda, 1972; Gallego, 2015; Gross, 2014; Kassam, 2009; Parsons, 1996; Petchkovsky, San Roque, and Beskow, 2003; Prue and Voss, 2014; Smith, 2007; Smoak, 2006; Suaso, 2011; Tedlock, 1992; Walsh, 1994) and a much more accurate and deeper knowledge can be gained from such synthesis and integration and acceptance of indigenous ways of knowing which have been too long neglected in academic research. Future work should also be done on consciousness within this synthesis looking at neurotechnology as a tool for inducing and measuring altered states of consciousness (Valverde, 2015) using biofeedback, examining quantum theory in terms of the dreaming brain (Schumann, 2010) looking at higher states of consciousness with waking, dreaming and sleeping and the subject and object relationship characterized by the absence of time, space and body-sense which gives meaning to waking experiences (Travis, 2014) all of which can be facilitated and measured by biofeedback Future research should also continue to look at alpha biofeedback therapy (Watson and Herder, 1980) and at patterns (Hale, 2015) as they are manifested in this interdisciplinary synthesis. These patterns will have more to say yet about consciousness, biofeedback, indigenous ways of knowing and lucid dreaming.






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    This paper articulates consciousness as it is manifested in biofeedback, indigenous ways of knowing and lucid dreaming. This paper also explores this interdisciplinary synthesis in the possible roles biofeedback plays in inducing lucid dreaming followed by suggested future directions this interdisciplinary synthesis should take next.

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