Isn’t it fascinating to know that a small amount of electrical stimulation can boost athletic performances? If the makers of Halo Sport are to be believed, then this development can usher in unprecedented levels of skills. Theoretically, speaking, when you prime the brain region, it can learn new movements and skills related to any sport.
What is the Halo Sport Device?
There has been extensive research on brain zapping techniques that improve cognitive performances. However, the science at its base continues to be uncertain and we still need a lot of proof to justify this. Halo Sport is essentially a brain stimulator helping you to quickly develop muscle memory. The device delivers electricity called tDCS or transcranial direct current stimulation to the human brain.
The headset resembles large headphones having foam positioning spikes for it to rest easily on one’s head. These are called “primers” or electrodes which can send 1.4-2.1 milliamps electricity to our brain. Positioning of the motor cortex, or the region in our brains directing voluntary movements, is why the headphone-shape is the best suited for delivering currents.
The fact is a small amount of electrical stimulation does not inflict any pain or discomfort. Users will get a tingling sensation but not a sting. Using electricity to harness brain functions has been seen in history also when it was used for treating headaches. Here, the Halo Sport will give skills, endurance, and additional strength. You will be able to break through plateaus as the product will promote neuro-plasticity and improve learning in motor cortex. These claims have been backed by peer-reviewed studies which the NBA, NFL, and even Olympic athletes have started to trust.
When electricity is sent to the cortex, it travels to the spinal cord directly from there. While many parts of the brain like the cerebellum may be involved in learning or training, it is the primary cortex where the main learning happens. The tDCS will use direct current sent through electrodes attached to the head. This tDCS had been earlier developed for treating people experiencing psychiatric conditions and brain injuries.
The tDCS technology has been there for more than two decades. The only difference is that makers of Halo Sport have now integrated it into a wearable product. For example, when you are lifting anything that is heavy, it is not simply the biceps working but also stabilizer muscles supporting the main ones. So, to get better at any movement, you have to make the main muscle and supporting ones equally strong. Unless they are coordinated they cannot “fire” together.
Many professional athletes have already started to use the Halo Sport and NFL players are one such group. Vertical jumps have increased by using this device, according to an Oakland Raiders player. Today, even the general public can buy this device. It is safe, even though people may wonder how sending electric currents to the brain can be justifiable. If it is administered in controlled settings it is absolutely safe. Users can experience mild side-effects like headaches or tingling. But, when used at home, the side-effects can be different, especially if used over and over again.
Whether the device is worth it, is hard to say at this point. Professional sports people will want to try out anything that can give them an edge over others. But academics will always be skeptical of something like this. They will not be keen to accept the benefits of this technology unless they get peer-reviewed data.