TRANSCRIPT Oh No Ross and Carrie: Ross and Carrie Tune Their Brains: Vital Tones Edition

Transcript

music

Oh No, Ross and Carrie! Theme Song” by Brian Keith Dalton. A jaunty, upbeat instrumental.

carrie poppy

Hello! Welcome to Oh No, Ross and Carrie!, the show where we don’t just report on fringe science, spirituality, and claims of the paranormal, but take part ourselves.

ross blocher

Yup, when they make the claims we show up so you don’t have to. I’m Ross Blocher.

carrie

And I’m Carrie Poppy, and today we’re talking about sounds that can heal you.

ross

So turn this up.

carrie

Because it’s my voice.

ross

It’ll heal ya.

carrie

Yeah.

ross

In particular, Vital Tones.

carrie

Vital Tones.

ross

At VitalTones.com. I dunno, I feel like suddenly I need to be speaking soothingly. Vital Tones dot com.

carrie

It’s not an ASMR thing.

ross

Oh, no. That would be fun though.

carrie

It is—it’s kind of adjacent to binaural beats, if you’ve heard of those.

ross

It’s something that plays directly into headphones and it’s supposed to kind of help your brain and various other things, and yeah, my first thought was, “Oh, is this binaural beats?” The idea with binaural beats is that they’re playing slightly different sounds in each ear in a stereo track and it’s supposed to be doing things to your brain, essentially. So this is very much related in that sense.

carrie

So, actually, our head researcher, Drew Spears, found this, because one of the things that they say they can treat is cerebral palsy. I can’t remember how he originally stumbled upon it, but once he did and saw that there, I think he enjoyed the feeling of rage and delight.

ross

Yeah, when you go to VitalTones.com, it’s mostly black text on white background, but there’s this nice soothing blue and a diagram of a brain.

carrie

Yes, let me join you there on the homepage. Oh, yup.

ross

Reminds me a little of our friend Jerry Mungadze, except this is now a 3D model instead of the color your own brain.

carrie

And someone has colored it in entirely blue. I wonder what Jerry would say that means.

ross

Oh, it’s probably healthy, because blue is boy, and boy is good.

carrie

Oh, right. It means rational, in control. You don’t want too much pink. [Sighing] Oh, boy. That’s a different episode. Back to this one. You might be interested to know that, “Vital Tones is a research and a production organization which develops designs and supports a wide range of amazing brain wave therapies.”

ross

I am interested to know that. Also, “Through years of working in sound and healing, we made great efforts in research of brainwaves technology to find the universal frequencies which will assist in all aspects of enhancement and healing process.”

carrie

Wow. “For the first time in modern day technology, Vital Tones presents an advanced brain wave entrainment technology, which can stimulate specific parts of the brain.”

ross

Entrainment. That’s an interesting word.

carrie

Yeah. It’s really hard to run into that word and not say ‘entertainment’.

ross

It seems like somewhere between entertainment and entrapment, maybe.

carrie

Oh, it is a word, but, okay. “Entrainment is a meteorological term. A phenomenon of the atmosphere, it is the process by which surface sediment is incorporated into a fluid flow.”

ross

Surface sediment. Okay. So, surface sediment, we have to calculate how does it get pulled into the flow of fluid, rain, runoff, something like that. So, okay. Now let’s go back to this sentence. “Vital Tones presents an advanced brain wave surface material being pulled into the flow of liquids.” No.

carrie

Yeah. They’re thinking basically training. You’re gonna train your brain.

ross

But training doesn’t sound interesting. Let’s call it entrainment.

carrie

Exactly. What was that thing that George W. Bush would say, was it strategerie?

ross

Yes, I think that sounds right, and also sticktoitiveness, which I use—

carrie

Yeah. That one’s fine.

ross

—I now use kind of ironically, because it’s fun. It’s a fun word. Good job, George W. Bush.

carrie

Why say perseverance when you can say sticktoitiveness. I like it.

ross

Would you sit next to George W. Bush at a ball game?

carrie

Okay. Anyway.

ross

Moving on.

carrie

So. [Both laugh.]

ross

Yes. You told me about this.

carrie

You know the biggest problem there? Going to a ball game.

ross

Sure.

carrie

Okay. [Ross laughs.] So, um. Yes, I did tell you about this. I said, “Ross, Ross. This seems prime for us. Let’s heal things. Let’s advance things. Let’s make our brains better.” So you can do three things with Vital Tones. You can improve your psychological wellbeing, your physical wellbeing, or you can enhance your brain.

ross

Well, good thing I have an app for that. It’s the Hue app.

carrie

Nope. [Makes tut-tut sound.]

ross

No? Wait.

carrie

No mixy-matchy.

ross

Wait, wait, but it makes—

carrie

No, no, no.

ross

—a glorious sound.

carrie

No mixy-matchy.

ross

Oh, okay. No, we’re talking about a different app. That’s funny, actually I have these on the same page now. My Hue app and my Vital Tones enhancement app, except there’s actually three Vital Tones apps based on three different categories. You tried one of each, didn’t you?

carrie

They are the three that I mentioned, psychological, physical, and enhancement. Yes, I thought, “Okay, I’m gonna try one from each area.” Interestingly, I was looking for migraine. I thought, “Okay, migraine’s gonna be on there.” I look at physical and it’s not there, and I’m like, “What?” Turns out they had put it under psychological.

ross

Oh. Okay.

carrie

Which I thought was interesting. I mean, maybe they’re just thinking anything that has to do with sort of your cranium, but, you know. Definitely I wouldn’t call that psychological, but what do I know?

ross

I started out with the enhancement app, because it had some interesting sessions on it. So you download it and it tells you in the App store that this is going to be an in-app purchase app. So it’s free. It’s free to get on your phone. You don’t have to pay anything, except if you want—

carrie

You won’t be able to do anything with it.

ross

Yeah, no. They do have, for each of the offered dare-I-say- treatments, at least like a trial audio that you can listen to, which is pretty generous. Usually it’s about eight minutes long. You can listen to the trial edition. And they say on their website the idea is to give you a chance to at least verify that it’s doing something, but if you really want to get this treatment seriously, you wanna go to that next level—

carrie

Get the full effects.

ross

Yeah, you should pay for the sessions, and usually there will be a one, two—at least most of the ones that I got had two sessions—or three sessions or more, and then you’ll have access to those if you pay for that in-app purchase price. So, what did you start with, you said migraine?

carrie

Migraine, yes. So, this week was a perfect week to test a migraine treatment, because there’s a lot of smoke in the air.

ross

Oh, because of California burning again.

carrie

Yeah. So California’s on fire. It fills the atmosphere with smoke, and then—

ross

Particulate matter.

carrie

—fills up your sinuses, and I got a lot of headaches this week.

ross

Oh, no.

carrie

I know. I was like, “Hey—”

ross

“At least I can test out this app.”

carrie

Silver lining.

ross

Looking on the bright side.

carrie

Exactly. So, my first purchase was the migraine one, which, let me see how much it was. I want to—

ross

[Singing] Let’s get physical, physical. Oh wait, no. Let’s get psychological, logical. [Carrie hums along.] Because that’s the app it’s on, app it’s on.

carrie

So, migraine treatment was twelve dollars on the psychological app.

ross

It’s always the something-.99, so $11.99?

carrie

Yes, I’m sure it was. I wrote down twelve dollars like a fool. So, it had three tracks in it, and it said in the instructions that the first two were for preventing migraine and the third was to listen to while you have a migraine, to stop it.

ross

Oh, so did you go right to the third one?

carrie

I did, because at that point, I was having one.

ross

Yeah, can’t really prevent it.

carrie

Exactly. So, I will open it up here.

ross

The menu is all light blue as well, and so when you open it up, it gives you language options. There are many languages that you can interact with the app in. English is the first one, but there’s also Deutsch, Français, Portugese, looks like we’ve got Chinese, Japanese, Español, Italiano, Bahasa Indonesia, and Turkish, I assume.

carrie

So here's the information about the migraine session. They call it a session. “Vital Tones migraine is a brainwave sound therapy for prevention of migraines and headaches. Migraine is a neurological disease characterized by recurrent moderate to severe headaches, often in association with a number of autonomic nervous system symptoms. Typically the headache affects one half of the head, is pulsating in nature, and lasts from two to 72 hours. Associated symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, sound, or smell. The migraine is believed to be a neurovascular disorder. The primary theory is related to increased excitability of the cerebral cortex and abnormal control of pain neurons in the trigeminal nucleus of the brainstem.”

ross

For each of these things that they offer, and we’re gonna tell you what they offer, because boy do they offer a lot of different therapies. But they have that little information page, which I think is the most legitimate looking part of this whole app that I’ve seen so far, and I’m wondering now as you read that if I did a search for the wording there, if we would find this was cribbed from some other thing. So what was that word with trigeminal?

carrie

“Control of pain neurons in the trigeminal nucleus of the brainstem.”

ross

Okay. I’m finding that exact wording on FreePatentsOnline.com. Here’s one at AuyervedicConsult.blogspot.com. So yeah, that’s pretty specific phrasing.

carrie

Well, what you might also notice about the description is that it’s describing what a migraine is and nothing about what you’re going to do about my migraine.

ross

Yes. But at least we’ve thrown some science your way, and some words, like trigeminal, sounds pretty official.

carrie

Sure. And of course the person who clicks on migraine is probably looking for the definition of migraine and not trying to get their migraine treated. Anyway, sessions one and two are the ones that are for prevention of migraine. Those two are 22 minutes each. The third, the one you use while you have a migraine, is 13 minutes. So, in the middle of a migraine, I go, “Okay.” I plug in my headphones, I put them on, and the sound is this like, awful—

ross

So yeah, we haven’t described the sound yet.

carrie

Yeah, I’ll play it for you. So it’s amping up for you right now, but it becomes a very tinny… [Distant, uncomfortably high pitched tone.] Can you hear that?

ross

A little bit.

carrie

Oh man, you can’t hear that?

ross

I would say most of them sound very similar.

carrie

I had three treatments and they’re pretty distinct. They’re distinct enough to warrant being called distinct.

ross

Try holding it right in front of the— [Sound gets closer.] Okay, sounds very— like a mechanical cricket.

carrie

Totally.

ross

If there was a cricket next to your ear, but he was made of metal.

carrie

So that’s quite unpleasant. And then as it goes on—I’ll leave this on for a bit and we can return to the sound it becomes—but it starts to be like, a pulsating, loud noise in your ear. So I made a point of, before I put my headphones on, thinking, “Okay, out of ten, how bad would I say this migraine is?” And I was like, “It’s not— you know, I’ve had much worse, so I’m gonna give it a four.” And then as I was listening to this, I was like, “Okay, six. Seven. This is just making it worse.”

ross

Wow.

carrie

By the time it was over, something kind of interesting happened. I was like, “Oh, okay. I feel a lot better now.” And then I thought, “Okay, what would give it now?” And I was like, “Oh, four again. Four just doesn’t feel nearly as bad now, because you made it so bad for a second, and then took away the—”

ross

Okay. Alright.

carrie

There’s something to be said there, I guess.

ross

That’s like that Daniel Kahneman experiment where you remember pain kind of based on your final experience of the pain.

carrie

Peak end rule.

ross

Exactly. Yeah. That average. So there you go, they can manipulate you that one.

carrie

Yeah. So be sure to make yourself give a number before you start, so you can at least, uh—

ross

Though to be clear, this app did not ask you for any of the numbers.

carrie

No, no, no. That was just me being one smart cookie.

ross

And you mentioned that you’re gonna let this play for a while. That’s another thing is, there’s no—once you start playing one of these audio files, it’s just playing. And you’ll see the remaining time and the time that has elapsed, but there’s no ability to scrub—

carrie

Or pause or replay.

ross

Right. If you hit the stop button, it stops and you’re gonna restart from the beginning.

carrie

You’re gonna start over.

ross

I think fully tested that two minutes into a clip, because most of these are 22 minutes-24 minutes, like a half hour episode of a TV show essentially. So that’s a long time.

carrie

For sure.

ross

But yeah, let’s talk about, well, the sounds themselves, and the app and its insistence on audio quality and fidelity. When you first start it, it comes up with the screen that tells you, “To use our therapies, your earphone or headphone need to be able to play this low frequency sound sample.” And so you play that and, sure enough it is this kind of low, rumbling [imitates noise], and so you need to kind of hit those low registers, and they want to make sure that your, whatever your playback is, is that it’s sensitive enough to that.

carrie

And I will say, I tried it on a few different devices to see if there was really any devices where I wouldn't be able to hear it, and there were. On my laptop, if I turned it way up and leaned in, I could kind of hear it, but you do really need headphones or earbuds.

ross

And then on your headphones you heard yanny.

carrie

Right. Well, laurel. I hear laurel.

ross

That’s right.

carrie

What do you hear? Have we talked about this? Probably.

ross

Yeah, we have. Yeah, I think we did on the show once. But yeah, we heard different things.

carrie

Did we?

ross

Yeah, I heard the yanny, and you were like, “You’re shitting me.”

carrie

Really? I wanna pull it up.

ross

Okay. I may have been affected now by listening to it before. Carrie is looking up the Laurel Yanny audio clip, which is this clip that different people will hear different ways on different devices. Some will hear “laurel” and others will year “yanny”.

carrie

Supposedly, the older you are, the more likely you are to hear yanny, but laurel is what the person’s actually saying.

ross

Oh, interesting.

carrie

Okay, are you ready?

ross

Okay. It’s like that color changing dress.

sound effect

[Recording of a person saying a word that could be “laurel” or could be “yanny”]

ross

I hear yanny. [Carrie laughs.] Yanny.

carrie

That’s impossible!

ross

I hear yanny!

carrie

It’s so funny, because it’s like—

ross

What did you say old people hear?

carrie

Yanny.

ross

Oh. Alright. I’m old.

carrie

So you might’ve— [Laughs.] I mean, you may have just lost those whatevers, those fibers in your ears.

ross

But also, I remember when I was trying that, like on different devices I would hear—

carrie

Different things.

ross

—different things, yeah.

carrie

Yeah, I’ve heard people say that. Like, unless I turn it all the way up to— like there’s a slider at New York Times where you can sort of err it toward laurel or yanny. If I turn that all the way to yanny, I can hear it.

ross

I found this perfect— [yanny/laurel clip plays, but lower] I found the visual equivalent of this. What would you call this letter?

carrie

A ‘Y’.

ross

Okay. I would call that a ‘Y’ as well. Most people said that—I found this on a bag of chips at Chipotle.

carrie

Is it an ‘L’?

ross

It’s an ‘L’ for ‘large’. Large bag of chips.

carrie

Oh, wow.

ross

But sure looks like a ‘Y’. So I thought that was pretty funny, because yanny and laurel start with ‘Y’ and ‘L’.

carrie

Oh, right. Anyway, that’s not what this episode is about. Oh, okay.

ross

Oh, right. Vital Tones.

carrie

The sound is changing everybody. So, again, imagine that you have a migraine.

ross

It’s coming back to the microphone. Oh, here we go.

sound effect

[Low, harsh vibrating tune plays.]

ross

Okay, now it sounds like a mechanical orca has swum up next to me and is trying to communicate in her alien language.

carrie

And it will get worse from there.

ross

Yeah, so this is kind of like when you had the migraine at the Crystal Skull performance, and one of them came up to you with a drum and banged it in your ear.

carrie

Uh-huh. That was worse.

ross

I’m sorry, are you sensitive to sounds right now? Because let me come up for 22 minutes and go [imitates tone].

carrie

Oh, my god. This one’s 13, actually.

ross

Oh, good. Okay. That’s something.

carrie

Yeah, this was quite unpleasant. I will say the Crystal Skull drum banging was worse.

ross

Okay. Yeah. Improvement. That’s just, like, your seven and your four again.

carrie

Yeah, exactly.

sound effect

[Low, harsh vibrating tune plays.]

ross

So the premise here with these sounds and what they say the science of this is doing is that stimulating very specific parts of the brain, and with these frequencies addressing these concerns or these issues that need treating by activating, stimulating the right part of the brain. When you first come into the app, it says, “Welcome to Vital Tones. Vital Tones has discovered a revolutionary brainwave technology which can stimulate specific parts of the brain and the body.” Carrie still has the sound going on in the background.

carrie

Mmhm.

ross

“Within a year, over two million use Vital Tones. Our therapies are science-based. We simply use the neuroscientific research reports to select the necessary brain areas.” That’s… interesting. Remember that. That they use neuroscientific research reports to select the necessary brain areas.

carrie

Okay.

ross

Yeah, I mostly listen to the sounds on my Apple airpods, the wireless earphones, but those have pretty good range.

carrie

Yeah, I used my earbuds a lot.

ross

I could hear everything clearly. I also tried using these headphones that I’m using right now, that we use to record the podcast.

carrie

Which are like over-ear clamshell headphones.

ross

Yeah, and that’s where like, okay, this is the best audio quality available to me. And definitely it did sound deeper on these headphones than it did. Your instructions are to make sure you get the left and the right ears correct, though I didn’t notice any significant difference between left and right in terms of the audio itself. They want you to minimize disturbances, and to have a complete silence surrounding you is ideal. If not, then, you know, you can deal. I thought it was interesting that it didn’t seem to insist on any particular volume level. They just said make sure you can hear it but you can turn it down pretty low or up pretty high and you’ll still get the same benefit.

carrie

I tried to listen to it a little bit at the movies today.

ross

Oh, yeah?

carrie

Yeah, like at a movie theater.

ross

Okay.

carrie

I was waiting for Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? to come on at the New Beverly, and I just had those in, I was listening. But the New Beverly, bless their hearts, has a good policy that you can’t use your phone at all, like don’t text, don’t look at your phone, put it away.

ross

Or they’ll frog march you out of there, huh?

carrie

Yeah, it’s not like, quite as severe as—

ross

Alamo Drafthouse.

carrie

—our friends at the Alamo Drafthouse, yes. But, you know, they really don’t want you to do that, so as soon as he made that announcement, I was like, “Okay, I’ll put it away.” But also I left the movie because I got bored.

ross

I went to meetings at work with my earphones in, listening to this stuff. Because, you know, when you’ve got seven minutes remaining on a 24 minute clip of audio—

carrie

You start to be like, “Well.”

ross

—and you can’t pause it, you’re like, “Yeah, alright. Everyone can just wait while I finish.” But I would do stuff and have conversations while I’m hearing [imitates tone again].

carrie

Yup. I would do other work on my computer and have it just playing in my ears.

ross

Let’s see, what else do they say? “Play the session at a comfortable volume. Remember that high volume doesn’t make the treatment more effective and can damage your ears.”

carrie

Oh. Okay.

ross

So, nice warning. “Relax, close your eyes, and gently focus on your breathing, while being aware of the sound of the audio.” And I would do that in my meetings, too. I would just close my eyes, I would concentrate on the sound of my breathing, and I think people have just learned that Ross does weird things in meetings.

carrie

Yeah, how can we get Ross fired, you guys? [Ross laughs.] We’ve been trying.

ross

Just kidding. I did none of those things. I kept my eyes open, but I did feel very self-conscious with the earphones still in my ears.

carrie

Yeah, for sure.

ross

Also they tell you to stay away from alcohol and drugs.

carrie

Okay. Just as a general life advice?

ross

No, just while doing this therapy.

carrie

Okay.

ross

And it may take a few days to acclimatize yourself— [Tone in background reverts to high pitch.] Oh. Carrie’s still on the same track, but now we’ve gone back to kind of insect noise.

carrie

Yeah, so we’re on the denouement of this track.

ross

And then they give you kind of a schedule to do all this, so the idea is that if there’s just one session, well then, do it daily. But, like, if there’s two sessions, they want you for the first ten days to listen to one session daily.

carrie

Yeah.

ross

And then, like, the next ten days you use one session every two days. And then the third ten days you use one session every three days. Yeah, no. We’re not doing that.

carrie

Yeah. That’s all for optimal results. We’re going for sub-optimal.

ross

Sub-optimal results. Yeah, that’s a big time investment. So, I gotta say, I wasn’t giving this full shrift in terms of using all of—

carrie

Optimizing it.

ross

Right. Also it does say on the FAQ on the website that you’re not supposed to listen to different therapies in the same day. I was listening to so many of these back to back. Different types, different modalities, different problems, so.

carrie

But it did repeatedly say, “If you do those things, you’ll still get benefits, just not— it’s not what we recommend.”

ross

Yeah, you wanna hear what I tried?

carrie

Yes. Should I tell you about the other migraine thing?

ross

Yeah, do it.

carrie

So I also did the migraine prevention sessions. And so there were two of those, they were 22 minutes each. I did them both yesterday. Today is the first day that I haven’t had a headache for a week.

ross

Oh, no.

carrie

So, I’m cured.

ross

Oh, wait. So it worked then.

carrie

Hm. Did it work? I did the thing.

ross

Did it correlate with—

carrie

It correlated. I did the thing, and then I didn’t have a headache today.

ross

Eventually your headaches do go away.

carrie

Or, eventually you find the cure, and it is a twelve dollar app.

ross

So we can’t call this a firm disconfirmation.

carrie

No, I cannot, but then this evening I went to a paper source class with my friend Jude, to make Halloween cards, and it went on too long, and she and I both get migraines, and by the end of it were both— really needed food, and we were both like, “Oh no, I have a migraine, sorry.” “I have one, sorry too!” But we were able to get food before—

ross

Oh, good.

carrie

—it set in, so I don’t know what that spells out for this app.

ross

I always say, there’s nothing worse than making Halloween cards while you’re hangry.

carrie

[Laughing] You’ve never said that. I’ve known you a long time, you’ve never said that.

ross

I always say that.

carrie

I don’t think you always say that.

ross

Always. Like, right after we finish every episode and we turn off the recorder, I say that.

carrie

No, you don’t. No you don’t.

ross

Are you sure?

carrie

Maybe you do.

ross

No, I don’t. No. Now I feel like I’m gaslighting you. I don’t say that, you were right. Okay, maybe—

carrie

Maybe on that one.

ross

—potential success. Alright. What else did you try?

carrie

So, before we move on from psychological, I just want to read people what all you can get fixed in your brain.

ross

Oh, yeah. So, what happens, so you open this app and there’s a grid after you get past all these introductions and the scientific support and all that. There’s a grid that names different things that these sounds can help you with.

carrie

Yes. So, here are a few: addiction recovery. ADHD. Alcohol damage. Alzheimer. Not Alzheimer’s, but Alzheimer.

ross

Alzheimer. If it hasn’t been clear already from some of the material we’ve read from their website and app, English is not the first language here.

carrie

Anger. ASPD. I’m not sure what that is. ASPD?

ross

Oh, that’s the Arizona State Police Department.

carrie

I don’t think that— oh, antisocial personality. So, sociopathy. Don’t worry, there’s an app for that. Anorexia. Anxiety. Aphasia. Bipolar. Borderline personality.

ross

Wow. We’re still in the B’s. These are alphabetical.

carrie

Yeah. Cannabis abuse. Dyslexia. Deep sleep. Depression. DTD. What’s that?

ross

Oh, that is the doppelganger twin… digression.

carrie

[Mockingly] Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Nope.

ross

That’s it.

carrie

It is developmental trauma disorder, also known as complex post-traumatic stress disorder.

ross

Oh. PTSD. Okay. Hadn’t heard of DTD.

carrie

Hypertension. Hysteria. Oh, I wish I’d done the hysteria one.

ross

Yeah, you should’ve treated hysteria.

carrie

See if I’m no longer funny. [Ross laughs.] Um. Insomnia. Migraine. Narcissistic. Narcolepsy. OCD. Pedophilia.

ross

I saw pedophilia on the list there! Wow. So you can treat your pedophilia with these brain waves. How do they test that, I would like to know.

carrie

God. I mean, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. I feel so bad for inactive pedophiles. People who have this urge that they don’t want—

ross

And don’t act on.

carrie

—and don’t act on. That’s got to be horrific, and there’s like no one to talk to about it. And I picture them going to this and listening to some dumb fucking tone for twelve dollars. Ugh.

ross

Ah. I hope it works for them, in that case. Yeah, you know, I do totally feel sad for them, because they’ve just been handed a bum brain in that respect.

carrie

Yeah. It fucking sucks. And obviously, don’t act on it, but. Ugh. Fucked up. Okay, PTSD. Schizophrenia. Smoking. Stress reduction. Stuttering. Tourettes. And vertigo.

ross

Wow. Okay.

carrie

So before we hear about my physical treatments, what did you get?

ross

Okay. So, I started out with the enhancements app. So you’ve got your physical, you’ve got your psychological, but, under enhancements, there’s all kinds of things you can help with, like Osho Chakra, alignment 108—

carrie

Yeah, what is that?

ross

That’s highly specific. Like, “Eh, we skip right past the 101. We’re gonna go to 108.”

carrie

“Vital Tones alignment 108 is a powerful brainwave therapy to align your mind, body, and soul through meditation.”

ross

Oh, “We have discovered the sacred number, 108, has an important significance in the design of the brain.”

carrie

Woah. “Throughout history the number 108 has held a multidimensional meaning. The number 108 is considered sacred in many Eastern religions and traditions. 108 is a number known to be referring to spiritual completion.” I’m gonna see if I can find any reference of this anywhere else.

ross

I am convinced of it. Prior to your search, I am convinced. Though in numerology, that would just be a nine.

carrie

Oh. True that. Hm. Okay, Yoga Journal seems to back this up.

ross

Okay, well. You know. Checks out.

carrie

Okay, great. That’s all Ross needs.

ross

Other people are talking about it. Unless this same person runs both websites.

carrie

I’m—yeah, I’m not seeing a lot of it from reputable sources, but who knows?

ross

Okay, other things the enhancement app can help you with: Anti-aging, astral travel, chakras, cognition, creativity, emotional intelligence, expert skills—

carrie

That’s one of my favorites. Expert skills.

ross

—female orgasm.

carrie

Okay. Did you do that one?

ross

You prefer expert skills to female orgasm?

carrie

You know, why not both? But, um. I just want to know which of my expert skills is going to increase.

ross

Err, focus, homeostasis, immune system, investor skills, IQ, language, long term memory, love, lucid dreams, male orgasm, meditation—

carrie

Ah, the ever elusive male orgasm. [Ross laughs.]

ross

Meditation, motivation, musician, neurogenesis, pineal gland, sahasrara chakra, I’m sure I said that wrong, self-awareness, self-esteem, sensations, short-term memory, sports skills—ooh, I wanna try that—and vocal skills.

carrie

Alright. Okay.

ross

Options. Ooh, vocal skills. You know, I wanna try that, too.

carrie

How many of these did you do?

ross

Let’s see, on this list, I tried four.

carrie

Oh, wow. Okay, so, should I guess?

ross

Yeah.

carrie

Okay. There’s—

ross

Do we think alike on what we would choose on these things?

carrie

Well, certainly you picked one of the orgasms.

ross

Correct. And I’ve got to say, there’s many more here that I’m very tempted by, so I’m sure there are many right answers to what I would select.

carrie

Okay. So.

ross

[Laughing] I like how you’re trying to figure out which orgasm I went for.

carrie

Oh, no, I wasn’t. I was just counting those together. Okay, I’m gonna say either lucid dreaming or astral travel, which should be the same.

ross

Good. I chose lucid dreaming. That was my first one, I am impressed. You’ve hit two.

carrie

And language? Because we’ve both been doing language studying.

ross

That would be a super smart one to do, yeah, because I am doing my daily language studies. No, I did not use that one. I should though, that’s a good idea. I think I’m gonna use the trial versions of these other ones we’re talking about, because I paid for all of these other ones and, you know, it adds up, these in-app purchases.

carrie

I’m gonna say motivation.

ross

Oh, good guess. I would say the closest to that was focus. So I had focus and IQ, because I knew you were doing IQ, and I thought we should both try one of the same ones. Which orgasm do you think I tried, the male or the female orgasm?

carrie

Both.

ross

Oh, good guess. Female.

carrie

Oh, okay.

ross

I figured, hey, why not, let’s see what that’s like. So yeah, I started with lucid dreams, and when you select that it tells you that “researchers believe that lucid dreams help us process emotions, consolidate memories, and may also help alleviate depression.”

carrie

Well, that’s great, because all sleep does those things.

ross

“Vital Tones lucid dreams directly activates the pons, the precuneus, the cuneus, the prefrontal cortex, the oxipido temporal, the pineal gland, the amygdala, and the hippocampus.”

carrie

And any second now we’re gonna tell you how this relates to our technology. Here it comes.

ross

Mmm, wait a second now, I’m scrolling and I don’t see that.

carrie

Hmm.

ross

They just listed the names of the parts of the brain.

carrie

That seems like the relevant information.

ross

Okay, so there’s three sessions on this one. Session one and two are therapy sessions for generating lucid dreams, and they are both 22 minutes, and they’re crucial to have a complete therapy, so no skipping ahead. Session three is an optional therapy for use during REM sleep. Session three is sixteen minutes and replays automatically every sixty minutes. So I thought that was interesting. If you start session three while you’re sleeping, it will just keep waiting an hour and then it will play that, and I guess the normal sleep cycle is about 90 minutes on average, and so I guess there’s a good chance it will catch you during REM sleep.

carrie

Okay, and then the idea there is it will sort of jolt you just barely out of that deep sleep state so you can take control and harness a lucid dream.

ross

And I picked, I think, a good night to start this. It was a night after I had slept maybe two and a half hours. I just had to pull a super late night.

carrie

Oh, Ross, that’s terrible.

ross

And so I was so tired, I’m finally gonna go to bed, but I thought, “Okay, I need to listen to sessions one and two, all 44 minutes of them, so I can be prepared for session three, because I can’t skip ahead.” So I did that. I listened to both of those and here’s what session one sounds like.

sound effect

[High-pitched whining and clicking noise.]

ross

It’s clicking a little bit. I dunno, sometimes it does that when you change audio input or something.

carrie

I found that some of mine just did that. It seemed like it was baked into the experience on some of mine.

ross

Yeah, the little clicks, pops, which are pretty jarring, especially if you have the audio turned up.

carrie

Yeah.

ross

Anyways, so you get the idea. I can say that, for me, most of the sounds I played, even though I’m gonna talk about a few others, I would say the most common theme was the sound of an idling motorcycle on the other side of a wall.

carrie

Okay. Huh.

ross

So I’d start playing and I would hear the [imitating sound of idling motor]. Yeah, I remember I had to ask Andrew at one point as I was trying one of them, “Is there a helicopter outside?” He said, “No.” “Okay, just making sure.” Because, yeah, it sounds like that, the sort of gentle, mechanical sound.

carrie

I felt like some of them sounded probably like what it sounds like to be in the womb.

ross

Interesting. Kind of a [makes a watery “whoosh” noise several times].

carrie

Yeah, like a watery sound and then something that could be a heartbeat.

ross

This is my interpretation of being in the womb. Oh, okay. Gotcha.

carrie

Your thetan.

ross

Yeah, I had all three sessions going. In session three I got to hear the beginning part of it and then hopefully it repeated during the night. And when I woke up it had actually stopped. I was curious to see if it was still going. So, it stopped at some point, I don’t know why.

carrie

Did you have an astral—

ross

Oh, a lucid dream. Did I? Yeah, and that’s why I thought it was good that I was kind of sleep deprived, because that seems like a good situation in which to have astral travel or lucid dreaming. Not that I recalled. I woke up, and all of my dreams seemed like normal dreams that I wasn’t aware of until I woke up.

carrie

Well, unrelated, I woke up and you were hovering above my bed, formless.

ross

That is unrelated. So, I dunno why you even mentioned that.

carrie

Ah, sorry. I dunno. You know my mind shoots off in all directions.

ross

I did think about Sri Harold, from our Eckankar investigation, before I slept and I thought, “This would be a perfect time—”

carrie

For him to visit?

ross

Yeah, for me to have an interaction with him and be aware of it, so I specifically requested that of the universe, and the Mahanta.

carrie

No?

ross

Nothing.

carrie

Ugh.

ross

Harold.

carrie

I stuck this photo by my bed and I haven’t had one dream about him.

ross

Aww.

carrie

Not one.

ross

I wonder if anyone prays and says, “Harold be thy name.”

carrie

Ah. Okay. I get you. I get you.

ross

So next I went for the female orgasm, because I thought, you know, this has gotta be good.

carrie

Just see what happens.

ross

And it was those same sounds, and so I tell Cara this, that I am trying to experience the female orgasm, and you know, just walk a mile in her shoes. She says— well, first of all she just thinks there’s something wrong with me, but then I say, “You want to hear this?” And so I put the headphones in her ears and she says, “Ugh, this is just annoying. I thought it would be like soft moaning at least.”

carrie

Alright. Nope.

ross

Yeah, so, no such luck.

carrie

Are either of you having female orgasms between then and now?

ross

Uhhh. Well.

carrie

That’s the test!

ross

I’m just gonna say no.

carrie

Okay.

ross

I’m just gonna say no to that. And as usual, the app gives you a copy-pasted probably description of what orgasm is. Turns out it’s “the sudden discharge of accumulated sexual excitement during the sexual response cycle, resulting in rhythmic muscular contractions in the pelvic regions characterized by sexual pleasure.”

carrie

Okay. They’re not wrong.

ross

You were hoping I’d talk dirty to you tonight, podcast listener, and I did. “And studies of brain imaging indicate increased activation at orgasm compared to pre-orgasm in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus periaqueductal gray of the midbrain, hippocampus, and the cerebellum.” And this was a two-session session of 22 minutes each. So yeah, I listened to those. I didn’t have a female orgasm.

carrie

Ah, damn.

ross

And then I listened to focus. That was a good one at work, and I thought, “Okay, what am I gonna do? Let’s focus.”

carrie

Sorry, before we move on to focus, I was just looking at the female orgasm page at VitalTones.com and they list a few NIH studies off of which they based this important science. Let’s look.

ross

Okay. I’m guessing if you do a search for one of those terms you’ll find what they were interested in the study, which is just the name of a brain region.

carrie

This is very fun. Okay, this is a abstract from the department of psychology at the University of Texas in Austin. It’s just—

ross

What up, Austin!

carrie

It’s called Women’s Orgasm, and then it’s—

ross

Good title.

carrie

—a good description of what that is. “An orgasm in the human female is a variable, transient peak sensation of intense pleasure, creating an altered state of consciousness, usually with an initiation accompanied by involuntary, rhythmic contractions of the pelvic striated circumvaginal musculature blah blah blah.” But near the end, it says, “To date there are no pharmacological agents proven to be beneficial beyond placebo in enhancing orgasmic function in women.”

ross

Oh. Oh, wow. Okay. I guess they probably didn’t get that far in the article.

carrie

Probably not.

ross

For sure, yeah.

carrie

I suppose this technically isn’t pharmacological, but.

ross

That’s true, it’s just auditory.

carrie

Yeah.

ross

Well, hey. The main sexual organ is the brain.

carrie

Oh, very deep.

ross

Thank you. Thank you.

carrie

Oh, they also used Wikipedia as a reference, neuro-economics, and then finally something from ZMEScience.com, whatever that is.

ross

So at work I tried the focus app, and I think I just noticed earlier, during the female orgasm, that—

carrie

Yours.

ross

Yes. The constant, you know, thrumming sound [imitates thrumming sound] I noticed it was kind of allowing me to focus on reading something that I was reading at the time.

carrie

Oh, okay.

ross

I thought, “Okay, well, this does seem to have the benefit, at least, of getting my mind not to pay attention to external stimuli.” And I felt like oh, my head’s kind of in the groove as I’m reading whatever it was, probably an article on my phone. Yeah, at work I tried using the focus sessions, and yeah, I gotta say, it was fine. Like, I would turn down the sound when I paid attention to a little too much. I tend to crank these more, just so get the full effect, but then if it gets too distracting I turn it down. But yeah, I was able to like, answer emails and get work done. So I’m calling the focus one a semi-success.

carrie

I mean, were you more able to do those things than usual?

ross

[Sighs.] I think maybe having that sound in my ears did kind of just shut down my attention to other stimuli, and I did feel pretty focused, actually. So I’m calling it, yeah. I’m calling it for focus. And the other one was the IQ, listened to that. Again, sounds very— I dunno, most of mine sounded pretty much like the [imitates thrumming sound again].

carrie

Uh-huh. Yeah, definitely variations of that.

ross

And then occasionally it’ll gear up into [imitates higher sound]. And then it’ll always fade off at the very end [imitates sound fading out].

carrie

[Makes same sound.] That reminds me of my doggy, Tume. He would just sort of like growl under his breath. He was totally just the angry guy that asks you to get off his lawn.

ross

Okay. So yeah, on the IQ one it talks about neurological factors that have been correlated with intelligence in humans. This is a whole other episode to talk about various thoughts on IQ and brain—

carrie

Totally, yeah, so—

ross

—and measuring intelligence.

carrie

We’re not hereby endorsing the view that IQ is real or measurable or that you can take a test and figure out exactly how smart you are. That’s a whole other thing.

ross

Yeah, the word “smart” entails a lot of different things that can be measured and some that can’t. But yeah, how did IQ work out for you?

sound effect

[Terrible high pitched noise.]

carrie

This is what IQ sounds like.

ross

[Laughing] This is what IQ sounds like!

carrie

I don’t really know, to be honest, on this one, because I thought, “Okay—”

ross

Here’s session two.

carrie

Oh, okay.

sound effect

[Thrumming noise.]

carrie

That is what my big smart frickin’ brain sounds like. So, I—

ross

Just a throbbing mass of Carrie brain.

carrie

I figured the only way, really, to sort of test this was to take an IQ test, get the results, then do all the things, then take another IQ test.

ross

A different IQ test.

carrie

Right, because if I take the same one I’m just gonna learn how to take it.

ross

How to do it better and yeah, your IQ will go up.

carrie

But I just have to confess, I did not finish my experiment. So, I took the first one and I forgot how much IQ tests stress me the fuck out.

ross

Yeah, you were texting me about this.

carrie

Oh my god.

ross

Carrie’s like, “Aw, it gives me like, nervousness just to take an IQ test.”

carrie

Yeah, because I think, like—well they’re timed for one thing, which already makes you like, “Ah, okay, how much of this and how many of these.” I wish I could look ahead and be like, “Okay, I’m gonna be able to answer eight and ten easily but not this. Spend time here.” I can’t—I don’t know how to like manipulate my time in the right way if it’s online at least.

ross

Oh, yeah. But then you’re constantly thinking, “Okay, should I still be looking at these words and trying to rearrange them in my mind, or should I be looking at the pattern down there. Uh oh, I’m thinking about this, and this is reducing the time that I have to—” Okay. Sure.

carrie

Yeah, but I think then at least I can be like, well those are word problems, these are math problems. You know, just like some organization.

ross

Gotcha, gotcha.

carrie

Anyway, that stresses me out, and then on top of it, there’s all this like cultural baggage around like, “Well, I’m proving how smart I am. I think I’m smart. Am I smart? Tell me, computer!” Um, so there was like a Mensa sample test. I wouldn’t get in, that’s all I’ll say. Too nervous. Well, I took it. Have you ever taken the Mensa entrance exam?

ross

No, I was talking to my friend Nick about this the other day and we were saying, “Ah, maybe we should just drive down and do it someday, just see if we’d get in.”

carrie

Well, I feel I should be disqualified just because I hit my head on a chandelier standing up to hand in the test. [Both laugh.] I was in the 92nd percentile and you have to be in the 98th percentile.

ross

Did you have a vision of the flux capacitor?

carrie

No, but I felt very stupid.

ross

That’s funny. Well, if that had happened to me I would have to write it in my curse log. My bump curse log.

carrie

Oh, yes! Someone gave us a lovely curse.

ross

Yeah, and I’m still under the effect of that curse, so any time I bump into something I have to write it down on my phone.

carrie

Yeah, mine is through—is it the same period of time?

ross

Mmhm. September and October.

carrie

Okay, cool. Oh, so it’s almost over. I have had one rock in my shoe.

ross

Oh, wow. Okay, so far, not panning out. I’ll save my bump stories for later. But, uh, so we don’t know if it improved.

carrie

Yeah, so—oh yes, so I did that—

ross

It could have only gotten better.

carrie

I did that one test. When I took the actual test, which was years ago now, I got like 92nd percentile. That one was paper and I could manage my time. This one was just on the Mensa website and was a sample test and I got like, I want to say, 51% percent or something. Like it just gives you a percentage of how many you got right, but I did very poorly because I was panicking.

ross

Yeah, see, not good. Yeah. So you have to somehow work out those jitters first.

carrie

Yeah, I guess.

ross

Or maybe listen to the sound as you take the test.

carrie

Oh, maybe. Well, so then I went to the sounds, and then I was like, “Okay, now I need to find another, you know, 45 minutes to take another IQ test.” I just didn’t get it all done by the time we had to do this lovely recording.

ross

Okay. Yeah, I didn’t do anything so formal as all that. Maybe someday we’ll have to try this whole Mensa thing. I dunno. Seems like such a weird idea, like, “Oh, I wanna go join this group where we can unite around the fact that we are intelligent by this measure.”

carrie

Right, “We did well on this particular intelligence test.”

ross

Yeah. Then again—

carrie

“We are all so good at shapes.”

ross

I dunno, sometimes it could probably be like, a meeting of the atheist community. “Aren’t we smart? We didn’t fall for that.”

carrie

There is definitely a fair amount of that, everybody.

ross

Anyway, so I didn’t do that, but I did try the IQ thing, and then every day I use the Elevate app, and this gives you a variety of different mental agility tasks, and they’re centered around language and listening and memory and math and all of these other different ways of measuring just kind of how your brain’s functioning.

carrie

And again, we don’t know if this is a good test or not.

ross

Well, you know, at least a decent test of the particular things you’re trying. So I can generally see if I’m having a good day, if I’m feeling kind of with it and focused, if I get a really high ranking against myself. Because it will tell you exactly how high you were in the ranking, and I had an average session after listening to those IQ audio pieces. So, it wasn’t— I didn’t set any new high scores. At this point, after almost 800 days, it is hard to set a new high score, but I still do occasionally. So, I wasn’t rocking it, let’s just say that. I wouldn’t say like, wow, definitely smarter after listening to that IQ thing.

carrie

You know what makes me feel smarter?

ross

I can guess.

carrie

Okay.

ross

Let’s see. I’m gonna say it’s something to do with taking care of yourself.

carrie

Mmhm. Mmhm. Self-care, yes.

ross

Self-care. Well, this podcast isn’t self-care.

carrie

That’s true. This is emotional labor.

ross

But I’m guessing also maybe it has something to do with the fact that you are a woman.

carrie

Yes. Yeah. I feel very smart when I put my breasts inside of something nice.

ross

Alright. Yeah.

carrie

Yeah, uh-huh. For example—

ross

That’s your BQ. Your breast quotient.

carrie

Correct. For example, a Third Love bra.

ross

Oh, yeah.

carrie

Segue.

ross

That just makes me think that Third Love bras are made from lightweight, super thin memory foam cups that mold to your shape.

carrie

It’s true, and you can find your perfect fit in sixty seconds with Third Love’s fit finder quiz.

ross

Now, when you take that quiz, do you get nervous and think about how you’re res—

carrie

“Is this timed? Can I skip ahead? How many of these are number questions?”

ross

Hey, 14 million women have taken the quiz to date and it can help you identify your breast size and shape and find styles that fit your body.

carrie

Gotta say, I took that quiz and it said, “Okay, you seem to think your breast size is such and such, but we think that maybe it’s such and such. Just slightly different. Just give it a try, let us know.” And I was like, “Oh, yup. This is better.”

ross

Wow, okay. So they actually gave you a better measurement that you could carry on into the future.

carrie

And did you know that with Third Love returns and exchanges are free and easy?

ross

I did know that, and I approve.

carrie

Good.

ross

So, all you have to do is go to ThirdLove.com/ohno right now and you’ll find your perfect fitting bra and get 15% off your first purchase.

carrie

That’s ThirdLove.com/ohno for 15% off today.

ross

Good deal.

carrie

But you know what else is a good deal?

ross

Flamingo.

carrie

Flamingo!

ross

See, I knew where you were going this time.

carrie

Wow, yeah. You really felt that one coming.

ross

I think it has to do with your SQ. Your shaving quotient.

carrie

True that. And Oh No, Ross and Carrie! is supported in part by Flamingo, and they are the folks behind the razor brand Harry’s.

ross

You may have heard of them before.

carrie

Maybe heard of that.

ross

Razors are generally for men, for shaving men’s faces.

carrie

But Flamingo makes body care for women with hair. They’ve got razors, shave gel, body lotion, the works.

ross

Sorry, all of you women without hair. I’m sure there are some of them.

carrie

Well, sure, of course. Yes.

ross

So maybe this isn’t for you. But for all you women with hair.

carrie

Yes. If you have hair and you want to taper it off. You don’t have to, don’t feel any pressure, but if you do, you can use these fine products, and I use a Flamingo. I like it a lot.

ross

Yeah, that’s a good point. If you want to keep your hair, you keep your hair.

carrie

You keep your hair.

ross

But Flamingo has razors, they have shave gel, they’ve got body lotion, the works.

carrie

And did you know Flamingo—at least mine—is a bright, pretty, orange color collar— color collar color [mumbles and trails off.]

ross

No, I did not know that, actually.

carrie

It’s coral color is what I was trying to get out, there.

ross

Well, I’m glad you got it out there. Yeah, that’s a pretty color.

carrie

Yeah it is, and as you know, big fan of orange over here.

ross

We got one for Cara as well, and she liked it. She said, “Yeah, top notch. I like Flamingo.”

carrie

So guys, think about it. You probably spend more than sixteen dollars on razors and blades already, and with the Flamingo shave set, you can upgrade for less or the same as you’re paying now, including the parts you skimp on like shave gel, exfoliating lotion, and they even send you a shower holder.

ross

What? Flamingo shave set features their award-winning products for just sixteen dollars, and it ships free.

carrie

Wowowow. It’s a $22 value for just 16 bucks with free shipping today when you visit ShopFlamingo.com/ohno.

ross

Okay, so what did you try next for your brain, Carrie?

carrie

Alright, so we looked at my psychology, we looked at my—

ross

We fixed that. We fixed your psychology.

carrie

Right.  We looked at my enhancementology, and now it is time to look at my physics. I looked at this list, and we’ve definitely got some heavy hitters here, so. Asthma, ataxia, autism, breast milk—hmm—cerebral palsy, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, flu hearing recovery—ha, I really love hearing recovery being on this list.

ross

Yeah. Alright.

carrie

So, you can’t hear anything, so you—

ross

Listen to this app.

carrie

—listen to this sound. Hemorrhoids, IBS, obesity, Parkinson’s, polycystic ovarian syndrome, RLS, which I can’t remember—

ross

Restless leg syndrome.

carrie

Oh, of course, duh. I get that sometimes.

ross

Wait, don’t you have that? Yeah.

carrie

Yeah, sometimes. It’s just so low on my list of concerns.

ross

Now you can finally nip that one in the bud.

carrie

Okay, good. Repetitive strain injury, sleep apnea, snoring, sexual arousal, sexual desire—different?

ross

And I would hasten to add, you’re not curing those. I guess you’re enhancing those.

carrie

Mmhm. Much like—

ross

Like, I want to get rid of this sexual desire.

carrie

Much like breast milk, I suppose?

ross

For that, eat cold cereal.

carrie

Right. Uh, stimulation of the arm, stimulation of the leg, stimulation of the torso.

ross

Mmhm.

carrie

Okay. Tremor, vision recovery, weight loss, osteoporosis, and rhinitis. Uh, what’s rhinitis? Irritation and inflammation of the mucus membrane inside the nose.

ross

Rhinitis. Okay.

carrie

Okay. So, of those, do you want to guess? I only picked one.

ross

Oh, just one out of this whole list. Okay. So, it wasn’t hearing recovery.

carrie

Who knows?

ross

I’m not gonna say breast milk. [Carrie laughs.] Asthma, snoring...

carrie

It would be great if it just makes you produce breast milk, like without having been pregnant. [Ross laughs.] That would—

ross

Totally, that would—

carrie

—that would definitely be a thing.

ross

So, okay. Let’s see, you got weight loss. That would have to take effect really quickly. You know, I’m gonna go for one of the sexual ones, either arousal or desire. I’m gonna say—

carrie

Oh. Okay. Interesting.

ross

Oh, alright, I’m wrong.

carrie

I mean, maybe.

ross

I’m wrong. Okay. I’m gonna say sexual desire.

carrie

No, I did vision recovery.

ross

Oh, vision recovery! Okay.

carrie

So, you know, I have what they call myopia, which just means you need glasses.

ross

Okay.

carrie

So, I’m nearsighted—

ross

Is it one direction or another? Okay.

carrie

Nearsighted.

ross

Nearsighted.

carrie

So I have to, you know, wear glasses when I drive and things. I actually have decent vision, but it’s, you know, it’s not 20/20, so.

ross

It improves it a little bit to have the glasses.

carrie

For sure.

ross

You would be golden if after listening to that one you bumped your head on something.

carrie

[Laughs] Oh, boy. Uh.

ross

But it didn’t happen.

carrie

It hasn’t happened yet, as uh, William Shatner would say. So, I pulled up a Snellen vision chart, which is the, you know, the vision chart we’re all used to seeing with the big ‘E’ on top and then letters.

ross

Yeah. I would like it if, from memory, you just read all the letters, thereby—

carrie

I was thinking, when I was looking at it, I thought like, “If they use this chart all the time, it would be so easy to cheat at like the DMV.”

ross

Oh, yeah, because you just know the letters in order. E-Z-P-S-D-F-E-L.

carrie

But having actually done that test at the DMV, they have several charts, and they randomly pick one, and then they—yeah, so.

ross

So it’s like when you try to copy off your friend’s test but your teacher was smart and gave you different—

carrie

You have the green sheet, and he has the pink sheet.

ross

Take that, cheater.

carrie

There’s a really good Mr. Bean about that. But, anyway. So I pull up the Snellen vision chart, set my computer in a particular spot where I could remember where it is, and then walked backwards to my bed, knelt on my bed, and looked at it, and noted my positioning. I was like, “Okay, what’s the lowest line I can read with relative confidence?” And it was line 6. I said out loud to myself what I thought it was, walked up, indeed I was right. And then I went through my three sessions, Ross.

ross

Woah.

carrie

And you’re probably wondering, well, what are they for? Well, session one stimulates the pulvinar, the basal ganglia, the occipital cortex, the substantia nigra—

ross

I would hope the occipital cortex is involved in this.

carrie

—the BA37, BA39, and BA7, the somatosensory eye. That one’s 22 minutes. Then session two stimulates the optic chasm, the suprachiasmatic nucleus, the optic nerve, and the superior colliculus. Whereas session three stimulates—

ross

Colliculus, he was a bad emperor.

carrie

—stimulates the abducens nerve, the ocular motor nerve, and the trochlear nerve.

ross

Wow, how much did you get this one for? Because, you know, you’re getting a lot of parts of the brain—

carrie

You’re right.

ross

—for your money dollars.

carrie

Yeah, it says, “All sessions are needed to have a complete treatment.”

ross

Wow.

carrie

So this one, let me—

ross

While you’re looking, I’ll mention the prices on these various apps that I paid for. The first one I bought was lucid dreaming, that was $3.99.

carrie

Oh, cheap.

ross

Right? I could buy those every day.

carrie

Or it sounds cheap now, which seems to be their thing. We’re gonna make things worse and then it’ll seem better by comparison.

ross

IQ was $5.99. Female orgasm, $4.99. Real bargain.

carrie

Oh, yeah.

ross

Yeah, you’d pay that, right? Focus was $5.99, and I haven’t gotten to the other ones yet, so I’ll mention their prices later.

carrie

So yes, vision recovery was, in fact, my most expensive of the sessions. It was $15.

ross

$15. Woah, okay.

carrie

So, had to listen to all three, which was, I think about an hour. Let’s see. Session one was 22 minutes, session two was 25, so there we got 47, plus—what’s 47 plus 25? More than an hour.

ross

Uh, 72.

carrie

Yup. An hour and twelve minutes.

ross

Oh, wow. That’s a lot of listening.

carrie

Now you can see why I didn’t get my IQ done.

ross

So just picture us running around about our days while listening to [imitates thrumming noise].

carrie

If I wrote you an email today, might’ve been while listening to that.

ross

Yeah. It was—you can multitask with these things.

carrie

Yeah. You can. And they say you can, but again, if you want to optimize.

ross

I had multiple conversations with people where I was talking to them over the sound of [imitates thrumming noise] in my ears.

carrie

Now all your friends all seem like they’re in Peanuts. So, I did all three sessions, went back to my spot, computer in the same place, me in the same place. So this was five hours later. I said, “Okay, what’s the smallest line I can read with confidence?” And I was like, oh. So I looked at the same line, but it was slightly fuzzier, I think.

ross

Really?

carrie

I assume this is because it was later in the day, and like, maybe just my eyes were fatigued, or—

ross

Or maybe, Carrie.

carrie

Oh, here we go.

ross

Maybe the sound vibrated into your cranium and oscillated the aqueous humor in your eyeballs, thereby throwing your focus—

carrie

Making it worse?

ross

Yeah, somehow, because it’s affecting it one way or the other. It affected it the wrong way. Your lens, sitting atop your eyeballs, got compressed or deflated or something.

carrie

Wow. Wowowow.

ross

That’s my theory. It’s my theory.

carrie

Maybe, or maybe it was a bright day out and my eyes got tired.

ross

Or that.

carrie

You know.

ross

You take your pick.

carrie

Could be either way.

ross

Take your pick.

carrie

Could be either way. It’s up to you, the listener. So yeah, I would say IQ, who knows? Migraines, I begrudgingly have to give a thumbs up to. Well, actually, not to the treatment one, but to the prevention one. But vision, worse.

ross

Not so great.

carrie

So I think it all comes out in the wash here.

ross

Okay. Alright.

carrie

What about you?

ross

Which ones do you think I picked out of the physical list?

carrie

Mm. Good question.

ross

That last list that you read. I picked two.

carrie

You picked two. Okay.

ross

Big spender here.

carrie

I wish there was one about skin, but—

ross

I was deliberately not thinking about how these purchases were adding up, but they do.

carrie

They do. Can I ask one cheat question?

ross

Yes.

carrie

Are they complaints you actually have?

ross

No. They’re not. You know what, yeah, I’d be really impressed if you got these. But you did really well last time.

carrie

Okay. I think you would have gone with one of the stimulation ones.

ross

Mmm.

carrie

So I’m just gonna say stimulation and call that successful if you picked any of them.

ross

Yeah. Stimulate arms.

carrie

Oh, hey!

ross

Nicely done. I’m impressed.

carrie

Thank you.

ross

Very impressed.

carrie

I’m trying to think like Ross here, and I’m thinking like, “Okay, that’s something with a very direct effect that will be like, relatively measurable for you in the moment.”

ross

Mmhm. Okay. Good. I don’t want to interrupt Carrie’s process. Actually, can you check on the price on the stimulate arms one? I did not screengrab that.

carrie

Yeah. $10.99.

ross

Oh, my goodness. Okay, so I’m just rounding all these up. So that’s eleven— I paid $42 for the apps that I used.

carrie

I think I paid more like $30.

ross

That’s the answer to life, the universe, and how much Ross has spent on Vital Tones.

carrie

Okay, so I still have to figure out what your other one was. I’m gonna say breast milk.

ross

I’ll be so—oh, that’s a very good guess. Flu.

carrie

Oh. Okay.

ross

I was just curious to see, what do they play if you have the flu? What’s supposed to help you? So session one stimulates the thymus, which is interesting. That’s like, outside of the brain. Session two, the lungs. Again, we’re outside the brain. And session three, the throat. I thought this was all about the brain, people.

carrie

Yeah, so maybe it effects your brain, which then effects those things, but there isn’t like a lung part of your brain.

ross

I dunno. Again, there’s always a free version, that’s six minutes long. But three sessions here, so I tried them out, and I didn’t, at least, get the cold. I don’t have a flu. So, alright. I’m calling it a success.

carrie

Listen, guys, our standards have really dropped in this show.

ross

I dunno, I guess, you know, you could say with a vaccine, you could get a flu vaccine, and you might have mild symptoms of a flu. Very temporarily. But it’s still a good idea to get the flu vaccine.

carrie

And, you might later get the flu. Not from the vaccine, but from the virus. And even still, it’ll be a tenuated virus you had before, it’ll help your body to be like, “Uhp, I practiced for this, I’m ready!”

ross

Flu, virus, is a good idea.

carrie

[Laughs] Flu virus is a good idea. Quoth: Roth—Ross— Roth Blocher.

ross

[Laughs] Roth Blother. Quote: Carra Pippipeh.

carrie

“Flu virus good”, Roth Blother.

ross

Look, people, it’s late.

carrie

We are recording this at 12:48 A.M.

ross

Anyways, yes, a flu vaccine: good idea.

carrie

Good idea.

ross

Definitely do that. So, next thing I tried was the stimulation arms, and you’ve got exactly the right idea in Ross’s brain, which is, “Hey, I’m going down to the gym,” which I try to do every day at work. I don’t every day, but, I just do a quick like five to ten minute workout, and thought, “Okay, I’m gonna do some arm exercises, and let’s get these arms stimulated!”

carrie

Yeah.

ross

So I started listening. It’s seven sessions, though.

carrie

Oh, shit.

ross

And I’ll admit, I did not get through all of the sessions.

carrie

Yeah, how could you?

ross

Let’s see, how long are they? First one is ten minutes, the second one is sixteen minutes. I only got through those first two. So, maybe there’s more arm stimulating to be done, but, certainly I didn’t feel, like, an invigoration of the arms. And, this is something I do very regularly, like, the same numbers of repetitions and sets, you know, so, I do have a comparison point. And I would say I tired out in the same way that I normally do. Yeah, I wouldn’t say I was stimulated in either direction, or I felt more energetic, or less energetic, noticeably, so. [Makes sad “wah, wah” noise]

carrie

[Makes same sad wah wah noise]

ross

So, Carrie, now that we’ve tried these things. We’ve enhanced various uh, parts of our bodies, and our brains—

carrie

You had the female orgasm.

ross

Yeah! So how do we know whether this works or not? How do we know that the audio entering our ears connects to those actual parts of the brain?

carrie

Studies?

ross

Yeah. Well, let’s ask the FAQ on their website. Because there was a question here, “Is there a scientific proof of Vital Tones therapies?”

carrie

Okay, is there?

ross

This is the penultimate question on a pretty long page, so this is like, not the thing they’re most eager to answer. Guess it doesn’t come up much. But, the answer is: “The strength of scientific evidence is based on the results. Our results are direct, and available through the reviews of our users.”

carrie

Okay.

ross

Uh-oh!

carrie

Wait a minute, that makes every single thing that’s ever been sold scientifically valid, because you’re gonna be able to find some people who liked it.

ross

Right, and you don’t publish the reviews of the people who didn’t.

carrie

Correct.

ross

Uh, yeah, they have a reviews page, and it’s people writing in with their reviews. I like this one that says, “This review is for Vital Tones Vertigo. So far, so good!” [Laughter.]

carrie

Glowing!

ross

She says more, April says more, but I just thought that was pretty funny. The, like, first review on the page. “So far, so good!” [Laughs] And that really does seem to be the main piece of evidence here, even though the app said so clearly, “This is based on studies,” I think they just read enough studies to find the name of parts of the brain that are associated with these various either illnesses, or conditions, or what have you, and then they can put it on their app, “Hey, look, we listed this part of the brain.” What I want to know is, when they're composing these sounds—

carrie

Why?

ross

[Laughs] Yes. And, yeah, how? What is the thought that goes into, “Oh, well, this particular [imitates thrumming noise]

carrie

Is gonna stimulate the vesticular mandible cortex?

ross

Exactly.

carrie

I made that up. Vestibular… nucleal… undertow… current of the third… jawline.

ross

That would be a fun one of those auto generators that creates little random phrases that sound like part of the brain, just by taking little snippets of—

carrie

I’m one of those!

ross

“Occipital”, and “parietal” and “cortex”. They have one of those for, like, Deepak Chopra, and you can generate little Chopraisms. Oh! We didn’t mention our important test that we did just before recording.

carrie

Oh, sure. What was it, a sample video?

ross

Yeah, there were three sample videos at the bottom of the page, and the second video actually has a really good test built into it. One of the screens that comes up says, “The next five minutes’ proof session will activate a sensation in a part of your body. To prevent a placebo effect, the part will be revealed after listening the session!”

carrie

Okay!

ross

So we sat there, for, you know, five-plus minutes, listening to this audio.

carrie

Eyes closed.

ross

And, each trying to independently think of, you know, what part of the body we are feeling this in. And Cara was here as well, so she was trying this out. At first I felt my feet, because they were on the ground. A part of my body that had pressure applied to it. But then, I sort of, like we did in our out-of-body classes, just sort of let the tingling in my body make itself known. I felt first my face become a little flushed, then the sides of my head near my ears, and then I felt some tingling around my shoulders as I was breathing, my upper arms, so I thought, “Okay, it’s one of those areas.”

carrie

Okay. I felt my sinuses a little bit, which, again, could be the fire smoke in the air. But, I can’t even really, like, name the sensation, it was just sort of like, “That’s the part of my body I’m aware of as I listen to this.”

ross

Okay.

carrie

As I was thinking about that, I felt like I could feel, like, a band of energy, I don’t know how to describe this, but, coming out from my sinuses and wrapping around my head, like toward my ears.

ross

Mhm. Okay.

carrie

A, uh, a latitude line, if you will. Latitude? Yes, Latitude.

ross

Latitude and longitude always make me stop and think for a long time.

carrie

Long, longitude, long.

ross

They’re all— they’re both long!

carrie

It’s true. Um, so my bet was sinuses.

ross

Yeah, and since I had felt, sort of, my cheeks and my ears flushed.

carrie

Oh, yeah, you were like, “Ayy, okay!”

ross

“Hey! We’re narrowing down.” And Cara said, “Well, I guess my head, because the sound is grating and annoying, and is making my head hurt.”

carrie

Fair.

ross

So, turns out, it was the knee.

carrie

Knees. None of us had any, any knee sensation.

ross

Felt anything in the knees, nope.

carrie

Yep. And, yet, we continued on, and said, “Let’s pay a lot of money for these.”

ross

Another part of the FAQ that I liked was the question, “What does it mean if I don’t feel any positive effects?”

carrie

Yeah, what does it mean? Okay, so here’s what I would postulate. “You’re just listening to a noise, why would it?” [Ross laughs.] Is that what it says?

ross

No, but that would be very helpful. So, I think this also gives away some of the lack of mastery of the English language, if I would so judge. Alright, so, “If all the sessions of the therapy didn’t result in positive effects, it can mean—” And then there’s bullet points, “—you have an incompatible earphone, or headphone.” Okay, next bullet point.

carrie

I suppose it could.

ross

“The used ‘heavy’—” in parentheses “—drugs slash medicine, or alcohol blocks the effect of our therapies.” So, don’t “the use” drugs with medicine.

carrie

Yeah, they probably mean like, “abused”, or something. Illicit drugs.

ross

Just the fact that you use them. Next, “Your neurons and it’s—” With an apostrophe, “—pathways could be too much damaged.” Okay, so, you’ve had brain damage.

carrie

Mmhm.

ross

And, finally, “Our treatment is not effective enough and need to wait for the next update to try it again.”

carrie

Yeah.

ross

And this is why they say it’s important to use the app, and not, say, a CD, or cassette tape, or an 8-track, or a Victrola. Because, they want to be able to update these sounds as their technology—and I’m gonna add my own little air quotes—"improves.”

carrie

Bad spelling and grammar aside—because you know, translations can be rocky sometimes—but I think even the underlying message here is pretty strange. Like, the solution would be, “You need to buy more of our product.”

ross

Oh, right. Though, I would assume, hopefully, if you’ve purchased one of these, and they improve it, I assume that the update rolls out to you and you get the new version.

carrie

Yeah, I would hope so.

ross

But boy, would I love to see the process. Like, is there sitting down and saying, “Okay, cracks knuckles, I’m gonna write the ADHD module for this app, and okay, looks like these parts of the brain are activated, okay, parietal lobe, okay, I’m gonna add a [imitates thrumming noise].” What are you looking at?

carrie

Well, I just noticed that on their website, there is an affiliate portion. “Great news, we’re opening the affiliate feature of our store to all who would like to sell our therapies. Our commission percentage we offer for every sale is 25%.” You have to have a Gumroad account, whatever that is.

ross

Oh, Gumroad, yeah. It’s another way to support artists and stuff, and yeah, buy their kind of small items, micropurchases, digital goods.

carrie

Okay. “Send us after this step your email address associated with your affiliate’s Gumroad account and the therapies you would like to sell.” So, everybody, you too can join the Vital Tones family. But, you know, you don’t have to.

ross

And where is this family located?

carrie

At least, according to their contact page, their headquarters is in Indonesia.

ross

I had guessed, just from the language option, and the name Ugur Dogan, was the name of the developer. When I looked that up, I got, uh, handsome pictures of a man from Turkey. But, yeah, they could have had some other person develop the app. Who knows.

carrie

Who knows. Yeah, you know, I always wonder with things like this where the producers of the product are sort of hidden behind a veil somewhere and, you know, it’s kind of hard to even put a face to this, or—I just always wonder, is someone out there actually making this and believing in it, or is this just one of many shots in the dark you’ve taken to sort of make money on the internet?

ross

Yeah, they have twelve different little companies going on.

carrie

Yeah. Could see both here.

ross

The domain itself was registered by proxy in Arizona, so. Yeah. Who knows. International effort.

carrie

So should we rate these?

ross

Yeah, let’s rate them.

carrie

Let’s do it. Let’s do it quick style.

ross

Okay.

carrie

Hot drinks, no.

ross

No hot drinks. Thumbs down.

carrie

No. Pseudoscience.

ross

Uh, pseudoscience, where ten is very pseudoscience-y and one is not at all, it’s established science.

carrie

Correct.

ross

“Anthropogenic global climate change is a problem, we need to do something about it.”

carrie

Yes. On the count of four, let’s both say our number.

crosstalk

In Unison: One, two, three— Carrie: Eight. Ross: Ten.

carrie

Ah. Alright. That’s a little more modest, but we’re both up at the end there.

ross

Yeah, I don’t know, I feel like I’ve been particularly high with my ratings lately. I dunno what’s been going on with me.

carrie

You’ve been particularly high lately.

ross

So, you know what, I’m downgrading to a nine. I don’t feel like this is something completely implausible, I’ve got to say. The idea that you could play sounds that would affect your mood or thinking or even brain. I don’t know, I’m gonna say that there are probably ways that you could use something like this to achieve certain effects.

carrie

Maybe if they could be in the room with you, but like, through any speaker? Come on.

ross

Oh yeah, I’m gonna say it would take a lot of study and, like a real concentrated effort to try to isolate these factors and really point to their efficacy. I don’t think that’s been demonstrated here. We tried looking up articles about like audio stimulation, low frequency sound. At least with my searching and PubMed, I wasn’t seeing any that seemed remotely related to what’s being claimed here.

carrie

Have you ever played for yourself some of those sounds that are supposed to make some people sick?

ross

Oh, no, I haven’t.

carrie

Can you hear that?

ross

[Tiny high pitched noise.] I can hear it, but.

carrie

But barely?

ross

Yeah.

carrie

I’m gonna move it closer to you.

ross

Oh, yeah, oh jeez. Okay, so Carrie is playing this like, high pitched, squeaky, irritating sound.

sound effect

[Very high pitched noise.]

ross

No, not particularly. It makes me uncomfortable, that’s for sure.

carrie

I am definitely one of those people.

ross

Oh wow, makes you feel sick.

carrie

Yeah, but like, even if I go into a room with like a neon sign that’s kind of [imitates high pitched noise] I’ll get sick.

ross

So I’m gonna say that the premise is not completely implausible, but I feel like the execution here is shoddy; and if anything, this app with its long list of very just odd things like breast milk and stuff like that makes me think that we’re not dealing with actual science here.

carrie

And the fact that they can align your chakras.

ross

Right. Yeah, 108, the mystical, holy number.

carrie

Or just, you know, accept IQ as like a bygone. Oh, we all know that’s real, here we go. All of those deserve their own episodes.

ross

Indeed. So, yeah, right. There’s so much overlap here with many other things that we’ve looked into. Yeah, I’m gonna say that my confidence and their ability to actually effect these things, even though I didn’t try them for 30 days—and now that I paid for them, I guess I really ought to—but uh, alright, I’ll say nine. You should have Drew try the cerebral palsy one, since that’s what started this investigation.

carrie

Yeah, I think he did. I think he did months ago. So he found this back when we did the episode on the Feldenkrais method.

ross

Oh wow. Okay.

carrie

Yeah, so I think he did try it. Oh, you know what—

ross

And does he still have cerebral palsy?

carrie

Yes. I just remembered having this exact conversation the other day. He’s still got it.

ross

Wow. Weird.

carrie

I know.

ross

Didn’t work for him necessarily either.

carrie

That one didn’t work. Okay, what about pocket drainer? Is this expensive, ten, not expensive at all, one.

ross

I’m gonna give it another high rating, because again, you’re selling these digital assets, and in-app purchases are an easy way for you to, if you kind of get caught up in this, not pay attention to how much you’re spending.

carrie

Rack ‘em up.

ross

As I did. I, you know, I spent $42 pretty rapidly, just trying these different things out. “Oh, let’s try this one.” I’m gonna say 7.5.

carrie

Oh, wow. Okay.

ross

What would you say?

carrie

Eh, five.

ross

Okay.

carrie

Yeah, you don’t need to pay any money for this, I don’t think, but.

ross

It’s a good deal on a female orgasm.

carrie

Sure, and you definitely get many minutes out of your purchase, but, you know.

ross

That’s for sure. Hours of entertainment. What would you give this on a creepiness scale, where one is something not very creepy, a pigeon approaches you in a park and gladly eats the breadcrumbs that you have tossed to it.

carrie

Lovely.

ross

And ten is something incredibly creepy. Every time you turn the corner, you are convinced you see a nine foot tall pigeon, but then you rub your eyes and look again and it’s gone.

carrie

That’s just sad. But I’ll accept that’s creepy to you, I guess.

ross

Nine feet, Carrie.

carrie

What a good friend. I’m gonna say, eh, the sound itself is like, it is the kind of thing you would hear in a haunted house, so I’m gonna give it a four.

ross

Oh, interesting.

carrie

No, I’m gonna give it a three.

ross

Okay. Carrie’s giving it a three. Creepiness scale, eh, yeah those sounds, I’ll say two. It’s not really registering on that scale for me. And danger rating, Carrie, where one is something not very dangerous, but ten is something very dangerous.

carrie

With our usual warning that if you take this instead of real medicine, sure, that’s dangerous. But—

ross

It bears repeating.

carrie

But on its own, zero. I mean, psh, nothing’s gonna happen.

ross

Yeah, I would say as long as, in the moment as you’re listening to it, it is not physically hurting you, which they don’t recommend either, and as long as you’re not uncomfortable—

carrie

And even then. I mean, like, the migraine one did make me feel worse for a little bit, but is that danger? Probably not.

ross

Yeah, I remember as I was listening to my very first one, I was thinking, “Oh, if I had a headache right now, I would hate this.”

carrie

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s not the best for that.

ross

Well, those are all the scales. Alright, well, I think that was a hearty not-endorsement for Vital Tones.

carrie

Or at least a “meh.”

ross

But, you know, it was kind of pleasant. It was fun to talk to other people about, you know, while I was at work, to tell them, “Hey, I’m listening to these tones, you want to try them out?”

carrie

Yeah, if you end up listening to different tones, let us know how they went.

ross

Seeing Cara’s disappointment at the female orgasm just being this mechanical sound.

carrie

Side note, I love that on VitalTones.com there is a donate button, so you can just donate to this company.

ross

Yeah, why would you not just buy all the sounds? That should be the donation.

carrie

Because you want to get more than that.

ross

Oh, goodness. Wow, if you bought them all, how much would that be? We could calculate that.

carrie

I bet you could write to them and be like, “Hey, can you cut me a deal, I want to buy every single one.” I bet they would.

ross

I bet they would, yeah.

carrie

I bet they would and they’d be very happy about your email.

ross

Oh, totally, because it’s all profit after you’ve put out the product. Well, that’s it for our show. Our theme music is by Brian Keith Dalton.

carrie

This episode was edited by Victor Figueroa.

ross

Our administrative manager is Ian Kramer.

carrie

You can support this and all our investigations by going to— I almost said to Amazon.com. What just happened? You can support this and all our investigations by going to MaximumFun.org/donate, D-O-N-A-T-E.

ross

You can also check us out on Facebook at /onrac, O-N-R-A-C. There we have pictures. There were have posts. There we have comments from users. Join in. Join the fray. Comment.

carrie

Facebook is evil. Also you can follow us on Twitter @OhNoPodcast.

ross

You can also support us by leaving us a positive review if you haven’t done that yet, we appreciate that, on your platform of choice. That really is a good way of helping people find this podcast and say, “Oh, this looks legit. Jessica gave it five stars.”

carrie

I love you, Jessica. I’m in love with you, Jessica. Jessica, will you marry me?

ross

Oh, jeez. You’re on a roll now.

carrie

I love proposing on podcasts!

ross

And remember, a nice, full-hearted sample from the Vital Touch website.

sound effect

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Welcome to Oh No, Ross and Carrie!, the show where we don’t just report on fringe science, spirituality, and claims of the paranormal, but take part ourselves. Follow us as we join religions, undergo alternative treatments, seek out the paranormal, and always find the humor in life’s biggest mysteries. We show up – so you don’t have to. Every week we share a new investigation, interview, or update.

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