Russia 2007: Brain Waves

I've never been to Moscow, but my brain waves recently made the trip. A neurologist at the Moscow Medical Academy has developed Brain Music Therapy, a method for treating problems from anxiety to insomnia to lack of concentration. The process translates a person's brain activity into specific musical sounds and rhythms that can calm or energize the mind. That tune you can't get out of your head? This is it—literally.

My brain waves were recorded on an EEG machine by a New York–based psychiatrist named Galina Mindlin, who owns the U.S. rights to the treatment. When I finally received my CD a few weeks later, the 12-minute "calming" melody sounded very Russian and dour, like a digitized piano version of Igor Stravinsky's "Song of the Volga Boatmen." The three-minute "activating" track, however, turned out to be my brain's biggest hit. Every time I listen to it, I feel as though I've just had a venti latte from Starbucks.

Mindlin has been doing Brain Music Therapy for many years and she points to double-blind studies that have shown the effectiveness of the process. "It's not instant medicine, but it can work faster than coffee," she says.

And you don't even need Splenda.