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The Science Behind PISTA

For decades, neuroscientists have recognized the importance of brain stimuli and discovered the power of sound. There are two perceptions of sound: one is psychological where sound evokes memories and emotions, and the other is  neurological which triggers psychoacoustic effects. Sound triggers neurological and biological effects at the cellular level, and feeds electrical impulses that charge the neocortex creating a strong brain full of neurological pathways (Leeds,  2010).


In this context, Processing Inner Strength Toward Actualization (PISTA) therapy offers a promising approach.  PISTA provides healing using a variety of stimuli to facilitate memory processing, which can alleviate stress, relieve pain,  pacify fears, and modify maladaptive behaviors. Moreover, this technique can uncover inner strength allowing people to  empower themselves and help cope with psychosocial stress. It is probably a coincidence that the abbreviation PISTA  means “clue” in Spanish; however, this approach does provide hints to inspire individuals to understand themselves. 

Since 1969, PISTA has been conducting research on sound, light, and frequency to discover new ways of applying these to neurological disorders. New methodologies in structuring the treatment with sound, light, and vibration have also been developed and carried out by practitioners for behavior modification.

PISTA is based on the neuroscience of processing sound and potential therapeutic benefits. First discovered by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove in 1839, and further elaborated upon by Gerald Oster in the 1970s, a third beat (or binaural beat) is created when tones of stimuli are different in each ear. The theory explains that playing two slightly different tones syncs the brain waves in both hemispheres, a process named brainwave entrainment (Carter & Russell, 1993). Taking this into account, PISTA is a contemporary method that leverages the human auditory function to heal and improve well-being.


Ever since PISTA was used for the first time in 1983, Nova Palm Foundation, an NGO based in Hong Kong, has created different sound files of music and rhythm as stimuli, and also Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to promote well-being. For therapeutic purposes, the sound files are composed of two tones which the brain combines and alters into a single tone during auditory processing. The frequency of this single tone varies according to what psychological state individuals would like their brains to achieve.

PISTA uses a complete system of healing that incorporates mechanical, psychological, bio-force, and biochemical aspects into its modalities. The PISTA modalities are different approaches based on a person’s specific needs. Each modality uses stimuli and the guidance of a licenced PISTA coach to help a person reach deep within themselves and identify the real issues and the corresponding resolutions.


Contemporary Methods of Sound Healing

Now more popular and accepted in the mainstream, sound therapy or sound healing to others have two distinct areas of application—(1)sound for improving well-being and learning, and (2) sound for medical uses.

Sound helps relax people and put them in a better state of mind. Once tension is released, the immune system benefits. Sound is also applied to specific areas including pain control, neurodevelopmental remediation, relaxation and stress relief, meditation, sleep, accelerated learning, enhanced productivity, consciousness raising, and connecting to spirit.



The core of PISTA modalities is based on neuroplasticity - the ability to change how our brain works by modifying thought patterns which result in significant changes to the brain’s structure. To achieve the desired outcome, PISTA utilizes brainwave feedback, brain training, brain entrainment, stimulation, self-regulation procedures, and coaching to change the mechanism of the brain and improve inefficient mental activities.


Binaural Beats

Discovered by Heinrich Wilhelm Dove in 1839, a binaural beat is the third beat or signal that is detected by the brain when two tones of different frequencies are presented to the left and right ears. This discovery was followed by Gerald Oster’s extensive research on bin-aural beats, which led to the idea that when the brain starts to follow or resonate with this third beat, the effect called the Frequency Following Response is created. Oster’s research paved the way for more developments in using auditory simulation to enhance brain functioning.


PISTA employed Oster’s research into the PISTA device to generate two tones, which the brain combines and alters into a single tone in the auditory process called brain entrainment. The frequency of this single tone may vary according to the state an individual wants his or her brain to achieve.
Research Findings of PISTA

PISTA utilizes binaural beats to impact working memory capacity by targeting the specific wave range of brain activity. Research has shown that when binaural beats are used at frequencies corresponding to range of 7.5 Hz – 12.5 Hz in adults, they can potentially influence overall brain activity. This wave activity is associated with various cognitive functions, including attention, inhibitory processes, perceptual abilities, and working memory improvement.

Some research also stresses that listening to a specific binaural beat frequency can increase the strength of particular brain waves. Remarkable effects are evident when brainwave patterns are slowed as it increases electrical fluctuations in the brain, modifies the neural structure, and forces the brain to reorganize itself at greater complex levels of functioning.

The PISTA Wave refers to the combination of different hertz frequencies, starting from 7.5 Hz, used in the PISTA program. These frequencies are designed to target specific brainwave patterns, particularly within the range, which is associated with cognitive functions like attention and working memory.

PISTA Vibration, on the other hand, involves the use of vibrations in conjunction with sound and speed to generate specific frequencies. The vibrations are utilized to create a desired effect or outcome in line with the objectives of the PISTA program. The combination of sound, speed, and vibration helps in achieving the desired tasks and goals.

Research findings have documented the efficacy of PISTA. The data gathered from numerous studies, including longitudinal research over three generations, demonstrates the effectiveness of the PISTA modalities. Research has focused on applying sound and vibration to different experiences, such as memory and learning, cognitive decline, panic attacks, and traumatic experiences. Using sound and vibration within a psychological framework encourages the brain to process memories and emotions correctly. The results found that research participants gained deep insight into their situation. Together with a trained PISTA coach, they could use this insight to make the necessary changes to overcome anxiety, reverse cognitive decline, and reframe trauma.

The PISTA program incorporates all of these findings, using binaural beats and vibrations to create a baseline of brain stimulation for working memory improvement. This approach has shown potential benefits for individuals with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. It can also be applied to Parkinson's and Alzheimer's patients during daily exercises like walking in the park or by the sea, or during meditation to generate a meditative state of mind that provides energy and promotes motivated thinking for relevant tasks.

Executives using PISTA can benefit from improved executive functioning through specific brain wave oscillations. PISTA activities designed by coaches can help improve perceptual abilities, store new information, and enhance processing speed of thinking. Users of PISTA often experience an increase in working memory capacity, allowing for easier identification and storage of items.

PISTA's rhythm combines the speed and volume of vibrations to generate desired outcomes, inducing specific brainwave patterns that alter negative connections. By integrating different frequencies, speeds, and volumes, PISTA regulates mood, learning, memory, cognitive and executive functioning. The program combines various activities such as running, walking, and performing tasks to facilitate brain entrainment.

Users can set personalized programs based on their daily activities and desired effects. The PISTA model incorporates different rhythms, hertz frequencies, and machine models to cater to various needs. 



Gamma Oscillation Related Studies and Articles

  • Mechanisms of Gamma Oscillations. Click here to read.

  • A review of gamma oscillations in healthy subjects and in cognitive impairment. Click here to read.

  • Gamma Oscillations in Alzheimer’s Disease and Their Potential Therapeutic Role. Click here to read.

  • Gamma Frequency Sensory Stimulation in Probable Mild Alzheimer’s Dementia Patients: Results of a Preliminary Clinical Trial. Click here to read.

  • A pulse of hope in the fight against Alzheimer’s. Click here to read.

Vibration Therapy Studies and Articles

  • Efects of vibration training on quality of life in older adults: a preliminary systematic review and meta‑analysis. Click here to read.

  • Effect of low frequency sound vibration on acute stress response in university students—Pilot randomized controlled trial. Click here to read.

  • Vibration Therapy and Its Influence on Health. Click here to read.

Binaural Sound and Brain Stimulation Related Study and PISTA Published Article

  • Dosage and Lasting Effects of Binaural Beats on Working Memory and Attention. Click here to read.

  • Mind and Mend Program: A Pilot Study Combining Binaural Beats with Self-Actualization Techniques to Develop a Therapy Protocol. Click here to read.

  • Modulatory Effect of Association of Brain Stimulation by Light and Binaural Beats in Specific Brain Waves. Click here to read.

  • Auditory Beat Stimulation and its Effects on Cognition and Mood States. Click here to read.

  • Stimulation by Light and Sound: Therapeutics Effects in Humans. Systematic Review. Click here to read.

Ongoing PISTA Research and Related Studies on Alzheimer's Disease and Cognitive Decline

  • (Ongoing Research) Caregiving for Dementia with Brain and Sound Stimulation using PISTA Therapy. Click here to read. 

  • Unique visual stimulation may be new treatment for Alzheimer's. Click here to read.

  • Gamma Band Neural Stimulation in Humans and the Promise of a New Modality to Prevent and Treat Alzheimer’s Disease. Click here to read. 

  • Multi-mechanical waves against Alzheimer’s disease pathology: a systematic review. Click here to read.

  • Long-lasting, dissociable improvements in working memory and long-term memory in older adults with repetitive neuromodulation. Click here to read.

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