Lumenate, a new smartphone app, claims to alter your consciousness using flickering lights. According to Vice, the app is worth trying. The app’s creators claim it can direct your brain into a special and strong altered state of consciousness. And that is somewhere between deep meditation and classic psychedelics.
Rosamund Pike, the star of Gone Girl and a Golden Globe winner, has invested in the business and is now its artistic director. Lumenate is less about dreamy, calming guided meditation audio and more about getting wild in a dark room, according to Pike.
Does science back Lumenate up?
They’ve done a lot of internal research including hundreds of EEG scans. They’re in talks with a few universities about doing a full-fledged, peer-reviewed study to back it up. In terms of an already published study, a paper from Sussex University, shows how similar stroboscopic technologies can be used to change consciousness in a measurable way.
The research behind it is fuzzy, but the study published in 2019 by Sussex University showed that stroboscopic stimulation triggered significant changes in the severity and range of perceptual stimuli, with accounts of both basic and complex visual hallucinations. That paper – which detailed a study of 19 students – has yet to be peer-reviewed, however. Either way, you can head on over to the Apple App Store or Google Play to get involved and try out your own one-person study.
How does Lumenate work?
At a fundamental level, when the light pulses, the brain often reacts in unison, giving a hint that something is altering. The synchronization with the light gradually expands across the brain, allowing you to send it in to the desired state.
In practice, this involves holding the handset next to your face and facing the flashlight while sitting in a darkened space with your eyes closed. The elevated state of consciousness seems to allow the brain to perform better. While, also reducing the operation of the brain’s default mode network.
I’ve tried the app a few times. Lumenate team was kind enough to provide me with their premium account for free. In my experience, I really did not get high. But, it did relax me a bit. And the experience was stronger when I tried mindfulness meditation on top of it. We’ll see what direction research on this leads to and which direction the team leads to. For now, I’ll say it’s a fun excercise and a way to meditate.