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The Open-Focus Brain: Harnessing the Power of Attention to Heal Mind and Body Paperback – December 16, 2008


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The Open-Focus Brain: Harnessing the Power of Attention to Heal Mind and Body + Dissolving Pain: Simple Brain-Training Exercises for Overcoming Chronic Pain + A Symphony in the Brain: The Evolution of the New Brain Wave Biofeedback
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Trumpeter; 1 Pap/Com edition (December 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590306120
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590306123
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Alongtime clinician and researcher in biofeedback, Fehmi (with the assistance of science writer Robbins, author of A Symphony in the Brain) advances his program for learning to relieve stress by attaining what he calls open focus—a more diffuse, flexible form of attention that, paradoxically, allows one to focus better and in a more relaxed way. According to Fehmi, most of us habitually operate in a narrow-focus stress mode that results in anxiety and a host of physical problems, including digestive upsets, rashes and migraines. Fehmi draws on his experience with neurofeedback (brain-wave biofeedback) to explain how we can shift our brain waves to attain open focus. These mental techniques help you to experience your body and even your heart in a new way and change how you perceive the space around you. Fehmi grounds his plan in research and patient anecdotes showing the techniques can reduce pain and improve relationships and athletic performance. Fehmi acknowledges the results of open focus are similar to those from meditation, but even readers skeptical of Eastern spirituality may find Fehmi's science-based program useful. (The accompanying audio CD was not heard by PW). (July 10)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“These mental techniques help you to experience your body and even your heart in a new way. Fehmi grounds his plan in research and patient anecdotes showing the techniques can reduce pain and improve relationships and athletic performance.”—Publishers Weekly

"Fehmi and award-winning science writer and journalist Robbins present a convincing argument for the effectiveness of neurofeedback in a self-help format for those who want to try the techniques. . . . This well-written book will be of interest to anyone in the alternative healing community."—Library Journal

“Based on thirty-plus years of research and professional experience, this book reveals a startling truth: how you deploy your attention in your daily life is centrally important for your mental and physical health. It also describes a breakthrough methodology for overcoming depression, anxiety, and other hard-to-manage emotional states. As a colleague of Dr. Fehmi from the earliest days of brainwave-biofeedback  research, I can trust the credibility of his reports. He is a creative and critical thinker in the field. I heartily recommend this book.”—Joe Kamiya, PhD, research psychologist at Langley Porter Institute of Psychiatry

“I’ve used the Open-Focus techniques in my work with NFL players, and I’ve shared this knowledge with other athletes and coaches. These attention exercises are applicable across all disciplines.”—Bob Ward, Director of Sports Science, former conditioning coach for the Dallas Cowboys

“The techniques described in this book can make life fuller, more enjoyable, and more productive. I recommend it.”—Andrew Weil, MD, author of Healthy Aging

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Customer Reviews

A CD + exercises are included as well.
Raymond Bokenkamp
By using the techniques found in The Open-Focus Brain, I have been able to better understand and control emotional stress.
Chicagobooklover
I actually listened to the CD before even reading a sentence of the book and was pleasantly surprised.
D. Kim

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

121 of 124 people found the following review helpful By Copthorne Macdonald on January 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
My own introduction to Open Focus took place in the early 1980s when I explored its potential as a tool for spiritual development.

Buddhist meditation techniques such as Vipassana and Dzogchen are attentiveness training practices. In Vipassana you begin by narrowly focusing on breath sensations and gradually widen the field of attention until it takes in whatever is arising in the mind. In Dzogchen meditation (an advanced practice) you go immediately into that wide-angle, all-inclusive mode of attending and hang out there. Both are highly worthwhile practices, but to develop the ability to enter at will that open-to-everything mindset requires an extended period of prior practice.

During the 1970s Les Fehmi developed and recorded a series of exercises designed to talk a person into the Open Focus mind state. By the time I heard about these tapes I had already attended several Vipassana retreats. I bought a set of tapes, and when I started using them I was immediately impressed by how effective they were. If I diligently followed the suggestions being made on the tape, at the end of the half-hour lesson I would invariably be in the Open Focus mode of attending to mind contents. That was rarely the case when I spent an equal amount of time doing Vipassana meditation. Better yet, after using the tapes daily for several weeks I found that in everyday life circumstances I was able to switch at will between narrow-focus attention and Open Focus -- something I had not yet developed the ability to do in my meditation practice.

When I recently obtained a copy of THE OPEN-FOCUS BRAIN and its companion CD I was delighted. It now seems likely that this powerful technique will finally get the widespread recognition it deserves.
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74 of 76 people found the following review helpful By common reader on October 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I approached this book with pure skepticism. I thought it would be boring, and, as a scientist, I could not believe that a few simple exercises could begin to alleviate the mental and physical pain of stress and depression. But I was wrong!

Fehmi combines his years of research and experience with a forthright and simple presentation. His humanism shines throughgout the book.

The text is simple and clear, and I found myself, wanting to learn more with each chapter I read. In addition, the included CD is terrific, especially, as I love to listen to audio books. My favorite exercises, "Expanding Your Awareness of Visual Space" and "Seeing in Open Focus", are particularly useful to me, in reducing the chronic tension that lives in my shoulder muscles.

Buy this book!
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Format: Hardcover
This is an important, groundbreaking book that promises to become a classic that could very well become more and more widely read over the decades.

More than any other book, it reminds me of Herbert Benson's RELAXATION RESPONSE. Just as Benson took a simple concept-- relaxation-- and created a landmark book on how to do it... simply, Les Fehmi, with co-author Jim Robbins, has laid out an approach to attention that is remarkable in its simplicity and power to change lives.

As Fehmi points out, our lives, our experiences, all we know, are determined by how we pay attention. The process of paying attention is usually something we ignore. Yet, Fehmi teaches, we can easily learn how to become aware of how we are paying attention and then voluntarily pay attention as we choose to.

Fehmi walks us through the ways that narrowed, inflexible attention leads to stress and stress disorders, depression, reduced performance, even diminished relationships. The good news is he provides practical, easy to learn and implement techniques which work-- and quickly, at that.

I first learned the Open Focus technique from Les Fehmi 30 years ago. I've used them ever since in my life and as a trainer and consultant teaching newcomer physicians, psychologists, counselors, educators, etc. the field of biofeedback and self regulation. I've taught hundreds of practitioners this technique because I believe it is very effective and powerful.

This book has been long overdue and will be highly valuable to both lay readers and professional psychologists. Fehmi's co-author Jim Robbins is an extraordinary writer who has helped Fehmi to take his ideas and put them into a fun and fascinating to read language that makes this book almost as engaging as a great novel.

Dr.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Luff on September 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Having read a lot of meditation books, zen books, power of now and attention deficit books, this book is a very interesting perspective on the subject of focus and attention.

First off the book explains what open focus is but it took me a while to grasp it. It wasn't until I read the first exercise that I 'felt' what open focus is about. I feel the book does require a few reads. More importantly, I felt I was very drawn to re-reading it, especially after listening to the cd.

Let me try a technique he uses in open focus. So while you are reading this review, imagine the distance of the screen from your eyes while still reading. Then see the edges of the computer screen yet still managing to read. Notice the spaces between each of the lines of words. Can you feel your shoulders? Can you feel if your arms and fingers are tense? Are your eyes relaxed? Still keep reading yet feel your tightness as you are still reading. Perhaps you can soften that tension and still maintain focus. Perhaps that feels more relaxed and now less urgent?

So one of the ideas is to still function but we don't always need what's known as 'narrow focus' or 'hyper-focus'. This is the focus that uses a high level of energy, tension and focus. We don't always need this type of focus with everything we do. This type of focus is very effective at getting things done, but unless we have a knowledge of 'different types' of focus, we can burn out. We don't always need to use narrow-focus for every task and every conversation. There are lots of other things we could do in open focus, enjoy them more and maybe even do a better job. An obvious one is reading. When I did the exercise he gave while reading I noticed my tension and softened it, especially the tension I was using to hold the book.
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