Members of the AirForce face things the everyday civilian could never imagine. Whether they’re directly in the line of fire or providing invaluable support behind the scenes, they share one enemy — stress. If left unchecked, stress can cause substantial damage to an individual’s mental and physical health. Just as the body needs to train to prepare for intense physical situations, the mind needs proper conditioning to face high-pressure scenarios and day-to-day stress.

The MindGym by Lumena provides a safe, science-backed environment for training the mind. When used regularly, it can help airmen mitigate stress and perform well no matter what they encounter, with results after as little as one session.

The Body’s Response to Stress

During stressful scenarios, the body undergoes various biological and neurological changes to prepare for a fight-or-flight response. A fight-or-flight response serves a purpose — it’s what protects and fuels the body in dire circumstances.

When the brain detects a stressful situation, the hypothalamus sends warning signals to the sympathetic nervous system so the body can prepare to face the stressor. In rapid-fire, the adrenal glands respond by releasing cortisol, adrenaline, and other stress hormones into the bloodstream. Cortisol increases blood sugar levels, enhances the brain’s use of glucose, and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues. Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation, such as the digestive system and reproductive system.

During a fight-or-flight response, the body may display immediate signs of activation, like sweating palms, elevated heart rate, and shaking hands. This physiological response is helpful for survival, but if it’s triggered when unnecessary, a person can experience substantial physical and mental repercussions. Day-to-day stress can bring on a less intense version of a fight-or-flight response that can fly under the radar, causing harm without being easily detected.

The Consequences of Experiencing Chronic Stress

Airmen are uniquely positioned to incur unhealthy amounts of stress. Members of the military encounter high-pressure situations whether overseas or state-side, providing support to active duty comrades. Without the right set of tools and skills, stress can quickly infiltrate all aspects of daily life, leading to severe consequences.

Chronic stress can have significant long-term effects on both the mind and body. Prolonged exposure to stress hormones like cortisol can lead to a weakened immune system, making individuals more susceptible to illnesses. Stress is also linked to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Mentally, chronic stress can contribute to the development of anxiety and depression. It can impair cognitive function, leading to difficulty concentrating, making sound decisions, and remembering information. Stress can also exacerbate existing mental health conditions like depression and anxiety or a predisposition to substance abuse disorder.

Introducing the MindGym — An Airman’s Secret Weapon to Beating Stress

The MindGym, created by Lumena Labs, is a proprietary technology installation designed to help users train their minds. Unlike virtual reality, the MindGym encourages being present in the body through its physical environment and its unique programming.

Backed by neuroscience, the MindGym uses light, sound, and isolation to create a fully immersive training environment. The MindGym’s curriculum was established in close collaboration with a wide range of medical professionals to allow each person to experience the power of mindfulness-based stress reduction — no operator required.

What Is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction?

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a program that utilizes meditation principles to help individuals manage stress, anxiety, and various physical and psychological conditions. MBSR combines mindfulness practices with elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy and breathwork to reduce mental and physical symptoms of prolonged stress.

The MindGym’s physical features and guided modules inspire a no-judgment, present-moment awareness of thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations. By developing this mindful awareness, Airmen can better manage stress, reduce negative thought patterns, and improve overall well-being. After 8 weeks of consistent use, MindGym users report experiencing noticeable differences in stress levels, overall mood, sleep, and other quality of life factors.

Experience the Benefits of Sensory Deprivation

The MindGym is a four-by-four installation designed to isolate users in the best possible way. In a traditional sensory deprivation experience, people experience a state of nothingness — no physical sensation at all, leading to states of heightened introspection and even feelings of euphoria or transcendence. Within the walls of the MindGym, users may be alone, but they aren’t left to fend for themselves. In the MindGym, participants are stimulated with carefully curated imagery and audio to guide them through a journey of self-awareness and reflection.

Core Benefits:

  • Experience a sense of relaxation and mental reset
  • Increase feelings of optimism and well-being
  • Reduce effects of stress and anxiety over time
  • Become more self-aware
Learn Breathwork Skills with Targeted Bio Lessons

Upon entering the MindGym, users are presented with prompts to help select a session. For stress reduction, the MindGym offers a series of bio lessons that focus on establishing breathwork skills that can be leveraged outside of training sessions. Once a user has learned the basics of box breathing and 4.8 breathing, they can begin honing their meditative skills.

Core Benefits:

  • Lower cortisol levels and calm the nervous system
  • Prepare for feelings of stress and anxiety
  • Better manage negative emotions
  • Enhance cognitive performance
Receive Real-Time Feedback through Advanced Biosensor Technology

The MindGym is fitted with biosensors that users can wear during sessions to measure physiological responses. After each lesson, the MindGym displays data visualizations that demonstrate how a trainee’s body responded throughout the session. While there is nuance from person to person and session to session, the MindGym generally measures cognitive workload, cognitive relaxation, cognitive focus, and attention.

Core Benefits:

  • Identify areas of improvement
  • Track progress with measurable results
  • Become more attuned to bodily sensations
  • Understand the impact of stress on the body
Get Started with the MindGym Today

If you’re on a base that already has a MindGym installed, it’s easy to get started. The MindGym is designed to be self-service so click on this link to book your session.

If you don’t have access to a MindGym, reach out to us today. We’d love to share more about how the MindGym can benefit your team.

Contact Us Today

We invite you to check out our website and reach out to hello@lumenalabs.com for any questions or additional information.