Category: Uncategorized

Digital Sundays w/ Valia Kaimaki @ErtRadio

On Sunday 6.2 we were very happy to be invited by Valia Kaimaki, at her radio show “Digital Sundays”, to speak about deep tracing

In her radio show “Ψηφιακές Κυριακές” (”Digital Sundays”), Valia Kaimaki is exploring the digital world; from social media influencers to cybersecurity holes, from new games and gadgets to cryptocurrency, from new tendencies to e-commerce, from art to children protection, “Digital Sundays” is our passport to the digital universe.

We discussed about the benefits of deep tracing, the importance of mindfulness and the crucial role Art plays on our mental health and emotional balance.

Click on the link below to listen to the whole interview.

A big thank you to Valia Kaimaki for being such a great hostess and for the very interesting conversation.

From a Neuropsychologist’s perspective

We asked Anastasia Karagiannopoulou, Neuropsychologist, Lecturer of Neuropsychology, Biopsychology & Cognitive Psychology at Metropolitan College, University East London, to study deep tracing and give us her expert opinion.

Here’s what she shared with us:

“Deep tracing provides a multisensory perceptual experience by activating four sensory input modalities (visual, auditory, olfactory and tactile), recreating a synaesthetic experience. Visual and somatosensory parts of the brain, as well as frontal, temporal, olfactory and limbic areas are implicated during this process.”

“Deep tracing lies on the notion of activating both of our visual perception streams, stemming from the occipital cortex. Specifically, the “where” dorsal visual pathway, which is connected to the parietal lobe, is activated when we use our visuospatial and visuo-constructional ability, that guides our fine and gross visual motor coordination in space and prepares our vision for action (Goodale & Milner, 1992).

The second visual stream which is simultaneously activated is known as the “what” ventral visual pathway which projects to the temporal lobe and provides information of the stimuli’s shape, colour, form, and features (Goodale & Milner, 1992). Sustained visuospatial attention is required throughout the deep tracing experience, which is associated with the activation of the right parietal cortex, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) (Thakral et al. 2009).”

Deep tracing may also impact the activation of the brain’s reward circuit. In a recent study Kaimal et al. (2017) applied a non-invasive hemodynamic brain-imaging technique, which measures blood flow and elicits highly activated brain regions, known as functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), while participants performed colouring, doodling and free drawing.

The study showed that while performing these creative tasks the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) was significantly activated especially in the doodling condition. The mPFC is responsible for emotional, affective responses and motivation, as it constitutes an integral part of the reward circuit, along with the amygdala, the nucleus accumbens, the hippocampus, and the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA). This reward circuit is interlinked with our brain’s dopaminergic system, which helps us predict pleasure outcomes and contributes to emotional regulation.”

According to another study, electroencephalography (EEG), which measures brain wave activation, was applied while artists and non-artists created visual art(Belkofer et al., 2014). The results showed significant alpha waves activation in the left-hemisphere of the artists and significant activity in the frontal lobes of the non-artists. The latter finding may be explained by the novelty of the task, which required higher levels of sustained attention. Alpha waves are often detected when the brain is in a relaxed state of meditation, mindfulness and creative alertness (Kim & Kaimal, 2019).

In contrast, dysregulated patterns of alpha waves, as well as abnormal activations of the prefrontal cortex are linked to depression and anxiety (Fernández-Palleiro et al., 2020; Koenigs & Grafman, 2009). Creativity and visual art making are found to be correlated with theta and gamma wave patterns in the brain (Kim & Kaimal, 2019; Stevens & Zabelina, 2019). Theta waves are associated with deep meditation, reduced consciousness, whereas gamma waves are associated with heightened perception and working memory. Deep tracing may lead to the activation of alpha and gamma waves when conducted in a mindfulness setting.”

“Deep tracing may also be interlinked with the brain’s Default Mode Network (DMN). The DMN connects the medial prefrontal cortex to the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and it remains paradoxically active, when the brain is not attending to any external stimuli; this provides the individual with the opportunity to self-reflect, day-dream, travel autonoetically, plan and set goals or think divergently by generating novel ideas (Bolwerk et al., 2014).However, during mindfulness the DMN has shown to be less activated (Garisson et al., 2015), which allows other pivotal mental processes to take place (Tang et al., 2015).

During states of mindfulness, the dorsal anterior insula is activated, which is responsible for perceiving bodily perceptions, as well as the ACC, which is highly linked to attention and self-monitoring. As a result, all sensory information can be perceived in real time and complete present-moment awareness is accomplished. According to recent neuroscience research conducted on mindfulness through meditation, changes in the activity and structure of the ACC, the posterior cingulate cortex and the frontolimbic structures were detected while participants practiced mindfulness, which enhanced emotional regulation, concentration control, self-regulation and reduction of stress (Tang et al., 2015).”

“Recent neuroimaging findings on the therapeutic effect of creating art and practicing mindfulness, elucidates the need to incorporate deep tracing in this field of research. Deep tracing can become a powerful tool that bridges the benefits of both worlds, art therapy and mindfulness, leading to multi-sensory integration, higher levels of self-awareness, attention control and emotional self-regulation.”

Anastasia Karagiannopoulou, Neuropsychologist
Cognitive Neuropsychology, University of Edinburgh,
Sleep Disorders, University Health Network, Toronto Western Hospital,
Lecturer of Neuropsychology, Biopsychology & Cognitive Psychology at Metropolitan College, University East London


Belkofer C. M., Van Hecke A. V., Konopka L. M. (2014). Effects of drawing on alpha activity: a quantitative EEG study with implications for art therapy. Art Therapy 31, 61–68. 10.1080/07421656.2014.903821.

Bolwerk, A., Mack-Andrick, J., Lang, F. R., Dörfler, A., & Maihöfner, C. (2014). How art changes your brain: Differential effects of visual art production and cognitive art evaluation on functional brain connectivity. PloS one, 9(7), e101035.

Garrison, K. A., Zeffiro, T. A., Scheinost, D., Constable, R. T., & Brewer, J. A. (2015). Meditation leads to reduced default mode network activity beyond an active task. Cognitive, affective & behavioral neuroscience, 15(3), 712–720.

Goodale, M. A., & Milner, A. D. (1992). Separate visual pathways for perception and action. Trends in neurosciences, 15(1), 20–25.

Fernández-Palleiro, P., Rivera-Baltanás, T., Rodrigues-Amorim, D., Fernández-Gil, S., del Carmen Vallejo-Curto, M., Álvarez-Ariza, M., López, M., Rodriguez-Jamardo, C., Luis Benavente, J., de las Heras, E., Manuel Olivares, J., & Spuch, C. (2020). Brainwaves Oscillations as a Potential Biomarker for Major Depression Disorder Risk. Clinical EEG and Neuroscience, 51(1), 3–9. 

Kaimal G., Ayaz H., Herres J. M., Makwana B., Dieterich-Hartwell R. M., Kaiser D. H., et al. (2017a). Functional near-infrared spectroscopy assessment of reward perception based on visual self-expression: coloring, doodling, and free drawing. Arts Psychother. 55, 85–92. 10.1016/j.aip.2017.05.004 

Kaimal G., Mensinger J. L., Drass J. M., Dieterich-Hartwell R. M. (2017b). Art therapist-facilitated open studio versus coloring: differences in outcomes of affect, stress, creative agency, and self-efficacy. Can. Art Therapy Assoc. J. 30, 56–68. 10.1080/08322473.2017.1375827 

Kaimal G., Ray K. (2017). Free art-making in an art therapy open studio: changes in affect and self-efficacy. Arts Health, 9, 154–166. 10.1080/17533015.2016.1217248 

King, J. L., & Kaimal, G. (2019). Approaches to Research in Art Therapy Using Imaging Technologies. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 13, 159.

Koenigs, M., & Grafman, J. (2009). The functional neuroanatomy of depression: distinct roles for ventromedial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Behavioural brain research, 201(2), 239–243. 

Kruk K. A., Aravich P. F., Deaver S. P., deBeus R. (2014). Comparison of brain activity during drawing and clay sculpting: a preliminary qEEG study. Art Therapy 31, 52–60. 10.1080/07421656.2014.903826 

Stevens C. E., Jr, Zabelina D. L. (2019). Creativity comes in waves: an EEG-focused exploration of the creative brain. Curr. Opin. Behav. Sci. 27, 154–162. 10.1016/j.cobeha.2019.02.003 

Tang, YY., Hölzel, B. & Posner, M. The neuroscience of mindfulness meditation. Nat Rev Neurosci 16, 213–225 (2015).

Thakral, P. P., & Slotnick, S. D. (2009). The role of parietal cortex during sustained visual spatial attention. Brain Research, 1302, 157–166. 

Zenning out @TATOΪ Club

Located on the foothills of Mount Parnitha, TATOΪ Club has always been a place to meet up, to exercise, to train the body and the mind. And that is exactly what we did. 

Two deep tracing experiences popped up on October 5th, one at the Club’s gorgeous Botanical Garden and one at its versatile Cook House. We initiated ourselves to the deep tracing universe starting from Chapter 1: Awakening. 

We engaged our vision, touch, smell and hearing while letting go and being creative.

I am so proud of everyone’s openness and so stunned by the outcome.

It was every bit amazing.

Thank you to everyone who came and shared their inner self.

Thank you to TATOΪ Club for making this a seamless, unforgettable experience.

Until next time,