The brain is a marvelous organ. And as research has shown, more adaptable than we had ever imagined. The brain is involved as a master regulator in all of our physical, emotional and mental functions.
When the brain is injured, diseased, or traumatized, electrical impulses, or brain waves, are disturbed, creating abnormal rhythmic patterns. As the brain continues to transmit these abnormal patterns, imbalances are created in the body. Since the body naturally desires balance, Neurofeedback merely assists the brain in bringing itself and the body into balance.
What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is also known as EEG Biofeedback or Brain Wave Biofeedback. EEG (electroencephalogram) refers to brain wave recordings. Biofeedback, in this context, refers to the process by which you learn to change your brain wave frequencies and thereby gain better control over your brain states.
Neurofeedback has been in use since the 1970’s. It has become more widely known in the last 10-15 years because of the continuing discovery of it’s broad clinical applications.
Essentially, Neurofeedback is a brain exercise. Your brain is observed in action from moment to moment by monitoring your brain waves. Your brain activity is changed by rewarding shifts toward a more appropriate and stable brain state.
What can Neurofeedback help?
Brain research has shown that Neurofeedback can be effective in the treatment of: open or closed head injury, coma, stroke, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, headaches, migraines, anoxia (oxygen deprivation), chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s, benign essential tremors, fibromyalgia, learning disabilities, ADD (attention deficit disorder), ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder), OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), Aspergers, insomnia, dyslexia, pain, anxiety and panic disorders, clinical depression, and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
Neurofeedback can also help improve functions such as: concentration, short term memory, speech, motor skills, sleep, energy levels, pain perception, mental clarity and alertness, creativity, and emotional balance.
Who can benefit from Neurofeedback?
Individuals of any age (6 yrs and above) can benefit.
- For children: a variety of problems including bedwetting, nightmares, and other forms of disruptive and disturbing behaviors.
- For adolescents: learning disabilities, anxiety, depression, and drug and alcohol use.
- For adults: in addition to what has already been mentioned, Neurofeedback can help anyone maintain good brain function as they age. Peak performers also use EEG training to enhance their abilities in sports, business, and the arts.
How is Neurofeedback training done?
During typical training, a couple of electrodes are placed on the scalp, and one is put on either the right or left ear lobe. Then, high-tech computer equipment provides real-time, instantaneous audio and visual feedback about your brainwave activity. The electrodes measure the electrical patterns coming from the brain — much like a physician listens to your heart from the surface of your skin. No electrical current is put into your brain, so it is entirely non-invasive.
Your brain’s electrical activity is relayed to the computer and displayed. Ordinarily, a person cannot reliably influence their brain wave patterns because they lack awareness of them. However, when you can see your brain waves on a computer screen a few thousandths of a second after they occur, it gives you the ability to influence and change them. We are literally reconditioning and retraining the brain.
How long does it last?
At first, brain changes are short lived, but with continued treatments they become more permanent. Like learning to ride a bicycle, the brain needs time to become familiar with the new pattern and to have it reinforced. As the brain gains familiarity, it incorporates the new pattern(s), and repetition helps to make it permanent.
What happens if Neurofeedback clients are taking medications?
With successful Neurofeedback training, medications targeting brain function may no longer be needed, or they may be needed at lower dosages as the brain takes over the role of regulating itself. It is important for clients to communicate with their prescribing physician regarding Neurofeedback and medications.