What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback, also known as Neuro-Therapy is a noninvasive technique for training the brain’s activities, which in turn will enable it to regulate all bodily functions optimally. Brainwave activity can be measured and compared for assessing how well the brain is functioning. Deviations from normal brain activity patterns register on a EEG (Electroencephalogram), and neurofeedback training reconditions the brain to adjust itself to normal patterns. The training process is not unlike challenging your body through physical exercise for improving your health. Through the repetitive training involved in neurofeedback, the brain eventually adapts the favorable brainwave activities and adjusts on its own to stay within the normal patterns. Irregular brain activities become less frequent, and the results are often permanent. Unlike medication, neurofeedback addresses the underlying cause rather than just covering up and managing the symptoms.
Irregular Brain Activities
Documented studies revealed that people suffering from neurological problems exhibit abnormal brain activity in certain area of the brain. Symptoms associated with neurological conditions noticeably decline when such irregularities have been corrected to normal patterns. Case studies revealed that ADHD is associated with elevated delta brainwaves, and elevated alpha brainwaves are characteristic of depression. People suffering from anxiety exhibit elevated beta waves, and memory loss is usually associated with decreased theta brainwaves.
What are the benefits of a better functioning brain?
When brain activity is reconditioned to perform within normal, healthier ranges, patients also experience a reduction in neurological symptoms. People experience improvement in attention, mental flexibility, cognitive function, regulation of emotion, and alertness. Changes in behavior are also documented. Improved brain function promotes better sleep patterns, which have been shown to contribute and exacerbate underlying neurological conditions. Poor sleep patterns cascade into a myriad of symptoms, including anxiety, depression, emotional distress, migraines, and chronic pain.
Mothers of children suffering from ADHD or behavioral concerns perceived a noticeable difference in their child. They also have the peace of mind that they aren’t subjecting their children to altering medication that have long-term risks that are not fully understood or accounted for.
How does Neurofeedback therapy work?
Small electrodes are attached to the head, then brainwave activities are recorded and displayed in real time. Brainwaves are monitored on the computer as the patient watches a movie or listens to music. Visual or audio cues activated by deviations from normal patterns trigger the brain to adjust itself accordingly until the cues subside. This detection and refocusing process is repeated hundreds of times per session; each session typically lasting approximately 30 minutes. The number of sessions a patient will need varies, depending on the symptoms and the individual. A patient will typically notice a difference between their first and tenth session. Neurofeedback ultimately works through operate conditioning, rewarding the brain when it adapts itself back to healthier, more favorable patterns.
Based on the symptoms, the therapy will focus on and trigger different areas of the brain. While neurofeedback does not address a singular neurological condition specifically, the effect is to improve and optimize overall brain function. Improved brain regulation ultimately impacts a variety of symptoms.
What is Brain Mapping?
The billions of cells making up the brain, called neurons, communicate with the rest of the body and each other. They communicate by electrical impulses that form brain waves. These waves are measurable and provide quantitative insight areas where communication can be improved upon. A Brain Map is such a tool that is used to capture brainwave activities and display the analysis in a visual representation corresponding with each lobe and wave. There are four distinct brainwaves, alpha, beta, theta, and delta. Irregularities in and among any one of these brainwaves, and the extent of deviation, are associated with neurological symptoms.
The brain waves are measured using an EEG, and the data collected over a 15 minute time span is converted into a concise and understandable report. Brain Mapping is revolutionary as it provides a road map from which physicians can accurately assess, diagnosis, and plan out a patient’s condition and treatment.
Brain Mapping is performed before the patient undergoes his or her first neurofeedback therapy session. Subsequent brain maps are taken after several neurofeedback sessions, and the patient’s progress can actually be measured by comparison to the initial report.
Symptoms and conditions that can benefit from Neurofeedback:
- ADD / ADHD
- Anger Management
- Bipolar Disorder
- Brain Injury
- Chronic Pain
- Epilepsy / Seizures
- Lyme Disease
- Memory Loss
- OCD / Tourrette’s
- Stress / PTSD
- Sleep Disorders
- Substance Abuse
- Alzheimer’s Disease
Clinical studies have shown these conditions to be responsive to neurofeedback.