Neurofeedback training provides visual and auditory feedback to the brain by creating new neuro-pathways to enhance functioning and improve the regulation of thoughts, feelings, and focus.
What is Neurofeedback?
“Neurofeedback” is both exercise and therapy for your brain.
It is a process in which simple auditory and visual fractal imagery feedback guide your brain gradually to make more or less of specific brainwave frequency band, and/or to enhance connectivity between two regions of the brain. These frequencies and connectivity guide much of our mental behavior, so as we adjust them we adjust the corresponding behaviors.
How Does It Work?
Neurofeedback provides information to the brain about its own activity in real time, encouraging and allowing it to change based on this monitoring. A common example is when a brain makes too much of the frequency called theta, which typically expresses as high impulsivity and distractibility in a person. Neurofeedback can train the brain to produce less theta, thus giving the person greater controlled focus.
Training the brain is similar to physical exercise, however, unlike exercising your body, exercising your brain with neurofeedback typically requires only between 20-40 sessions to make noticeable and lasting changes!
What Does a Typical Session Look Like?
Before beginning neurofeedback training, clients must first receive an assessment and discuss specifically what they hope to gain from neurofeedback. Based on the results of the assessment and the desired goals of the client a protocol will be specifically designed and tailored for the client's unique and individual needs and desired outcomes. I will also discuss in the assessment the different ways neurofeedback could benefit them based on the results of their assessment "game".
(a "game" is an assessment tool that the client will play that gives the specialist and the neurofeedback system information about the internal functioning of the primary brainwaves that are active and provides insight otherwise not recognized through talk therapy or simple goal setting.)
A typical neurofeedback session begins with you making yourself comfortable. This training can be done sitting or laying down. The specialist will consult with you briefly on how you’ve felt since your last session and make any adjustments to your protocol if necessary. They will then attach 1-5 electrodes to your scalp using only a saline paste. These electrodes simply read the brainwaves naturally occurring beneath them. Nothing is going into your brain.
You will be sitting in front of a laptop and wearing headphones. The sights and sounds will change according to your brainwaves. This is the “feedback” of neurofeedback, and this system of positive reinforcement and reward/inhibits is how we train your brain to produce the brainwave activity associated with your personal goals.
After your session we advise that you drink water. The brain is 85% water and optimal functioning of the brain depends on water consumption. The brain has just had a training and it needs to be hydrated. Studies have also shown that inflammation of the brain is due to not enough water consumption and lack of water can also cause depression.
How Can Neurofeedback Help Me?
Specifically in the time of Covid-19 there are many stressors that we are being confronted with. This creates a state of fight or flight, ptsd, anxiety, sleep disorders, irregular eating, limited contact with loved ones and friends, and too many more to list. All of these changes have a direct effect on your brain and it's functioning, not to mention the release of hormones like cotrisol being released into the system due to the heightened brain activity. Excess cortisol causes weight gain primarily around the middle.
Neurofeedback is used to affect broad regulatory action of the brain, including mood, attention, self-regulation and self-control, sleep, energy, stress, and even migraines and physical pain.
Neurofeedback also has outstanding success in treating age-related cognitive disorders, anxiety disorders, addiction, and symptoms of the autism spectrum. We also use neurofeedback to trigger a deeper level of relaxation (for creativity, anxiety and overstimulation), or to exercise the brain for stability and increased metabolism. Yes, you can lose weight with neurofeedback. How? Because when the brain creates new neuropathways the brain learns to eat when its hungry not when its bored, stressed, emotional, etc. and guides the brain to reduce the production of cortisol.
Children and adults of all ages will find neurofeedback helpful, whether it is used as solo therapy or as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Neurofeedback has been used successfully to improve many conditions including, but not limited to:
• Addictions (alcohol, drug, devices like phones and games)
• Autism spectrum disorder
• Behavioral disorders
• Bipolar disorder
• Chronic pain
• Depression and suicidal ideation
• Headaches and migraines
• Memory problems (both short and long term)
• Pain management (both physically and emotional)
• Sleep problems (insomnia, night terrors, nightmares, night sweats)
• Traumatic brain injury/concussions
COVID-19 SAFE PRACTICES:
All Neurofeedback machinery and implements are UV sterilized in a medical grade ultraviolet sterilzation machine that produces a 254NM strength light which is very strong. All materials are then packaged, dated and sterilized again with a medical grade UV wand light once at the client's house. Upon home entry the specialist will take the their own temperature and the client's temperature with a no-touch thermometer and scan each person with a medical grade UV wand (specialist included) so that everyone is working in a sanitized and safe environment (your home will be more sterilized after the session than before!). The specialist wears gloves, mask, and a clear face shield throughout the entire session. The specialist is also regularly tested for the Covid-19 virus and can present these results to you upon request.
When combined with CBT, neurofeedback provides the client added momentum to achieve the therapeutic goals along with the neurological changes to hold the benefits in the long-term.