What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback training is an information-based technology that can greatly enhance your well-being and, overall, help you get the most out of life. The system is loaded onto a laptop computer so it is portable and easy to use. The treatment focuses on the central nervous system (CNS) with the goal calmingit so that it works more effectively and efficiently. As the CNS calms, symptoms and issues related to a wide variety of conditions start to fade. Neurofeedback training offers the brain moment to moment information that helps the brain to re-organize itself. As neurofeedback has been time-tested over millions of hours, it is safe.
How does it work?
Neurofeedback training is like taking your brain to the gym. When you go to the gym and complete regular workouts, over time that results in strengthened bones and muscles, reduced risk of heart disease and other illnesses, and improved mental health and mood. During a session, you are connected to a laptop with five sensors and listening to music. The neurofeedback system is monitoring your brainwaves and providing information to your brain about what it has just done. It’s like holding up a mirror to the brain. When the software detects that the brain and central nervous system are working inefficiently, a slight static is heard in the music and the brain then uses that information or “feedback” provided to “reset” itself. Over time, the central nervous system becomes more resilient and flexible in its ability to respond to everyday events. You no longer get “stuck” having the same thoughts over and over, you become less reactive and are able to respond to daily obstacles and issues that arise with more ease.
Why should I use Neurofeedback?
Clients typically find neurofeedback training effective in resolving issues in five general categories:
- Physical, Cognitive and Emotional challenges
- Slowing the Effects of Brain Aging
- Improved Academic Performance
- General Well-Being
- Peak Physical/Artistic Performance
What happens during a session?
You will sit in a comfortable chair in a quiet office space. Two sensors will be placed on your head and three clips on your ears using water soluble paste, and you will be given a set of earbuds to wear. The sensors will feed your brain wave patterns into the NeurOptimal® software during the session. A neurofeedback training session is relaxing, enjoyable, and lasts about 35 minutes. As the session starts, you will hear music play though the earbuds and you will see geometric images–harmonized to the music–appear on the computer monitor. You can also choose not to watch the monitor during the session. You can just listen to the music, meditate, fall asleep or read a book if you like. As the music plays, you will hear occasional “skips” or pauses in the music – this is the signal that prompts your brain to re-organize or “reset” itself in order to work more optimally. An example may be helpful here. If we are washing dishes, going for a walk or playing tennis, if we hear a sudden loud noise, our central nervous system (CNS) goes on high alert, checking out the environment to find out if there is danger that needs to be responded to. If the noise presents no danger the CNS returns to normal functioning. During a NeurOptimal® session, the software recognizes when the brain patterns show that the CNS is on high alert and feeds that information back to the brain through the “skip” or pause in the music. The CNS quickly finds out that there is no danger present and relaxes. As this happens over and over, the CNS begins to operate in a calm state more and more often and fewer pauses are heard in the music. At the end of a session, you will most likely feel relaxed. Some clients experience shifts in mood or energy following a session, however, this is very individual. It is very unlikely you will experience any negative after-effects as neurofeedback training does not artificially “push” the brain in any specific direction. The key thing to remember about it the treatment is that the brain is using its own intrinsic wisdom to make changes and does not require any conscious effort by the client. You just listen to music, relax, and enjoy the training!
Is Neurofeedback for me?
Neurofeedback can be beneficial for people of all ages and from every walk of life. As an example, stress is a common complaint today and most people have a learned response to stress. If this is what you would like to see change, Neurofeedback is very effective at interrupting the maladaptive responses to stress and bringing the brain back to the present moment. Instead of going into the old learned stress response, the brain assesses the real current circumstances and relaxes. Over time, this becomes the new default way of being.
People start Neurofeedback for a variety of reasons. Many come to try to get over a long standing condition that nothing else has worked for. Conditions that Neurofeedback works especially well for include migraines, insomnia, anxiety, stress and depression. It is also a very powerful approach for helping with addictions, Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder and anger management. Some people find it gives them more energy while others experience a dramatic reduction in chronic pain. Others may want to improve their focus and concentration, whether it be to perform better in sports, school, business or artistic endeavors. Adults and children with ADHD or ADD find life starts to get better almost immediately, however the entire span of treatment may be lengthy, in some cases twice as long as other conditions. Once clients start experiencing improvements in their condition, they often express their frustration for all the years they needlessly put up with it. For many, Neurofeedback gives them a new lease on life.
In addition to the above reasons for undertaking a series of sessions, Neurofeedback has helped people with a variety of afflictions such as Autism, Alzheimers’, Parkinsons and more. Caregivers of people with difficult disorders to manage are also encouraged to have sessions themselves to help alleviate everyday stress.
In short, people turn to Neurofeedback for a whole host of reasons, from dealing with a serious mental, emotional or physical condition to simply wanting to tune up their brains to be the best they can be. To benefit from Neurofeedback you need only sit, relax and enjoy yourself. The first step is to try it and see if it’s right for you.