Very often clinics, websites, brochures and information cards that describe Neurofeedback will call it “Exercise for your Brain”. We’re guilty of this in our own literature. The problem with this is that Neurofeedback is more like BRAIN YOGA than it is like exercise.
I’ve said this before in our brochure: “Neurofeedback, also known as EEG biofeedback, or brain training has been studied and practiced since the late 60’s. It is exercise for your brain; allowing you to see the frequencies produced by different parts of your brain in real-time and then through visual and auditory feedback, teaches the brain to better regulate itself. Neurofeedback can be used to help detect, stimulate, and/or inhibit activity in the brain safely and without medication. It can help restore a wider “range of motion” in brain states, much like physical therapy does for the body.” The problem with these statements is that this sounds like WORK. Exercise and physical therapy are important, but YOGA more appropriately describes what we do.
Why is it important to know, or even care about this?
For this answer we go to the internet. This is written about why we should do yoga “the short answer is that yoga makes you feel better. Practicing the postures, breathing exercises and meditation makes you healthier in body, mind and spirit. … What’s more, yoga: Improves muscle tone, flexibility, strength and stamina.”
Neurofeedback is similar… Why should we do Neurofeedback? The short answer is that it makes you feel better. Training the brain to perform better, to be more balanced, more flexible and to be stronger makes you healthier in brain, body and spirit.
The process is a little different, instead of working up a sweat, bending and stretching, the client sits comfortably watching a movie or pictures appear on the screen (a calm and focused state), the EEG equipment measures the frequency or speed at which electrical activity moves in the areas where electrodes have been placed. This information is sent to the therapist’s computer. The therapist is then able to determine what frequencies are out of balance. For example, when the EEG shows that you are making too many “slow” or “sleepy” waves (delta/theta) or too many “fast” waves (high beta), the therapist adjusts a reward band to encourage more balanced activity. This encouragement or “reward” happens through an auditory reinforcement of “beeps” and doesn’t require active participation or acknowledgement from the client.
Neurofeedback targets very specific problems that the brain may be needing help with.
What do these problems look like? Here are a few examples…
Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, waking up.
Anxiety, increased stress, panic attacks, worrying, fears
Trouble with focus and concentration, daydreaming, hyperactive
Inability to be organized, motivated, have good time management
Headaches, migraines, chronic pain
Fatigue or energy levels, over activated or busy brain
Obsessive thinking, cognitive issues, memory issues
Difficulty with social interactions, attachment, relationships
Depression, low mood, irritability, anger
Deficits from stroke, concussion, head injury, surgery, seizures
Symptoms from Lyme, Candida, PANDAS, Autism Spectrum
Learning problems, trouble with processing, sensory sensitivity
Oppositional defiant, behavioral problems, mood swings and Bipolar.
When we look at the brain’s neural patterns through imaging such as a Quantitative EEG, we may see the imbalance of neuron firing patterns and then we use BRAIN YOGA or Neurofeedback to teach the brain improved balance and flexibility.
HOW DO I KNOW IF IT’S WORKING?
As the brain learns balance and flexibility, you will see the changes. However, everyone learns at different speeds, so it cannot be determined how quickly someone will learn. On average, children take about 10-20 sessions to see changes and we can discuss what to expect during the intake appointment. For adults, changes are usually noticed within 10 sessions. Total treatment is an average of 40 sessions, however we individualize treatment; some people need more and some less. Because the goal of Neurofeedback is to achieve balance and flexibility; recognizing that it is working can be a challenge. First, as no two brains are alike, no two people have the same experience with Neurofeedback or learn at the same speed. Second, setting up treatment goals can also vary from person to person and as you are unable to control how fast your brain changes, therefore, you must first learn how to observe. This ability to observe can be quite challenging for some people. Up to this point in life, your brain hasn’t been behaving the way you would like it to. So, observing changes requires a bit of practice. We will be discussing your experience with you when you come in for each session. And third, you’re going to be looking for an absence of symptoms. Looking for something to “not” be there definitely requires reflection rather than observance. We’ll teach you how to look back at the end of an event, day, month, and even couple of months, to see if you notice things are different. And most importantly, we listen to you telling us how you “feel”. This process of connecting in to your body and brain is how BRAIN YOGA improves the “spirit”.
WHAT IS AN EXAMPLE OF
IMPROVEMENTS I MAY SEE?
As the goal of BRAIN YOGA is make you healthier in brain, body and spirit, training will teach you how to tune into your own functioning. With children, we also teach the parents how to look at overall functioning rather than piecing together events or moments. We help you open your mind to possibilities with Neurofeedback rather than give too many examples that confuse the process or feel like a placebo. Changes you may experience or observe after a session are indicative of a learning process that will lead to improved functioning. Examples of those positive changes may be:
Sleep patterns/quality of sleep
Energy levels, calmer or more activated
Ability to focus or concentrate
Physical symptoms such as pain, headaches, migraines, tics, balance issues
Mood or emotions
Motivation and organization
Feelings of Well Being
Obsessive behaviors or thoughts
Anxiety patterns or trauma patterns
Learning, communicating, and/or performance
NO YOGA MATT OR EQUIPMENT
NEEDED TO START
As each one of us is a different and unique individual, we also have different and unique brains. Because of this, we tailor treatment to the individual. When you come into our office for a consultation or to begin treatment, we will assess: Is brain yoga or Neurofeedback appropriate for you and your goals? What is the best treatment plan for to achieve those goals? Are other modalities and/or diagnostics really necessary? And what is the best timing if they are needed? And we will also make a determination about how often you should have training. Once we begin treatment we may make adjustments to this treatment plan.
Getting started is easy, just give us a call. The Brain and Wellness Center staff will answer all your questions, and help you get scheduled. We can schedule you for an intake, a telephone consultation, or a face to face consultation and see our facility. Call, email or message us today!
Brain and Wellness Center, 7301 W. Palmetto Park Rd., Suite 102A, Boca Raton, FL 33433. (561) 206-2706, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or text us at (561) 206-2706 or visit our website at www.BocaBrainCenter.com.