What Is Neurofeedback Training? Think of neurofeedback (or EEG biofeedback) as a personal brain training session. Training the brain to function at its maximum potential is similar to the way the body is exercised, toned and maintained. Brain training exercises the neural pathways that allow the brain to build its resilience, which is called neuroplasticity. This can impact a number of areas, so keep reading for more information on
HOW NEUROFEEDBACK WORKS SELF DEVELOPMENT & CREATIVITY MEDITATION & MINDFULNESS EMOTIONAL BALANCE STRESS & ANXIETY TRAUMA
HOW DOES IT WORK? To understand neurofeedback, first we need to understand a little about brainwaves. Brainwaves are the electrical impulses produced as your brain cells communicate with one another. Brainwaves tell us a great deal about how you feel and function; your thought habits, stress levels, underlying mood and overall brain function. During a neurofeedback session, sensors are attached to the scalp with EEG paste which then pick up your brain waves. It is painless and does not involve the application of any voltage or current to the brain, so it is entirely non-invasive. A computer processes the brain waves and extracts certain information from them. We compare what your brain is actually doing to what you'd like it to be doing. When your brain is nearing what we call "optimal frequency," you are rewarded with a positive response on the computer screen. The sounds and images tell you immediately when your brain approaches your optimal frequency and when not. When the screen plays correctly, it is because your brain is moving in the right direction. When the screen shrinks or fades, it is because your brain is heading the other way.
Much like physical exercises develop specific muscles, the more your brain is exercised into reaching its optimal frequency, the better it gets at it. As with learning any new skill, it simply requires time and repetition.
SELF DEVELOPMENT & CREATIVITY Happiness is all about how we perceive and react to life’s events. Neurofeedback helps clear negative inner dialogue and widens perspective, allowing our intrinsic personality to emerge. Smooth brain communication promotes focus and emotional balance, helping us reach our full personal potential. The most common benefit people report after training with neurofeedback is a new vitality; a familiar but forgotten sense of being more their natural self.
Professional athletes and musicians use neurofeedback to build the ability to be ‘in the zone’; tuning out distractions during key situations, increasing processing speed and focusing all their energies on the task at hand. Smoother function equals greater poise under pressure, improved recovery speed after an error, and less ‘over-thinking’ in crucial moments.
MEDITATION & MINDFULNESS Through mindfulness and meditation research, neuroscientists have come to recognize the emotional and health benefits of a clear, balanced and centered mind. By training a quiet and clear mind, more subtle and complex thoughts come into awareness. We become more resilient, more connected, more ourselves; allowing intuition and inspiration to flow.
The advantage of integrating modern neuroscience with eastern traditions is that any essential mental training can be accomplished in a much shorter time, working directly with the brain's inherent neuroplasticity. Neurofeedback brain training acts as a mental compass, showing the way into states that are difficult to reach without guidance. After some practice, you can get there on your own.
EMOTIONAL BALANCE Emotional balance is the ability of the mind and body to maintain equilibrium and flexibility in the face of challenge and change. Emotional balance promotes physical health, and is a prerequisite for personal well-being and growth. We all experience negative thoughts and emotions from time to time, but if we stay in any state for too long, we lose the ability to return to our balanced, neutral position. We might find ourselves “locked” in any number of negative states; such as anger, fear, worry, dissociation, self-sabotage or depression; agitation, impulsivity, anxiety, panic attacks and sleep trouble, lack of drive and motivation, or poor concentration. These stuck emotions run just below the level of consciousness, intangible yet often overwhelming. The uncomfortable emotions can dominate our thinking process and give rise to inappropriate reactions that impair our ability to be at our best.
Neurofeedback teaches the brain how to break out of these involuntary habits, allowing a shift back into our natural, contented state – with greater happiness and resilience in whatever circumstances we face.
STRESS & ANXIETY Stress, when managed properly, can be a real asset to performance. However, prolonged exposure to stress strengthens that pattern within the brain. Just like with muscles, brain patterns grow stronger with use. Stressed becomes the new normal. When we are chronically stressed, we underperform at almost everything. It affects the tone of the central nervous system, affecting hormonal balance, supressing the immune system, imparing mental processing and emotional control.
Likewise, anxious thoughts are damaging to the physiological system, and can present physically in a myriad of ways. Migraines, fears, phobias, sleep trouble, irritable bowel, digestive difficulty, anger issues, adrenal fatigue, burnout; most every system in our body suffers when under prolonged stress.
Neurofeedback is a targeted and direct method to show your brain how to return to a natural, unstressed position.
TRAUMA In the context of brain function, trauma can be defined as any event or experience that changes your vision of yourself and your place in the world. It may occur as the result of one single event, or it could build up gradually due to a threatening or lonely environment. The imprint of trauma exists in our society in epidemic proportions; from war and its victims, to victims of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. As everyone with trauma knows, when brain activity is altered by traumatic events, it can be a heavy burden to carry. What may have served us as a necessary self-preservation response in the past seldom serves us in the present. Neurofeedback therapy works at a deep subconscious level, breaking the cycle of trauma and post-traumatic symptoms. By identifying and training the areas of concern, neurofeedback gives your brain the tools to shift your viewpoint and move past traumatic events – without having to talk about them, explore them, or relive them.
PROGRAM DETAILS The Othmer Method of neurofeedback proscribes a specific and effective protocol for administering your brain training. Here is an outline of the process:
Intake/Assessment - Symptom identification and desired outcomes defined (One hour) Initial Objective Testing - Baseline from which to measure progress, computerized (One hour) Neurofeedback Training - 20 sessions, ideally semi-weekly or weekly (30 minutes per session) Minimum required for therapeutic purposes Symptom Tracking - Subjective report by client at each session to track symptoms initially identified (10 minutes per session) Intermediate Testing - Retest after 10 sessions to assess progress, computerized Post Testing - Retest after 20 sessions to assess results, computerized