The activity in your brain determines everything you feel and do. While most people have normal brain function, they still have chemical imbalances or chronic emotions that affect their day-to-day life. This is where neurofeedback can help.
Neurofeedback is a way to train brain activity, it is a specialized treatment that uses advanced computer technology for balancing and optimizing your brain. To understand neurofeedback, first we need to understand a little about brainwaves.
Brainwaves are the electrical impulses produced as our brain cells communicate with one another. Brainwaves tell us a great deal about how we feel and function; our thought habits, stress levels, underlying mood and overall brain function.
During a neurofeedback session, we compare what your brain is actually doing to what you'd like it to be doing. When your brain is nearing a more comfortable state, you are rewarded with a positive response on a computer screen. Usually this ‘neuro-feedback’ is in the form of a video game, music, or movie.
The sounds and images tell you immediately when your brain approaches a more efficient place and when not. When the video plays, it is because your brain is approaching the desired state. When the video stops, 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 a more comfortable, more efficient position, the better it gets at it. This brain training is called 'Neuroplasticity'. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to alter its connections, organization, and function based on the experiences and behaviors we engage in on a daily basis. It equips the brain with resilient and adaptive strength and makes learning and growing possible with neurofeedback, YOU become an active participant in healing your own brain. You will play a video game or movie using just your brain.
Here’s how it works: Electrodes are placed on your forehead to measure electrical activity in your brain. Then, you will be asked to either play some games or complete a puzzle with the help of your brain waves using a computer screen. When your brain performs how we would like it to, the computer program rewards you (on screen). But if you get distracted, the computer responds by letting you know that you need to readjust your focus. With a little practice, you can learn how to control your brain activity and replicate the patterns that are most helpful for brain health and growth. Because the brain has actually learned (or relearned) a more efficient way of functioning, it will continue to create new pathways even after the neurofeedback session has ended.
Neurofeedback and ADD/ADHD
Over the past 30 years, many clinicians have reported on the efficacy of this safe and natural process for treating ADHD. In fact, the American Academy of Paediatrics named neurofeedback a “Level 1: ‘Best Support’ intervention for ADD/ADHD, on par with medication” in 2012. For parents who are wary about using a single approach (such as medication alone) to treat their child’s ADHD, neurofeedback is a welcome alternative.
In our experience, ADHD patients who receive neurofeedback treatments are able to:
- Increase their reading skills and decrease their need for medication.
- Reduce their impulsivity and aggressiveness
- Improve their quality of sleep.
- Neurofeedback can help boost focus and overall brain health in both psychiatric patients and anyone who wants a natural way to optimize their brain.
Neurofeedback and anxiety
Neurofeedback, also called EEG biofeedback or neurotherapy, is a research proven way to help you improve your brain function through intensive brain training exercises. Although the technology is complex, the process is simple, painless, and non-invasive. It is just learning. You learn to alter your brain activity the same way you learn every other skill. You learn through feedback and practice. What is new in neurofeedback is that you are guided by a form of feedback that was previously not available to you. You get instantaneous information about changes in your brain’s electrical activity. Every half second, your brain activity is compared to your targets for change. You get a signal and “reward” when you meet the goal. No signal or reward when you do not.
In 20 neurofeedback sessions, with feedback every half second, you get 72,000 chances to learn. That’s a lot of repetition and practice. Brain science has shown that repetitive exercise of brain networks reshapes the brain. Neurofeedback allows you to reshape anxiety networks in your brain.
Neurofeedback and Emotional Balance
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. These 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.
What Are the Benefits?
Patients have reported enhanced memory and focus, decreased impulsivity and anxiety, better mental clarity, more restful sleep, improved mood, and a host of other benefits after using neurofeedback.
How Many Sessions Are Recommended?
For optimum results, it is recommended that patients receive 20-30 neurofeedback sessions per symptom. Appointments can be made twice/thrice a week and each session lasts 30-40 mins.
Is it Safe?
Neurofeedback is non-invasive, has no side effects and is safe for people of all ages.