Feeling anxious? Depressed? Having memory issues? Do you lack focus? Have you experienced trauma that causes recurring post-traumatic stress symptoms? Is restorative, predictable sleep an issue for you?
Our brains control our bodies and our thoughts. The human brain is a highly contextual system of chemical and electrical activity with around 100 billion neurons. Our brains are designed to function in a balanced, responsive state: to adapt to changes in our bodies and environments with relative ease.
But when something goes wrong, whether it be genetics, environmental exposures, severe illness, malnutrition, traumatic events, or chronic stress, the brain can become “dysregulated.” Brain dysregulations are numerous and include disorders like anxiety and depression, autism, attention deficiency, behavior, sleep, migraines, emotional instability, seizures, cerebral palsy, eating disorders, PTSD, focus, and memory issues.
Neurofeedback addresses problems of brain dysregulation, or imbalance. Neurofeedback monitors brain activity and trains the brain to function more efficiently and balanced.
Training The Brain Back Into Balance
Since the brain is malleable and capable of “neuroplasticity” – learning new thoughts and behaviors – we can actually re-train the brain to function more optimally, again.
Neurofeedback (also called Neuro Therapy) is a non-invasive process where brain waves are monitored in real-time by a computer, which can then use that information to produce changes in brainwave activity. The process of adjusting brainwave activity is known as operant conditioning, which is a method where rewards for positive behavior increase learning capabilities.
The key to successful neurofeedback is to lower certain brainwave frequencies while promoting other, healthier frequencies over time.
When that happens, we are able to more readily change our thoughts, behaviors, and even health state. It can improve alertness, attention, emotional regulation, behavior, cognitive function, and mental flexibility. When the brain moves back into normal ranges, users will often see a reduction in symptoms.
First, a brain map is conducted of the brain (see below) that shows where the imbalances are taking place. During neurofeedback training sessions, electrodes are applied to the scalp in order to measure brainwave activity. The signals give feedback via wires to a computer, where they are processed and recorded. The ebb and flow of a person’s brain is examined, while their brain is being stimulated with either a movie or music.
The software compares the incoming brainwaves to that of an optimal brainwave in the target range. If the brainwaves deviate from normal ranges, it triggers the audio or video to fade. The brain automatically detects this and refocuses itself back into the proper range. This process is repeated hundreds of times per session. Sessions usually last 30 minutes.
With enough repetition of this process, the brain eventually learns to stay in the normal ranges on its own without the computer. With the brain functioning normally on its own, symptoms of irregular brain activity will decline.
Training the brain using neurofeedback can change these brainwaves over time, adjusting them into normal, healthy ranges. It can improve alertness, attention, emotional regulation, behavior, cognitive function, and mental flexibility. When the brain moves back into normal ranges, users will often see a reduction in symptoms.
The best part of neurofeedback is that results are often permanent, allowing a person to reduce or even eliminate medications altogether.
Where medications only manage the symptoms, the goal of neurofeedback is to address the underlying cause and restore normal brainwave functions.
How Does Brain Mapping Work?
The brain is a highly complex organ made up of billions of cells called neurons. Neurons send and receive messages to and from all parts of your body. These messages are electrical impulses that create brain waves. The brain map (also called a neuro map) is an important tool we use to evaluate your brainwaves and identify opportunities to improve communication between various regions of the brain. The brain map is able to capture a window of brain activity, analyze the data, and create a visual representation of each lobe of the brain and each specific brain wave (Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta).
Using a cap placed on the scalp, our software captures the electrical impulses in the brain. This method is known as an electroencephalogram (EEG). The results show brain wave patterns in different parts of the brain. The process takes about 15 minutes, and the data is then converted into a visual brain map report. We analyze the brain map report and identify any problem areas. The report will display the results in a clear and concise format that can be easily understood.
Interested in learning more? Visit Cognitive Solutions today. Or, schedule a FREE neurofeedback consultation to see if brain training is right for you! Call or visit us for more information. We are located near Boise, in Meridian, ID.