What is Neurofeedback?
Biofeedback and neurofeedback training allows individuals to interact with their physiology further teaching clients to control and manipulate internal states related to mental health conditions.
In order to understand what Neurofeedback (NF) is, it is essential to understand the brain. The brain is an information engine. It is oriented toward processing lots and lots of information at the same time. What goes on in the brain is the brain talking to itself about itself. One key aspect of brain function is that neurons don’t act alone. The human brain consist of about 100 billions neurons and if a small number of these neurons fail at performing a particular task it really does not make a big difference. The essential task is bunch of neurons performing in groups and acting in harmony. EEG is a composed of a range of frequencies form zero to more than hundred hertz. People can be taught to generate more or less of these specific frequencies which has important implications for brain function. Neurfeeback is a brain exercise and specifically we’re exercising the brain’s ability to self regulates. The headroom that we have available for better function through brain training is much larger than the headroom we have through exercise. This allows you to wake up better, fall asleep better, pay attention better and calm down better. All of those mood state management issues underlie good function. There are certain basic ways that the brain can fail to self-regulate appropriately. A person could be stuck in high arousal, have difficulty calming down, falling asleep. A person can also be stuck in low arousal, have difficulty waking up and being motivated. Also the brain could just spiral out of its own control into a symptom like a migraine or a panic attack or a seizure.
NF can be helpful with wide variety of people, different ages from very young children to adults to old age to people with very sever condition to people who just want to improve their performance who are already functioning quite well.
The frequency that is awarded to the brain is variable from individual to individual. Within the first session and from session to session we need to dial in what is the most comfortable and effective reward frequency, how much do we need to get a person more calm or more activated. Once the correct frequency is mapped out, then we can think in terms of placement of the electrodes and we can get quite specific in terms of which brain function we want to target by where we put the electrodes on the head.
Typical NF session starts with putting the electrodes on the head to ensure the brain waves. Nothing goes into the brain but we are measuring what the brain is already doing and then we use those brainwaves to drive the video game which is the feedback to the client. For example, with inner tube when the brain is achieving the goals that we set, the rocket ship accelerate, makes more exhaust which is a reward. If your brain goes off in the wrong direction then a black fog comes in and obscures the tunnel. So we are finding these ways to twisting the arm of the brain if you will to react and do our bidding. And it is that push on our part and the push back on the part of the brain that affects the gradual learning process by which the brain learns to behave better.
People have noticed the change immediately after the first session. Practitioners of NF recommend twenty session blocks because twenty sessions is enough to get a significant measurable change. Over a number of sessions, we can get the brain to adopt a different style of functioning. NF has shown promising benefit for people on the autism spectrum, severe chronic pain, agitation, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, dementia etc. This is the frontier of neuroscience and literally everything that the brain manages is coming within our reach. The has relevance to the children who are failing in school, to the severely mental ill individual and to the incarcerated population, addicts, memory issues among elderly and also sport performers who would like to be at the top of his game, to corporate executive and to stressed housewife.