How Neurotherapy Works: The Simple Explanation
Neuro-biofeedback is a technique that targets brainwave frequencies to teach self-regulation. The method trains your brainwaves, just like physical exercise can train your body. When the brain is not functioning optimally, this is often reflected in mental or physical problems. Restoring function to the brain by means of neuro-biofeedback can alleviate a large variety of physical and emotional problems.
Neurofeedback training can reduce anxiety and depression as well as symptoms such as migraine or chronic pain. Disrupted sleep patterns, hyperactivity, attention deficit, post-traumatic stress and emotional instability are also frequently associated with dysregulation in brainwave frequencies and as such can be targeted with neurofeedback training.
This is possible because mental or physical problems are often reflected in imbalances in the brain. When a brain is functioning well, and the person is attentive, the frequencies of brainwaves show a particular pattern. When the brainwave frequencies deviate significantly from the norm, there may be an adverse impact on cognitive, emotional, and physical function. Neurofeedback helps re-train the brain to function normally by providing positive reinforcement, therefore often relieving problems in the body and mind.
How? You will be asked to sit in front of a computer monitor and watch a video. The video responds to the specific criteria determined by the individual's brain training protocol. This process is totally non-invasive.
"By using current technology we are able to chart brain frequencies, which is called brain mapping. You can see exactly what part of the brain lags behind (doesn't show enough activity) or which parts are overactive." - Marty Wuttke
How Does it Help?
Often, neurofeedback can help break undesirable mental or behavioral patterns. It can help break such cycles by providing reinforcement for "normal" function during the course of training. Normally we can't influence our brainwaves directly, however when you see your brainwaves a few thousandths of a second after they occur it is possible to retrain your brain.
Because of its wide scope of application, neurofeedback has met its share of the same healthy skepticism that every new approach claiming numerous benefits encounters. Nonetheless there is well-documented clinical reports concerning the effectiveness of neurofeedback, also called neurotherapy for therapeutic applications.
For scholarly, peer-reviewed research and data about check out NeuroRegulation, an official publication of the International Society For Neurofeedback and Research.
Brainwaves: The Key to Change
At the root of all our thoughts, emotions and behaviors lay the intricate networks of communication among the billions of neurons within our brains. A measurement of this communication activity, like the rhythm or pulse of a flowing river, is the brainwaves. Brainwaves are tiny pulses of the electrical activity that are produced as the neurons communicate with each other. By influencing these electrical patterns, we can change the brain's communication. This means that when there are patterns set up within the brain that are not working correctly there will be corresponding problems. As an example: when you experience stress and you feel the reaction occur in your body such as a stomach ache, headache or some other symptom, your brain has triggered within itself a pattern that results in these symptoms. These patterns are sometimes referred to as pathologically stable patterns. These pathological patterns can arise from a variety of possible stressors, i.e. abuse, physical trauma, emotional trauma, chronic continuous stress, worry, anxiety, etc. As a response to the perceived threat, the brain has adopted a protective pattern in an effort to deal with the past (it can be just a memory) or present trauma. The brain is simply doing the best it can to protect us and enable us to deal with the real or unreal dangers and threats it perceives. A wide variety of problems and disorders can be traced back to this underlying problem.