Can you train your brain?
With neurofeedback therapy, you can Experts in the field of brain science have found a way to maximize your brain’s ability. With this medicine-free and powerful brain training process, your brain can hurdle obstacles that once prevented it from performing at the optimum level.
Neurofeedback is a safe, non-drug, and non-invasive technique for training the brain. This reward-based training system is a form of biofeedback that works to alter the brain’s electrical activity and help it function at its best.
Also known as electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback, it gives immediate feedback from a computed-based program. This program is used to assess brainwave activity using aural or visual tools to retrain or reorganize the brain signals. The client’s responses to this process contribute to their learning curve and improve brain function.
While neurofeedback and its earlier versions can be traced as far back as the early 1920s, advances in neurosciences have made it possible to increase knowledge about the subject. These days, neurofeedback is used as a therapeutic intervention to alleviate symptoms of different mental and neurological disorders.
If you’re wondering how neurofeedback can be of help to you, here are some of its applications and uses:
1. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental conditions in childhood that can last until adulthood. About 2.5 percent of adults as well as 8.4 percent of children have ADHD. Inability to maintain focus, excessive movement that is inappropriate for a setting, and impulsive acts are some of the most pronounced symptoms of this condition.
Fortunately, neurofeedback is a viable intervention tool for ADHD. If based on standard ADHD protocols, findings from meta-analyses and randomized controlled trials found that three neurofeedback training protocols may be efficacious – sensorimotor rhythm (SMR), slow cortical potential (SCP), and theta/beta rhythm (TBR).
A neurofeedback therapy session can help normalize the patient’s behavior without dependence on behavioral therapy or medications.
2. Achieving Peak Performance
Artists and surgeons may benefit from the effects of neurofeedback. This is especially true of athletes.
Studies found that sports pros have different activity patterns compared to neophytes in the case of professional athletes. Creating or emulating these patterns through the help of neurofeedback therapy may improve performance. It can also enhance an athlete’s confidence, psychomotor and self-regulation abilities, and future performances in competitions.
3. Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD)
ASD is another neurodevelopmental disorder that presents challenges from childhood to adulthood. People with autism may have difficulty with social communication and interaction, behavior and interests, and verbal and non-verbal communication. They may also experience emotional and psychological issues and seizure episodes, among others.
Based on well-researched qualitative studies on neurofeedback in children with autism, various positive outcomes have been recorded. These include a decrease in anxiety, autism symptoms, impulsivity, and the need for special education services. It has also improved attention, educational performance, focus, neuropsychological and social function, and sleep patterns.
4. Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety is often defined in clinical medicine as having a high level of muscle tension. According to research findings, decreasing the frontal electromyogram (EMG) levels using EMG biofeedback can help reduce generalized and specific anxiety patterns. Since it is believed that anxiety impedes alpha waves, alpha training can help alleviate stress.
On the other hand, neurofeedback training may be used to treat depressive patients without medication use. Using an EEG to monitor brain waves, patients are rewarded in the form of a better visual or sound while watching their favorite show on TV when the brain does something right. Over time, the brain can be trained to respond appropriately to stimuli and become capable of processing emotions, focusing better, and experiencing significant social relationship improvements.
5. Drug Addiction
There are also study results that support how neurofeedback can be helpful when addressing drug addiction. Long-term use of drugs profoundly affects a person’s EEG, and neurofeedback training can reduce cravings and temptations. The same intervention can also be used to treat addiction to alcohol and computer games.
6. Dyscalculia, Dyslexia, and Learning Disorders
Neurofeedback therapy may improve learning disorders such as dyscalculia (difficulty with mathematics and understanding numbers) and dyslexia (difficulty with reading, writing, and spelling).
Increased alpha wave activity using neurofeedback is found to help address these conditions. The therapy process involves a reward or reinforcement system that acknowledges or reinforces good behavior. It rewires through intensive brain training exercises, practice, and immediate feedback, thus reducing the difficulties in maintaining focus, anxiety, and learning irregularities.
Known as an epidemic disorder, insomnia is a common sleep condition that makes it hard for a person to sleep or stay asleep, or causes them to wake up too early and keeps them from going back to sleep.
Neurofeedback can help regulate sleep patterns and improve sleep by increasing the sleep spindle density and stabilizing the nervous system that regulates arousal, sleep, and wakefulness.
Mind Your Mind
Neurofeedback is an innovative way of training your brain — of managing or regulating the brain’s inner workings for better and healthier function. By going through repeated training sessions using the latest computerized neurofeedback science, a person’s central nervous system is regulated and reorganized. Studying brainwave frequencies and assessing the brain’s information on dysfunctional areas makes it easier to pinpoint the specific root of the problem.
When looking for a neurofeedback therapist, make sure to choose a licensed or certified health professional. They should be trained to use the neurofeedback equipment and be highly knowledgeable about the methods used for various types of neurological issues. Aside from having a stellar educational background and relevant experience, the therapist you choose must be able to clearly explain the neurofeedback process, its benefits and its limitations, and help you feel comfortable discussing your health concerns.
Dr. Upasana Gala is the founder and CEO of Evolve Brain Training. This award-winning neurofeedback-centered institute focuses on using non-invasive brain training techniques to maximize the brain’s true potential. Earning a doctorate in Neuroscience from the revered Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Gala has spent over a decade trying to unravel how neurochemical and neurophysiological changes in the brain affect the way we interact with the world. Her goal is to share her knowledge, encourage others to tap into and expand their brain’s capabilities, and dispel any myths surrounding our most complex organ.
· Neurofeedback: A Comprehensive Review on System Design, Methodology, and Clinical Applications. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4892319/
· Neurofeedback. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/neurofeedback· Neurofeedback as a Treatment Intervention in ADHD: Current Evidence and Practice. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6538574