What is Neurofeedback?
When your doctor uses a stethoscope to listen to your heart and lungs, he is using a simple biofeedback instrument. Over the past few decades machines have become technologically sophisticated enough to detect, amplify, and record these biological signals.
Our bodies contain more information and communications than the World Wide Web. Each and every organ, muscle, bodily system and cell is talking and listening to one another. If this communication deteriorates, or a system becomes dysregulated, it affects all of the other systems. Keeping the lines of communication open would seemingly be important if we were to remain healthy.
Biofeedback allows us to listen in on our body’s own internal communications. When these internal events are detected and fed back to us, we can use this information to change undesirable patterns that may be contributing to poor physical and/or mental health.
For decades, neurofeedback providers worked with their clients to change brain waves using programs like video games. The thought was to train the brain to produce more or less of various frequencies which correspond to different brain states. Working that way involves a certain amount of speculation which can produce good results, but may also result in side effects. In recent years, it has become possible to train the brain in a different way, with little if any risk of side effects.
The NeurOptimal® state of the art central nervous system training system goes beyond neurofeedback as it is traditionally done. There is no speculation about what your brain needs. Instead, this system monitors your brainwaves and alerts your central nervous system when it is not functioning smoothly. Basically, the system records your brainwaves and mirrors them back to your brain so it can self correct.
Imagine that you had a crick in your back causing you to walk or carry yourself differently. You may not even know you were doing anything out of the norm until you stood in front of a mirror. Upon seeing your reflection you might straighten up, drop a shoulder, tilt your hip forward or any other slight adjustment.
NeurOptimal training gives your brain feedback about its maladaptive patterns and then your brain decides how to use that information to improve its overall functioning. Because your brain does this in the way that is uniquely right for you, it’s not being pushed or pulled in a provider chosen direction, making the process virtually side effect free.
Life coaches and psychotherapists use the NeurOptimal® neurofeedback system to support and enhance their work with clients. As a healthy brain has the ability and versatility to change states of arousal and attention. When new situations in a person’s life demand specific levels of arousal and awareness, a healthy brain can quickly adapt and move to the appropriate level of alertness. Training the central nervous system also better prepares users to handle daily life challenges that could possibly hinder their pursuit of wellness.
Contrarily, the unhealthy brain may be under-aroused and sluggish or over-aroused and anxious. What’s more, the dysregulated brain has a reduced ability to respond to specific demands as it may be lacking the normal elasticity of the healthy brain. Simply, the brain is not processing information at the proper speed. It is either too fast or too slow. In addition, the brain is not communicating information properly with itself, so it is out of sync with itself (for a detailed explanation see Global Dysregulation on our Resource page).
Conditions that are helped by the NeurOptimal feedback system
Although NeurOptimal neurofeedback does not treat specific conditions, specific symptoms are alleviated because you are improving the overall functioning of the central nervous system.
A recent survey of NeurOptimal trainers comprising 1.2 million sessions found these areas of function improved with training:
- Stress— worry and fearfulness
- Anxiety, panic, hypervigilance
- Sleep disorders
- Learning problems— ADHD symptoms, lack of focus, inability to attend to tasks
- Headaches and migraines
- PTSD and trauma symptoms
- Head and brain injuries
- Cravings and addictions
- Low self-esteem and self-image
- Stuck patterns of thinking and behaving
Neurofeedback for Children
NeurOptimal is a safe neurofeedback therapy for children because it is not introducing anything new to their systems, just feeding back information about what the central nervous system just did. As mentioned above, the training is similar to the metaphor of holding a mirror up, so the brain can see when it is responding inappropriately or ineffectively. And then the brain decides how it wants to change.
As a matter of fact, this training is ideal for infants and very young children because of its passive nature. There is nothing that needs to be understood or even communicated verbally to the child, no “training protocol”. It is quite wonderful to be able to say that there is no activity for the child to either succeed or fail at. There is no work involved on behalf of the child other than relaxing in a chair listening to music. Children can listen to their own music, brought on a CD, or they can bring in a DVD to watch.
Reasons for children to train:
- Attention problems / ADHD
- Improved ability to stay focused on tasks such as school work, music lessons, sports activities
- Stress reduction
- Anxious feelings
- Depressed feelings
- Release traumatic memories and after effects