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  6. Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback




Our brains, the controllers of our bodies, are intricate systems of chemical and electrical activities with about 100 billion neurons. While we know a lot about how the brain works, there is still a lot to learn. What we do know is that the brain is designed to adapt to changes in the body and our environment and function well at all times. Neurofeedback is all about training the dysregulated brain to self-regulatest.

Brainwave activity

The waves in the brain can be detected at different frequencies and are associated with different physiological and neurological states. The waves in the brain are called alpha, beta, delta, theta and gamma.

  • Delta (1-4Hz): These are often predominant in sleep and associated with the repair of the brain, intuition, emotional radar, trauma and unconscious thought.
  • Theta (4-8 Hz): These are present in subconscious thought, and associated with insight, meditative and creative.
  • Alpha (8-12 Hz): Alpha are associated with a neutral, peaceful, relaxed state and are important because they allow the flow from restorative sleep to alertness.
  • Beta (12-32 Hz): There are three frequency bands and these waves are associated with mental alertness, physical relaxation, sustained attention, thinking, focusing, and conscious thought. The higher beta waves are associated with a hyper-status, especially extreme anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Gamma (33-64 Hz): These are associated with integrative thinking, creativity and learning.

Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback that acts as a reward system for the brain to restore your brainwave patterns to a more optimal range of functioning. It is a non-invasive treatment that works toward improving the source of your unwanted symptoms.

Neurofeedback is used to treat many conditions such as: ADHD and ADD, stress disorders, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, headaches, migraines, concussions and sleep issues. It also may be used to aid memory concerns; to help individuals struggling with epilepsy, PTSD, obsessive/compulsive behaviors and aggression; as well as to assist to repair brain damage from stroke or a traumatic brain injury.

There is considerable complexity in how the brain operates. This is why, before any form of neurofeedback training can take place, appropriate assessment is done in advance to see what EEG frequencies are excessive or deficient. This allows for the treatment to be tailored to the patient. The assessment is also backed by both physical and psychological examinations, including an qEEG, that will improve diagnosis and rule out that could impact the training and outcomes of the therapy.

Brainwave activity is measured with an electroencephalograph (EEG). The EEG Biofeedback equipment is connected to the individual with sensors that are placed on the scalp and ears. This is just attached with some paste to the scalp and only read the brain waves.

The sensors are safe, do not prick the skin, and are painless. After adequate connection to the scalp and ears are made, the individual's brainwave activity can be observed on a computer monitor.

Neurotherapy practitioners who administer Neurofeedback will help the client learn to change his or her brainwave activity. The client does not need to know a lot about Neurotherapy or biofeedback to be effectively trained.

Clients are taught to play computerized games using their brainwave activity. Changes in client brainwave activity are fed back to the individual through visual and/or auditory information by the computer.

One example is a game where clients drive a racing car on a track. The car does not move because of the client's motor activity (e.g., pushing a button or moving a stick). Instead, the car drives whenever the client produces specific brainwave patterns.

When desired levels of brainwave activity occur, they are reinforced, because the car starts to race around the track. By this method, clients learn to change brainwave activity.

Clients also practice maintaining learned brainwave states when engaged in school or work related tasks (e.g. reading, writing). This will help them use what they learned from neurofeedback in their daily activities. Lot's more information available from http://biofeedbacksa.co.za/