We are hearing daily of the impact our brain health has on our lives, and with that I would like to look at some of the recent findings regarding the benefits of neurofeedback training. We offer neurofeedback treatment here at Wholeness Healing Center. Neurofeedback is a treatment that engages the brain (trains the brain) to increase the connections in the brain and to operate more optimally. Working in the area of neurofeedback treatment has continued to show me how significant the brain impacts our daily functioning when, through training the brain, you can stimulate change.
Treatment benefits include a wide array of possibilities, some of which are improved sleep, memory, focus, stable mood, decreased depression, decreased anxiety, decreased anger and/or decreased chronic pain. When we take the initial assessment with you, before starting this training, we assess how your brain functions, looking to note if your brain is overaroused or underaroused. Some symptoms that may show up with an overaroused brain are explosive anger, anxiety, panic attacks, inability to let down and relax, or difficulty falling asleep because you cannot shut off your mind. An underaroused brain may fall into the area of showing depressive symptoms such as lack of concentration, lack of motivation, inability to focus, and/or inability to stay asleep or poor sleep patterns. Or you might also see more Attention Deficit Symptoms such as lack of following through on a task, difficulty focusing, or not completing homework.
Neurofeedback is used for treatment of many conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, depression, anxiety, conduct problems, autism, impulsivity, aggression, specific learning disabilities, sleep problems, and chronic pain such as frequent headaches, fibromyalgia, or migraines. It is also helpful to control mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.
And if you feel as if you have good brain fitness and are not dealing with anything that causes you great discomfort, you can focus on taking your brain to a new and improved level by improving your performance in an area of your life. This is done through brain brightening training which enhances your brain and helps take you to take you to a new level of performance. And who isn’t interested in having peak performance for their brain and for their life? Another area that we can offer through neurofeedback training is to focus on alpha/theta training which takes your brain to a calming, meditative state. And when you take your brain to this place, you take YOU to this state. Again, this trains the brain to develop new pathways, teaching you how to relax and go to a meditative state that allows you to rest the brain and receive the benefits of a meditative state.
Overall, what we find is that how your brain functions definitely impacts the quality of your life. If your brain is not regulating in an appropriate way, then life is out of kilter as well. We respond more optimally when our brain is in balance. Our emotions, sleep, and mood are all better regulated. Our body feels better. And we handle life with a more positive perspective. Individuals of any age can benefit from neurofeedback training. We all need to continue to bring about brain fitness through the wide variety of ways that we have at our fingertips and implement this into our daily life. Neurofeedback is definitely one avenue to consider. Research backs this up.
There have been several research reports which support the benefits of neurofeedback for specific areas. One area is for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A study that was conducted in Germany explored the effects of neurofeedback as a non-pharmacological treatment of ADHD. The study compared the efficacy of neurofeedback with computerized attentional skills training. The study focused on children between 8 and 12 years of age. The finding of this study was that children in the neurofeedback group made significantly greater improvements in parent and teacher ratings of ADHD symptoms as compared to the group with computerized attentional skills training. (Gevensleben H, 2009) Our experience with neurofeedback treatment of ADHD here at Wholeness Healing Center has found that children (and adults) are able to train their brain to focus better, follow through on tasks, and be less oppositional.
Another study that was published in the Science Daily in March showed that significant changes were observed in brain plasticity following alpha brainwave training. In this study, researchers found that half an hour of voluntary control of brain rhythms is sufficient to induce a lasting shift in cortical excitability and function. Researchers found that with the aid of neurofeedback systems, which essentially mirror the brain waves to the client for instantaneous feedback of brain activity, the client can learn to control his brain activity. What they further discovered was that tangible changes in cortical function actually took place after the brainwave training. This implies neuroplastic (plastic reorganization of brain structure and function) change within the brain. (Ros, Munneke, Ruge, Gruzelier, & Rothwell, 2010) The researchers state that inner control of one’s own brain activity can be learned with the aid of a neurofeedback . The exciting part of this is that we can change our brain and when we do this, we really do change the quality of our lives!
Gevensleben H, H. B. (2009). Is neurofeedback an efficacious treatment for ADHD? Child Psychol Psychiatry , 50; 780-9.
Ros, T., Munneke, M., Ruge, D., Gruzelier, J. H., & Rothwell, J. C. (2010). Endogenous control of waking brain rhythms induces neuroplasticity in humans. European Journal of Neuroscience, 31 (4): 770.
Tags: Benefits of Neurofeedbavck, neurofeedback
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
- Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.
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