What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback brain training is a method of teaching the brain to naturally self-correct when it is about to enter a turbulent state. It uses technology which has been researched and refined for over fifty years. Though neurofeedback was quite expensive in the past, recent innovations have made it affordable and available to a wider audience. Surface electrodes are placed on the scalp and brain wave activity is transmitted to the computer software. Auditory and visual feedback is provided instantly, so that the client sees and hears representations of their brain in action. The client is instructed to observe the auditory and visual feedback and allow the nervous system to reset itself based on that feedback. As the nervous system reorganizes itself based on this instantaneous information, the patterns begin to normalize. Over the course of 20-30 training sessions, neuroplastic modifications take place resulting in the brain’s ability to self-regulate, maintain flexibility, and smoothly shift between states of relaxation and arousal. Since the brain also controls attention regulation, emotional regulation, and affect regulation, this ultimately allows the central nervous system to resume normal functioning. Many disorders are caused by poorly functioning patterns in the brain. Extensive research shows that the brain can restructure itself, and learn adaptive patterns at any age. Check out our Neurofeedback research HERE.
What Happens During a Neurofeedback Session?
At your initial free consultation at PeakBrain, you will speak with one of our certified and credentialed neurofeedback trainers. They will talk with you about what goals you wish to accomplish through brain training and answer any questions you may have. After filling out a form covering some basic information and your recent medical history, it will be time to start your first neurofeedback session.
At this point, you will be seated in a comfortable chair. Your trainer will place sensors on your scalp, allowing the neurofeedback device to monitor and analyze your brainwaves. While this is happening, music will begin playing through a set of earbuds. When the machine senses that your brain is about to enter a turbulent state of mind, you will hear a click or skip in the music.
These skips or clicks are the cues that tell your brain it is about to engage in an unhealthy thought pattern. The signals are often so quick that you won’t actively notice them, but their precise timing allows your brain to interpret them and self-correct. As this is done by the brain’s subconscious, you can enjoy your neurofeedback session with your eyes open, closed or even while napping. Though you may feel quite relaxed during these sessions, your brain is hard at work learning how to avoid harmful states of mind. Over the course of 20-30 sessions, this skill becomes instinctual, leading to lasting improvements in your quality of life.
Throughout the entire session, your neurofeedback trainer will be available to answer any questions you may have.
Common Myths About Neurofeedback
As neurofeedback has only recently begun entering the mainstream medical field, there are some widely held misconceptions about brain training. Many of these beliefs are due to the fact that most people are simply unfamiliar with neurofeedback in general. Below you’ll find the truth behind three brain training myths.
MYTH 1 – NEUROFEEDBACK IS USED TO TREAT SPECIFIC DISORDERS.
Many people view brain training as a form of medical intervention, meant for treating disorders including ADHD, depression, or insomnia. This isn’t the case. What makes neurofeedback so effective is that instead of treating symptoms or individual conditions, it improves the way the brain functions as a whole. By optimizing their thought patterns, every aspect of an individual’s life can be improved.
MYTH 2 – NEUROFEEDBACK INVOLVES “SHOCKING” OR OTHERWISE INVASIVELY MANIPULATING A PERSON’S BRAINWAVES.
The device used to facilitate brain training only monitors and analyzes your brainwaves, looking for turbulent patterns of thought. When the brain is identified as entering into a detrimental state of mind, the only cue it receives is through an auditory, or heard, signal. The brain uses this information to naturally self-correct on its own. Neurofeedback simply gives your brain the tools to fix itself.
MYTH 3 – NEUROFEEDBACK CAUSES CHANGES IN PERSONALITY.
Those who have gone through a long-term struggle with anxiety, depression or ADHD often view their conditions as part of their identity. This is often reinforced by popular culture, where stereotypes such as the tortured artist or the brilliant-but-unmotivated student abound. If these problems are viewed as a part of someone’s personality, anything that removes them can be wrongfully seen as changing who they are, whether it’s medication, therapy, or brain training.
However, these positive changes allows people to rediscover who they truly are outside of their personal issues. Neurofeedback doesn’t alter anyone’s personality – it gives them the opportunity to rediscover it outside of their fears, worries and obstacles. This kind of personal growth is one of the biggest benefits of brain training.