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What is EEG Biofeedback (Neurofeedback)?
Please note: This page is presented for informational purposes only, as I am not currently practicing EEG Biofeedback or LENS Therapy. Biofeedback treatment is a very powerful and effective therapeutic tool and I highly recommend it for the conditions mentioned in these pages.
About the Brain
Every behavior we engage in originates in the Central Nervous System (CNS-the Brain and Spinal Cord). The CNS is composed of billions of cells, called neurons, organized into complex, interrelated systems which control the processes of sensation, perception, thinking, memory, emotion and behavior.
Neurons are specialized cells designed to transport bioelectrical information, like wires are used to transport sound and pictures. Just as a stone thrown into a pond will cause a ripple effect across the surface, the pulses that neurons make echo through the entire brain and can be detected using specialized sensors placed on the scalp and an instrument called an Electroencephalograph (EEG).
These bioelectrical ripples are called brainwaves and the quality of these brainwaves has a profound effect on the quality of our daily functioning. Different types of brainwaves are associated with different states of consciousness and functional levels. From deep sleep to high performance physical and mental activity, and everything in between, brainwaves direct the activity. There are certain brainwave patterns, called Low Frequency waves, that are associated with states of deep sleep, dreaming, wakeful imagination and relaxation. Other patterns, called High Frequency waves, are associated with mental focus and concentration.
Typically, many problematic physical and psychological conditions are associated with abnormal brainwave patterns. For example, people with low energy types of problems (Depression, Brain Injury, ADD/ADHD, et al.) have an overabundance of low frequency dreaming waves and a shortage of high frequency concentration waves. Conversely, people with high energy types of problems (Anxiety, Panic, Phobia, et al.) have an overabundance of high frequency brainwaves and a shortage of the relaxation brainwaves.
Through the process of EEG Biofeedback, people participate in a process that monitors their brainwave activity in real-time and allows them to learn how to normalize it, without the use of drugs. This EEG Biofeedback training process has been demonstrated to be effective in helping people increase their attention and concentration, leading to significant improvements in health, functional performance and well being. Moreover, many people treated with EEG Biofeedback have been able to decrease or even eliminate their medication for the condition from which they were suffering.
EEG Biofeedback Training, (also known as Neurofeedback or Brainwave training), is the non-invasive, painless, drug-free, effective way to create healthy patterns of brain functioning. In EEG Biofeedback training, no signal or electricity is introduced into the brain. The procedure has never produced any significant negative side effects.
Sensors are placed on the patient's ears and scalp. The sensors placed on the scalp allow the natural activity of the brain to be recorded and analyzed electronically by a computerized EEG instrument. The patient then hears tones and sees lights which indicate how well the brain is succeeding in maintaining the particular brain wave state it has been asked to achieve, and plays "games" on the computer's video display which reinforce healthy (non-symptomatic) brain wave patterns. The session is enjoyable, and the patient is rewarded by the computer for good concentration and attention.
Training sessions last for about 20 to 25 minutes per session, 1 to 3 times per week. The process works according to the psychological principle of operant conditioning. Seeing the lights and hearing the tones for appropriate brainwave activity provides the reinforcement. The brain naturally and automatically responds by creating those appropriate brainwave patterns more and more of the time, whether or not the patient is actually connected to the biofeedback instrument. No conscious effort, vigilance or even willpower is needed.
During the course of treatment, as appropriate brainwave states begin to outnumber inappropriate brainwave states, symptoms dissipate and in some cases may disappear. The brain and body start naturally to function in the manner they were designed to, in balance and promoting optimal health and well-being.
EEG Biofeedback is not a miracle cure
EEG Biofeedback is not a miracle cure or magic bullet by any means. It does not work instantaneously. Rather, consider it to be a learning or training program, much like a weight training program, or learning to read, ride a bicycle, or play a musical instrument. Like any learning, it takes time and practice to insure progress and eventual success.
But, for most people who have benefited from this treatment, it is well worth the time and effort expended. A complete course of training comprises approximately 20 to 40 training sessions. After training is completed, under normal conditions, no additional sessions are required. Unless there is some new trauma, like a head injury, severe illness, or high stress event, the positive patterns learned in the training are permanently maintained by the brain, just as are the patterns one learns for reading or riding a bicycle.
"Normalize and Optimize"
Healthy brainwave patterns are closely related to healthy psychological and physical states. The brain can be trained to regulate itself. Through the use of this advanced technology, brainwaves that facilitate balanced and healthy behaviors can be chosen over those that underlie familiar but maladaptive behaviors. EEG Biofeedback helps people improve physical, mental and emotional conditions by using signals from their own bodies. Research has indicated that specific brain wave imbalances are associated with conditions such as:traumatic brain injury, seizure disorders, stroke, spinal cord injury, stress-related disorders, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, ADD/ADHD, substance abuse, tension and migraine headache, Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and chronic pain. These conditions may be regulated with the use of EEG Biofeedback.
Just as importantly, clients without any specific clinical disorder have also utilized and benefited from EEG Biofeedback training topromote states of profound relaxation, optimal physical and mental performance and emotional well-being.EEG Biofeedback works not only to help people normalize problematic conditions, but also to reach their full physical, psychological and spiritual potential.
©2010 Jim Giorgi/DoKwang Augenblick