By: Dr. Jeff LaGree, D.C
Neurofeedback (NFB) is a form of therapy where we’re given real-time feedback on brain activity. With this information, we are able to retrain the brain to function more optimally, ultimately giving you the ability to change habits from the inside out. Extensive research has shown that individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD, sleep problems, PSTD, addiction, and a number of other issues and symptoms can all benefit from NFB Therapy.
You can actually teach your brain to stop engaging in certain unproductive emotional patterns and other symptoms and start engaging in more productive ones. This is possible due to the brain’s ability to change by rewiring the way the brain processes information and responds. Just as you can learn to program a computer, you also have the power to break the brain’s unhelpful habits and create new routines that serve you positively.
WHAT CAN NEUROFEEDBACK THERAPY HELP YOU WITH?
NFB can have positive and lasting results with:
• Sleep Problems
• Stroke Recovery
• Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
• Parkinson’s Disease
• Stress Related Conditions
No matter what symptoms you are facing, with the right help you can claim a new sense of control over your life. You can get your best life back.
HOW DOES NFB WORK?
Neurofeedback (NFB) therapy is all about making the brain’s function better! While the brain loves to function optimally, over time with the stresses of life it can develop habits that are not so optimal. So if you have symptoms like worrying, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, or a heavy cloud of depression…these are the brain’s “BAD HABITS” which need to be broken. NFB can rewire and reprogram your brain activity and make the unwanted symptoms go away. Remember, the symptoms you’re struggling with are not you, nor are they signs that you are “broken” or “weak”. Instead, they are a result of the current wiring in your brain that needs to be reprogrammed.
We can teach the brain to make gentle positive adjustments and also reward the brain for getting back on track. Your brain wants and loves to be rewarded! As you continue consistent treatment, your brain will continue to make positive adjustments as a way to keep experiencing that satisfactory feeling of reward.
- So, there are two mechanisms that are happening in biofeedback:
CONDITIONING: The brain modifies its behavior based on consequences. The brain knows how to make positive adjustments in order to receive a reward as consequence for doing something good. An example of this is earning points while playing a game. When done repeatedly: 1). The brain feels how good it is to be rewarded and 2). The brain learns what it needs to do to experience that feeling again and again. This is called “Brain Conditioning”.
- MIRRORING: Your brain experiences the reward for “earning more points”. Then on the EEG computer screen, you actually see the brain respond to that reward. This is real-time feedback or “mirroring”. This helps the brain learn quickly what it needs to adjust. As a result, new habits begin to take shape. Your brain gets in the habit of making positive adjustments depending on the information at hand, and then you start to enjoy long-term results.
For another example to understand NFB, imagine your brain as an orchestra. All the different instruments represent various parts of your brain. NFB is the orchestra’s conductor. “Percussion, pick up the tempo; strings, slow down; horns, turn up the volume a bit.” The orchestra makes these adjustments and begins to perform beautifully. It is rewarded by the audience’s applause and the musician’s paychecks. The applause and the paychecks are good incentives for the orchestra to continue playing harmoniously.
If you or a loved one has been struggling with frustrating symptoms for a long time, there is hope and help. To find your sense of harmony and get your life back, you need to work with a skilled conductor.
BEYOND LIMITS APPROACH TO NEUROFEEDBACK THERAPY
For positive and lasting results, it is important to work with a skilled team of clinicians who are committed to helping you alleviate distress through NFB. Think of us as two detectives working together, investigating different areas of your brain. This allows us to see your brain activity, with a focus on how your unique brain is operating and where we can make improvement.
Once we have a roadmap, we need to access parts of the brain that aren’t functioning optimally, and we can begin to make positive adjustments, just like the conductor of an orchestra. Once your brain begins to learn new ways to play harmoniously, it will carry those new skills out into “the real world” and continue receiving positive reinforcement. In other words, outside of the session, you can keep developing and utilizing your new habits in every area of your life.
My personal experience with NFB has been extremely positive. It’s improved the overall quality of my sleep, has given me amazing calmness and focus, and has helped me get rid of all my anxiety/ADD/ADHD issues.
Professionally, I am constantly amazed by watching clients with life-long challenges, ranging from headaches/migraines, depression/anxiety, ADD/ADHD, stroke recovery, PTSD, autism, sleep problems, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s, stress-related conditions, and anger management, discover that their brain is reprogrammable and can be trained to function differently than how it has been in the past. Many of our clients are astounded and say, “I always thought it was me, but it’s actually my brain!” With their new experience and understanding that the brain can change, they are able to process information better and move forward with their lives as their most optimal and successful selves.
As you Neurofeedback Practitioner, I will come up with a plan on how to best integrate NFB into your life. For example, if you are working with any other doctors involved in your healing process, I will team up with you and your team to be a wonderful complement so you can feel and find the sense of empowerment you need to navigate the world with greater ease. Patients often don’t know how good they can feel, until they start to feel better!