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Neurofeedback Therapy

Electrical impulses—that is, brain waves—move through the brain and determine how one feels, interacts, sleeps and organizes. It governs everything from walking, cooking or driving to eating, sweating or getting scared.

When brain waves are too slow, individuals may feel too sluggish; too fast, they may feel too nervous. “Harmonized” brain waves are essential for functioning and feeling good—the “optimal range.” 

Neurofeedback (NFB)—also called neurotherapy—is a non-invasive, mind-body technique that aims to help individuals harmonize their brain waves, to gain voluntary control over typically involuntary body functions. Training with neurofeedback helps individuals to better focus, relax, decrease foggy thinking and increase clarity and cognitive stamina.

During NFB sessions, sensors placed on the scalp (using electroencephalography or EEG) measure an individual’s brainwaves and provide real-time feedback about how their brains react to certain triggers. They learn to recognize when their brain is in a certain state and, over time, to recreate the desired state (relaxation) or avoid undesired states (agitation) in their daily lives.

In this way, the brain “learns” how to bring abnormally fast or slow waves into the optimal range. For example: 

    • When brain waves are in the optimal range, the client is rewarded by watching a movie without interruption.
    • When the client gets distracted and brain waves slip into the abnormal range, the movie screen fades—a negative experience that causes brain oscillations to move toward the optimal range.
    • When this happens, the brain is again rewarded by the movie continuing without pauses or fading.
    • The brain learns to optimize brain waves associated with being calm and focused—and gets rewarded when brain waves (based on EEG feedback) are harmonized. 

Although neurofeedback therapy is not new, the research remains inconclusive, and the practice is often ignored by the mainstream medical community. There are, however, hundreds of published studies that demonstrate NFB can be an effective mental health treatment for many people, when administered as a long-term treatment option. 

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