Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback ~ from pieces TO PEACE
By. Joy Martin

Active Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is a specialized type of biofeedback, which directly trains brain function. Utilizing EEG (electroencephalogram) signals gathered from sensors placed on the scalp, we extract information about certain brainwave frequencies, and show the information back to the client. As the client observes the ebb and flow of their brain activity, we collaborate on the change they look to find. To achieve this desired, more regulated performance, the client plays a video game with his or her brain. The brain is rewarded for changing its own activity to more desirable patterns. This training in self-regulation helps to develop more desirable brain function.


Neurofeedback provides us with the opportunity of looking at psychological and neurological problems through a bioelectrical lens rather than the neuro-chemical avenue we have grown so accustomed to. Through this method, we are able to address conditions most commonly treated with medications, in an innovative approach. Naturally our bodies desire balance, and neurofeedback merely assists the brain in bringing itself and the body back into balance.


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Passive Neurofeedback

Passive Neurofeedback (Direct, NeuroGen, HPN, Microcurrent) is a type of brainwave based biofeedback that has shown clinical efficacy in addressing the symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), PostTraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Post-Concussive Syndrome, Anxiety, Depression, and Attention Deficit issues (AD/HD).  Although it may seem contradictory, it can be calming, energizing and mood-lifting simultaneously.  Head pain often dissipates quickly.  Foggy thinking and confusion typically give way to clear thinking and a more even, more elevated, and less emotionally reactive, mood. 

 

While it may take 20-30 sessions, sometimes more, for effects to become lasting, the client frequently begins to notice the improvement with the first session, often before getting out of the chair.  Sometimes this improvement is dramatic.  At first, improvement is typically short-lived, often measured in days. By the completion of the appropriate set of training sessions, improvement is expected not only to last, but to continue increasing slightly on its own over time. Our office utilizes the full protocol of 10 site pairs to provide comprehensive coverage of the brain.  

 

During a session, the system tracks the brainwaves (EEG, or electroencephalograph), and sends directly back to the brain tiny, imperceptible, ultra-low power signals, or “whispers", that result in changes toward a more highly functioning  brainwave pattern.  In this way, the brain seems to learn new patterns of behavior and becomes de-habituated from “stuck” patterns that represent suboptimal processing, reorganizing itself naturally into a healthier and more flexible way of being.  As the brain learns to function in this more efficient manner, it becomes accustomed to this higher-functioning way of being, and the effects last longer and longer.  It’s as though the brain recognizes the reflection of itself, in its own language, and makes the appropriate adjustments, forming new habits in the process.  Sessions require no conscious effort on the part of the client. 




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These effects occur, independent of age, comprehension, or physical or mental capacity, although younger ages tend to respond more rapidly.  The practitioner will frequently notice immediate changes in the brainwave patterns, and the client often notices the shift that occurs during the session.  A typical client perception is first relaxed (and/or sleepy), then, by the end of the session, energized.  Family and friends will likely begin noticing the shift in mood and behavior in the first 1-4 sessions, often on the ride home from the first session.  Behavioral changes are frequently noticed first by family, then by the client.  Headache and emotional volatility are frequently first to respond. 


Clinicians find HPN generally seems to work much faster, and often more effectively, than most other systems that are based on providing signals to the brain.  Four separate signals are developed simultaneously, sending minute pulses through four unique, but overlapping paths through both the cortex and deeper structures of the brain.  These signals contain information related to, but different from, the client's dominant EEG frequency.  The effect we observe tends to be the re-distribution of energy in the suboptimal EEG patterns, resulting in generally more efficient brain functioning.