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Neurofeedback/Biofeedback /


What is Neurofeedback?

Neurofeedback is biofeedback targeting the brain. Neurofeedback is direct training of the brain, by which the brain learns to function more efficiently.

What is Neurofeedback used for?

Neurofeedback addresses problems of brain dysregulation. These happen to be numerous. They include the anxiety-depression spectrum, attention deficits, behaviour disorders, various sleep disorders, headaches and migraines, PMS and emotional disturbances. It is also useful for organic brain conditions such as seizures, the autism spectrum, and cerebral palsy.

Conditions that neurofeedback may help:

The list is exhaustive. The most conclusive evidence of the efficacy of neurofeedback is in the treatment of ADD/ADHD. However, more and more research shows how effective neurofeedback can be in the treatment of other brain disorders: depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder and addictions of all sorts.

It may also work on traumatic brain injury, tics, autism spectrum disorders and seizure disorders.

Some take medications to help, others wish to avoid medications. Either way, neurofeedback may offer a reduction in symptoms, which can be permanent.

In the field of Peak Performance neurofeedback can help people achieve:

  • focus and concentration in high stress situations
  • endurance
  • shorter recovery time
  • improved sleep quality
  • “the zone”

How Does Neurofeedback Therapy Work?

We observe the brain in action from moment to moment usually using an EEG (which measures the brain’s electrical activity). We then show that information back to the person and we reward the brain for changing its own activity to more appropriate patterns.

This is a gradual learning process. It applies to any aspect of brain function that we can measure.

Neurofeedback is training in self-regulation. It is simply biofeedback applied to the brain directly. Self-regulation is a necessary part of good brain function. Self-regulation training allows the system (the central nervous system) to function better.



What is Biofeedback?

Making someone aware of biological activity to improve performance.

We measure biological activity by measuring things like

  • Respiration rate
  • Heart rate
  • Skin conductance
  • Skin temperature
  • Muscle tension
  • Brain waves (EEG)

Different types of biofeedback can be used to monitor different body functions:

Electromyogram (EMG). This measures muscle activity and tension. It may be used for back pain, headaches, anxiety disorders, muscle retraining after injury, and incontinence.

Thermal. This measures skin temperature. It may be used for headache and Raynaud’s disease.

Electrodermal activity (EDA). This measures sweating and can be used for pain and anxiety.

Heart rate variability (HRV). This measures heart rate. It may be used for anxiety, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and irregular heartbeat.

Biofeedback therapy sessions last between 15 and 30 minutes. Usually, you can start to see biofeedback benefits within 10 sessions or less. Some conditions, such as high blood pressure, can take 20 or more sessions to improve.

What is biofeedback used for?

There is a whole range of health conditions that experts believe can be treated with biofeedback therapy. In fact, it is a very popular choice over drugs, because it does not have any significant risks or cause undesirable side effects.

Other benefits of biofeedback therapy are that it is noninvasive and can be an alternative to medications, which is particularly useful for pregnant women.

In the field of peak performance it can be used to fine tune our physiology and brain to help “get the edge”.

In corporate circles it can help people work at their best in stressful situations. This can lead to an increase of productivity and better decision making.

Conditions that biofeedback may help:

  • Raynaud’s disease
  • Back pain
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Headaches
  • Diabetes
  • Migraines
  • Chronic pain
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Learning disabilities
  • Muscle spasms
  • Motion sickness

How Does Biofeedback Therapy Work?

Researchers know that biofeedback promotes relaxation, which can help relieve a number of conditions that are related to stress.

During a biofeedback session, sensors are attached to your skin. Finger sensors can also be used. These electrodes/sensors send signals to a monitor, which displays a sound, flash of light, or image that represents your heart and breathing rate, blood pressure, skin temperature, sweating, or muscle activity.

When you’re under stress, these functions change. Your heart rate speeds up, your muscles tighten, your blood pressure rises, you start to sweat, and your breathing quickens. You can see these stress responses as they happen on the monitor, and then get immediate feedback as you try to stop them. Biofeedback sessions are typically done in a therapist’s office, but there are computer programs that connect the biofeedback sensor to your own computer.

A biofeedback therapist helps you learn to fine-tune the control of different body functions. For example, you might use a relaxation technique to turn down the brainwaves that activate when you have a headache.

Several different relaxation exercises can be used in biofeedback therapy, including:

  • Diaphragmatic breathing
  • Progressive muscle relaxation — alternately tightening and then relaxing different muscle groups
  • Guided imagery — concentrating on a specific image (such as the color and texture of an orange) to focus your mind and make you feel more relaxed
  • Mindfulness meditation — focusing your thoughts and letting go of negative emotions

As you slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and ease muscle tension, you’ll get instant feedback on the screen. Eventually, you’ll learn how to control these functions on your own, without the biofeedback equipment.

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