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(1) Traditional neurofeedback encompasses SMR (Sensory Motor Rhythm) training and Alpha-Theta training. Traditional neurofeedback converts selected EEG signals to visual and/or sound cues (eg, a movie or a video game) - the feedback you hear or see. When your brain makes more or less of selected brainwaves, then the feedback changes eg, the movie becomes clearer or fuzzier, the game moves faster or slower.
(2) LENS (Low Energy Neurofeedback System) converts selected EEG signals into tiny electromagnetic pulses which is fed-back to your scalp. Your brain seems to recognize this feedback in a way that allows it to loosen stuck patterns or otherwise become more flexible.
All neurofeedback involves direct brain-to-brain processing. You cannot voluntarily change or control your brainwaves. You can get yourself out of the way and allow your brain to change itself.
Your conscious mind doesn't have a lot to do with the neurofeedback process. Your brain learns directly from the feedback it receives. It likes receiving the rewards and learns all by itself. All you need to do is remain focused and still (not like a statue!) while you sit back and enjoy a DVD or watch the game unfold before you.
Neurofeedback is backed by more than 30 years of research and clinical application. Neurofeedback is based on 3 scientific facts:
•Brain state is reflected in EEG readings;
•EEG features can be voluntarily and selectively altered;
•The brain memorises the neurofeedback effect.
Neurofeedback aims to correct and optimize underlying patterns of brain dysregulation. By balancing sub-optimal arousal patterns, the symptoms of a wide range of psychological and neurological conditions can be alleviated or remediated.
Under arousal patterns typically underlie inattention, low energy, depression & sleep dysfunction.
Over arousal patterns typically underlie impulsiveness, hyperactivity, high anxiety, anger and rage reactions, obsessive compulsive symptoms, tics & hot flashes.
Unstable arousal patterns often underlie epilepsy, autism, migraine, chronic fatigue, bi-polar symptoms and other psychiatric illness.
The benefits of neurofeedback appears to be permanent in most cases. Positive patterns of brainwave function become encoded in the brain just like learning how to ski or ride a bike.
There are no known harms from neurofeedback. However, just like a physical workout at the gym, some people may experience transient side effects such as fatigue or insomnia, headache or mood changes. These effects are more likely in the early stages of training and generally pass after a few hours.
With regular neurofeedback training, clinically significant improvements occur in 75-80% of cases (Hammond, 2011).
Neurofeedback benefits are enhanced when your brain health is nourished. Depending on the complexity & severity of your needs, we may recommend you support your neurofeedback training with dietary modifications, nutritional supplements, prescription medications, physical exercise, acupuncture, psychological therapy or osteopathy.
Neurofeedback is NOT a "cure" for anything. Instead, it rebalances brain patterns so you can implement strategies to accomplish tasks in life. When your brain functions better, you function better.
We will assess your suitability for neurofeedback by taking a bio-psycho-social history, seeking to understand your challenges and goals and measuring your:
· Attentional abilities;
· Cognitive function;
· Physical and emotional arousal trends; and
· EEG patterns.
If there are alternative ways to achieve your goals, we will discuss these with you. Neurofeedback training involves a significant commitment of time and money.
Training sessions last 45 minutes including prep time. We suggest you train twice weekly. Trainees usually require a minimum of 20-25 sessions to achieve a sustainable benefit. We review progress at every 10th session. Consistency of attendance is important to maximize benefit. You can expect to notice changes within 10 sessions. With LENS you'll notice changes more quickly, often after the first session.
Websites to learn more
This 4min video has been prepared by a well-respected and credentialed neurofeedback practitioner, writer and teacher, Mike Cohen.