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Neurofeedback

What is neurofeedback?

Neurofeedback is an exciting, high-tech, computer-video based method using special brainwave analytical software and active patient participation to enhance and optimize brain function through visual and auditory feedback. It provides a safe, non-pharmacologic and training based methodology to help you learn how to train and improve the key driver to overall health, wellness and performance: the six inches between your ears. I have witnessed the power of neurofeedback first-hand and am very excited about this technology to help millions of people especially as it becomes more portable and affordable.
Neurofeedback is rapidly advancing and gaining more and more research support for a variety of different uses: from managing specific medical conditions such as ADHD, depression, migraines, and addictions as well as performance enhancement for the serious athlete. The underlying premise with neurofeedback is that faulty brainwave patterns can be changed and re-conditioned through training sessions; much like repeated sessions at the gym with a trainer can improve strength and flexibility.
Like any form of “biofeedback”, the key feature of its effectiveness is its ability to give you instant information on a physiological process, in this case, your brain. This is done through visual and auditory presentations of brainwave function which then conditions you how to change and optimize neuron function, depending on the protocols set. In general, an in-depth QEEG analysis is done prior to starting therapy so that a thorough diagnostic picture can help guide the treatment protocols determined by the technician.
I am extremely excited about the promise of neurofeedback and its approach to train and condition versus pharmacologic therapy alone which often has unwanted side effects. In the military it will help support performance and help those suffering from physical and mental health conditions (such as depression, PTSD and TBI) as a result of their time in combat. I have witnessed first-hand the clinical and performance benefits in patients and world-class professional athletes alike, especially when combined with nutritional interventions such as Omega-3 EPA/DHA fish oil. There are approximately 100 billion neurons in your brain and just like you wouldn’t dream of improving your muscles without exercise and diet, neurofeedback and Omega-3 EPA/DHA fish oil is the same for our “brain strength.”

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Will neurofeedback help people who have ADHD?

Neurofeedback is a safe, non-pharmacologic alternative approach to improving mental health and mental performance and is effective for the treatment of ADHD, a disorder characterized by inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. It seems to especially effective for the inattention and impulsivity aspects of the disorder. There are several excellent clinical trials to support its effectiveness. In fact, in the last few years, two major scientific organizations in this field, the AAPB (Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback) and ISNR (International Society for Neuronal Regulation) have raised its efficacy rating to “Level 5” (which means it is generally recognized by experts as being “efficacious and specific”), the highest rating given out by the organizations.

Background: Children with this disorder have very specific physiological problems in brainwave activity, which can be seen most clearly when a QEEG (baseline brainwave analysis) is performed and this is generally recommended prior to initiating the training protocols. It is well known that different brain “states” (e.g. sleep, drowsiness, awake, focused, anxious, etc) are associated with various brainwave patterns and frequencies in specific locations. Children that are hyperactive with concentration problems produce too much “Theta wave forms” and too little “Beta wave forms” in some parts of the brain. These two types of brainwaves (Theta/Beta) are associated with drowsiness/inattention and alert/focused, respectively.

Neurofeedback uses instant video feedback on brainwave activity (measured by sensors on the scalp) so that the parts of the brain generating the abnormal proportions of brainwaves can be taught to function normally by teaching the brain to produce the correct proportions of brainwaves through several “training” sessions (generally 10-20 sessions over several weeks). Basically, it is similar to playing a video game using your brain; with the game set up specifically to improve andoptimize specific types of brainwave activity set in the protocols. This allows transition of the performance to day to day experiences (in the classroom, at home, work, etc) rather than only when sitting at the consoles of a game.

I am very excited about this technology and combining neurofeedback with Omega-3 EPA/DHA fish oil for enhanced outcomes in mental performance and ADHD. I have witnessed first-hand the dramatic benefit this confers to patients and athletes.

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