I recently had my first real session in Neurofeedback Therapy following my intake/assessment session to determine if it would be helpful to me. Before I go too far with this, I want to briefly explain what Neurofeedback Therapy is.
Everyone has 5 brain waves that they shift between at different points of the day for different reasons.
For example, at bedtime your brain should be shifting into a Theta phase and then (when you’re fully asleep) into a Delta phase.
Conversly, when you’re wide awake and, say, bungee jumping, you would likely be in the Gamma phase.
On any given day, when you’re going about your business, your brain should be in the Beta phase.
This ability to shift between the different brain waves at the appropriate times shows flexibility – the goal for efficient brain function. A flexible brain is a happy brain. 🙂
Simple right? Not really.
Why Your Brain Waves Aren’t Changing Gears
Some brains don’t shift between “gears” efficiently and this may be due to a variety of reasons. They can be classified as ‘the big 6’:
2.Medications (including alcohol)
How Neurofeedback Helps
Neurofeedback is used to help treat a variety of things such as stress, anxiety, depression, ADHD, migraines, sleep disorders, behavior disorders and more.
Ordinarily, we cannot influence our brainwave patterns because we lack awareness of them. However, when you can see your brainwaves on a computer screen a few thousandths of a second after they occur, it gives you the ability to influence and change them. The mechanism of action is operant conditioning. We are literally reconditioning and retraining the brain. At first, the changes are short-lived, but the changes gradually become more enduring. With continuing feedback, coaching, and practice, we can usually retrain healthier brainwave patterns in most people.
What Is A Session Like?
Neurofeedback sessions are extremely relaxing, easy and painless. Electrodes are placed on the scalp and earlobes which send your brain waves to a computer. Meanwhile, you have on a pair of headphones and are listening to soft, gentle music. When your brain waves start to cross over into ‘unhealthy’ zones the music is interrupted by static noise.
Because the brain likes things to be seamless, this static noise is irritating and trains your brain to come back into a healthy range. (This always makes me think of Pavlov’s dog because the principle is the same – conditioning.)
You can expect a session to last 30 minutes and over time your brain will get used to functioning within healthy zones/waves.
I’ve only been to one session so far, so I can’t tell you how well the therapy works.. but expect an update as soon as I complete my first 10 sessions!!