How Does It Work?
How does it work?
Neurofeedback trains the brain to modify or control brainwave activity via auditory and visual feedback. Stress levels in today’s culture are unprecedented and pervasive. Chronic physical, mental, emotional, chemical and electromagnetic stress is unavoidable. These toxins discharge the brain, causing it to lose fluidity, resiliency, and balance. This can underscore a wide variety of symptoms throughout the body.
Neurofeedback acts like your brain’s mirror. Brain wave activity gets reported back to the central nervous system in live time. When the software detects a tremor in your brain wave pattern, it sends an audible signal that encourages the brain to self-correct. There’s no forced electrical “shock.” The system operates at the same frequency of “electricity” that the brain already uses.
NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback doesn’t push your brain into a pre-determined “better” pattern, based on comparisons between your brain and someone else’s. There’s no “average” or “best” level of brain function to achieve. The central nervous system simply receives clear and accurate information about itself. That way, your brain can assemble its own best organizing strategies moment-by-moment. This trains your brain to remain fluid and balanced without forcing patterns or responses. Because the brain is neuroplastic– always growing new brain cells and connections- it applies this feedback without needing to be artificially or intensely pushed in any specific direction.
The human brain is amazing- it knows exactly what to do with the feedback it receives. It just needs to receive that information without toxicities or injuries interfering with the process. Neurofeedback simply sharpens the picture so your brain can get down to business more effectively.
Neurofeedback training isn’t like a gym workout- you won’t lose progress once you’ve completed your sessions. Since the brain can’t “unlearn” this training, each session builds upon previous ones. Progress doesn’t fade.
Your personality won’t change. You’ll still be you after your neurofeedback training- only better!
Neuroplasticity: Why It Matters
Ever wonder what makes your brain “smart?” It’s something called neuroplasticity. That’s the brain’s ability to birth new neurons, create newer and stronger connections, and reorganize neural pathways- all while it’s busy doing a million other tasks. Your brain knows what’s best for you and can keep you primed for optimal learning and living.
Until recently, scientists thought your brain’s capability was almost completely established at birth, for the rest of your life. There was a little more improvement possible during a few critical childhood developmental periods, but that was about it. It was assumed that you were born with a set number of brain cells and as they died, they weren’t replaced. Losing brain cells to injury or old age meant that you’d simply decline in cognitive ability, and nothing could really be done about it. Now we know this isn’t true at all. You have far more control over your mind and brain than was ever thought possible, even in old age.
Neuroplasticity is the way brain adapts to life experience- your environment, emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. It creates resiliency, and that’s important because it’s the basis for long-term learning. Neuroplasticity also makes recovery from injury, disability, or ineffective thought processes possible. But here’s the paradox: neuroplasticity is also what makes the brain vulnerable to trauma. Because what you give attention to shapes the plasticity of your brain through a natural “pruning” process- pathways you don’t use regularly simply wither away as blood flow is instead directed toward busier brain regions.
Simply put, your mind shapes the brain and your brain shapes the mind. The brain’s physical structure, and the quality of your mind’s thoughts, require the best of one another to effect optimal growth and wellbeing.
What does that mean? If you’ve experienced a physical trauma like a concussion, the structural changes are likely to cause changes to neural pathways, potentially affecting any of the brain’s normal processes. You could experience physiological symptoms like headaches or nerve damage in your extremities. Emotional or mental changes might also occur, such as depression or extreme anger.
It works the other way around too- emotional upset like constant anxiousness results in more neural pathways wired for anxiety. As those pathways are ingrained, your ability to not be anxious becomes more and more unreachable. After awhile, all that anxiety actually changes your brain physically. Anxiety is literally wired in as your go-to mode of being.
For all you science geeks, here’s the low-down: neurological changes happen as the brain reorganizes itself functionally and structurally. This reorganization is happening all day, every day- either strengthening and building upon good patterns… or developing and reinforcing less beneficial ones. As a brain pattern becomes more consistent, the connections between neurons become more sensitive, and new neurons grow. That produces thicker neural layers, effectively locking those neural patterns is in place.
You can think of these thickened neural layers as “ruts.” When your brain has deeply rutted neuropathways, it’s really hard to establish newer pathways without intervention. This is great news when you’re building healthy ruts. You can build more easily upon previous learning.
But what happens when the brain deeply establishes a negative rut over time? Such as a chronic pain pathway, obsessive-compulsive thinking, or depressive thoughts? You experience a sort of “stuckness” that is expressed physically or mentally- and usually both. It can be very difficult- seemingly impossible– to pull yourself out of a rut like this. Intervention is often needed.
Neurofeedback is that intervention. Neurofeedback provides the information needed for the brain re-set itself, so inefficient “ruts” are dropped and neuroplasticity is better enabled. You experience this as better balance, as symptoms begin to resolve. Your neurofeedback training redirects the brain to establish more beneficial neuropathways, as less healthy ones are pruned away.
What else can you do to encourage neuroplasticity?
Neurofeedback helps the brain re-set and achieve balance. To further encourage neuroplasticity, and lock in a healthful, balanced state, there are other things you should be doing. Meditation and mindfulness practices are very helpful, since research shows that chronic stress disrupts neuroplasticity. General brain health via good nutrition, quality sleep, proper oxygenation, and positive mindset is also critical. Anything that helps you focus on positivity creates the right environment for neuroplasticity- this could be through spirituality, cognitive therapy, spending time in nature, and life/health coaching measures. Determine a few key lifestyle changes that make sense for you and optimize your brain’s natural health.
Bottom line: good brain health today requires conscious effort. That’s why, at BodyMind Balance, you’ll receive education on proper brain nutrition and other lifestyle measures to support your neurofeedback training. With a well-rounded brain health program, you can achieve symptom resolution and performance enhancement in multiple areas of your life.
Is our neurofeedback program right for you? Find out!