Neurofeedback is a specialized form of biofeedback Biofeedback is the monitoring of a bodily function to acquire voluntary control of that function. There are many methods of neurofeedback. I am trained in the Othmer Method. The goal of neurofeedback is to “allow the nervous system to calm down and reset itself onto a better path.” Protocol Guide, 2017, p 2.
The Othmer’s have been refining their method for over 30 years. They use software named Cygnet, meaning, “a baby swan”. I love The Ugly Duckling fairy tale. Similar to that story, neurofeedback has been unrecognized and undervalued in the past. It is beginning to be regarded as a beautiful option for improving people’s lives. The Othmer’s personal story about their son, Brian and his experiences with neurofeedback, is recorded in Siegfried Othmer’s book, Brian’s Legacy. From early childhood, Brian experienced, epilepsy, Asperger’s and ADHD. Brian’s personal journal entries are included in the book.
What happens in a neurofeedback session?
In a training session, sensors are placed on a client’s head to “observe” brainwaves. The client may watch a movie or computer-generated material on a screen. The information about these brainwaves is relayed back to the client’s brain instantaneously, through three forms of feedback:
Through these three feedback sources, the brain “witnesses” its own EEG activity. The conscious brain is entertained, and the subconscious brain recognizes that the feedback is connected to its own functioning. The brain modifies itself to work more flexibly and efficiently. Improved functioning is made possible since the brain controls our emotional wellbeing, psychological health and every system in our body. Thus, there can be relief of emotional and physical brain-based symptoms.
Cygnet offers a variety of brain wave training options, which are selected to suit each individual. These options are described briefly here.
1 – Infra-low frequency (ILF) training increases self-regulation (regulating itself without external sources). The goal of ILF is to improve flexibility and stability of the brain.
After significant calming with ILF has been achieved, Alpha-Theta or Synchrony training can be done.
2 – During Alpha Theta training, the person is guided to a state similar to the place we are just as we are falling asleep, or waking up, where we’re conscious, and very relaxed. Alpha-Theta helps to resolve psychological distress, such as PTSD and/or learned fears and habits. The person is guided to de-couple a traumatic event from the ongoing distress.
3 – Synchrony can increase resilience and well-being. This may be used in addition to ILF training. I invite you to watch a video of a long-term meditator from Vietnam, who said Synchrony produced results similar to his meditative practice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mGoAYWovUU
From the ART website we read: “ART is a form of psychotherapy that utilizes eye movements to help clients address common problems such as depression, anxiety, phobias and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In Accelerated Resolution Therapy, a client can focus on a problem while concurrently using eye movements. During this process, the brain makes new connections with a person’s strengths and problem-solving abilities. It produces quick and effective results. ART is effective with adults as well as children.“
ART is similar to EMDR (I am also trained in EMDR), and I prefer ART.
Veterans Alternative Accelerated Resolution Therapy
Heartmath is another useful biofeedback tool. It focuses on increasing coherence, which is the synchrony between the heart, brain, and lungs. This goes beyond deep breathing. It is a total body experience that is calming and centering. More information about it can be found at their websites.
Heartmath produced the following video.
The Heart’s Intuitive Intelligence: A path to personal, social and global coherence
The Alpha-Stim AID is a small device that uses low voltage Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation therapy to reduce symptoms of pain, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. My clients can experience the Alpha Stim in my office and then decide if they want to purchase one for home use.
A user of Alpha Stim tells his story in this video:
Dakota Meyer Shares Battle with Anxiety & Non-Drug Treatment Providing Him Relief
Alpha-Stim for Anxiety, Insomnia, and Depression
Alpha STIM for Anxiety Depression
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