Unlock Your Brain's Potential

What is Neurofeedback?

Neurofeedback is a scientifically proven technique to train the brain to higher functioning. It harnesses the brain’s natural capacity for change (i.e. neuroplasticity) to train your mind towards peak performance. Neurofeedback is non-invasive and provides a good alternative to drug therapy for numerous challenges:

  • ADHD
  • Learning Disorders (dyslexia, reading disorder, etc..)
  • Poor concentration/lack of focus
  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Trauma (Injury, Stroke, Concussion)
  • Migraines
  • Memory Loss
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Fatigue
  • Sports Peak Performance
  • Brain Fog
We didn’t talk about their “disorders” and we didn’t promise to “heal” them.  We didn’t worry about what “caused” the problem  We simply trained what the brain showed us and tracked how they felt, acted, performed, learned and experienced themselves.  We demonstrated to ourselves and to those we worked with that exercising the brain to change its “energy habits”, could produce lasting results in their lives without labeling, without medicating.
We stressed the importance of watching the client and following the client’s experience, rather than trying to make changes on a graph.  When clients don’t like a particular training, mine know that they are empowered to stop the session in a second.  If they do so, negative responses are fairly rare–and as I said above, rarely last an hour.
We are NOT training the “mind”. We are training the brain. When the client’s conscious mind intervenes it muddles the feedback reaching the brain. So in all training we tell the client don’t think, don’t try, don’t judge. Just pay attention to what is happening (visual or audio feedback).

Chronic pain and Neurofeedback

Acute pain is your body’s way of warning you about an injury that needs to be taken care of.  With chronic pain, pain persists long after the injury has healed.  Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years.  Chronic pain can follow and actual injury that has healed, such as a sprained back or serious infection, or there can be an ongoing cause of pain, such as arthritis or cancer, and someone can also experience chronic pain without any past injury or ongoing illness.   The experience of pain involves multiple and interactive neural pathways that influence pain signals at several levels at once: the sensory organs, the spinal cord, and the brain at both the cortical and subcortical levels. Pain pathways become stimulated by painful stimuli and, with repeated stimulation, these pathways can become altered and start firing independently of a painful stimulus.  With repeated exposure to certain stimuli, a person becomes more sensitive to the stimuli and responds with greater and longer lasting pain.  These changes in the brain, in turn, affect the endocrine and immune systems of the body.  Through these multiple and interacting pathways, pain becomes amplified, it triggers more neural networks, and it becomes self-sustaining and resistant to treatment.  These events result in disturbances of mood, sleep, energy, libido, memory/concentration, behavior and stress tolerance.

The neural pathways that are involved in pain sensation overlap the pathways involved in depression.  So pain not only stimulates sensory areas of the brain, but activates emotional centers as well, resulting in depression, anxiety and fear.  In addition, depression activates brain centers involved in pain sensation.

Evidence shows that the experience of pain is linked to EEG, or brain wave, activityTeaching patients to alter EEG activity to reflect activity that has been shown to be associated with reduced pain may be promising.  More intense pain sensation has been associated with a decrease in alpha activity and an increase in beta activity.  Acute pain relief has been associated with decreases in beta and increases in alpha activity.  Decreasing some types of medically-related pain has also been associated with rewarding SMR activity, a special frequency of low beta activity, and inhibiting theta activity.

Research applying neurofeedback to the treatment of pain has included multiple chronic pain conditions, including chronic back pain, peripheral nerve injury, pain from cancer, fibromyalgia, trigeminal neuralgia, migraine headaches and complex regional pain syndrome.  We tailor the treatment to each patient’s unique situation and responses to the training.  The training usually involves enhancing alpha and SMR activity and inhibiting theta and beta activity in different regions of the cortex through neurofeedback training.

Much of the evidence for the use of neurofeedback to treat chronic pain can be found in the following journal article: Jensen, MP, Sherlin, LH, Hakimian, S & Fregni, F (2009).  Neuromodulatory approaches for chronic pain management. Journal of Neurotherapy, 13, 4 pp. 196-213.

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