True Brain and Body Balance through Neurofeedback, Part 2
Channeling the innate flexibility of our minds through neurofeedback
What is neurofeedback and how does it work?
In last week’s blog post, we suggested that our minds and bodies have an inherent capability and desire to be in a healthy state, and that this potential can actually be cultivated by our brains to achieve optimal wellness.
Today, we are going to explore the progressive technology that has been proven to help with just that!
Neurofeedback is essentially the process by which the brain can learn how to harness its own innate flexibility and resiliency to return to a balanced, healthy state when that seems to have been disrupted.
This is done using a brain-computer interface that monitors the activities of the brain. These activities are recorded as brainwaves of varying frequencies that correspond to the different states of mind we all experience. For example, our brains operate at a certain rhythm when we are alert and focused, at another distinct rhythm when we are in deep sleep, and at a different rhythm when we are in a meditative, relaxed state.
So when you think about it, in order to change from one state to another, depending on what we are doing, it is critical that the brain be flexible.
While all of us possess these various brainwave patterns, and the ability to control them in order to adapt to changes in our environment, the amount of each distinct brainwave, in specific parts of the brain, and the application of this flexibility is present in each of us to varying degrees. For instance, those of us who are exceptionally anxious and tense might have excessively high frequencies of one type of brainwave. Similarly, those that might have a learning disability, or chronic fatigue syndrome, or depressive thoughts, or frequently mind-wander, etc., will also probably have considerably different brainwave profiles with varying rates of shifting between the different states.1
The key is that no matter what our brain rhythms may look like, our brains (and therefore us) operate best when they can flexibly navigate the incoming stimuli and challenges that present themselves in our lives to maintain balance no matter what is going on externally. Consequently, we feel the best and the most authentic when the brain can more easily adjust to changes encountered in our lives. A lack of this “brain fitness” can leave us feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, and unable to cope with life’s challenges.
Sound familiar to what we introduced last week?
Through electrodes placed on the scalp, the neurofeedback system looks for the incoming patterns in our brainwaves that may show signs of distress or imbalance. This can include anything from stress, to slower processing, addictive behavior, self-criticism, physical or emotional trauma, etc.; all of this will manifest itself in these unfavorable brainwave frequencies.
When the software detects this, subtle cues are used, such as a change in sounds within the system that alert the brain that something isn’t jiving well. The processes within the brain will then use this information for self-correction and a natural movement towards stability and optimal processing. Over time, with repeated training sessions, the software will adjust itself automatically in response to how an individual’s brain is functioning and learning.2
The beautiful part of this system is that it works in a way that is consistent with the brain’s functioning; it does not force or push the brain to do anything it does not want to do. The reason that beneficial changes occur within our brainwave patterns is due to the brain’s desire to be in this balanced state and its inherent flexibility to get there. Subsequently, we enjoy a great sense of peace with ourselves and the many circumstances and events life has waiting for us.
Written by: Dr. David Pawsat and Diana Jasser
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