Written in collaboration with Dr. Jason Porter, NMD and M. Nicole Parker, RN, NF Specialist
“The brain can do far more for itself than drugs or other invasions….The wisdom to self-regulate is contained in every brain…. A host of pioneers are forging the future in this important emerging discipline.” – Thomas Collura, PH.D.
This rapidly developing, cutting edge, lifesaving discipline, neurofeedback, has traveled a fascinating odyssey and, along with ever-increasing resources and diagnostic tools, is emerging as one of the few evidence-based alternatives to prescription medications. We are one of the few offices that offer Neurofeedback Therapy in Arizona. Along with complimentary treatment modalities such as ever-increasing genetic tests for neurotransmitter pathways, improved neurotransmitter testing, treatment with specialized herbs and focused amino acids, neurofeedback is at the crest of a new wave in mental health care.
Neurofeedback has proven its efficacy in improving brain function. It helps us perform at the top of our game in an increasingly challenging, stressful and demanding world, one that often pushes us to – and even past – our limits. This gentle, noninvasive, brain-healing technology has the power to treat the symptoms and conditions that arise as we reach these limits: depression, anxiety, lack of focus, “brain fog,” reduced motivation, irritability, insomnia, fatigue…. As our brain attempts to mobilize and perform under these sub-optimal conditions, it becomes exhausted, leading to alterations in our brain waves.
These altered brain waves maintain the status quo and become locked in these dysfunctional patterns, or loops, and we become stuck in habitual ways of thinking and behaviors that are detrimental to our health and quality of life. The ability to modify our neurological responses to external stressors and our environment becomes critical. Neurofeedback breaks through these locked loops or patterns, allowing us – our brains – to self-adjust, and restore brain waves and function to optimal levels.
Requiring no conscious effort on the part of the client, neurofeedback, through brain-computer interface, initially measures the electrical activity of the brain, focusing on four distinct types of waves: Delta (1-4Hz), Theta (4-8Hz), Alpha (8-12 Hz), and Beta (12-50Hz). Upon recognizing the specific dominant brain wave, and under the direction of a neurofeedback specialist, the neurofeedback system sends back to the brain a signal lower than that of the dominant wave’s frequency. This softer signal, 7 million times weaker than the power delivered by an AA battery, brings about changes in the intensity and frequency of the brain waves and results in more highly functioning, desirable brain wave patterns.
While it may take several sessions for the effects of neurofeedback to become lasting, clients typically notice improvement with the first treatment, often before the session is complete. The Mesa AZ neurofeedback specialist will frequently notice immediate changes in brainwave patterns, and the client often becomes aware of the shift that occurs during the session. Typically, a client is at first relaxed – and/or sleepy – then, by the end of the session, energized. Family and friends may notice changes in mood and behavior in the first few sessions, even before the client becomes aware of those changes.
Neurofeedback exercises our “neurological muscles,” retrains the brain, improves neuroplasticity, and allows the brain to reorganize, learn new patterns of behavior, and become de-habituated from “stuck” patterns that represent suboptimal processing. This therapy is proving to be beneficial in treating a wide range of difficult conditions otherwise unresponsive to conventional treatments: Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Post-Concussion Syndrome, Anxiety, Depression, Autism, and Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD/ADHD). Neurofeedback therapy results in a healthier, more flexible, efficiently and higher-functioning brain. When the brain is put in touch with itself and functionality is restored, the nervous system begins to intelligently self-regulate, the brain becomes accustomed to this optimal way of being and the effects of neurofeedback treatment last longer and longer until the brain is able to sustain the gains in performance and functioning and continues to improve after sessions are no longer needed. These long-term benefits of neurofeedback are independent of age, comprehension, physical ability and mental capacity.