What are Biofeedback and Neurofeedback?
Biofeedback provides information about the body for improved regulation. Information about muscles, skin temperature, perspiration, respirations, heart rate, blood pressure or brainwaves is displayed by a computer in the form of graphs and sound. This information is then used by the person to gain insight into the nature of the problem and to learn self regulation. Biofeedback training is the interaction between the person, his/her symptom, the computer and the therapist.
There are many kinds of biofeedback. Some are classified as Peripheral Biofeedback. EMG(electromyograph) is information about muscles and can be used to learn to reduce tension or for neuromuscular re-education. Thermal training(skin temperature) and GSR(galvanic skin response) are used to monitor sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system activity while reducing stress. RSA (respiratory sinus arrhythmia) is used to teach slow diaphragmatic breathing for enhancing mental quieting.
In this office, every biofeedback session includes neurofeedback and the early sessions all include teaching peripheral biofeedback techniques to be practiced out of the office, several times daily. As well, the patient is given materials with which to practice and therefore enhance the mind/body connection. Relaxation and thermal imagery tapes teach relaxation in a very pleasant way. By pairing the relaxation to a “signal-breath”, the body learns to relax in a very short time under any stressful circumstance. With the help of the RSA biofeedback, the patient breathes more effectively. He/she practises improved breathing after each tape exercise at home. Relaxation with diaphragmatic breathing is one way to manage severe symptoms with more control. Monitoring fingertip temperature and hand perspiration measures the effectiveness of the relaxation. Warm dry hands are a sign of a relaxed body. Disposable thermometers and graphs are given to keep track of the changes. Frequently, fear contributes to symptoms, so simple information about anatomy and physiology helps the patient support his own body in healing. Special imagery techniques built on the newer awareness of the body’s functions are used in conjunction with the relaxation tapes to relieve the fear and enhance mental relief from the stressors caused by the patient’s symptom, such as pain.
Neurofeedback (brainwave or EEG biofeedback) is a computerized technique for exercising the brain. It is especially useful with chronic pain syndromes such as neuropathic pain or CRPS(Complex Regional Pain Syndromes) which appear to originate in the brain or central nervous system. Neuofeedback must be done at the biofeedback office at all times. It is a form of operant condtioning which trains the brain to make voluntary changes for cortical control and exercises and strengthens central nervous system responses. The number of sessions necessary depends on the severity of the symptom but the minimum number is around twenty. Each session is about 45 minutes long. It appears that within model of comprehensive pain management, those patients who do neurotherapy adapt better to their pain and do better in psychotherapy and physical therapy. They get better results with their medications and should they need spinal cord stimulators or pumps for pain control, they may have better success.
Neurofeedback is brain exercise, Your brain is observed in action from moment to moment by monitoring your brainwaves. You are shown your brain activity and helped to change it by rewarding shifts toward a more appropriate and stable brain state. It is a gradual learning process.
Neurofeedback is also called EEG Biofeedback. The elecroencephalogram (EEG) is another name for brainwave recordings and, in this context, biofeedback refers to the process by which you learn to change your brain waves and thereby gain better
What can Neurofeedback Help?
Neurofeedback is training in self-regulation. Good self-regulation is necessary for optimal brain function. Self-regulation training enhances the function of the central nervous system and thereby improves mental performance, emotional control and physiological stability.
Neurofeedback targets the bioelectrical functioning of the brain. It is concerned with the brain’s internal regulatory networks, and trains the brain’s functional disregulation. Simply by detecting the brain going of track through the EEG, it can be trained toward enhanced stability and improved functioning.
Who can benefit from Neurofeedback?
Individuals of any age can benefit from EEG Biofeedback, Neurofeedback can help adults, adolescents and children with many problems. Examples are: pain, headaches or migraines, anxiety or depression, sleep disorders, PTSD, as well as attention deficit disorders. Neurofeedback can help maintain good brain function as they age. It can be used to enhance peak performance for sports, business and the arts.
How is neurofeedback Done?
Sensors are attached to the scalp with EEG paste which then pick up the brain waves. It is painless and does not involve the application of any voltage or current to the brain, so it is entirely non-invasive.
A computer processes the brainwaves and extracts certain information from them. You see the ebb and flow of your brainwaves and the specific information obtained from them, in the form of a video game. You are instructed how to play the video game using only your brainwaves. (Everyone can do it.) The specific brainwave frequencies that are rewarded and the sensor locations on the scalp are unique to each individual.
What happens if Neurofeedback Clients are taking medications?
It is important for clients to communicate with their prescribing physician regarding Neurofeedback and medications. As the brain takes over the role of regulating itself, medications doses may change.