Neurotherapy involves “operant conditioning” of the EEG. Generally, the technique is not yet taught in most medical or psychology graduate school courses. Many professionals are therefore unaware of the power of this technique.
With successful neurotherapy training, medications targeting brain function may no longer be needed, or they may be needed at lower dosages, as the brain takes over the role of regulating itself. It is important for clients to communicate with their prescribing physician regarding neurotherapy and medications.
Individuals of any age and many ability levels can benefit. Neurotherapy can help a variety of childhood problems, including Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD) and other forms of disruptive and disturbing behaviors, bedwetting and nightmares. Neurotherapy can assist individuals who struggle with anxiety and depression, or with drug and alcohol use. It can help maintain good function as people age. Peak performers also use EEG training to enhance their abilities in sports, business and the arts. Almost everyone can improve their brain’s abilities by being made more aware of its activity levels via neurotherapy.
We apply electrodes to the scalp to listen in on electrical activity also known as brainwave activity. We process the signal by computer, and we extract information about certain key brainwave characteristics. We show the ebb and flow of this activity back to the person, who attempts to change the activity level. Some frequencies we wish to promote. Others we wish to diminish. We present this information to the person in the form of a video game or video. The person is effectively playing the video game or controlling how well a video plays with his or her brain. Eventually the brainwave activity is “shaped” toward more desirable, more regulated performance. The frequencies we target, and the specific locations on the scalp where we listen in on the brain, are specific to the conditions we are trying to address, and specific to the individual. Neurofeedback sessions are usually at least twice a week to enhance efficient learning. The brain needs to practice over 40-60 sessions to effect lasting anatomical and physiological changes for most conditions.
With neurotherapy, the symptoms may be entirely suppressed. A person with diagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder may be able to train the brain to pay attention, so that condition will no longer be diagnosable. A person coming in with migraines may no longer have them. (However, that person may still have a greater vulnerability to migraines than the average person on the street.) A person with epilepsy may no longer have seizures; even though that person still retains a vulnerability to seizures. A child with severe rages and temper tantrums may not have them again.
Neurotherapy addresses problems of brain disregulation. These happen to be numerous. They include the anxiety-depression spectrum, attention deficits, behavior disorders, various sleep disorders, headaches (including migraines), PMS, and emotional disturbances. It is also useful for organic brain conditions such as seizures, autistic spectrum disorders, and cerebral palsy. Neurotherapy can help improve control over chronic medical conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure), asthma, diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD or heartburn), irritable bowel syndrome, and circulatory problems.
Neurotherapy is direct training of brain function, by which the brain learns to operate more efficiently. We use instruments to observe the brain in action from moment to moment. This information is shown back to the patient in a form that is readily understandable, like a video game. The patient is rewarded by having the video game play “better” when their brain changes its own activity to more appropriate patterns. This is a gradual learning process. It applies to any aspect of brain function that we can measure. An important type of neurotherapy is also called EEG neurofeedback, because it is based on electrical brain activity, the electroencephalogram, or EEG. Neurotherapy is training in self-regulation. It is simply biofeedback applied to the brain directly. Self-regulation is a necessary part of good brain function. Self-regulation training allows the system (the central nervous system) to perform better.