Neurofeedback has been shown to be a valuable tool for school performance. This biofeedback technique helps a client to learn focusing skills, which are critical to learning and memory. Neurofeedback can balance brain wave activity and improve overall mental flexibility and performance. It often reduces anxiety, which can lead to better behavior, and may improve emotional control, thus enhancing social skills.Read More
Integrative Health Blog
Ana Vargas M.D. (Mex.)
Biofeedback is a collection of different techniques that help develop “conscious physiological -psychosomatic self-regulation”. In other words, it is a method that teaches us to “activate” the relaxation response, by practicing to control heart rate, breath rate, blood pressure, muscle tension or body temperature.
Developing the Mind/Body Connection
The clinical application of Biofeedback was scientifically relevant because it challenged the old notion that the control of physiological processes by the autonomic nervous system was merely involuntary. We learned that we can develop conscious control over those processes, that we can voluntarily influence our bodily responses. The final goal is to help control stress and its many effects on the body (i.e., high blood pressure, anxiety, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, and many more). “The premise is that the mind affects the body and the body affects the mind”.
These techniques are quite unique in that they were developed using modern electronic technology. The latest development of biofeedback applications is Brain wave biofeedback or Neurofeedback, which represents the most readily available application of neuroscience and the culprit of self-regulation techniques.
Neurofeedback has shown to improve autonomic regulation (“involuntary” physiological responses), promote brain competencies (i.e., attention and memory), help remediate functional disorders (i.e., anxiety, depression), and enhance optimal performance (i.e., musical and athletic performance). These technological advances are exciting news and are promising drug-free alternatives for many conditions that until now remain a challenge to conventional approaches.
How Neurofeedback Works
Imagine been able to modulate your mental processes by balancing brain wave frequencies so that you are not overcome by anxiety or depression, by training certain frequencies so that your attention and memory improve and you can perform better at work or school. It is all possible! Moreover, now with the addition of brain mapping the training can be more accurate since we can record the electrical activity of the brain and observe which frequencies are imbalanced and in which location.
Ana Vargas MD (Mex.), MS
Among the many changes inherent to aging, losing our memory ranks at the top of the most feared events.
Where Are My Car Keys?
Most people close to their 50's are familiar with occasional forgetfulness and foggy thinking. Recalling names, words, and location of objects, may start becoming a challenge even for those once-called brightest minds (car keys, anyone)? Glimpses of our thinking skills on the decline alert us to pay close attention. However, memory difficulties not only may affect the golden generations, but anyone from young to old.
How to Stave Off Memory Loss
It has been recognized that the ability to "think well" in middle age depends greatly on our lifestyles. Normal brain aging can be delayed, and the risk of developing dementia can be decreased by keeping healthy habits and being physically active throughout our lives1. Imagine that, exercise helps the brain too! Indeed, the improvement of cognitive performance through healthy habits and physical activity applies also to those in the younger years including children. 2
Whichever the case, (decrease age related memory decline or improve memory in younger years) there is more we can do. A clinically available technology has shown promising results for those of us reaching (or passing) middle age, as well as for those in school age: Neurofeedback, also called EEG Biofeedback. 3
How Does Neurofeedback Work?
Ana Vargas M.D. (Mex.), M.S.
It is not uncommon for parents to struggle with the diagnosis of ADHD/ADD, because living with ADD is a family issue; the child’s behaviors may affect parents as well as siblings. Children with this diagnosis may experience obstacles for academic performance and adequate social interaction, and the development of mood disorders is also prevalent. Parents that decide to avoid having their children treated with stimulant medication now have access to an innovative intervention with the highest level of evidence-based support, according to the company that maintains the American Academy of Pediatrics’ ranking of research. (1)
ADHD Symptoms and Brain Function
ADHD is the most common childhood psychiatric disorder, reaching up to 11% incidence in U.S. school age children. It is characterized by developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity, as well as a reward-motivation deficit. Regardless of the etiology, ADHD symptoms lead to impaired functioning and often are associated with other problems such as learning disorders, poor academic performance and conduct disorders. For those diagnosed with ADHD, some (30%) may simply ‘‘outgrow’’ it as the symptoms of hyperactivity decrease in late adolescence. However, between 30 and 70% of children will have symptoms that persist into adulthood. The symptoms associated with this disorder lie more broadly in the issue of how the brain organizes its attentional and regulatory areas. In the person with ADD, we observe “disregulation” in brain function, particularly in those areas that monitor and regulate attention and impulse control.
Chas Gant MD, PhD
Balancing the Brain
Neurofeedback is a non-invasive, drug-free therapy which has been found in many peer-reviewed studies to be effective for a wide range of medical and psychiatric disorders. This is not surprising when one considers that the brain is the command and control center for the body’s nervous, endocrine (hormones) and immune systems. Neurofeedback as a stand alone treatment essentially ignores all of the causes of chronic medical and psychiatric disorders, such as allergies (e.g., celiac/gluten), infections (e.g., Lyme/candida), metabolic imbalances (e.g., diabetes/hypertension), toxicities (e.g., heavy metals/pesticides), nutritional deficiencies (e.g., magnesium/omega 3 fatty acids) and the genetic vulnerabilities to all of this. Neurofeedback as a stand alone treatment makes no claims about treating the big killers, cancer, cardiovascular disease and addictions, and simply balances the command and control center, the brain, and lets those benefits cascade down through the nervous, immune and endocrine systems to effect astonishing benefits.
I call this the top-down approach, because neurofeedback is a treatment at the top of the body (the brain) and its benefits are realized down below in the body. Of course, the bottom up approach, addressing the underlying immune, allergic, metabolic, nutritional, infectious and genetic causes of chronic medical and psychiatric disorders is still important, and when both a top-down and a bottom-up approach are combined, the outcomes appear to be more promising than ever.