Neurofeedback is a great way to work with your brain in a different kind of way. It involves a feedback process between your brain and sophisticated technology which helps you make meaningful change. Your brain emits a readable signal -> the neurofeedback equipment reads it and processes it -> the system gives you feedback so that you can make a useful internal shift. The neurofeedback process then continues as long as you are hooked into it.
With my Infrared Hemoencephalography (HEG) Neurofeedback system, it works like this:
You sit in front of a screen and begin watching a movie. The neurofeedback sensor, resting lightly on your forehead, monitors the heat signal generated by activity from your brain’s prefrontal cortex (the area just behind the forehead).
Then something ordinary happens which triggers a rather extraordinary sequence.
Maybe a stressful scene in the movie prompts you to internally tense up a little, or perhaps your mind wanders (like when your Default Mode Network activates). This causes your prefrontal cortex to deactivate a little, thereby putting out less heat. The neurofeedback system detects this change, and the software pauses the movie. Suddenly you realize that you were not present in a relaxed and focused sort of way.
Now, what to do? Well, turn the movie back on, of course! And you do it by reactivating your prefrontal cortex with the help of the neurofeedback.
A bar graph immediately appears on the screen to guide you. It represents the infrared output of your prefrontal cortex. You watch the bar graph as it changes, reflecting the activity in your brain. Your task: figure out how to raise that bar by simultaneously focusing and relaxing. So you let tension go, release stress and distraction, and the bar rises towards the threshold. You focus and relax a little more and the bar goes higher. When you cross the threshold the neurofeedback system starts the movie up again, rewarding you for activating your prefrontal cortex.
Each pause in the movie gives you the chance to exercise your brain using neurofeedback, and over time you grow your ability to relax and focus simultaneously. This calm focus puts you in an ideal state of mind – for problem solving, better focus at school or work, and for dealing with the stressors life throws you.
HEG neurofeedback uses:
HEG neurofeedback has been shown clinically effective in treating migraines. I also like to use neurofeedback to help clients with high stress or anxiety to learn effective ways to bring the mind back into the present moment in a calm and focused way.
Wayne Martin, LCSW
(817) 456-3489 1751 River Run, suite 200, Fort Worth, TX 76107