What Is Neurofeedback All About?
Neurofeedback is a type of therapy used to help with the symptoms of many brain-related conditions, such as ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, migraines, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s Disease, to name a few. By using a brain-mapping device—most commonly an EEG—while the person is engaged in a specific activity, neurofeedback is able to track and measure brain waves. It then uses biofeedback to alter the brain, reinforcing its desired goal. Neurofeedback is done over gradual sessions and progress is recorded accordingly.
How does neurofeedback work?
Everything we do and all of our emotional responses is observable through our brain waves. Brain waves are the electrical impulses produced when brain cells communicate.
We see them by putting sensors all around the patient’s head. With brain analysis software, the trained expert can see which responses give rise to the patient’s symptoms and how those symptoms physically affect the patient’s brain.
These brain waves are then measured and calculated to develop a neurofeedback treatment plan specific to that patient. This plan focuses on what the brain waves should look like when they reach an ideal state, and how to adjust the current brain waves into this state. Music and videos are generally used to help produce the positive and negative feedback the brain needs to make these adjustments.
First, they begin by pairing the music clip or video to the targeted brain wave activity. Every time they perform an activity that is ideal to their goal, the video or song will play (positive feedback). The moment the brain wavers, the video or music stops playing (negative feedback). Over time, this conditions the patient’s brain to think and act in a certain behavior pattern that helps in getting rid of the symptoms previously experienced.
Neurofeedback to optimize brain functions
Neurofeedback is not only used for people who experience symptoms related to brain-related conditions, it can also be used to optimize your brain’s capabilities. In this way, neurofeedback becomes an exercise for the brain, used to train your brain to become smarter.
IQ, or the Intelligence Quotient, is referring to cognitive intelligence. And we know that brain training can improve your score. Neurofeedback is another tool that can be used to train your brain into behaving towards this specific, desired behavior: efficient cognition. By positively reinforcing these new behaviors and negatively reinforcing old patterns, your brain will begin to forget. It literally becomes a case of out with the old, in with the new; except, in this case, you get increased and improved mental capabilities.
When taking a test, we need three things: enhanced retention, attention, and problem-solving skills. Neurofeedback can help enhance all three of these components. While practicing a problem you can train your brain to respond in a set manner for optimum use of your IQ.
By reinforcing your brain waves while studying, you train your brain to respond to the problems efficiently. You build momentum with both the reinforcement and the repetition, both of which maximize your retention. And because your retention and recall are heightened, your brain can focus on other problems, enhancing your ability to problem-solve. Not to mention, the process helps alleviate anxiety while building your confidence.
Neurofeedback can be a useful tool in helping recondition the brain. Whether it’s used to alleviate symptoms of brain-related conditions or to simply enhance the brain’s cognitive capabilities, neurofeedback is a multi-faceted way you can train your brain.