Holistic forms of healing have been around for ages, and modern-day technology has provided us with natural therapies that are excellent alternatives to medications. Neurobiology has advanced rapidly, and the use of natural, pain-free, and medication-free forms of mental health therapy is on the rise. One of my favorite holistic-healing tools for anxiety, depression, ADHD, concussion, PTSD, and sleep improvement is neurofeedback.
Picture this: You are training for a 5k, and you start to notice pain in your knees. You consult your doctor, and they refer you to a physical therapist. You begin doing exercises to strengthen your muscles and improve your running form. After some practice, running is painless.
Neurofeedback allows you to do this, too, by making the invisible world of your brainwaves visible and within your control. This practice is non-invasive and a great alternative to medication, but how does it work? Imagine the physical therapist asking you to lift your right leg. How do you know if you are doing it? You can probably feel and see the leg move. That is your feedback that you are doing the exercise properly. Now, try to increase the relaxation in the back of your head. It isn’t easy to know if you are progressing without proper feedback. Enter neurofeedback and EEG training.
Similar to training yourself to increase the flexibility and strength of your legs, you can change your brainwaves using an electroencephalograph (EEG). An EEG gives you access to the internal working of your brain. When you pair that with positive feedback, you now have neurofeedback. The style of feedback generally uses positive reinforcement. For example, you might hear the volume of music increase as you become more relaxed, or the video might get brighter as you show an increase in attention.
=The type of feedback depends on your goals and how you are training your brain. The style of Neurotherapy described above is known as active neurofeedback. That means you are in control and doing the work. There are other passive neurofeedback styles where the machine sends a signal to your brain to jump-start the healing process. There are pros and cons to each type, and it is best to have a professional help you decide on the best option for you based on your clinical goals and the results of your brain map.
Instead of using a crutch or bandaid like medication or other substances, neurofeedback gives you the power to directly influence how your brain operates, reacts to stress, and adapts to your life. You can train it to heal from injury, improve overall function, or achieve peak performance. This alternative technique can increase resiliency and create lifelong benefits as the changes become mostly permanent after repeated sessions.