Brain training using a technique called neurofeedback is becoming increasingly popular. It is widely used in mental health clinics as a non-drug and non-invasive therapy in treating conditions like a concussion, ADD/ADHD, stress and anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders.
The U.S. government offers neurofeedback treatment to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Neurofeedback is a proven, equally effective treatment for children with ADHD as medications.
A Performance Enhancement Therapy to Boost Cognition in Healthy Brains
In addition, neurofeedback brain training is increasingly used for nonmedical purposes as a means of improving cognition in a healthy brain and to enhance mental functions like concentration, mental acuity, emotional regulation motivation, and self-discipline.
For example, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) used neurofeedback in astronaut training as a way to improve astronauts’ focus and mental acuity.
Neurofeedback brain training is often part of the training program for Olympians and professional athletes in the NFL, NBA, and NHL. Having the right mindset is vital to sporting success.
Neurofeedback helps athletes learn how to consciously get their brains into a state of improved attention, focus, discipline, and aim. This is sometimes referred to as “in the zone.”
It is also reported that after neurofeedback training, surgeons’ focus and alertness were greatly improved during surgical operation and in making decisions when unexpected situations occur.
Actors and musicians trained with the technique had improved control over their movement and could perform more efficiently and precisely. The classical pianist Cassie Yukawa was reported to have significantly boosted her performance – and creativity – by undergoing EEG (electroencephalogram) neurofeedback treatment.
What Is Neurofeedback and How Does It Work?
QEEG (quantitative electroencephalogram), known as brain map, is an assessment of the electrical activity of the brain (brainwaves) using a multi-electrode recording device connected to a computer. The electrical activity of the brain is directly connected to how we think, feel, and act.
A brain map shows precisely how our brain affects our cognitive, executive, emotional, and behavioral responses. It also offers insight into choosing more individualized nutrients and medications.
Based on what they find out from the brain map, the physicians and neurofeedback specialists will design neurofeedback training protocols for improvement and correction.
The brain has an amazing ability to change itself, known as neuroplasticity. When it receives feedback on “right” and “wrong” electrical activities, the brain corrects itself and develops new circuits of neurotransmission between neurons. Neurofeedback measures and presents real-time feedback on patient’s brainwave activities like Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta, and high Beta. The balance and abundance of these activities at the right location and right time ensure the brain to function optimally.
When brain activity changes in the direction desired by the neurofeedback protocol, a positive “reward”, typically in the form of a visual display and sound, is given to the patient. After repeating this process multiple times, the brain experiences training similar to how the body experiences a workout.
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