Did you know that you can retrain your brain through the power of brain waves? Neurofeedback therapy is an alternative treatment for mental health where clinicians can help you control your brain waves. This form of therapy has been around for decades, but you might not consider it because you are not aware of what it is or its benefits. Read this article to learn more about this type of therapy, how it works, and why you should consider trying it.
How Does Neurofeedback Therapy Work?
When you start neurofeedback therapy, clinicians place sensors on your head to read your brainwaves using what is called an EEG machine. This EEG machine uses software that shows what your brainwaves typically look like. EEG machines are able to monitor brain activity by sensing what parts of your brain are activated. Clinicians can then look at the information they get from the machine and determine where specific neurological problems might stem from.
Once the clinician finds the source, they can assist you in essentially rewiring your brain through positive and negative reinforcement. For example, if you show brain activity that means you are currently ruminating, the clinician can see this, point it out and then correct the issue. These sessions typically last for 20 to 30 minutes and include follow-up sessions to monitor progress.
What It Can Help
Neurofeedback therapy has been used since the 1950s and has even been used by NASA in training programs. Neurofeedback therapy has been used to help many conditions such as anxiety, depression, learning disabilities, schizophrenia, and addiction. It has also been used for pain management and even improvement of athletic performance. This type of therapy can help you recognize habits and thought patterns that might contribute to neurological conditions. In turn, you can also be aware of your habits and recognize your own thought patterns and behaviors.
Benefits of Neurofeedback
A Non-Invasive Procedure
You might be apprehensive to try neurofeedback because it seems like something out of a sci-fi movie. You might feel intimidated at the thought of sitting in a chair and having a clinician put brain sensors on your head. The good news is that neurofeedback is non-invasive. The sensors are gently placed on the head and do not cause any pain. They simply sense the electrical signals in your brain. The process is not painful and does not require any surgery or anesthesia.
The process of neurofeedback therapy can actually be fun and interactive. While the clinicians are monitoring your brain, they might have you watch your favorite television show. The show continues playing when your brain activity is normal, but then the screen dims when the activity appears abnormal, allowing you to recognize changes in your brain patterns and what might cause them. There are different activities incorporated into the therapy, depending on the clinician, but the process can often be quite enjoyable.
Since the sessions can teach you to recognize your patterns of behavior, you can, in turn, learn how to control your thought processes and how they might contribute to your overall brain health.
Through positive and negative reinforcement, you can learn to associate these behaviors that you normally would not notice.
The sessions can help you be more mindful of how your brain is working and how your behaviors might contribute to your mental health. Awareness of these behaviors can make it easier to make the appropriate changes and improve. It is great if you are not always aware of what your mind or body is doing when a negative emotion is triggered.
Points Out Unhealthy Brain Habits
While the reasons why you might have a mental illness might depend on many different factors, sometimes there are symptoms caused by unhealthy brain habits. For example, you might have a habit of ruminating. Rumination is when you spend a very long time thinking about an issue without ever coming to a solution. While thinking about problems is fine, it is possible to overthink the problem and spend too much time focusing on a single issue. This only leads to worsened stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms. Neurofeedback therapy can notice when you are ruminating and the clinicians can point it out in the session, allowing you to correct your behavior.
Improves Your Sleep
There are plenty of uses for neurofeedback therapy, but one that you might not even consider is improved sleep. Having a healthy amount of sleep can do wonders for your mental health and overall physical wellbeing.
Lessens Symptoms of Anxiety
One of the most notable uses of neurofeedback therapy is how it can help you recognize when you are starting to feel anxious, and then calm yourself down. When dealing with anxiety, you might struggle with recognizing when your symptoms arise.
A Great Alternative to Traditional Therapy
Traditional therapies like talk therapy might not work for everyone. You might not respond well to typical therapies and feel discouraged that your behavior was not changed during sessions. Because of this, turning to other options as an alternative has become increasingly popular. Neurofeedback is a good alternative to talk therapy and is worth trying if nothing else seems to have worked. If you did not do well in talk therapy, you might have a more successful experience in an interactive environment that uses visual and audio cues as a way to improve brain behavior. This unique approach can often make a big difference for improving your mental health