Imagine that instead of taking pills or having to talk with a psychiatrist you could treat mental disorders by just playing a video game—your mind being the controller! Well, the idea is not only real, but it is gaining traction in medical circles globally.
Called Neurotherapy, EEG Biofeedback or Neurofeedback, the procedure is touted to treat a wide range of illnesses –from post-traumatic stress disorders to alcoholism—for which conventional medicine still has not found sound long-term solutions.
While the concept has been relegated to the realm of pseudoscience over the years, proponents of the treatment option are now hoping that new studies can catalyze a revolution—that will officially make the therapy a standard of care for hundreds of thousands of patient globally.
So, What Is Neurotherapy?
For starters, biofeedback often provides concrete feedback to an individual’s physiological processes, including heart rate, temperature, respiration, skin, and other processes, and how to sustain or alter these processes by performing certain behaviors (such as diaphragmatic breathing) or maintaining certain moods.
Biofeedback can, therefore, help you better manage stress, reduce muscle tension-related headaches, control blood pressure, and maintain anxiety-free life among other benefits.
Neurotherapy employs electroencephalogram (or EEG) as its core biofeedback monitor. Generally, electroencephalograms are designed to monitor and measure brainwave patterns.
Neurotherapy operates on the biofeedback concept by helping you to maintain brainwave patterns, which further helps you control certain moods, mental states, and certain types of dysfunctional behaviors.
How Does Neurotherapy Work?
By recording your brain activity via sensors placed on your head, a qualified practitioner can collect information about why you may be having certain clinical symptoms (based on what’s happening in your brain).
Neurophysiological under-arousal and over-arousal states can contribute to why you are manifesting symptoms of depression, anxiety, Attention Deficit Disorder (or ADD) or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (or OCD) and other stressful conditions.
Once these types of information are gathered, neurofeedback is used to track your brain activity and to train it to operate more competently by providing auditory and visual feedback as your brainwave patterns improve and self-regulation occurs.
In summary, a Neurotherapy procedure involves the following processes:
- Observing your brain to gather information that relates to why and how it struggles to function
- Creating a training regimen that targets the underlying neurophysiological factors that are suspected to be exacerbating the symptoms
- Changing your brainwave patterns to improve your brain functions using auditory and visual feedbacks such as games, music, and movies—most of which are linked to the recorded brain wave activity
- Responding when your brain alters its activity or patterns to match the therapeutic information
- Working with you as the functions improve by providing the necessary emotional support and cognitive tools that can help you complete the healing and recovery process.
Who Are the Right Candidates for Neurotherapy?
- People looking for natural alternative to conventional medications
- People who don’t respond well to traditional treatment and healing approaches
- People who are interested in increasing their brain functions to reduce stress and to boost their attention and cognition.
Although Neurotherapy still lacks sufficient scientific researches to endorse its viability as a major treatment intervention for a wide range of disorders, it does have utility in boosting the effectiveness of a wide range of stress management techniques.
It is also useful in lowering dropout rates in psychotherapy as well as increasing overall treatment compliance.