What causes the Brain to become “Out of Sync” and How Neurofeedback Optimizes the Brain back into Rhythm
In the book “Neurotherapy and Neurofeedback: Brain Based Treatment for Psychological and Behavioral Problems” written by Theodore J. Chapin and Lori A. Russel-Chapin (Chapins), they discuss the recent advances in brain science and computer technology that have brought the benefits of neurofeedback out of research laboratories and into practical and effective clinical treatment. Today, clients who have not responded to traditional counseling and/or medication can expect meaningful improvement in cognitive, emotional, behavioral and physiological functioning with neurofeedback.
The Chapins discuss that throughout our life our brain is subjected to much distress and turmoil. From the time when we are conceived, we inherit genetic predispositions to certain neurological vulnerabilities. Our mother’s health and emotional stability play an important role in our developing neurological resilience. Stressful environmental factors, early illness and high fever, exposure to toxins, diet high in food additives, sugar and carbohydrates, and excessive stress from work and dysfunctional personal and family relationships can cause the brain to become “dysregulated” and the brainwaves becoming dysrhythmic. In the more extreme situations, life with emotional and physical trauma, head injury, substance abuse, bouts of chronic disease with pain, and prolonged medication use can further “dysregulate” the neurological functioning causing the brainwaves to fire in a dysrhythmic pattern . Even the normal process of aging can impair our brain’s healthy self-regulation.
The brain has been called the “Master Organ.” It controls all of our physiological, emotional, and cognitive functioning. One of the primary ways it does this is by regulating the brain’s healthy electrical activity – brainwaves. When the brain is operating well, we experience health and emotional well-being. When it becomes dysrhythmic, we experience stress, panic attacks, anxiety and so on. In simple terms, the brain begins to use the wrong brainwaves, at the wrong time, for the wrong task. It would be like your car being out of alignment; it would still function, but not in the optimal way it was intended. In fact, if not re-aligned, your car and tires will wear our faster than planned; so it is with the dysrhythmic brain.
And finally, the research on neurofeedback is impressive. According to the Chapins, the outcome studies using neurofeedback, found: 75% reduction in ADHD, a 9 to23 point improvement in IQ, 80% sobriety for alcoholics, only a 20% relapse of panic attacks for PTSD, 70% reduction in epileptic seizures, 88% improvement in depression, 80% reduction in hypertension, 50% reduction in migraine headaches, more than 50% improvement in memory, attention and problem-solving in 88% of patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and significant improvement in sociability, communication, and sensory awareness in autistic children. Even professional athletes, fortune 500 executives, surgeons, performing artists and college students have reported significant improvement in their personal performance.