I’m a big believer in our innate ability to heal ourselves, the power of the human body and mind to continually work together towards homeostasis and health. I also have personally experienced the chaos created in both by trauma, challenging my body and mind to maintain that state of equilibrium and well-being. Through my own healing journey, I have discovered tools along the way that have worked to reinforce that innate ability to heal and feel sense of encouragement when the research supports personal experience. Direct neurofeedback is one of those tools.
Trauma comes in all shapes and sizes, whether you experienced abuse or neglect as a child, grew up on a home with one or both parents suffering from a mental illness or addiction, or were a witness to domestic violence while living with adults or going through a contentious divorce. The enduring nature of the trauma from such interpersonally violent upbringings stems from the impact on the developing brain and nervous system. When we embrace this fact, then we can also embrace the fact that sometimes the mind cannot talk itself out of such experiences when not involving the body in the process.
The brain, along with the spinal cord, forms the body’s main control center of our central nervous system. This control center is where incoming stimulus is evaluated and decisions about what action to take are made. It is the neurons in the brain that support the mind’s awareness of sensations, emotions, thoughts and ultimately behaviors when they communicate with each other. When our neurons communicate, they produce electrical pulses referred to as brain waves. These brain waves can be compared to the radio waves and the various stations that we tune into to listen to the radio. AM stations work on a lower bandwidth, while FM stations have a higher bandwidth. Our brain waves change according to what we are “tuned into”, with our slower brain waves being the AM stations and our faster ones being the FM stations. Therefore, the brain is the main body part that is driving our beliefs, perceptions and reactions.
Understanding this very complex organ has taken some time as we waited for science to catch up with the personal experience of many. With the advent of the electroencephalogram (EEG for short), we are able to see the various brain wave activity and now research has been able to identify the brain wave patterns associated with various neurological and emotional conditions, including ADHD, anxiety and depression. This information created the opportunity to identify and work with tools to change or modify those brain waves, supporting the brains natural tendency towards balance and health.
Therefore, we are now better able to understand that when our brain waves are out of balance we will experience dis-ease in our minds and bodies, creating an unnatural, unhealthy environment that jeopardizes our overall well-being and health. This understanding allows a more specific focus on tools that change or balance our brain waves to return the brain to its natural healthy state and thus creating an atmosphere for peace of mind and strength of body. It helps us to appreciate the past experience with psychotherapy (or “talk” therapy), where it has been shown that changing our perceptions changes our experience of the world. It also better explains the use of drugs (prescription or otherwise) to alter the brain’s ability to function and alleviate symptoms of dis-ease in the mind and body.
A newer approach to what ails many in the Western world is the use of more traditional Eastern practices such as yoga, meditation and deep breathing, which research is now able to show that these practices support the brain’s natural balance by modifying the brain wave patterns that create the imbalance. In addition to these techniques, which work best when implemented as daily practices over the long haul, direct neurofeedback is showing success in altering brain waves more quickly that underlie the symptoms of a wide range of conditions, offering more immediate relief.
If you would like to read more about the research to determine for yourself if this tool might be worth a try, click on the button below: