Neurofeedback. It sounds spooky, doesn’t it? As if you’ll be wired up like in one of those old horror films. But neurofeedback is a non-invasive therapy that’s been used for over 25 years to treat a number of neurological disorders. Just by nudging your brainwaves into correcting themselves! Now that may sound like science fiction – but research shows it works!
It turns out that dysregulated brainwaves underlie many cognitive and mood disorders, contributing to symptoms and low thoughts.
Dysregulated brainwaves have numerous causes, including:
- Lack of exercise
- Lack of sleep
- Drinking caffeine or alcohol
- Unhealthy eating
- Previous concussion
- Chronic pain
So, how can neurofeedback help you?
What Is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is a form of biofeedback – a way of using a computer or monitoring device to observe specific involuntary body processes. You’ll probably have had your heart rate or skin temperature monitored using simple devices, but with neurofeedback, your brainwaves are measured with brain imaging technology. In all forms of biofeedback, the aim is to use this information to provide a feedback signal to correct undesirable behaviours.
In the case of neurofeedback, if dysregulated brainwaves are detected, the treatment can work to correct them – through audio and visual clues. Neurofeedback is a treatment founded on the underlying plasticity of the brain – an ability to rewire itself to compensate for damage.
How Does Neurofeedback Work?
Think of your brain as a record player playing a vinyl record. When your brainwaves are healthy, the record plays clearly. But when the record is scratched – through illness or injury to the head – the music sounds wrong. Neurofeedback is a way to change your brainwaves and guide them down the correct groove.
To map your brain, you’re required to wear a cap which allows our computer program to monitor the electrical impulses in your brain. It then generates a report that highlights your problem areas. Each session of neurofeedback lasts 30 minutes, and you can listen to music or watch a video while electrodes on your scalp monitor your brain waves. When the system identifies an irregular pattern, it triggers a moment of pause or dimness in your video or music. The change in stimulus jogs your brain into a normal pattern.
What Are the Benefits of Doing Neurofeedback?
When provided by trained professionals, neurofeedback is a great addition or alternative to regular treatments such as medication, or therapy.
Neurofeedback benefits include:
- Pain-free, non-invasive, and medication-free treatment – if this is your first time hearing about neurofeedback it may sound like it would hurt, or require intrusive wires. On the contrary, neurofeedback is really simple and doesn’t involve any unwanted prescriptions or medical procedures.
- A treatment plan personalised to your needs – not only does the mind mapping provide an individualised approach to your needs, but the software also tracks your progress during each session so adjustments can be made.
- Your chronic pain may decrease – Neurofeedback can ease chronic pain symptoms in patients.
Above all, neurofeedback is most transformative for your mental clarity, cognitive and mental health – and there are studies that back this up.
Neurofeedback for Alzheimer’s Disease and Cognitive Decline
A recent study linked the manipulation of brain oscillations (or brainwaves) through techniques including neuromodulation to improving human memory. While Alzheimer’s is a systemic disease with many possible causes or risk factors, changes in brainwaves do occur. Mild cognitive decline can also be affected by changes in brainwaves.
Neurofeedback can improve cognitive ability in healthy older people and those suffering from Alzheimer’s. It can improve memory and information recall. In combination with the Bredesen protocol, neurofeedback can help fight against cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s, reminding your brain to be more adaptive.
Imagine you or your loved one being able to remember appointments or upcoming events again.
Neurofeedback Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury
An injury to the head can result in a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A mild TBI requires a lot of rest and changes to lifestyle in order for you to recover, but neurofeedback is a very useful tool to aid recovery. Neurofeedback is a great option because it influences the brain into using its natural plasticity to reroute the brainwaves in a healthier way.
Patients with traumatic brain injury who have undergone neurofeedback experienced:
- Improved motor control
- Better sleep
- Reduced seizures
- Improved memory and ability to learn
At CogMission, our clients with TBI see great results, gaining cognitive skills they thought they’d lost. Imagine having less brain fog, sleeping more restfully and being able to learn new skills.
Neurofeedback to Treat PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety
In the UK, 19.7% of people over the age of 16 have symptoms of anxiety or depression. Although there are a number of available therapies to treat either mental disorder, neurofeedback is a fantastic addition. Neurofeedback is particularly good for treatment-resistant depression and general anxiety disorder.
Neurofeedback is also a complementary therapy in the treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is commonly found in patients with traumatic brain injury and can cause intrusive thoughts, poor cognition and mood, hypervigilance, and flashes of anger and irritability. Neurofeedback has promising results in aiding clients with PTSD. Imagine reducing the number of intrusive thoughts you experience throughout the day, or finally being able to relax.
Neurofeedback is an exciting therapy to improve your well-being, whether you have poor mental health or struggle with a form of dementia that causes brain fog and forgetfulness. The treatments are simple, painless, and effective – so why not give it a try?
Are You Looking for Neurofeedback Therapy in the Edinburgh Area?
At CogMission we are dedicated to helping you overcome the symptoms of cognitive decline, traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer’s disease – and we offer neurofeedback for memory loss as part of our services. We also focus on non-pharmaceutical approaches to improving memory, cognition, and judgement. We favour the Bredesen Protocol, which is an individualized program to help you reverse cognitive decline, with great success – tacking the underlying causes of brainwave dysregulation. We are here for you and your carers every step of the way – it’s our aim to get you to the point when you don’t need our services anymore!
If you or a family member have an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis or cognitive impairment and you’re interested in trying neurofeedback in Edinburgh, we’d love to hear from you. At CogMission we provide a free 15-minute consultation by phone to discuss your options and eligibility, so fill out our contact form and we’ll be in touch.