NEUROFEEDBACK EDINBURGH & ONLINE
A REVOLUTIONARY, SCIENTIFICALLY EVIDENCED, NON-DRUG, NON-INVASIVE, AND SAFE BRAIN TRAINING That can be used as A FORM OF TREATMENT to HELP WITH CONDITIONS - SUCH AS ADHD/ADD, AUTISM, TRAUMA & PTSD, ANXIETY & STRESS, DEPRESSION, VARIOUS BRAIN INJURIES - AS WELL AS TO ENHANCE PERFORMANCE for ACADEMICS, EXECUTIVES, ARTISTS AND ATHLETES BY INCREASING FOCUS, ATTENTION, CONCENTRATION AND MOTIVATION.
What is Neurofeedback?
Brain waves and deregulation
Whether we are deep asleep or engaged in a very demanding task, our brains always produce a range of electric/electromagnetic waves, which are measured in a unit called Hertz. In the table below, you can see the range of brainwaves and how each one of them corresponds to a state of being ranging from deep sleep to intense learning.
The brain has its own feedback mechanism that provides information so when we stop a very demanding task it can return back to a more relaxed state and vice versa. This feedback mechanism forms an automatic regulatory system (imagine something similar to a car’s automatic gearbox that adjusts the power in the engine depending on the circumstances) that works most of the time and can regulate our brain waves, which in their turn regulate our state of being (behaviour, thoughts, emotions and body sensations). One could say that a well-functioning person is one that has a very good ability to regulate themselves. However, some of us have (at times or permanently) a difficulty regulating ourselves because our feedback mechanisms in the brain are not working well. When the brain’s regulatory mechanism does not work properly, we cannot receive the feedback that, for example, we have now finished writing an exam and there is no longer any need to continue to be in a hyperactive/HiBeta state (see table above). Without our brain having this information, it therefore cannot regulate itself and return to a relaxed/Alpha state and continues to stay in a hyperactive/anxious state. This state of brain dysregulation is often behind the symptoms of various conditions such as ADHD, autistic spectrum disorders, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorders, bipolar and personality disorders, anger, migraines, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and post-cancer cognitive impairment (‘chemo-brain’).
Regulation and neuroplasticity
Brain dysregulation can be remedied via the process of neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the process whereby the brain has the ability to reorganise and change itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. In simple terms, our brains have the ability to “repair” themselves and grow, much like other muscles in our body. Below is short video that explains the process of neuroplasticity.
The Neurofeedback solution
So, this is where neurofeedback comes in. It helps to retrain the brain waves by providing valuable real time feedback of the electric brain signals which then helps the brain to use this information to learn to self-regulate, repair neuronal connections and work at an optimum level.
Neurofeedback, also known as EEG (electroencephalography) biofeedback, is a non-drug treatment that belongs to a group of therapies called biofeedback. Neurofeedback works on the principle that if a person can see his or her brain functions in real time, s/he can learn to control them. The goal of neurofeedback is to train the brain to regulate itself and to help the person training to understand when their brain is in the desired state (e.g. relaxed or engaged). Eventually, the person can control these processes without being monitored. The feedback is given based on sensors which are placed on the head and which measure brain activity by observing electrical signals/brain waves (a process called EEG) while the person is engaging in a cognitive task (e.g. watching a video or playing a game). For instance, someone with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) may not be aware when their brain is in a focused state, or recognise when their mind is wandering. During the neurofeedback training, they can see exactly when their mind is wandering in real time and learn how to return their focus to the activity at hand. Using neurofeedback, the brain learns to regulate its activity by playing games, watching videos or listening to music as part of a training program. Over time, the ability to control the brain waves can be applied in real world situations, for instance, by helping them relax in stressful situations, or concentrate during class.
Neurofeedback is a safe and effective brain training technique. The sensors do nothing to your brain except monitor brainwaves! They do not “transfer” any energy or electricity to your brain. They simply measure (brainwaves) and give you feedback!
Neurofeedback is a form of therapy, not a medication, and it is therefore non-invasive and has no negative side effects. The electrodes simply monitor brain waves using EEG, and the client receives feedback instantly based on the EEG readings. Like every form of training, neurofeedback requires regular practice. Most studies have found that people start seeing improvements after 5-10 sessions, and a full course of treatment is usually between 30 and 40 sessions, with each session lasting anything between 24 to 40 minutes.
Unlike medication, which usually only works whilst it is being taken, regular neurofeedback training can provide lasting benefits. Studies have shown (see here and here) that, after completing a complete neurofeedback program, people experienced improvements which last years. This is because neurofeedback brain training provides the brain with the feedback it needs to make permanent corrections itself, contrary to medication that simply control the symptoms.
How can Neurofeedback help?
Neurofeedback can help with recovery from long-term stress, improve mood, sleep and energy levels, as well as aiding with personal development in all aspects of one's life. It can help children, teenagers and adults improve their brain functions and can help significantly reduce or resolve/eradicate symptoms and difficulties related to attention, hyperactivity, brain injuries, learning difficulties, stress, trauma and depression, among others. Most importantly, neurofeedback can also be used to aid children’s and teenagers’ development and learning skills and help them reduce behavioural difficulties, such as erratic or disruptive behaviour.
+ ASD, ASPERGER'S, ADHD & ADD
Children and adults diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Asperger’s Syndrome, attention disorders such as ADD & ADHD, and those with learning disabilities can benefit greatly from neurofeedback therapy – in particular, in areas of focus, attention, and concentration, as well as anger and irritability. Neurofeedback can also yield great results in instances of social anxiety, as it can help reduce fear around social situations and improve important social skills, with the result of better relationships for both people on the autism spectrum and those experiencing difficulties with social interactions and relationships due to shyness or low self-esteem.
+ Traumatic Brain Injuries & Memory
People that have suffered traumatic brain injuries due to accidents or stroke can also use neurofeedback to help them repair and rebuild their brains and regain the cognitive and emotional abilities that they have lost, as well as helping to significantly improve memory, attention and focus.
+ BPD & BIPOLAR DISORDERS
Symptoms of personality and bipolar disorders, such as mood changes, anxiety, hypervigilance/activity, anger and irritability can effectively be treated, as neurofeedback trains the brain to come to a state of balance; therefore emotional regulation and resilience becomes possible.
+ PTSD, Psycho-Trauma, Addictions
In the case of PTSD, developmental trauma, and all kinds of psychological trauma, neurofeedback therapy can be used alongside trauma-informed psychotherapy to help offer relief from post-traumatic symptoms, such as hypervigilance, panic attacks, dissociation, fear, anger and to help break the cycle of many addictions (such as, alcohol, substance and sex addition) that are often the result of early life psychological trauma. Neurofeedback offers the possibility to release trauma from the brain and body and overcome the symptoms without having to talk about what happened or relive the traumatic event(s) by exploring them in detail.
+ Chronic Fatigue & Sleep Issues
Neurofeedback training has been found to be effective in alleviating the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), or Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome (CFIDS). It can also help lessen or eliminate symptoms of depression, cognitive deficits, memory and concentration problems, sleep disturbances, and chronic pain such as headaches that are typically associated with CFS. As a result of neurofeedback, people that suffer from fatigue can see improvements in their cognitive abilities, a reduction of confusion and "brain fog", as well as experiencing increased energy levels and vigour, which can lead to significantly improved quality of life. After an initial course of treatment, people often report that their energy returns and they can return to full-time, productive work. More information about studies documenting the efficacy of neurofeedback for chronic fatigue can be found [here].
Neurofeedback can also be very effective in treating sleep difficulties, such as insomnia, as it can address the underlying over-activation of the nervous system due to stress and can subsequently help restore natural sleep rhythms. This of itself also leads to better quality and more restorative/deeper sleep that rests both brain and body and can help overcome chronic issues of fatigue.
+ Fibromyalgia, Migraines, IBS, Tinnitus
A cluster of issues such as fibromyalgia, migraines, IBS and tinnitus (ringing in the ears), can be effectively treated through neurofeedback’s ability to lessen stress, which often fuels these conditions, and help the brain and nervous system return to a calmer state.
+ STRESS, ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
Emotional balance and resilience is of paramount importance to good body, mind and spirit health, and growth on a personal and professional level. When one stays in a state of emotional imbalance for too long – for example when experiencing a range of negative emotional states such as stress, anger, fear, worry, dissociation, self-sabotage or depression, agitation, impulsivity, anxiety, panic attacks, low self-esteem, lack of drive and motivation, or poor concentration – and does not have good emotional resilience, it can be difficult to maintain equilibrium and flexibility in the face of challenges and change. This can allow negative thinking and feeling patterns to set in, which often lead to inappropriate behaviours and reactivity that affect our relationships and impair our ability to be at our best. Neurofeedback trains the brain to regain equilibrium, which allows us to break out of these involuntary, habitual states, giving us the ability to shift back into our natural, contented state – with greater happiness and resilience in whatever circumstances we face.
Any person can use neurofeedback to train their brains so they can reach their fullest potential no matter what circumstances they face. Peak performers have excellent abilities of concentration and motivation, along with the ability to handle their emotions efficiently during high-pressure situations; neurofeedback helps train one’s brains to excel in these functions, improving cognitive functioning and emotional stability. Neurofeedback is increasingly becoming a preferred method of training for self-development among outstanding performers and highly successful people. It can improve high performers’ ability to handle demanding and high-pressure situations and achieve greater cognitive and emotional resilience and endurance.
+ BUSINESS PERFORMANCE
In business, corporate executives and those working in high stress positions (such as hedge fund managers) can increase their emotional intelligence, which in turn enhances their leadership and decision-making skills. Neurofeedback can also help with mitigating the effects of stress and enhancing resilience, as well as helping one to utilise one’s time more effectively allowing, therefore, an increase in productivity. Neurofeedback therefore helps with becoming a better manager and performer.
+ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
In academia, students and professors are using neurofeedback to enhance their focus, improve their cognitive and emotional intelligence and, most importantly, to help them stay motivated and able to write high quality essays and papers.
+ SPORTS & ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
In sports, professional athletes and Olympians, use neurofeedback to help them be “in the zone”, to tune out distractions during key moments, and to increase processing speed, focus their attention and channel their energies on the task at hand. There are also a number of football and rugby clubs that use neurofeedback to help their team train better and become more efficient in their game.
+ CREATIVITY AND ARTS
In arts, neurofeedback enhances creativity and expressiveness, while at the same time enhancing the ability to focus.
+ MEDICINE & SURGICAL PERFORMANCE
In medicine, some surgeons use neurofeedback to improve concentration and stability of movements under pressure, while it can also help to reduce performance anxiety.
+ MEDITATION ENHANCEMENT
Neurofeedback can help meditators achieve deeper states of consicunses by increasing their ability to concentrate and focus.
+ Musical Performance
Some musicians use neurofeedback to improve their musical performance and to reduce performance anxiety and stress by promoting a state of “flow’’ that allows them to significantly increase the quality of their playing.
Is Neurofeedback Effective ?
There is a wealth of scientific studies that document neurofeedback’s effectiveness with various conditions, as it has been used by clinicians for more than forty years.
“The literature, which lacks any negative study of substance, suggests that EEG biofeedback therapy should play a major therapeutic role in many difficult areas. In my opinion, if any medication had demonstrated such a wide spectrum of efficacy, it would be universally accepted and widely used.”
Frank Duffy, MD, Neurologist, Harvard Medical School Professor
Please clink on the buttons below for a compilation of scientific studies that document how neurofeedback can help with a wide range of conditions.
The Life Academy + Myndlift
In my continuous search for increasing the effectiveness of my work and offering the best possible treatment, I have collaborated with Myndlift in order to offer neurofeedback to as many people as possible. Myndlift has revolutionised neurofeedback by making it accessible, as it can now be done remotely from the comfort of your own home. Traditionally, neurofeedback required frequent visits to a clinic, making it costly and time consuming. Thanks to recent technological advancements, I am excited to oﬀer Myndlift, an easy-to-use, effective, home neurofeedback system. Myndlift, has a Remote Therapist Guidance function that allows me as therapist to personally oversee your assessment and training program, via the internet and help you achieve results by offering continuous guidance. By creating a custom program tailored to your needs which can help your brain regulate itself, simply by playing games, watching videos and listening to music from the comfort of your own home.
For neurofeedback, as with all forms of training, the more you practice/train the more you can achieve. The minimum recommendation is to train at least 3 times per week for at least 16 weeks. Each session ranges from 24 to 40 minutes (depending on your circumstances). Every few sessions, you complete a symptoms questionnaire that tracks your progress. We measure symptom progress via the online symptom tracking tool. This provides a quantified assessment of symptom progress. If this is levelling off it can indicate that training effects are reaching their limit and it is time to stop or pause. If symptoms are still reducing in severity additional sessions will bring more benefits. In addition, when you are training with neurofeedback, we will have regular 15 minutes consultations over the phone or online with me in order to clarify any questions you might have and to make sure that you are training in the right way.
Our first session can be either face-to-face or online. During this session, we will discuss your symptoms and the areas you would like to improve and you will also have the chance to ask me any questions that you might have about neurofeedback. I will explain to you how Myndlift works and will also show you the different pieces of equipment (see photo). I will also give you clear instructions about how to use the home neurofeedback system. If you decide to go ahead, I will ask you to complete a comprehensive assessment of symptoms and medical history. This will help me to form a complete picture of your background, your difficulties and your aspirations. Following this, I will create a neurofeedback program tailored to your needs. At the end of the appointment, I will give you (or arrange to post to you) a neurofeedback kit for you to use at home.
BENEFITS OF ONLINE NEUROFEEDBACK
Cost-effective: Save money and time by renting a home training unit.
Convenience: The mobile system consists of a headband, an electrode and a tablet. You can train anywhere with an internet connection.
Family training: Multiple family members can train on the same device.
Results: You can train many times per week enabling you to experience the benefits quicker.
Engaging: Eight different training modes including the ability to train by watching Youtube videos or listening to music.