Nelda and Carvel are a lovely couple from Texas who have made annual visits to the Whitaker Wellness Institute for a number of years. During a recent visit, Nelda was treated with neurofeedback, a biofeedback therapy that helps normalize brainwave patterns and is used to treat anxiety, depression, nervousness, insomnia, migraines, memory and attention problems, and more. Here is Nelda’s story.
“When we came to Whitaker Wellness last year, I was at the lowest place I’d been in a long time. Over the past few years, I’d gone through the stress of caring for my first husband during his illness and the grief of his passing. Although I am now happily remarried to a wonderful man, I just wasn’t feeling as well physically or mentally as I had in the past.
“For example, I’ve worked at the same law firm for 20 years, but I would forget the names of clients—and I’ve known some of them for decades. Or I’d miss appointments at the beauty shop, which, as any woman knows, no one forgets. I had taken care of my mother after she had a stroke and was suffering with dementia, and I just couldn’t shake the feeling that, like her, I was developing Alzheimer’s. When I mentioned these things to my physician at Whitaker Wellness, she prescribed a course of neurofeedback.
“After the very first treatment, I noticed a sense of serenity that I hadn’t felt in quite some time. Some of it was the relief I felt when the neurofeedback therapist, who is exceptionally kind and patient, reassured me that I didn’t have Alzheimer’s, but that the activity in certain areas of my brain was out of sync, most likely as a result of the grief, stress, and fear I had been dealing with. I had several treatments, and after each one I felt better and better.
“Neurofeedback helped me so much that I found a facility that offered it back home so I could continue treatment. Of all the therapies I did at Whitaker Wellness, neurofeedback was the most valuable. It gave me lasting calmness and peace of body, mind, and soul.”
Neurofeedback = Biofeedback for the Brain
Biofeedback is officially defined as “a process that enables an individual to learn how to change physiological activity for the purposes of improving health and performance. Precise instruments measure activity such as brainwaves, heart function, breathing, muscle activity, and skin temperature. These instruments rapidly and accurately ‘feed back’ information to the user. The presentation of this information—often in conjunction with changes in thinking, emotions, and behavior—supports desired physiological changes. Over time, these changes can endure without continued use of an instrument.”
Neurofeedback, as its name suggests, is a type of biofeedback that focuses on the brain and central nervous system. Before treatment begins, patients usually undergo a quantitative electroencephalogram (EEG, a common diagnostic tool in neurology) that “maps” the electrical activity in the brain and identifies patterns that are likely causing symptoms. During a typical neurofeedback session, electrodes applied to the scalp monitor the brain’s electrical impulses and transmit them to a computer. Then you simply sit back and watch a program on the computer screen.
Each neurofeedback session lasts about half an hour and treatments are repeated as needed, usually half a dozen to 20 times, or as long as it takes to be able to normalize patterns on your own.
How Neurofeedback Works
Brain cells communicate with one another via electrical discharges that have varying but predictable frequencies (brainwaves). For example, when you are mentally engaged, higher frequency beta waves dominate. If you’re resting or relaxing, electrical frequencies slow down and you’re in the alpha state. Theta brainwaves are even slower—it’s that pleasant, ultra-relaxed state you experience just before you drift off to sleep or when you daydream or do repetitious, “no-brainer” tasks. The slowest brainwaves are delta, and they occur during sleep.
Neurofeedback simply identifies patterns associated with negative symptoms and provides feedback that encourages the production of more positive patterns—such as slowing brainwaves down, speeding them up, or acting on excitatory/inhibitory pathways. And, unlike conventional biofeedback, in which you concentrate and willfully try to change physiological reactions, you’re not “telling” your brain to calm down or rev up. This therapy focuses more or less on a subconscious level.
At Whitaker Wellness, we also use brain entrainment during neurofeedback sessions. Patients wear special glasses that employ blinking lights to guide the brain toward specific wavelengths. The end result is an enduring sense of profound calmness and well-being similar to meditation or deep relaxation.
More Positive Feedback for Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback has been studied in hundreds of clinical trials as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including autism, epilepsy, ADHD, post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, tinnitus, fibromyalgia, migraines, impulsivity, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. The studies are impressive, but the enthusiastic reactions of our patients are even more striking.
Success stories like Nelda’s are pretty common around Whitaker Wellness, proving time and again the multiple benefits of neurofeedback.
“There’s nothing else that works as well as neurofeedback for my sleep.” “I finally had eight hours of real sleep.” “I’m not sure what this really does, but I’ve been sleeping like a log.”
“What I got out of neurofeedback was clear thinking. That’s the world for someone who had brain fog every day for years.” “How can this little machine give me the clarity of all the wonderful things I can still accomplish in life?”
“All this ‘stuff’ up here has been lifted. I haven’t felt this calm in years.” “My husband is calmer and treats things with more equanimity.”
I want to close with another extraordinary success story. Richard came to the clinic after his conventional physicians told him there was nothing they could do for his progressive supranuclear palsy, a rare, degenerative neurological condition that severely affected his gait, balance, and vision. We treated him with a number of therapies, including neurofeedback. In the middle of his seventh treatment, he exclaimed, “My double vision is gone!” Two days later, he fell, hit the back of his head, and his double vision returned. After three more neurofeedback treatments, he regained normal vision.
If you have any of the conditions discussed above, neurofeedback is worth a shot. It’s safe, painless, and incredibly effective.
Total Brain Recovery
Neurofeedback is just one of the key components of our exciting new Whitaker Brain Recovery Program. This innovative program offers safe, noninvasive solutions for a variety of health concerns. If you are suffering with addiction, a traumatic brain injury, depression, anxiety, or any other cognitive, behavioral, or emotional disorder, we can help. To learn more, visit whitakerbrainrecovery.com or call (866) 632-8890.