Why I Love Biofeedback
1. Elegant. Biofeedback is a behavioral mirror. When in a biofeedback loop you interact with information from your own body. In biofeedback you see and respond to a real time display reflecting the activity of your nervous system. Sometimes your brain waves are shown on a computer screen so that you can reduce problem frequencies by trial and error learning.
2. Quick. Recovery of 2-5% per hour for a neurofeedback intervention is typical. For example, we can typically reduce the problems of ADHD by half within 20 sessions. Each session can be brief.
3. No more pills. Clients are able to withdraw from psychoactive medications without a resurgence of symptoms. (Google: Vincent Monastra)
4. Pervasive benefits. Biofeedback can target emotional lability, sensory regulation, executive mental functions, and physical well being. Yet reports of additional benefits are the norm. For example, people often spontaneousy report improved quality of sleep.
5. High success rates. Overall, ~60-90% success rates are the norm for the diverse range of symptoms seen by biofeedback practitioners. We have 90% certainty of permanently clearing up migraines in 20 sessions.
6. Broadly useful. Neurofeedback treats many kinds of disorders, conditions and symptoms. Both genetic and acquired problems respond.
Brain: seizures, stroke, traumatic brain injury, coma, migraine.
Lifestyle: drug & alcohol addictions, eating disorders, criminality.
Arousal: stress, anxiety, headache, OCD, anger, PTSD.
Chronic: asthma, IBS, TMJ, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, immune suppression, depression, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, chronic pain, psychological trauma.
Women: PMS, menopause, hot flashes, infertility.
Not just kids: ADHD, autism, Asperger's, Tourette's, tics, learning disorders.
7. Treating the source. Biofeedback works at the site of the disorder to remediate the mechanism of action of the problem. Everyone agrees that the brain is the physiological source of behavior and psychopathology. Brain waves are a useful point of intervention. There is a close correlation (r=.87) between reducing the highest brain wave amplitude and a decrease in symptoms of many kinds. There are many studies that show normalization of EEG brain maps. Here is one using functional magnetic resonance imaging showing resolution of ADHD:
g International Society of Neurofeedback and Research. 17. Neuro-technologies. There are several technologies related to biofeedback. For example, based on extensive research, Cranial Electrical Stimulation is approved by the FDA for anxiety, depression and insomnia. But like biofeedback it is vastly under-utilized. ">click here
8. Accepted by academia. Biofeedback is taught in the textbooks of many fields. Physicians are trained in biofeedback in medical school. Biofeedback works on animals. Biofeedback can be seen as a form of trial and error learning or operant conditioning. The basic concepts are accepted and not controversial.
9. Excellence. Biofeedback can be used to enhance optimal flow and functioning without a problem orientation. Just as aerobic cross training helps all athletes, conditioning the nervous system enhances all endeavors. The U.S. Army has begun training officers with biofeedback for mental focus and emotional resilience. The best peak performance research is with athletes and musicians. (Google: Italian soccer biofeedback.) Surgeons improve speed and dexterity.
10. Organic path to healing. You fix yourself under guidance. Recovery is gradual and cumulative. The effect is to develop the flexibility and resilience of the nervous system. The goal is to improve self-regulation of mind-body through self-awareness and self-control. Biofeedback is similar to many other processes: training, exercise, maturation, mediation, stress reduction, etc.
11. Permanent. Positive results of brain biofeedback are sustained in the long term.
12. Safe. Adverse effects are rare and minor such as a brief headache or moodiness.
13. Enjoyable. The experience of biofeedback is pleasant, interesting and relaxing. The feedback can be carried by any movie on a DVD requiring no special effort.
14. Flexible application. There are biofeedback training approaches that need no diagnosis or special protocols. On the other hand, psychophysiological profiles or brain maps can be used to guide biofeedback treatment. Some biofeedback devices are inexpensive and hand held. The technology is advancing rapidly. Biofeedback can occur in an office, at home, community or school.
15. Diverse research with compelling results. See this comprehensive 16-page bibliography http://www.isnr.org/ComprehensiveBibliography.cfm
These two sites have some journal abstracts available.
Here is Aetna's policy of medical necessity for biofeedback for 10 conditions. http://www.aetna.com/cpb/medical/data/100_199/0132.html.
Key point: there are hundreds of studies about diverse conditions with varied measures. Three examples:
• Four studies document an average boost of 15 IQ points in ADHD subjects.
• New technology for migraine shows 94% success rate in 6 sessions.
• Recidivism for felons was cut to 15%.
• Addictions research shows a 70-80% success rate in long term follow-up.
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