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Get in the Zone with Neurofeedback

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If you devote much time to golf, or any other sport, you may have experienced from time to time the phenomena known as "the zone," when every movement turns out just right, and your brain works in perfect sync with your body. It's an exhilarating experience, but then comes the frustration of knowing that these flashes of brilliance are very elusive, and cannot be summoned at will"or can they?

If you follow the sports news, you may have heard about how the Italian soccer team impressed not only soccer fans, but also the world, with their 2006 World Cup win, after spending time in what became known as the "brain room." Among the techniques used in the brain room, helping the team to achieve this success, was neurofeedback therapy, which is a form of biofeedback that can actually change the way your brain functions.

Neurofeedback is being used by more and more athletes and leaders to enhance their ability to perform at a high level. Individuals seeking to improve their golf score are turning to neurofeedback training to improve their 'mental game' of golf.

Neurofeedback uses an EEG machine that reads brain waves, and after several sessions, may enable you to easily access the brain wave frequencies that are typical of that heightened state of creativity and proficiency also known as the "flow."

During your neurofeedback therapy sessions, you and your therapist will work on getting your brain to do what it needs to do to be in the zone. Instead of forcing the brain into one pattern or another, the sessions will simply reinforce the good patterns with positive feedback when it reaches those wavelengths. Over time, the use of these wavelengths may become habitual, and you will most likely be able to access them more easily at will.

The process could be compared to training a dog. When they're doing the right thing, you want to reward them swiftly and well. Almost any sentient being responds well to positive reinforcement, and your own brain is no different.

If you were to go to a neurofeedback therapy session, the therapist would simply "hook your brain up" to an EEG machine by means of brain wave-reading leads attached comfortably to your scalp with a water-based gel. These leads would help the machine read the waves that your brain puts out, and the machine would respond in some form to the waves.

Some therapists, for example, have the neurofeedback machine hooked up to a DVD machine that will play a movie when the brain is in the right wavelengths and will fade out when the wavelengths change. In this way, your brain is positively reinforced for acting at its peak of performance, and you learn how to consciously access that "zone" at any given time.

Over time, your brain may more easily make these patterns into habits, and you'll be able to shift gears, so to speak. Since you won't need to operate in peak performance mode all the time, you'll also learn to shift more easily into sleep mode or into a relaxed mode. Neurofeedback can give you a much greater level of control over your actions, moods, and even environment than you might normally have.

This peak performance mode can help you to excel in almost any activity or profession, whether you're a writer, artist, therapist, salesperson, student, or even a brain surgeon! In fact, anyone who wants to do anything extremely well may benefit from learning to shift his or her brain to a peak performance mode.


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Dr. Clare Albright is a psychologist and neurofeedback practitioner in Orange County, CA. She is the author of, "Neurofeedback: Tranforming Your Life with Brain Biofeedback" Dr. Albright has been counseling in Orange County for over 26 years.

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