WHAT IS DEEP BRAIN NEUROTHERAPY?
In order to know what Deep Brain Neurotherapy means, first you need to know about Biofeedback, Brain waves, a phenomenon called Neuroplasticity and learn basics of the traditional Neurofeedback.
Biofeedback is a technique to help you learn to control internal functions normally outside of conscious control. You learn this by using sensitive instruments that measure and display physical or mental processes - making you aware of things that you can’t easily feel or detect on your own. It’s effortless. With the help of instruments, you can see what you’re doing to improve your technique.
For example; if you run a race, it's handy to have a stopwatch so you know when you're doing better and when you're not so you can adjust your technique for the better. In the same way, you can learn how to control muscle tension if you have a sensor showing you exactly how tense you are, when you are relaxing, and by how much (EMG biofeedback). Or, it’s simple to learn how to control your heart rhythm if you have a heart monitor giving you 'feedback' about what your heart rate is (HRV biofeedback).
With a thermometer you can learn how to change your skin temperature; thus changing your blood flow and in turn interrupting the onset of migraine headaches. By learning to control pelvic muscles with the help of a special monitor, you can learn to stop incontinence. Control your heart rhythm, and you can regulate your stress levels. Biofeedback is standard practice in sports performance. Its proven effectiveness has made it an accepted medical technique for decades; however, few people or their doctors are aware of this logical, natural, self-regulatory alternative to medication. Neurofeedback is brainwave biofeedback - a method to control your own brain function.
At the root of all our thoughts, emotions and behaviors are the communication between neurons within our brains. Brainwaves are produced by synchronized electrical pulses from masses of neurons communicating with each other. Brainwaves are detected using sensors placed on the scalp. They are divided into bandwidths to describe their functions (below), but are best thought of as a continuous spectrum of consciousness; from slow, loud and functional to fast, subtle, and complex.
It is a handy analogy to think of brainwaves as musical notes - the low frequency waves are like a deeply penetrating drum beat, while the higher frequency brainwaves are more like a subtle high pitched flute. Like a symphony, the higher and lower frequencies link and cohere with each other through harmonics. Our brainwaves change according to what we’re doing and feeling. When slower brainwaves are dominant, we can feel tired, slow, sluggish, or dreamy. The higher frequencies are dominant when we feel wired, or hyper-alert. The descriptions that follow are only broad descriptions, in practice things are far more complex, and brainwaves reflect different aspects when they occur in different locations in the brain. Brainwave speed is measured in Hertz (cycles per second) and they are divided into bands delineating slow, moderate, and fast waves.
Infra-Low brainwaves (also known as Slow Cortical Potentials) are thought to be the basic cortical rhythms that underlie our higher brain functions. Very little is known about infra-low brainwaves. Their slow nature makes them difficult to detect and accurately measure, so few studies have been done. They appear to take a major role in brain timing and network function.
DELTA WAVES (>0.5 TO 3 HZ)
Delta brainwaves are slow, loud brainwaves (low frequency and deeply penetrating, like a drumbeat). They are generated in deep, dreamless sleep. Delta waves suspend external awareness and are the source of empathy. Healing and regeneration are stimulated in this state, so deep restorative sleep is essential to the healing process.
THETA WAVES (4 TO 7 HZ)
Theta brainwaves occur most often in sleep but are also dominant in deep meditation. Theta is our gateway to learning, memory, and intuition. In theta, our senses are withdrawn from the external world and focused on signals originating from within. It is that twilight state which we normally only experience fleetingly as we wake or drift off to sleep. In theta we are in a dream; vivid imagery, intuition and information beyond our normal conscious awareness. It’s where we hold our ‘stuff,’ our fears, troubled history, and nightmares.
ALPHA WAVES (8 TO 12 HZ)
Alpha brainwaves are dominant during quietly flowing thoughts and in some meditative states. Alpha is ‘the power of now’, being here, in the present. Alpha is the resting state for the brain. Alpha waves aid overall mental coordination, calmness, alertness, mind/body integration and learning.
BETA WAVES (13 TO 34 HZ)
Beta brainwaves dominate our normal waking state of consciousness when attention is directed towards cognitive tasks and the outside world. Beta is a ‘fast’ activity, present when we are alert, attentive, engaged in problem-solving, judgment, decision making, or focused mental activity. Beta brainwaves are further divided into three bands; Lo-Beta (Beta1, 13-15Hz) can be thought of as a 'fast idle', or musing. Beta (Beta2, 16-20Hz) is high engagement or actively figuring something out. Hi-Beta (Beta3, 21-34Hz) is highly complex thought, integrating new experiences, high anxiety, or excitement. Continual high frequency processing is not a very efficient way to run the brain, as it takes a tremendous amount of energy.
GAMMA WAVES (35 TO 45 HZ)
Gamma brainwaves are the fastest of brain waves (high frequency, like a flute), and relate to simultaneous processing of information from different brain areas. Gamma brainwaves pass information rapidly and quietly. Gamma was dismissed as 'spare brain noise' until researchers discovered it was highly active when in states of universal love, altruism, and the ‘higher virtues’. Gamma is also above the frequency of neuronal firing, so how it is generated remains a mystery. It is speculated that gamma rhythms modulate perception and consciousness and that a greater presence of gamma relates to expanded consciousness and spiritual emergence.
WHAT BRAINWAVES MEAN TO YOU
Our brainwave profile and our daily experience of the world are inseparable. When our brainwaves are out of balance, there will be corresponding problems in our emotional or neuro-physical health. Research has identified brainwave patterns associated with all sorts of emotional and neurological conditions.
Over-arousal in certain brain areas is linked with anxiety disorders, sleep problems, nightmares, hyper-vigilance, impulsive behavior, anger/aggression, agitated depression, chronic nerve pain, and spasticity.
Under-arousal in certain brain areas leads to depression, attention deficit, chronic pain, and insomnia.
A combination of under-arousal and over-arousal is seen in cases of anxiety, depression, and ADHD.
Brain rhythms' instability correlates with tics, obsessive-compulsive disorder, aggressive behavior, rage, bruxism, panic attacks, bipolar disorder, migraines, narcolepsy, epilepsy, sleep apnea, vertigo, and tinnitus anorexia/bulimia, PMT (Premenstrual Tension), diabetes, Hypoglycemia, and explosive behavior.
ALTERING YOUR BRAINWAVES
By rule of thumb, any process that changes your perception changes your brainwaves.
Chemical interventions such as medications or recreational drugs are the most common methods to alter brain function; however, brainwave training is our method of choice.
Over the long term, traditional eastern methods (such as meditation and yoga) train your brainwaves into balance. In newer methods, brainwave entrainment is an easy, low-cost method to temporarily alter your brainwave state. If you are trying to solve a particular difficulty or fine-tune your brainwave function, state-of-the-art Deep Brain Neurotherapy delivers targeted, quick, and lasting results.
WHAT IS NEUROPLACTICITY?
Our brains are constantly being shaped by experiences.
Most of us have very different behaviors and thoughts today than we did 20 years ago.
This shift is neuroplasticity in action; changes in brain structure and organization as we experience, learn, and adapt.
With every repetition of a thought or emotion, we reinforce a neural pathway - and with each new thought, we begin to create a new way of being.
These small changes, frequently enough repeated, lead to changes in how our brains work. Neuroplasticity is the 'muscle building' part of the brain; the things we do often we become stronger at, and what we don’t use weakens and fades away.
That is the physical basis of why making a thought or action over and over again increases its power.
Over time, it becomes automatic; a part of us. We literally become what we think and do. Neuroplasticity is at work throughout life.
Connections within the brain are constantly becoming stronger or weaker, depending on what is being used. Younger people change easily; their brains are very plastic.
As we age, change doesn't come as easily; the brain loses some of its plasticity and we become more rigid or fixed in how we think, learn, and perceive.
Since the brain is pivotal to all we think and do, by harnessing neuroplasticity we can improve everything we do and think.
Deep Brain Neurotherapy works with these fundamental principles of neuroplasticity to help you take control of your mind and increase the quality of life.
The adage of “practice makes perfect” or “use it or lose it.” The 21st Century neuroscience version is,
"neurons that fire together, wire together - neurons that fire apart, wire apart".
The activity in your brain determines everything you feel and do. While most people have normal brain function, they still have brain imbalances or chronic emotions that affect their day to day life.
This is where neurofeedback can help. Neurofeedback is a way to train brain activity; it is biofeedback for the brain. To understand neurofeedback, first we need to understand a little about brainwaves.
Brainwaves are the electrical impulses produced as your brain cells communicate with one another. Brainwaves tell us a great deal about how you feel and function; your thought habits, stress levels, underlying mood and overall brain function.
Using sensors on the scalp, we can measure and monitor this activity. Once we know the areas of concern, we can create a training plan to help draw your brain into a comfortable, efficient state.
That brings us to neurofeedback. During a neurofeedback session, we compare what your brain is actually doing to what you'd like it to be doing. When your brain is nearing a more comfortable state, you are rewarded with a positive response on a computer screen.
Usually this ‘neurofeedback is in the form of a video game, music, or movie. The sounds and images tell you immediately when your brain approaches a more efficient place and when not. When the movie plays, it is because your brain is approaching the desired state.
When the movie stops, it is because your brain is heading the other way.
Much like physical exercises develop specific muscles, the more your brain is exercised into reaching a more comfortable, more efficient position, the better it gets at it (see neuroplasticity). As with learning any new skill, it simply requires time and repetition.
HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT
Neurofeedback began in the late 1950s and early '60s through the work of both Dr Joe Kamiya at the University of Chicago and Dr Barry Sterman at UCLA.
Dr. Kamiya was studying consciousness, and discovered that by using a simple reward system, people could learn to alter their brain activity.
This was the first-ever EEG neurofeedback training. Along similar lines, Dr. Sterman ran an experiment to see if cats could increase their sensory motor rhythm (SMR). A simple machine gave them a food pellet every time they 'got it right', and they quickly learned to control their brainwaves to get the treat.
Several years later he was doing an experiment for NASA, again using the cats from his lab.
This time, he was testing the effects of exposure to lunar lander fuel.
For most of the cats, as the levels of toxic fumes increased there was a linear progression of brain instability; first drowsiness, then headaches, followed by hallucinations, seizures, and finally death. However, some of the cats seemed to be immune.
Sterman noticed that the cats who were immune were the same cats he had used in the SMR brain training experiment a couple of years before. The SMR training had given those cats ultra-stable brains. Sterman moved on to train SMR in humans to control their epilepsy; 60% of his subjects reduced their seizure level by 20-100%, and the results lasted. As a result, NASA trained their lunar astronauts to control their brain's SMR rhythms. Fifty years later, neurofeedback is still part of the astronaut training program.
In the mid-1970s, neurofeedback caught the attention of meditators as an aid in spiritual development, and so wandered into the no-man's land between science and religion. Conferences were attended by two people in orange robes for each one in a white lab coat.
Soon neurofeedback gained a dubious reputation as a meditation or spiritual tool, which considering the extreme biases of the time made it an unpopular choice for career minded researchers.
Neurofeedback didn't fit the (now defunct) medical view of how the brain functioned. Though the empirical data proved that neurofeedback worked, it couldn't possibly work under the scientific beliefs of the time. Thus, neurofeedback became regarded as 'spooky' medicine.
Out on the fringes of science, work continued. By the late '80s neurofeedback was being applied to attention deficit disorders, and through the '90s to a wide variety of psychological and central nervous system based conditions.
Over the last decade, the medical view of the brain has changed completely and the principles of neuroplasticity are universally accepted.
Neuroscience has come to accept the interrelation between the central nervous system, the autoimmune system, emotional, physical, and mental health.
It has conceded that indeed, the brain can change at any age, and that we create new neurons throughout life. The natural mechanisms underlying neurofeedback are now becoming clear. To most medical practitioners, neurofeedback is still foreign.
Many hold a view based on its old reputation, and have had no exposure to the research. Old views die hard, particularly regarding competing methods that lie outside of their expertise. Brainwave monitoring is no longer 'experimental'.
It is common practice in scientific studies to assess how people's brains are functioning under various conditions of illness, stress and mental difficulties.
Patterns in the EEG reflect emotional and cognitive states and predict whether people are paying attention, or even what their mood is likely to be.
Today, to describe a condition properly, you have to describe its effect within the brain. This research allows neurotherapists to target a wide range of conditions.
With the advances in computer software and brainwave monitoring equipment, neurofeedback practitioners now have affordable precision tools.
With 50 years of independent development behind it, the methods have become highly sophisticated, and highly
effective. In the realm of brainwave training, neurofeedback has a half century head-start on conventional medicine.
With financial support of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and direct collaboration with the department of defense, scientists at Beautiful Mind Neurotherapy Group have been able to take Neurofeedback to a new level of performance and offer the cutting edge Deep Brain Neurotherapy.
DEEP BRAIN NEUROTHERAPY
With almost 50 years of clinical use behind it, the field of neurofeedback has diversified into a wide range of approaches and methods.
All neurofeedback methods tend to be effective; however, how quickly you see results and how specific to your goals those results will be all comes down to the skill of the clinician and the capability of his tools.
Neurofeedback systems range from simple concentration machines right up to complete sensor arrays with deep brain imaging capability. They fall into three broad categories:
Brand name Neurofeedback systems
EEG Neurofeedback (traditional neurofeedback)
Deep Brain Neurotherapy
BRAND NAME NEUROFEEDBACK
Brand name neurofeedback refers to the ever-growing array of 'packaged' brain training available.
These systems often re-brand neurofeedback as 'brain state training', 'brain conditioning' or 'neural-optimization', often accompanied by a claim of uniqueness.
Others franchise a name or method, using components of dual-sensor EEG neurofeedback (see below) and a variety of pre-built training protocols.
While generally effective, these brand name systems are limited by their built-in functions and particular style, making it difficult to zero in on particular goals or problem areas.
They require minimal training to use (a few days to a couple of weeks), greatly adding to their limitations. These systems appeal to those just starting out in neurofeedback.
Basic training is provided, you have the backing of an established brand, and the equipment is relatively inexpensive so services can be offered at a low price.
The limited training required makes it cheap and easy to train new staff, and quickly expand your business. Of course for the consumer, these are among the drawbacks.
It can be difficult to tell whether or not a provider is using a 'brand-name' system or not. There are a number of companies in the market, the dominant brands include Neuroptimal, Brain State, and EEGinfo (aka Othmer Method).
EEG NEUROFEEDBACK (TRADITIONAL NEUROFEEDBACK)
EEG is traditional surface neurofeedback, as it has been used for decades with great success.
Next to the sales-savvy trademark products, EEG neurofeedback has far less flash and mystique - however it more than makes up for it in flexibility and efficacy.
A skilled therapist can do anything that a brand name system can do, and more. With a full range of equipment and brain training approaches available, the therapist is free to work differently with each individual and take a far more active role in the brain training.
The most common EEG neurofeedback uses two sensors; 2 brainwave sensors, 2 ear sensors, and a ground. With these, the clinician can train surface brain activity and properly tailor that training to the individual.
Because of the greater expertise required, EEG neurofeedback practitioners are usually smaller, one-clinic businesses.
And Finally: Introducing DEEP Brain Neurotherapy:
When it comes to resolving complex symptoms or medical conditions, good tools make all the difference.
Deep brain (LoRETA) Neurotherapy is the most advanced brain training tool available.
Its better imaging means the training is more specific to your goals, and fewer sessions are required to see results.
Sessions are scheduled one-to-one with a professional Neuro-Technician or Neuro-Therapist, either in our facilities or remotely operated at home.
qEEG GUIDED …
Everything starts with an intake qEEG Brain Mapping
A qEEG brain map enables us to see your unique pattern of mental strengths and weaknesses - areas of the brain where there is too little or too much activity, and areas that are not coordinating their activity the best they could.
We use qEEGs for our initial assessment, to design your Brain training, and to track your progress over your sessions. It involves nothing more than wearing a sensor cap so we can listen to what your brain is doing.
Once we can see the reason for your struggles on a brain level, we can create a Brain training protocol to help resolve it.
During your qEEG assessment, we gather data, process your maps and review it with you on the spot.
Every ten sessions we gather a fresh qEEG to keep the therapist in the loop, allowing progress tracking and updates to your training as you progress. It's how we make your sessions truly personalized and dynamic.
Being able to process our brain maps on the spot has advantages. We use software analysis tools, but software cannot make human judgement or put the map in context of you and your goals. As with most fields, there is an art to it that only comes with experience.
Most people find their qEEG fascinating. There are seldom any surprises in the brain map; it is a measure how you feel and function, and presumably you already know how you feel.
Still, most find real comfort and validation in getting a measure on those feelings or challenges, and relief that they can be shifted.
During your sessions, subsequent qEEGs allow us to adjust your training as you change. After your sessions, a simple comparison allows you to see your progress too.
All data of mapping are sent to a third-party analysis to provide results for validity and reliability of data collected to compare the changes or improvements of patients.
An EEG uses surface sensors to detect the brain’s electrical patterns (known as brainwaves).
Common brain imaging techniques such as MRIs, CAT scans and x-rays are built to measure brain structure.
An EEG measures brain activity and function; how you are feeling, moment to moment. We use the EEG to see any areas where your brain is ‘stuck' in one state or another - those underlying, habitual feelings that get in your way.
That 'background noise' distracts or makes you uncomfortable periodically (or constantly). These are our targets for training. Getting an EEG is non-invasive and painless.
Much like a heart monitor which only records your heart rate, the sensors only record the electrical activity of the brain. It is not invasive in any way.
qEEG (QUANTITATIVE ELECTROENCEPHALOGRAPH)
The qEEG brain map neuro-metric readings give us vital information to help identify areas of over or under-activity to train, and to precisely chart your progress.
By seeing which areas have abnormal activity, we can predict what type of symptoms you may be experiencing as a result.
For example, if specific brain areas involved in attention are functioning poorly and you have difficulty paying attention, we know exactly where to train to help you regulate more efficiently.
A qEEG can identify not only brainwaves, their amplitude, location, and whether these patterns are typical or anomalous, but also coherence (quality of communication between regions), phase (thinking speed), and network integration. These are all crucial patterns involved in optimal mental functioning.
sLoRETA (STANDARDIZED LOW-RESOLUTION BRAIN ELECTROMAGNETIC TOMOGRAPHY)
Using a 19 sensor cap and source-correlation software, sLoRETA allows us to image (and ultimately train) brainwave patterns in deep brain structures.
Being able train these deeper structures in the brain is a major leap forward in brain mapping, and enables 3D Brain Training.
The ability to train entire brain networks as a unit significantly reduces the number of sessions required to see results.
If you want to see if something is out of balance, you need a baseline (z-score) to know if your levels are higher or lower than they should be. Similarly, we use baselines to see what areas of your brain to train, and how much training is needed.
No two brains are quite the same; however, a comfortable state looks almost identical in all of us.
Training towards this comfortable state is perfect when you want to solve a particular problem or issue, but for training above the average (mental skills or peak-performance training), we train 'old-school'; without Z-scores. In this case, we are working to enhance skills rather than training towards a comfortable average.
Deep Brain Neurotherapy Example
As an example, Jane is having trouble getting to sleep. Her concentration is suffering, and she is finding herself unable to control her emotional reactions.
We review her case and determine that we will likely be able to help.
We record a qEEG brain map and see that her brain is on high alert; the areas involved in emotional reactivity and anxiety are running at triple the comfortable rate. No wonder she's uncomfortable. After careful analysis of her brain activity, we see that this underlying anxiety affects her ability to shift.
from an alert state to rest; the likely culprit in her sleep troubles.
While there is no visible problem with her concentration per se, her anxiety is taking the majority of her brain’s resources and there is little left for concentration and clear decision making. Having identified the areas of concern, we create Jane’s Brain Training protocol.
Her favorite movie is Love Actually, so we’ll use that as the feedback for her training session.
During Jane’s sessions, we monitor the areas involved in her anxiety in real-time. When her brain is moving towards a calmer position, her movie plays normal - a positive signal letting her know that her brain is heading the right way.
When she’s getting a bit more internally anxious, the movie will go dark – a negative signal telling her that she’s heading the wrong way.
The better she gets at it, the more difficult we make it - so if she wants to watch Love Actually, her brain has to continually shift further and further into a more and more balanced, non-anxious state as Jane makes this shift time and again, she is learning how to return her mind to a calm position.
With more practice her skills improve, and she is soon able to make this shift on her own, without our help. As we track her progress, we notice a corresponding shift on her brain map.
She reports that she is better able to choose her emotional reactions, and is no longer being overrun by them.
Her sleep and concentration are now better as a result. Her symptoms have subsided, her brain is now in a more comfortable state, and her brain map results confirms it.
The protocol for Jane was successful. Jane is only one example.
We work with everyone from corporate CEOs and professional artists to those with severe autism and brain injury. Whatever the cause or symptom, Deep Brain Neurotherapy can be helpful in retraining the brain into a healthier pattern.