I had the good fortune this week to listen to Erin Bisenius of Sassypants Coaching talk about her work with neurofeedback, which can provide stress relief, ameliorate PTSD, help people sleep better, and reduce a person's perception of pain.
Erin gave a basic neuroscience lesson - neurons receive bajillions of bits of information each second and pass it along to one another as electrical pulses. Our brains are complex, nonlinear, and "dynamical" systems that are constantly adjusting to stimulus and rewiring themselves. Our brains adjust so thoroughly that sometimes when we experience changes in our mental state, we don't even notice!
What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is a specific version of biofeedback, which just means collecting data about your body and providing feedback based on that data. The example Erin shared was that you could weigh yourself and use the data about your weight to adjust your eating and exercise habits. Neurofeedback collects data on your brain activity by sensing the electrical shift of neurons in your brain.
The system that Erin uses - Neuroptimal - interpret the complex information collected by the electrical sensors attached to your scalp and senses phase shifts in your brain activity. "Sensing shifts in your brain activity" is the complicated part of that sentence and the short explanation is that there is a complicated algorithm in the computer that detects the shifts. The Neuroptimal system provides feedback to your brain through music. When your brain activity shifts, the music stops for a brief second to alert your brain to the shift. Your brain then decides what to do. That's it. You sit and listen to music and little skips in the music remind your brain to re-orient to the now, and respond in the optimal way for you. Amazing, right?
Neuroptimal sessions consist of sitting (or laying down or moving around gently) and listening to music for 30 minutes. There is no minimum number of sessions, but many people start to notice results after 6-10 sessions. Because there are no side effects associated with listening to music (albeit with lots of skips in it), there are no side effects to Neuroptimal.
How do I learn more?
If this sounds cool, it is. Scoot over to Sassypants Coaching and send Erin an email to learn more. She does in-person Neuroptimal sessions and also rents the system for take-home use for 4 weeks at a time.
April 7 session
April 8 session
Angie B. Moline
Dr. Moline is an ecologist and visual process facilitator who draws pictures to help clients think. She is currently on a quest to understand why live drawings are so compelling and how to make them as sticky as possible in order to improve communication, understanding, and memory. Follow here journey here!