Neurotherapy is based on QEEG assessment information and clinical presentation. It is a non-invasive, non-medication, biologically-based method for optimising brain function. Once an individual’s QEEG has been analysed and correlated with his/her symptomology and behavioral presentation, a treatment plan is developed to address symptoms related to various brain-based disorders. The goals of neurotherapy are to improve brain function and to reduce or eliminate troublesome symptoms.
Neurotherapy is comprised of three basic methods of treatment: clinical neurofeedback, electromagnetic stimulation, and stimulation via single electrodes. Recently, clinical neurofeedback has been combined with stimulation technologies to provide treatment, and the term neurotherapy was coined by Quantum physicist and EEG neurodiagnostician Juri Kropotov (2009) to subsume all techniques.
Neurofeedback is the use of feedback to change the brain’s electrical patterning. Using the same equipment that collects the QEEG data for assessment, sophisticated software uses real-time signals from the brain to provide visual and/or auditory rewards to the brain; the brain, in turn, uses the feedback to train itself to function more effectively. This is an operant conditioning process. The reward implies that the brain is moving toward normalization pertaining to the specific brain metrics targeted by the clinician. The individual’s learning is monitored and the computer display represents the electrical oscillations produced by neurons. Neurofeedback is sometimes referred to simply as training. Other terms are loreta, or more specifically, sLoreta neurofeedback, which is subcortical neurofeedback.
There are several types of stimulation technologies, including pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (pEMF), Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS), and repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS). (The first three types of stimulation are approximately 1/30,000th the stimulation of rTMS - Dr. Helmer & Associates do not provide rTMS treatment.) These stimulation technologies, as well as training the brain through neurofeedback, have been shown to change functional connectivity as well as emergent properties of the brain (DeRidder, 2014).
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life (www.medicinenet.com). Every time the brain learns, there is an alteration in the elements of the brain’s blood flow, chemistry and neuronal connectivity. However, the speed and efficiency of learning can be affected by injury or disease. Neurotherapy can help restore the brain’s functional ability.
Progress depends on presenting symptomology (your symptoms or the reason you have sought treatment) and bio-physical status (your medical and physical condition). Nutrition, hydration, and the presence or absence of restorative sleep are important factors contributing to your well-being that may affect your treatment response. Complex issues may require many treatments, and it is not possible to put a number on how many treatments you will need. Your response to treatment is typically monitored after 8 to 10 sessions of neurotherapy with a repeat QEEG; changes in your symptom presentation and traditional neuropsychological testing can also be used to document improvement. The expectation is that changes are lasting or permanent with sufficient treatment response.
Neurotherapy has few or no negative effects. Side effects may be fatigue, transient headache, insomnia, or sleepiness. Feeling tired after treatment is common because the brain has had a mental workout much like going to the gym. Drinking water and having a protein snack before and after treatment help prevent fatigue and headache. It is important to tell the clinic staff of any changes in how you feel after treatment, and in general.
Research has demonstrated that neurotherapy may be effective in the treatment of anxiety, depression, insomnia, PTSD, epilepsy, stroke, some brain injuries, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and autism. Stress and chemotherapy are two additional conditions that neurotherapy may address. Neurotherapy may also be beneficial in the early stages of cognitive decline and for certain dementia presentations. Neurotherapy continues to be validated as a treatment for many brain-based disorders, such as Parkinson’s. Neurotherapy works by regularising brain networks and network hubs to restore and optimise brain functioning.
Individuals requiring chemotherapy for treatment of cancer or other diseases often result in cognitive side effects referred to as “chemo brain” or “chemo fog.” Chemotherapy agents are often toxic to body tissues as well as being neurotoxic, i.e., toxic to the brain. Resulting cognitive changes affect attentional functions, executive functions, and learning and memory functions. Neurotherapy is one possible element in a multimodal intervention to combat chemo brain, with the intent of normalising brain function as much as possible.
Neurofeedback can also be used to optimise the brain for improved performance in various areas for anyone wishing to sharpen memory skills, math skills, decision-making, and problem-solving skills. This is done by reviewing a QEEG brain map to determine points for intervention and then by increasing the efficiency of brain networks and network hubs in order to support the individual's performance in any endeavour.
Despite neurotherapy’s great potential to address and alleviate symptoms in many brain-based disorders, it is not possible to predict with certainly that neurotherapy will be successful in treating all conditions. Factors such as nutrition, hydration, restorative sleep, comorbidities, and substance use all play a role in brain health and treatment response.
Neurofeedback can also be used to optimise the brain for improved performance in various areas for anyone wishing to sharpen memory skills, math skills, decision-making, and problem-solving skills. This is done by reviewing a QEEG brain map to determine points for intervention and then increasing the efficiency of brain networks and network hubs in order to support the individual's performance in any endeavour.
The Effect of Neurotherapy on Medication
Because neurofeedback creates increased information-processing efficiencies in the brain and thereby changes symptom presentation toward a healthier state, any medication an individual is prescribed will need to be monitored by a physician. Neurofeedback trains the brain to modulate its excitatory pathways as well as the cortical blood profusion and oxygenation, thereby increasing flexibility and self-regulation of inhibitory and activating patterns. Typically this means a reduction in the amount of medication that will be required for any brain-based disorders and possibly for bio-physical disorders as well. Such medication changes must be discussed with one's primary physician.
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