Do you have a disorder or is it simply a brain pattern?

If you grasp the concept that the brain is an extraordinary intricate adaptive system, you might also come to realise that the notion of a “normal” brain doesn’t really exist. Numerous individuals perceive their brain’s functioning as a disorder or dysfunction, although this so-called “dysfunction” isn’t visible in the brain’s physical structure. The key is to comprehend how you utilise your brain and explore ways to harness its full potential for peak performance. Maybe it’s a good idea to examine the brain patterns of the “energy brain.”

How neurofeedback can help with just about anything.

What’s your Label?

Labels are everywhere in our society. From categorising a child’s school supplies to different types of jams, we are constantly labeling things and even people. While labels may provide a sense of security by helping us determine how to “treat” others, it’s important to remember that individuals are not meant to fit into neat little boxes. Each person is unique, and so is their brain. Our brains are complex and individualised, making it impossible to compare one person’s brain to another.

Your brain develops due to your unique experience.

We all know how crucial the brain is, but have we considered that it’s the only organ not fully developed at birth? The brain continues to grow and change until around the age of twenty-four, influenced by our interactions and the feedback we receive from our environment and the people around us. This feedback is processed through our perception and the meaning we give to different events. In order to survive, the brain relies on familiar patterns, even if there may be more efficient solutions available. This leads to the reinforcement of less-than-optimal brain patterns, which quickly become habits.

Do you see your issues as disorders or brain patterns?

If you grasp the concept that the brain is an extraordinary intricate adaptive system, you might also come to realise that the notion of a “normal” brain doesn’t really exist. Numerous individuals perceive their brain’s functioning as a disorder or dysfunction, although this so-called “dysfunction” isn’t visible in the brain’s physical structure. The key is to comprehend how you utilise your brain and explore ways to harness its full potential for peak performance. Maybe it’s a good idea to examine the brain patterns of the “energy brain.”

Your brain works using electricity and chemicals.

In order to comprehend the energy brain, it is essential to grasp that your brain communicates with itself and the rest of your body through electrical signals (brain waves) and chemicals (neurotransmitters). By utilising EEG, we can observe the amount of energy your brain consumes at specific locations on your head. This information can then be compared to a comprehensive database that has been accumulated over numerous years of extensive research. The aim is to determine whether your brain is utilising more or less energy than necessary in those particular areas.

What does the EEG pick up?

Electrodes placed on a client’s head do not produce electrical current. They simply monitor the brain activity in that area. This helps the trainer understand the unique patterns of your brain. After years of research, brain trainers can identify how these patterns might relate to learning challenges, focus issues, reading or listening difficulties, and more. Instead of focusing on diagnosis, the brain trainer uses this information to create a personalised brain training program that aims to balance brain activity, regardless of whether it resembles that of someone diagnosed with ADHD, ASD, dyslexia, or other conditions. Each client is viewed as an individual with a distinct brain pattern, and by training the brain, improvements in symptoms can be seen.

So how does neurofeedback work?

Neurofeedback provides the brain with immediate and clear feedback. It encourages the brain by saying, “Yes, do more of this,” or “No, do less of this,” rewarding the brain whenever it responds correctly. The brain enjoys rewards and strives for more of them, while also trying to avoid any negative feedback. Therefore, it is clear that when the brain receives consistent and appropriate feedback, it is capable of creating new pathways and patterns based on the information it receives.

What are the types of feedback?

During brain training, the electrodes monitor your brain’s activity in real-time. Software then interprets the activity and provides feedback instantly. This feedback can come in the form of music or sounds you hear, a video that brightens or dulls based on your brain’s activity, or a game that adjusts as your brain responds. The goal is not for you to interpret the feedback, but to simply relax and let your brain process it. Thus, neurofeedback is completely non-invasive and aligns with the brain’s natural learning process.

Working on one area results in improvement in several areas of your life.

When we target specific areas of the brain to make corrections, we can witness improvements in various aspects. This is because these areas are not responsible for only one thing. Many people notice that not only are they less anxious, but that they may be sleeping better or are able to remember things more easily.

Some people do not seem to notice the difference themselves.

By enabling the brain to develop better habits, it reduces the workload on the brain. Individuals may overlook the numerous enhancements occurring within themselves and may have to depend on others’ observations. The stress and mental strain, previously so intense that it felt like smoke coming out of your ears while solving a problem, have dissipated. Now, you can effortlessly accomplish tasks and utilise your vast knowledge and skills whenever you encounter a situation.

How does neurofeedback compliment Educational Kinesiology?

As a practitioner of educational kinesiology and movement facilitator, I have witnessed numerous advantages of incorporating brain training into my clients’ routines. By addressing the different areas of the brain responsible for coordinating movement, integrating sensory input, and establishing a strong mind-body connection, we can achieve remarkable results in our movement programs. When working with conditions like dyslexia, ADHD, ASD, and others, our focus is not on diagnosing, but on understanding how certain factors in the body may be affecting the flow of information to and from the brain. We also explore how the energy in the brain contributes to the processing of this information. By examining both aspects together, we obtain a more complete understanding of the situation at hand.

Neurofeedback and movement programmes.

One of my clients, in particular, had difficulty with movement when we first started working together. The exercises I assigned during our sessions were challenging for him and he struggled to understand how to execute them. He was afraid of looking foolish, so he often tried to avoid exerting the effort by acting like a class clown and wasting time. However, after completing brain training, he became enthusiastic and ready to tackle the challenges. Unfortunately, his mother misinterpreted this enthusiasm as hyperactivity and expressed her concerns. I explained to her that it was actually a positive change, as he was simply trying to catch up and explore new ways of moving. It’s important to recognise that movement not only reinforces but develops the brain and should be encouraged in a safe environment.

As movement facilitators, a significant part of our role is to carefully observe a person’s movements. By interpreting what the body is attempting to achieve through these movements, we can create a tailored movement program that enables meaningful progress and development for the body.

How do balances fit in with brain training?

The goal of brain training is to cultivate new pathways and behaviours. As these pathways become stronger, the old neuropathways should become unnecessary. However, if we don’t address toxic environments or belief systems, the brain runs the risk of reverting to bad habits. Balances provide a method to challenge faulty beliefs. Combining balances with brain training allows individuals to actively participate in creating a better future. While brain training doesn’t require a person to analyse and intellectualise in order to change habits, some clients may feel like they haven’t had the chance to address underlying issues that may arise during the balancing of brain waves. Balances offer clients the opportunity to express and move through emotions and memories that surface during the process.

How does brain organisation fit with neurofeedback?

A specific client approached my colleague because the school suspected he might have dyslexia. The school thought he needed more medication due to his ongoing concentration struggles. Unfortunately, many students are pushed towards medical interventions by teachers who lack a full understanding of the underlying issues. Feeling stressed and pressured by the school, these parents were unsure of what steps to take next. They had already tried the same unsuccessful approach, and now the solution seemed to be more of the same ineffective strategy.

When calm and at home, this particular child reads thick books for pleasure. He also could focus for hours on the things he enjoys. It is at school, with high levels of stress that his reading and writing suffer. For this client I would highly recommend looking at how his brain organises itself when stressed. Through a neurofeedback assessment it was revealed that this child’s brain does have to work harder to take in and express language. Reflex assessment further found primitive reflexes that interfere with visual and auditory input. So how can he read so well when calm and not at school? When the child is calm at home, his brain effortlessly handles all these challenges. However, in the classroom, where time is limited, classes are overcrowded, and emotions run high, these issues become more prominent. By analysing the child’s brain profile, we may discover underlying problems such as a “blocked” eye, ear, hand, or foot, as well as cross dominance. When the child is calm, he can fully utilise his brain for learning. However, stress triggers a fight-or-flight response, leading to the suppression of certain sensory organs and an imbalance between brain hemispheres. These limitations manifest in the classroom setting.

Mindful Moves will be offering neurofeedback in the future as well as HEG.

Kerry-Ann Gordon, from Mindful Moves, is currently undergoing training as a neurofeedback technician through Brain Trainer in the US. As part of our efforts, we are introducing the newly released HEG machine, which helps train the brain to send more oxygen to the prefrontal cortex. By increasing oxygen levels, we can enhance brain activity in this region responsible for executive function. Instead of relying on foreign substances, our bodies have the ability to learn and perform these functions naturally.

Are there times neurofeedback won’t work?

Neurofeedback has the potential to improve brain function for everyone, but there are instances where individuals may feel that it hasn’t been effective. This usually happens when people haven’t set clear goals for themselves at the beginning of the process. It’s crucial to communicate with the neurofeedback technician about the specific areas you want to see improvement in.

People may miss the change because things have become so effortless.

It’s also possible that someone might not realise how much easier tasks have become. Our upbringing and conditioning often make us believe that good things only come from hard work. When the brain functions smoothly, processes information effortlessly, and recalls it without any struggle, it may seem like there’s no effort involved. This lack of effort could make some think that they haven’t truly conquered the problem.

Training may not “stick” in toxic environments.

As previously mentioned, one possible reason for training failure is the failure to alter the environment that triggered the brain’s survival mode. It may be necessary for individuals to contemplate making certain adjustments in their lives. Our family dynamics, relationships, and work environment could potentially reinforce negative habits. In the case of children, it could be the school, curriculum, or even classroom relationships that contribute to this reinforcement. Achieving genuine change requires a thorough examination of one’s life. If you’ve identified a negative pattern or environment contributing to your issues, you may need to evaluate if you’re prepared to make significant changes before scheduling an assessment.

It is important to complete brain training.

Sometimes, neurofeedback may not be successful if the individual has not dedicated enough time to train the brain and establish new pathways. Commitment to the process is crucial, as it should be viewed as a transformative investment in your life. It is essential to attend all scheduled sessions and follow through with the entire process. Your neurofeedback technician will provide guidance on your brain training program, including the number of sessions, duration, and frequency. Failure to adhere to this may lead to subpar outcomes.

Treat the person not the issue!

A lot of individuals separate the head from the body (a frightening thought). This notion is reinforced by society, as the medical field has divided the body into separate parts. If there is a problem in one area, people tend to seek out a specialist for that specific part. However, we must remember that we are more than just the sum of our parts. Our body functions as a whole, with all parts working together in harmony. It’s possible that issues in one area may actually stem from something completely unrelated in another area.

Get the body and gut ready.

Our brain is a demanding organ, consuming the majority of our nutrients and oxygen. It’s the one calling the shots. Stress from toxins, leaky gut, and inflammation keeps the body in constant fight-or-flight mode, making it unable to relax and adapt to new changes. Removing toxins and inflammatory foods can lead to better results for clients. Consulting a homeopath before making changes and considering supplements like omega 3’s and vitamin B’s, can help prepare the body and create a smoother transition.

Medication and neurofeedback.

Certain medications can alter brain activity by either calming or stimulating it, which can impact assessment outcomes. Brain training might also be challenging since the feedback may be influenced by temporary changes in brain activity caused by substances that speed up or slow down brain waves. In order to achieve long-term progress, one may need to endure the behaviours observed without medication and trade off the temporary effects for lasting improvement.

This is your decision to make!

Neurofeedback, like anything else, requires careful consideration before investing in it. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons and decide if you’re willing to invest your time, energy, and hard-earned money into it. Typically, neurofeedback is done for a limited period of time, with the possibility of needing to retrain the brain at certain intervals. This could involve reminding the brain of the previous work done or working with the developing brains of younger children.

The goal of this time-limited brain training is life-long change.

It’s worth noting that neurofeedback is not a lifelong treatment. The cost of an assessment and brain training is comparable to what some might pay for a professional assessment. While it doesn’t provide a diagnosis, it offers valuable insights into the brain and its patterns, shedding light on why a person may struggle with certain issues.

Brain training develops self-esteem.

Through brain training, these issues can be balanced, and when combined with movement and lifestyle changes, the brain and body can learn to cope without requiring additional support. This helps individuals develop a strong sense of self-esteem, knowing that they can trust their brain and themselves.

A diagnosis may get you help.

However, there may be situations where a professional diagnosis is necessary to obtain concessions or support from the educational department or to acquire an LSEN number. Additionally, you may not have control over your environment and be unable to make the necessary changes to support better brain patterns. Ultimately, the choice is yours.

There is always another way!

What I want to emphasise is that there is always a choice, and it’s important to make decisions that align with your happiness and well-being. You no longer have to feel overwhelmed or pressured into making decisions that don’t make you happy. Remember, we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and when we give our bodies what they need and work with them, they have the ability to heal!

You are welcome to look at our website or contact us if you would like to find out more information

www.mindfulmoves.co.za

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