Neuro feedback is feeding back the brain states in a way that the brain can understand. Neuro feedback does this in a similar way to bio feedback which monitors the heart rate and blood pressure. You would use bio feedback to learn how to control your heart rate using a heart rate monitor. Neuro feedback is learning to control your brain wave states through visual feedback of your brain waves. It is very useful for anything to do with the central nervous system.
It was developed in the 1960’s by NASA who had an issue with astronauts having seizures due to the smell of rocket fuel. They developed and pioneered neuro feedback to teach the brains of the astronauts not to fit or go into seizure when they came into contact with the rocket fuel.
In the 1970’s scientist became increasingly interested in neuro feedback. A problem arose when spiritual practitioners realised they could use these techniques to advance spiritually. This practice then became the laughing stock to the medical profession and was dropped and ridiculed by medical practitioners. In the 1980’s a lot of work was done in ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder). In the 1990’s neuro feedback was successfully used for ‘Post Traumatic Stress Disorder’.
In the early 2000’s it was possible to use computers that could keep up to brain speed. Practitioners used sensitive sensors that monitored the brain waves and fed this data back to the computers. The computer then generated a visual output of the left and right sides of the brain. Being able to monitor the brain in this way it became obvious to neuro practitioners that the brain has the ability to change itself. This is known as neuro plasticity. If you give the brain information that it can make sense of, it can change.
The Hindu religion uses similar techniques to meditate and for mental flexibility. It developed into a very precise and high tech set of techniques for moving ahead spiritually and balancing the mind. Hatha yoga is a good example of this, as are breath exercises such as Pranayama. The core thing with all the eastern spiritual techniques is that they balance the central nervous system. In the Buddhist traditions they call this ‘Balancing the winds’, in the Hindi tradition it is known as balancing the ‘Ida and Pingala Nadis’, and in the Chinese traditions balancing ‘Yin and Yang’.
Neuro feedback is a marriage between science and spirituality. By balancing the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous systems we are able to live trauma free, healthy lives. The sympathetic nervous system is designed to help us in times of danger. In this state we will be ready to fight or run for our lives. Most of our blood will be in our muscles and our digestive, immune and reproductive systems will decrease in function. The parasympathetic nervous system concentrates more on digestion, immune function and reproductive needs. Our muscles will have decreased blood flow because we are resting and digesting.
Most of us are ‘Sympathetic dominant’ because of prolonged stress that we experience in our lives (rushing to get to work on time, working on deadlines, layoffs, final exams in school, sports, extreme exercise, increased refined carbohydrates and sugars in our food). To a lesser extent, some of us are ‘Parasympathetic dominant’. Ideally we should be at a neutral state so that we can use our sympathetic or parasympathetic nervous systems when they are needed.
Our brains work using different frequencies of brain waves. Our deep subconscious is the Delta waves in our brain pattern. Delta waves develop in the womb. Theta waves are the subconscious brain waves and develop between 3 and 7 years of age. This is creativity and fear. Alpha brain waves are all about being present. This is meditation. Monks have very strong Alpha brain waves. Then come the sensory motor response band of brain waves that include mind and body communication. Beta brain waves are high frequency states. Fight flight states, post traumatic stress, curiosity and high interest. Gamma is where we live, it is who we are. Lambda brainwaves are associated with wholeness and integration. They are also associated with mystical experiences and out of body experiences. Interestingly Lambda and gamma are non synaptic waves.