Neurofeedback For Stress Reduction
What is Stress?
Most people have some idea of what stress is or what stress feels like. Unfortunately most people do not know what stress actually does to the body, particularly in the form of prolonged stress or highly acute forms of stress. While the stress response is a normal process designed to help keep an individual alive under dangerous conditions, we have managed in our culture to turn a paper tiger (that is, a non-lethal stressor) into something that seems like a real tiger in terms of our body’s responses to it. Likewise, many people are often not able to turn this alarmed state off, and go on to create a variety of additional imagined stressors.
This “always on alarm condition” can have catastrophic consequences for the individual’s health if left unchecked or unchanged. The body, including the brain, cannot operate at this level of intensity without eventually breaking down in some way. The breakdown can result in psychological and physical stress-related disorders and is easy to see in our society and in other technological societies. Common examples include heart disease, immune system diseases, sleep disorders, chronic anxiety, eating disorders, depression and substance abuse (to self-medicate against the effects of stress).
What causes Stress?
The body (including the brain) has very specific and fairly well understood responses to stress, particularly when it crosses certain thresholds. Numerous hormones and neurotransmitters, neuromodulators and immune system components are released throughout the body in larger than normal amounts to prepare the body for the fight, flight or freeze phenomena. This phenomenon is so easily seen in animals when they feel threatened (e.g., the deer in the headlights). Because of the sophistication of our brains, we can make almost any situation into a stressful one, one that activates what is known as the HPA – Hypothalamus, Pituitary, and Adrenal Axis. We also learn to habituate (that is, to become accustomed) to that stress in a manner such that the damaging effects continue to occur without full conscious awareness of the stressor being present, or without awareness of the triggering of the stress response in the body.
What can be done about reducing Stress?
There are many things that can be done to help alleviate the effects of stress from one’s life. Yoga, meditation, healthy diet, regular exercise, vitamin and mineral supplementation, Tai Chi, Qigong, Mindfulness Training, and Biofeedback and Neurofeedback. All can reduce the effects of stress on the body.
Exclusively with Biofeedback and Neurofeedback, the individual can quickly learn how to de-stress oneself, and can readily see the results of this process on body functions using sensitive feedback instruments. Further, the trainings can be practiced at home and at the workplace once the individual has learned the methodologies that are most useful to them.
How does the ICANS Method differ in approach?
ICaNs works with a variety of cutting edge as well as well established technologies that have considerable proven track records for success, and integrates them in the process in innovative ways. Through a highly individualized assessment process, determinations are made as to where to intervene in order to help restore functioning or to improve it.
To that end, ICANS uses a variety of Neurofeedback, Biofeedback and other Clinical approaches and related equipment to address the unique needs of the individual. ICANS where possible, attempts to work with other care providers to integrate treatment approaches and to share results. ICANS strives toward and emphasizes the optimal functioning of the whole person, and not just symptom reduction approach.
How do ICANS approaches improve functioning and lessen symptoms?
Using a variety of Biofeedback and Neuropsychophysiological approaches to help define the client’s condition, a training plan is made that may involve traditional biofeedback, and/or modalities such as qEEG-guided Neurofeedback or pEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Energy – aka known as Neurofield.)
Likewise, consultations with other care providers are frequently made to provide more information about the individual’s status and to create better outcomes for the individual. As an example, consultations can be made with physicians to inform them about improvements (symptom reductions, improved brain functioning) being made by the client as a result of Biofeedback and Neurofeedback training. The client and his/her doctor can then make determinations about medication dosing or (in some cases) the cessation of medications. The ICANS practitioner can also consult with nutritional experts to determine which forms of supplementation may be helpful.
Are you ready to get some relief from your Stress?
Contact Dr. Dollschnieder's office today and schedule your initial evaluation. You will learn how the powerful combination of approaches used at ICANS may be your best next step.