Technology, Brainwaves and Plasticity

I’ve been accused of being too enthusiastic about EEG-biofeedback technologies, and ultimately about the brain’s ability to heal and self-regulate under the right circumstances. But you can check out the research for yourself; and make up your own mind as to whether the potential of these technologies is simply a sexy idea, or whether they do hold some merit.

(Also check out this Newsweek article.)

There is more high-quality research coming out all the time; and the development of neural technologies underpinned by an ever-evolving scientific understanding of the brain is flourishing.

Personally speaking, working with these technologies every day over the past few years has been eye-opening to say the least.

Will applying a feedback process for the brain reverse structural damage, or halt a degenerative process? Not likely. Can it help the brain remap and reorganize to best take advantage of the resources it has left? Absolutely.

So what is EEG Biofeedback?

EEG Biofeedback is a powerful tool that takes advantage of the brain’s plasticity (its process of changing and reorganizing itself by forming new connections between brain cells). EEG sensors on the scalp read the electrical activity of the brain, in the form of brainwaves, and mirror this information back to the brain in a specific way through audio or visual cues. This real-time reflection and training of brainwave activity appears to support the brain’s natural ability to reorganize its own patterns and come into a better place of flexibility and self-regulation.

Brainwaves reflect the overall patterns of the electrical activity taking place in billions of brain cells as they communicate throughout their networks; making everything happen mentally, emotionally, and physically. Sometimes these networks and their electrical activity can become disrupted through a physical trauma such as a concussion, or through various emotional traumas and stressors. EEG-Biofeedback helps the brain to readjust and regain its edge.

We live in an age where technology is developing at a mind-blowing pace. This can be both scary and exhilarating; but we have a choice on how we wish to engage with it. It’s a great thing to be able to “unplug” when we need to: to re-generate, calm the mind, and get back in touch with our natural selves. Conversely, technology can help us save time and streamline so that we can focus on the more important things in life like family and health.

We can also engage in the realm where technology meets and enhances our health and well-being. This pertains to the tried and true age-old technologies such as the science and art of meditation, yoga and mindfulness, for example; as well as to emerging electronic and frequency-based technologies such as biofeedback.

Take advantage of it. We are lucky to live in a day and age where we have so many choices where we can customize and target specific aspects of our physical and emotional health. Unplugging when we need to, and engaging in both time-honored and cutting-edge technology as appropriate, can do wonders for our physical, mental, and spiritual health and happiness.