stress treatment psychologist for Rockland, Westchester, Bergen, Passaic, Orange County, Hudson Valley, Northern New Jersey
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STRESS AND SLEEP
STRESS AND EMOTIONS
SPIRIT AND STRESS
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Neurofeedback, also called EEG Biofeedback, is a way to learn how to regulate stress levels. Research has shown that the speed of brainwaves, measured in the electroencephalogram (EEG) as cycles per seconds (cps), are associated with different states of consciousness. For example, high beta (over 25 cps) is associated with stress, tension, anxiety, frustration, and anger. Alpha (8-12 cps) is associated with relaxed meditative states. Theta (3-7cps) is associated with daydreaming and creativity. It is also a reparative brainwave, allowing for deeper states of relaxation experienced as the relaxation response.
With neurofeedback training, one learns how to engage the autonomic nervous system (ANS) in achieving relaxation. The ANS is automatic. It is not usually in our conscious awareness and control. For example, we don’t have to think about regulating our heart beat, blood pressure, body temperature, digestion, breathing, and sweating. These are regulated by the ANS. The ANS has two parts: The Sympathetic Nervous System; and the Parasympathetic Nervous System. The SNS triggers the “Fight or Flight Response.” As a result, blood pressure, heart rate, adrenal hormone secretion, sweating, and breathing increase. Digestion, blood flow, and temperature to the extremities decrease. In the midst of stressful events, when we experience the pressure of time, the SNS becomes overactive. After a time, adaptation occurs, but the stress is still there. When a point of exhaustion is reached, symptoms manifest, and the person becomes ill. Emotional symptoms can include feeling stress, anxiety, fatigue, and depression. Physiological symptoms include cardiovascular disease, compromised immune system, excessive sweating, tingling in hands and feet, shortness of breath and gastro-intestinal upset.
Neurofeedback training provides feedback on a person’s unique brainwave profile. Sensors are placed on the scalp, and feedback is provided on a computer monitor and speakers. Over a number of sessions, a person learns to self-regulate brainwaves. Brainwaves associated with stress are reduced while those associated with relaxation are increased. In time, this process becomes automatic. As s result, protection from stressful responses is achieved.
Neurofeedback training is painless and non-invasive. Brainwaves are electronically monitored, recorded, and analyzed by a computer. The computer software processes the signal and provides visual and auditory feedback in the form of a video game. The person learns to decrease maladaptive brainwave patterns while increasing adaptive frequencies by “playing the video game." Gradually, the brain responds to the feedback by learning new brainwave patterns. Conditions that have shown improvement through neurofeedback include, stress, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, ADD/ADHD, Autistic Spectrum Disorders, epilepsy, alcoholism, chronic pain, and chronic fatigue syndrome. It is a safe, effective, non-invasive intervention that has been useful to many.
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