Epilepsy Talk

Biofeedback — Retrain Your Brain | June 25, 2011

Since the 1970’s, researchers have demonstrated in over 50 controlled studies that a special form of brain wave biofeedback – now called “neurofeedback”– safely and effectively trains the brain to stabilize its activity. The treatment has been used successfully with all types of seizure disorders. Often the effects are permanent.

The procedure begins by attaching EEG electrodes to your body to gauge brain wave activity.  Initially, your brain waves must be mapped and analyzed to find any deviations from the norm.  Then, with the aid of a qualified biofeedback practitioner, you concentrate on altering your brain wave activity.

In training sessions, computerized biofeedback instrumentation detects and displays your brain waves on a computer screen. The program allows for simultaneous inhibition of slow wave EEG (the brain wave activity associated with seizure disorders) while reinforcing mid-range frequencies associated with preventing seizures.

A biofeedback session may consist of you playing some kind of computer game while your brain waves are continuously monitored.  Each time the your brain waves find their way into an optimal state set by the practitioner, you’re rewarded with positive feedback (like you may get extra points or win the game).  After anywhere from five to fifty sessions, your brain seems able to find the optimal state on its own.

Much of the learning takes place simply with practice while receiving positive reinforcement from the computer. After enough training sessions the aura rate goes down and so does the seizure rate.

One of the most beneficial aspects of biofeedback, is the reduction of stress in everyday life, which in turn, also helps reduce seizures.

According to research, approximately 50% seizure control is attained within approximately 2-3 months and full seizure control can occur somewhere between 6-18 months.

However, to achieve these kind of results, there has to be a lot of proficiency by the practitioner along with commitment, motivation and concentration on your part.

But with this success, patients with epilepsy have been able to decrease levels of medication and increase normal daily activity, such as driving!

It seems that once the high expense decreases, biofeedback therapy will become the wave of the future: for its non-invasive qualities, safety and high level of  success.

It will not change your personality or values if done correctly, but it can help to maximize your potential to be the best that you can be.

As one patient reported, “Biofeedback has enabled me to actually keep my seizures under control. Whenever I felt an aura coming on, I was able to stop it from fully progressing into a seizure.”

These could be the results for you…

Resources:

NOTE: One list of approved practitioners can be found through the International Society for Neurofeedback and Research Member List at http://www.isnr.org/ 

http://www.epilepsyontario.org/client/EO/EOWeb.nsf/web/Biofeedback

http://www.epilepsyhealth.com/biofeedback.html

http://www.coping-with-epilepsy.com/index.php?p=cognitive-behavioral

http://biofeedback.ygoy.com/2007/10/03/biofeedback-useful-for-epilepsy/

http://www.bioneurofeedback.com/conditions.htm

http://www.eegspectrum.com/Applications/FetalAlcSyn/FASCaseStudy1/

http://www.saviodsilva.net/biofeedback-therapy.htm

http://www.andrewsreiter.com/predictive09.html

 


6 Comments »

  1. I tried this in Los Angeles in a study and it was helpful just with EEG and noting w/ the comunications that were given and the EEG’s and the background activity seemed to be more relaxed. This was 30 years ago. I learned to breath and not hold my breath thru the experience. I was seeing 2 doctors at the time so this is vague. The last doctor I saw in biofeedback noted I had a VNS in MD and we did the resting exercising again. WOW ! U unconciously hold your breath and not know it, I did not know it,! She noted that! She did not do the EEG this time but did my EKG and EMG, The relaxation… Really helps! It was expensive but my blood pressure is great and my seizures are better.
    Learning to rest helps other relax too,

    Like

    Comment by Toni Robison — June 25, 2011 @ 7:08 PM

  2. Glad it worked out for you Toni.

    I learned breathing exercises from my shrink and I find it helps a lot.

    In fact, there are two articles here (that you’ve probably already read) “Deep breathing improves VNS results”

    https://epilepsytalk.com/2010/05/18/deep-breathing-improves-vns-results/

    and “Breathing Your Stress Away…”

    https://epilepsytalk.com/2009/11/18/breathing-your-stress-away/

    Like

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 25, 2011 @ 7:41 PM

  3. This is fascinating. I did a little biofeedback in a previous neurologist’s office years ago, and I can understand the benefits, although I didn’t realize their potency or the fact that good results could be permanent.

    Like

    Comment by Maggie — June 25, 2011 @ 7:44 PM

  4. Maybe I should have tried this with a trained professional! I was doing my own thing and not doing very well. Fighting the aura on my own never seemed to work for me. I’d just sink deeper into the seizure til it was over.
    Phylis, you’re just so full of good information. I wish I knew some of this stuff 30 years ago.
    Thanks for educating all of us.

    Like

    Comment by Charlie — June 27, 2011 @ 11:27 AM

    • You had a touch of it and give yourself credit!!! A little goes a long way . I say! It gives us incentive to learn more!

      Like

      Comment by Toni Robison — June 27, 2011 @ 8:41 PM

    • There’s such a tangle of confusing info out there…it’s tough to sort out the fact from the fiction.

      But all of the articles stressed that you MUST have a trained professional who can take you through the exercises and monitor your progress.

      As for me, deep breathing has worked as a stop-gap measure, but not eliminated any seizures. It just calms me down and helps with the stress of the moment.

      Like

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — June 27, 2011 @ 10:50 PM


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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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