Category Archives for "Neurofeedback"

January 26, 2015

What is neurofeedback training “like”? Netflix! But for your Brain

souffranceGo ahead, log into Netflix. See there the rows of recommendations? That’s not magic: that’s an algorithm. Netflix “remembers” what you watched, how you rated past films, then correlates that data against your viewing habits. A blink-of-an-eye search of the media database then produces “recommendations” based on your preferences. That’s why documentaries about hermetic hoarders never pop up on your screen – Netflix knows you’re not into that (who is?). So the algorithm saves precious hours of your life and spares your eyeballs having to scroll through the 100,000 available titles. Thanks, Netflix!

Processed with VSCOcam with e6 preset

Now would it be nice if real life were the same way?

We are, most of us, bombarded by noise—someone needs something right now, there’s pinging coming from your Twitter feed, your chatbox, your phone, your boss, your kids, your dog, your broken whatever. In the age of “big data”, the sheer volume of information and the choices that result from it can literally overtax the human brain. Modern life needs a Netflix-like algorithm that filters out the noise and breaks the daily barrage on our senses. But that’s not easy, particularly because all that environmental stimulation can makes thinking very much like the unsorted Netflix backlist, combined with Amazon’s, a gazillion Redboxes, and the tall stack of DVDs you bought in the aughts that you never watch anymore. Then imagine sorting through all that while in a bouncy-ball house with twenty sugared-up six-year-olds. That’s the information age. But outside of Netflix, there is a way you can help your brain to focus on the stuff that matters. Shut out the noise. Extensive research over decades suggests neurofeedback training is particularly well suited for this purpose. Effective neurofeedback systemsaid with focus, presence and just generally getting a grip on your train of thought. It can help you tone down the static, make thinking an exercise in efficiency. Naturally streamline the thought process and tune out distractions.

So what is neurofeedback training?

Dynamical neurofeedback technology –the kind developed by NeurOptimal Neurofeedback – essentially leverages your brain’s preference for efficiency. Their neurofeedback machine uses sensors to track relevant changes in the brain’s electrical patterns and then feeds that information back to the brain. Your brain – which naturally wants to be awesome – creates it’s own “algorithm” based on the incoming data. It’s sort of like when you give that documentary on knuckle ball pitchers a 4 star rating. Netflix responds by showing you similar films. The neurofeedback software “shows” your brain it’s own activity. Your brain gives it a thumbs up/thumbs down, then adjusts accordingly. Kind of like an algorithm.

For example, anxiety or obsessive/compulsive thinking is not only unpleasant and stressful; from your brain’s perspective, it is inherently inefficient. Why waste time in that type of neurological loop when you could be doing other, more productive tasks instead?

Now this is exactly how the information age should work: leverage that steady stream of incoming information to improve how you act, feel and think instead of being overwhelmed by it. In the case of neurofeedback training, this is accomplished in the blink of an eye as your brain – aided by a neurofeedback machine – adjusts its “algorithm” to basically become better at everything. The result is improved focus and less distraction. More incisive thought process and clearer cognition. Less anxiety/depression and more joy. Anything less is a waste of time – so says your brain.

Go log into Netflix again. Imagine your brain working this efficiently. Now you have a sense of how your brain ‘feels’ on neurofeedback. And it’s almost as fun. Without the hoarder documentaries.

January 26, 2015

Real Time Neurofeedback

At the beginning of the year we purchased a NeurOptimal machine. Working with Brainwave Optimization was thrilling, but it was time to upgrade to a totally different realm of neurofeedback. After consulting with a dozen other colleagues in the field, an additional dozen practitioners that use NeurOptimal, and after doing tons of my own research it became obvious not only that it was time to make the switch, but that the new technology HAD to be this one.

human brain with arms and legs riding a bicycle

In fact, because of the increased interest and results we’ve seen just in the last eight months, we added a second NeurOptimal system in August!

What’s so different about this neurofeedback technology? Well, it works in a completely different paradigm and truly is in a class of its own. NeurOptimal gives your brain & nervous system relevant information about itself so that it can release even long held patterns causing anxiety, depression, insomnia, PTSD, etc. Brain training helps your brain see what it is doing so that it can make the necessary changes.

Your brain and nervous system are intimately tuned into your environment and when your environment changes your brain is aware of it. Think about it in the following two ways:

Internal Environmental Change

When your body experiences a trauma such as an abrasion, the brain is immediately aware of the situation and in no time the immune system has been alerted and white blood cells are on their way to the area. The brain is also always monitoring changes in blood sugar, hormone levels, neurotransmitters, and tons of other processes so that changes can be made immediately.

External Environmental Change

Your brain and nervous system are always on the lookout for changing variables in the external world, constantly asking itself “is it safe here?”. If the answer is “no” then you may feel anxious or nervous.

NeurOptimal is a technology that allows the brain to see itself in real time. When this relevant, real-time information is given to the brain – the brain adjusts itself as it sees fit. Think about a band that can’t hear themselves play a concert… It could be disastrous if there are no speakers pointing towards the musicians since that is the way they know whether or not they are in tune and in sync. If they are out of tune, it allows them to make changes. Can you imagine tuning a guitar without hearing it?

This brain training technology essentially works the same way. When the brain “sees” how it is functioning and what the nervous system is doing, it is able to make adjustments. For example, when it is able to see the old “programs” that are running in the background, it can change or even delete them.

Brain training really is a workout for the brain. Although you are just relaxing in a zero gravity chair listening to great music, your brain is actually working out. Training the brain to let go of these (often) long-held programs is one of the most effective ways to positively and exponentially enhance your quality of life. The process is completely non-invasive and holistic, and fits seamlessly into your life.. typically, all it takes is a lunch hour a week for 10-12 weeks to reach your goals, and only one or two sessions to get an idea of what it can do for you.

After just one or two sessions many of our clients report improvements in their sleep, greater self confidence, and that they feel calmer and more poised. Try out a session today through the button below for 70% off (limit 1 per person)… oh, and you don’t have to be a new client to take this deal!

Offer ends Saturday at midnight, so don’t wait!

PayPal – The safer, easier way to pay online!
Read about the brain training process here

January 26, 2015

The Bulletproof Executive Interviews NeurOptimal®’s Dr. Valdeane Brown

brain designBullet Proof Executive website says this about its founder, Dave Asprey:

Silicon Valley investor, computer security expert, and entrepreneur who spent 15 years and $300,000 to hack his own biology. He upgraded his brain by >20 IQ points, lowered his biological age, and lost 100 lbs without using calories or exercise.

Dave interviewed Dr. Valdeane Brown, co-founder of Zengar Institute and developer of NeurOptimal®. The result is a terrific podcast called Neurofeedback Technology – Best Biohack Yet. That title is pretty impressive – “best biohack yet” – given that’s been Dave’s mission for 15 years.

If you’re interested in learning more about neurofeedback or considering it for yourself, listen to this podcast. You won’t be disappointed.

Please feel free to comment here on the blog or email me with questions.

Michael Meuth L.Ac. ACN

Headway Health

January 26, 2015

Should Concussions Matter? .. Even in the World Cup!

During Thursday’s match with England, Uruguay’s Álvaro Pereira was knocked out cold and then insisted on getting back in the game, later apologizing. “I said ‘sorry’ a thousand times to the doctor because I was dizzy.” He went on to say that because he was full of adrenaline he may have not made the most responsible decision. “What I really wanted to do was to help get the result [win the game].”

As a long time competitive soccer player Happiness football player after goal on the field of stadium witand and avid fan of the world cup, I deeply understand the pain of being pulled off of the field in an important match. There’s an obligation to your team, to your country in this instance and, most importantly, to yourself to give every single ounce of your energy to the match that you are playing. As all serious athletes know, the passion that you have for your sport and for your team fuels your entire life. You will do anything and everything to get ready for important matches, and that’s why we look up to the best athletes as superheros in our society. As a crucial part of the team, sitting out even from an injury leads players to feel that they are letting their teams down, but there is something else very important to consider – an athlete’s own personal well-being.

As a player you don’t want to come off the field unless you simply can’t play. As a “soccer dad”, a youth coach, and a health practitioner, I take a completely different view and feel that it is vital for a player to be taken out of play with an injury as jolting as the one Pereira sustained. This is already bringing up a huge discussion that is sure to influence the future of FIFA policies regrading blows to the head. The world of fútbol has yet to really embrace all the studies regarding the seriousness of head injuries, and clearly the decisions shouldn’t be left up to players who have just sustained blows to the head. Obviously, a person’s thinking may be a little skewed after that.

As someone who has provided NeurOptimal to several athletes that have sustained serious brain injuries, I can assure you that they will tell you it isn’t worth it. The “second blow” syndrome is very serious and the consequences can be terrible and long term.

We have to keep our heads in the game and defer to the experts on site when our heads get knocked out of the game. I’m certain that after this FIFA will re-examine its policies related to head injuries and update its protocols, which will be a particularly important message to all the kids watching the game.

January 26, 2015

Battle in the Brain – Veteran’s Day Special

Veterans Day ButtonIn 2012 more soldiers took their own life than were killed in the Afghanistan combat and it is estimated that 20% of our 1.7 million warriors that have served in Afghanistan and Iraq have PTSD. By now it is apparent that we must do more to support our troops, and much more CAN be done. A fantastic starting place would be to limit tours to one or two at the most so that the chances of encountering a traumatic event or sight are reduced. Combat fatigue also plays a roll in the emotional burden that goes along with being away from home, being in a foreign and violent land, grueling work schedules and massive physical and emotional demands. It is in my humble opinion that soldiers should not be required to serve so many tours, especially since new research using functional MRI machines are showing us that even emotional trauma affects the amygdala, anterior insula, and the precuneus.

Of course the brain is only doing what it was designed to do. When experiencing a traumatic event, the brain re-wires itself in order to keep you alive. This is true for big and small traumatic events alike since the brain is trying to adapt and survive. The brain even re-wires itself (for better or worse) when there is only a perceived threat to life or ego. So for example, when a child is made fun of at school because her shoes have a scuff mark or his hair is sticking up, a trauma print is created in the brain. Trauma prints exist so that we survive (physically or emotionally) stressful situations. Of course the bigger the trauma, the bigger effect it has on us and our neural circuitry.

We need to support those who are injured in war, whether that be a bodily injury, lost limb, traumatic brain injury or PTSD. Whether you believe that we should be going to war with this or that country is irrelevant but what really matters is that the people are getting needlessly injured in the process. Shake a veteran’s hand today and if they are suffering, please let them know about the amazing benefits advanced neurofeedback can provide. If they contact us this week, we are happy to start them off with 50% off a BrainSpa (mini-intensive) package which is three one hour sessions of realtime brainwave balancing that helps to override trauma prints in the brain. If they want to do more we offer 15% off any additional sessions, always. The BrainSpa sessions are tailored for overall mood enhancement, to help de-stress and relax, and also serve to enhance focus and sleep. Brainwave Intensives work the same but can get to older and more “stubborn” brain patters. Intensives can be added on later if desired. We work with all sorts of issues. Please call us today (or by the end of the week at the latest) to have your questions answered and to take advantage of this Veteran’s day offer. By the way, you need not have a traumatic brain injury or PTSD to get this discount… this offer is for all active duty and retired military.

January 26, 2015

PTSD is Plaguing Our Soldiers

We are still facing major problems in the mental health of our soldiers. We cannot ignore that there are numerous reasons behind the fact that 22 American veterans take their life every day. It is appalling and the powers that be don’t seem to be moving quickly enough to curb this horrible statistic. One of the biggest problems is that there is a huge backlog at the VA. Another major problem, one that is not spoken about, is that the atrocities our soldiers are sometimes ordered to commit are unconscionable. This latter reason is what Daniel Somers blamed on the reason for taking his own life. If you read his suicide note, you will understand some of the problems that you will likely never hear others talk about.

The answer to all of these suicides is going to be different for diffcombat bootserent people. Some people want to talk about the things they have seen or been involved in while others simply won’t. Medications can be helpful for the short term, while acupuncture and massage can both help ease PTSD symptoms and initiate or enhance healing. Hypnosis and EMDR have also helped many people. These, along with Brainwave Optimization and NeurOptimal are true and real solutions and need to be explored and promoted, yet let us never abandon the topic of prevention.

One of the worst things we can do is get people to push away their instincts and their morals while in battle, and then shove pills down their mouths indefinitely in order to suppress the symptoms that those actions cause. Symptoms are signals, that’s all. If we fly down the highway ignoring the traffic signs, it won’t be long at all until we are in a wreck. We have been conditioned to ignore the symptoms, that is part of our MO…and yet another part of the big picture of this problem.

The fact is, we are constantly putting our soldiers into situations they should not be put into, causing real and lasting trauma. We justify it by saying it is the cost of war but maybe we should rethink the justifications. Much of the time we are separating the emotions involved in the harsh realities of war by making them very “game-like”. Many drone operators have quit when they are faced with some of the reality behind their actions. In ancient times

it was more honorable to tap your enemy on the soldier than to kill them.

So, fundamental flaws exist in the system, and the system probably won’t be changing anytime soon.

The advances in neurofeedback are remarkable and revolutionary and something that we need to really look at when it comes to helping people overcome PTSD and similar debilitating or disruptive “mental disorders”. With NeurOptimal, you do not have to talk about your problems if you choose not to. The technology guides you into producing a more balanced brain and Central Nervous System, creating new neural networks to harness these new patterns, and literally over-riding the old neural networks created by the trauma (trauma prints). Please tell a suffering vet that there is a non-traditional way to heal themselves. Most providers give discounts to vets. We offer 15% off on all packages. So please, spread the word.

The Journey Through Addictions

addictionBalancing your brainwaves enhances the way your brain communicates with your body, which quiets the messages demanding more nicotine, alcohol, etc. When the neural networks fire with more efficiency, the addiction process is thereby disrupted. Brain training with Brainwave Optimization can eliminate most cravings, but not the habit. You always have a choice whether to smoke, drink, etc. or not. Our modality allows you to see and feel the reality of your choice much more easily, and brings a sense of balance when the thought crosses your mind, and that balance gives you a much greater opportunity to choose not to indulge.

Here are some important tools to incorporate in any addiction program:

Forgiveness

Do not forget that you are human and that you should forgive yourself. Most people live day to day mentally beating themselves up and saying things to themselves that they would never utter towards another person. Stop that insanity, forgive yourself and then proceed!

Support Person

The decision to quit can allow uncomfortable emotions to arise. These are part of you, so embrace them. Ask someone who is available to you in the next few weeks to act as your sounding board while also providing encouragement when you need it, and always be honest with your support person.

Afformations

Afformations are solution-oriented questions that you ask yourself. Ask questions such as “Why is it that my thoughts are consumed less and less everyday by smoking/drinking/etc.?”, “Why do I feel more centered in body, mind and soul since quitting?”, or “Why am I thinking more clearly than ever before?”. Afformations focus on positives and are designed to stimulate the mind to look for answers, therefore solidifying the newly imprinted patterns and neural networks in the brain, which change subconscious thoughts and behaviors.

Setting Boundaries

Set up contracts with other smokers/drinkers/etc. to refrain from indulging around you and to support you in your goals. When you make positive changes in your life, it will often leave others on the defensive about their own decisions. Don’t let this weigh you down and encourage them not to be weighed down; guilt is toxic in itself. When possible, stay away from those that do indulge (at least at first) until you feel more confident with your new health status.

Drink Water

Research has shown that being dehydrated causes cravings. Sip water or herbal tea frequently throughout the day. Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces every day. Example: If you weigh 160 lb. you should drink at least 80 oz. of H2O daily.

Refrain from Drinking Coffee (I know, I know)

Research also shows that coffee causes cravings and dehydrates the body. Try Yerba Mate if you need that boost in the mornings.

Food Choices

Eat a lot of carrots, celery and other vegetables throughout the next few days, as these will help restore the bodies nutrients. Avoiding candy is wise; sugar upsets blood sugar levels, which can aggravate smoking-withdrawal symptoms. Sugar substitutes such as NutraSweet are sweeter than sugar, are often known carcinogens and cause further sweet cravings/addictions. Carbohydrates should also be minimalized as they too create blood sugar imbalances (that last longer than those caused by candy). Drinking fresh squeezed vegetable and berry juices is super cleansing and very hydrating.

Managing cravings

Cravings feel like they will last forever but actually fade in two minutes. Plan what you will do during a craving. Examples: Take your herbs; use your afformation exercises; breathe deeply; walk to another place; sing a song; dance; jog; call your support person.

Recidivism

There may be a lot of triggers for you to desire another smoke/drink/etc. Indulging can act very strongly as a shield to insulate uncomfortable feelings and situations. For example, a new nonsmoker can feel vulnerable and confused when trying to handle a stressful situation. Other modalities can help too, such as acupuncture, Qi Gong or Tai Chi movements to help smooth out irritability and other stressful emotions.

Integrity & Determinism

We CAN stop! And we CAN start manifesting our own creations by being Certain of our strengths and Centered in our approach, which leads us with Integrity to Peace of Mind.

Are You Sad?

There are so many people that suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. Simply, SAD. There are many reasons that this occurs, but some of the main reasons this symptom raises its head this time of year is because of these foundational aspects:

profile of a man with close up of magnifying glass on SADNESS

1. The sun that we are so used to seeing here in Central Texas is hiding more than it ever does during the year. The sun sends us an abundance of full-spectrum energy that we need for life and health. Of course it also helps us to produce vitamin D within our bodies. Vitamin D is well known now to be an essential ingredient in so many processes of our body. In fact it is actually a “pro-hormone”, much more potent than just a vitamin. Beyond vitamin D, there are also many known and unknown aspects of the sun’s energy that keep us strong and healthy.

2. Our diets tend to go south during this time of year with all of the parties and festive events. This all tends to start at Halloween when we gorge on candy and it continues through Valentines day in mid-February. Since there are so many opportunities to indulge, many people will just decide not to worry too much about their diet during this period of time (which consists of about three and a half months)! I can list 147 reasons why you don’t want sugar to be a part of your diet, and many of those reasons have to do with the fact that it screws up your hormonal balance and creates tendencies that you don’t want.

3. Family. Need I say more? Ha, just kidding….kind of. I’ve seen some of my most healthy and well-rounded patients get completely stressed out during the holidays. It happens to the best of us, and in fact, Ram Dass said, “If you think you are so enlightened, go and spend a week with your parents.” Our family thinks they know who we are, but usually they know who we were much better.

                                                                “Usually people are completely unaware of the roles they play.

                                                                                         They are those roles.”~ Eckhart Tolle

So, there are a few reasons you may be feeling blue this time of year. Blue is just a state of mind. It too will pass. If you need to, spend a couple of days in a “pitty party” for yourself. But don’t let it take over your life…these types of party’s can become a slippery slope.

 

“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation

but your thoughts about the situation.”

~ Eckhart Tolle

Here are a few things that you can do to break out of the blues, or keep it away.

1. Observe the 80/20 rule by indulging only 80% of the time. For instance, two out of every eight meals, allow yourself a desert or a bite of a desert. When you master this, move onto the 90/10 rule (same principals).

2. Eat protein or something healthy before every “bad” piece of candy or desert. Filling your belly with quality will cut down on overall quantity. You can only put so much into your body any given day. So fill up with the good stuff first. Also, make a new recipe for dinner or make a new tea for sipping.

3. When the sun comes out, be sure to get in it! Even stand by the window if you can’t go outside. 15 minutes per day is often adequate.

4. Ground yourself! We live in an electrically charged world. There are so many positive ions floating around and bouncing off of you that it will create imbalances. Electricity is absolutely everywhere so take the time to walk barefoot on the earth. Seriously, this is not a meaningless or woowoo thing. When you are barefoot on the earth, you are grounded and these electric currents aren’t trapped in you. Again, 15 minutes a day will usually suffice for getting the effects.

5. When you do go home to family, make sure that you don’t add to a negative situation. Really, it’s not worth it. Let the ego relax and imagine a brilliant inner light that comes from within you and attracts only positive experiences. When something is said or done that normally gets you upset, know that this is the ego that is getting upset and that you can operate from your higher self, your brilliant angelic higher-self if you so choose. It is all about choice. You may be surprised how the situation will change.

“What does not move through you defines you” –Unkown Author

If the depression or SAD has grabbed a hold of you this winter and just won’t let go, look into some things that are proven to work for emotional issues such as Body-Mind Nutrition Oriental medicine, or Brianwave Optimization. Call us to see which one is right for you.

Enjoy the holiday season, and if you aren’t looking forward to it at all…remember it to will pass.

January 26, 2015

Will Our Soldiers Heal?

Now that an incredible number of Iraqi war veterans are back home, how are we going to help them integrate back into society? I recently posted a link to a video on facebook stating the cold hard fact that there are more suicides in our veteran population than there were total combat deaths. Wow! You may want to read that again because it is really important…there were more suicides among recent war vets than all combat deaths. Obviously this is a problem of enormous scale! I won’t get too political here, but will stick to the facts and what I see as the solutions.

Okay, so the situation is as follows…

All of our soldiers that resided in Iraq are home, or are coming home by the last day of this year, 2011. They are coming home to a very high unemployment rate and an almost unbelievable unemployment rate among other veterans. If you haven’t heard, here are the statistics according to Dan Beucke at www.businessweek.com:

Veterans 18-24 years old had a 30.4% jFallen Soldier Battle Crossesobless rate in October and black veterans of the same age had a rate of 48%. This is unbelievable isn’t it? This problem of course just compounds the other problems so many vets have coming back into civilian life with all they have seen and experienced. If you have been paying attention at all, you know that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is also at record highs among our soldiers. Even among those that did not see or directly experience a dangerous or near death situation, PTSD like symptoms and a battlefield mentality still dominate in the safe circumstances of everyday life of many soldiers. For instance, one of my acupuncture patients is a veteran and her husband just came back from Iraq last week. As he sat in the waiting room of my office I talked with him for a few minutes about the politics of war (his choice of conversation not mine). On the following visit, my patient told me that he did not like coming to my office because it has two doors and he had to sit with his back to one of them. This gave me insight into something that I hadn’t really ever thought about, which was that even if you have not experienced first hand violence in a wartime situation, you are still ready to experience it. Your nervous system has been changed so that you are primed and ready for any situation that may occur, because it very well may. It is a survival mechanism that the brain understands very well and restructures to meet the needs that it sees.

A relative of mine also came back from both Iraq and Afghanistan with back pain that had emotional ties to it. In a story that she shared she mentioned how the sounds of bombs all around were terrifying to the point of causing involuntary body movements and then inability to actually fall asleep and rest. She did not experience any direct combat either, but surely experienced the effects of all that was going on around her.

Having this conversation with my patient about her husband (who by the way didn’t seem uncomfortable at all in my waiting room) and with my relative, I realized that ALL veterans of the recent wars are very likely to have complicated or subtle trauma prints when coming back stateside. Trauma prints are the rewiring of neuro networks in the brain in order to “save one’s life” regardless if that trauma or threat is real or perceived. And once these neuro-pathways are “set” (think concrete) by these life changing experiences, they are likely permanent structural changes. The problem arises when these networks are inhibiting a persons happiness (PTSD for example).

I feel that our job is to give them as much love and understanding as humanly possible, and more when called for. We need to be better at welcoming them home and showing them that we are here if they need us. Don’t be fooled, the simple act of compassionate listening can do a lot, yet for many soldiers the wounds are just too deep. Regardless of whether or not you were for or against the war, our veterans need to be cared for, and quite frankly it just isn’t happening.

“Without a favorable internal climate, a person’s thinking is likely to drive them crazy… The right starting point for creative thinking and acting is who we divinely are, and a refusal to be anything other than that. I won’t be untrue to myself.” -David Karchere