Neurofeedback Treatment for Addiction: Teaching the brain to self-regulate

by: Dr. Tamara Roth, PhD

Neurofeedback For Addiction

Why, you might ask, would a client in addiction treatment be willing to sit with electrodes pasted to their head for 30-45 minutes twice a week while a computer beeps and buzzes in the background?


Profound relief.

One of the benefits of Neurofeedback for recovering alcoholics and addicts is that it produces the similar effect of their drug of choice (to a lesser degree), without side effects and negative consequences.

What Is Neurofeedback?

Electroencephalography (EEG) is an electrophysiological monitoring method to record electrical activity of the brain. Think: white plastic sensors attached to your head that have wires that are connected to a main computer. Due to the brain’s ability to change and adapt new patterns (called neuroplasticity) the brain is able to create new neural pathways that, with time, become sustainable. In active addiction, the pathways that are created reinforce drug use. In recovery, we are trying to “rewire” these pathways.

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The Science Behind the emWave® and Inner Balance™ Technologies

The emWave and Inner Balance technologies, and the tools and techniques of the HeartMath system, are based on over 20 years of scientific research on the psychophysiology of stress, emotions, and the interactions between the heart and brain.

The Heart–Brain Connection

Most of us have been taught in school that the heart is constantly responding to “orders” sent by the brain in the form of neural signals. However, it is not as commonly known that the heart actually sends more signals to the brain than the brain sends to the heart! Moreover, these heart signals have a significant effect on brain function – influencing emotional processing as well as higher cognitive faculties such as attention, perception, memory, and problem-solving. In other words, not only does the heart respond to the brain, but the brain continuously responds to the heart.

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Can coding the brain save or destroy us?

From CNN: By Ed Finn

Ed Finn is the author of “What Algorithms Want” (MIT Press). He is the founding director of the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University, where he is an assistant professor with a joint appointment in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the Department of English. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

(CNN)The announcement of Elon Musk’s newest foray into the future, Neuralink, opens up a new chapter in one of humanity’s long-running dreams. What Neuralink proposes (and narratives like the recently-rebooted “Ghost in the Shell” have explored for decades) is a world in which the mind can be edited like software, changing memories, beliefs or personalities at the stroke of a keyboard. But we’ve learned a lesson from the thickening layer of computation in our lives, turning every toaster and toothbrush into a “smart” device: be careful what you wish for in networked intelligence.

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Cycling Canada Partners with Thought Technology

Apeldoorn 2016
Day 3

OTTAWA, March 23, 2017 – Thought Technology has joined Cycling Canada’s family of performance partners with a commitment to provide biofeedback products and technologies to support Canada’s elite cyclists on the road to Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

The long-term partnership will provide state-of-the-art biofeedback and neurofeedback technologies as tools to help evaluate and enhance psychophysiological performances across Cycling Canada’s high performance programs. For over 40 years, Thought Technology has provided technology solutions for optimizing performance across the globe. The Montreal based company has worked with the likes of NASA, the US and international military and police forces, gold-medal winning Olympic athletes, and many of the top professional sports leagues all over the world.

“We are thrilled to welcome Cycling Canada into our peak performance family, and in being welcomed into theirs,” said Lucas Borgo, Sales & Marketing Account Executive. “We look forward to working with them to provide measurable mental performance metrics and mental skills to their competitive teams.”

“Partnering with Thought Technology will allow us to develop a whole new aspect of our mental training service, which is such an important part of helping our team to perform under pressure,” said Andrea Wooles, Sports Science and Medicine Manager for Cycling Canada. “The equipment, training, and expertise that Thought Technology is providing will allow our riders to train their minds using feedback, similar to how they use power meters to help them train their bodies.”

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Treating Concussion and Brain Injury with Neurotechnology

Master your Life Podcast Hosted by Leaha Mattinson and Dr. Howard Rankin

Guest: Dave Siever

Episode Description – March 21, 2017

Dave Siever is a pioneer in the world of neurotechnology — brain training equipment. Listen to how using a small device not much larger than a smartphone and requires you only to put on glasses and headphones, can help different aspects of brain function. Hear about some of the amazing research that offers this easy technology as an alternative to medication and even psychotherapy for conditions like PTSD, and ADHD. In this episode of Master Your Life, Dave talks about the use of his technology for the assessment and treatment of brain trauma and concussion.

Listen to the Podcast here

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation being used by the MLB Giants -Why the San Francisco Giants Are Wearing Weird Headphones

The San Francisco Giants may be wearing headphones while they train, but they’re not listening to music. They are getting their brains “stimulated” to improve their batting, pitching, and catching.

The headphones are a new tool used by the Giants in hopes of enhancing player performance across the board. The team’s deal with the device’s maker, Halo Neuroscicnce, is the first public pact with a Major Baseball League team and a sign of how sci-fi technology is making inroads into pro sports.

The Giant’s use of the headphones, announced by Halo on Wednesday, comes just days before the start of the baseball season. The technology makes up an important part of the team’s training process, the startup said, along with the usual stretching, running, and weight lifting.

The theory is that low-level electric pulses, known as transcranial direct current stimulation, from the headphones stimulate a part of the brain known as the motor cortex, Halo Neuroscience CEO Daniel Chao told Fortune last year, long before the deal with the Giants was announced. That stimulation combined with physical training, can boost an athlete’s strength, “explosiveness,” and skill, he said at that time.

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Making Your 2017 a Resilient and Successful Year

Dr Stephen Sideroff
by Stephen Sideroff, Ph.D.

I know we are beginning the month of March, but it’s never too late to awaken to the moment. In my effort to be the best version of myself and live a resilient and optimal life, daily stresses and periodic emergencies have their way of taking me off The Path. We all have this “survival bias”, an automatic tendency to look for the dangers in our lives that shifts us away from avenues of new growth and creativity.

There is something about the beginning of the year that serves to wake me up, to bring me back to my intentions. The mark of the calendar serves to reignite these intentions. I’d like to share this process with you, as it is an approach that can serve you as well.

One thing that stress tends to do is shift our thinking and behavior into “instinct mode”. With danger comes a shift from creativity and expansiveness, to more habitual behaviors. This might include taking the easier tasks first and leaving more important ones that then don’t get done. Or it might mean excessive worry that causes procrastination, fatigue and loss of sleep. These old patterns keep us stuck in life. When you keep doing things the same way, you get the same old results. New approaches are important for greater resilience and success.

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Students in holistic health classes able to weather stress of school, life

Students in the “Holistic Health 430: Foundation of Biofeedback and Self Regulation” class, from left, Garrett Peuse, Melanie Ruperto and Barbara Ribeiro, explore the level of muscle tension as monitored by electromyography.

By Jamie Oppenheim

Since the 1970s, Professor Erik Peper has been teaching students how to manage stress

As midterms loom and stress begins to take a toll on student health, those in Professor of Health Education Erik Peper’s holistic health classes may have an advantage over other students. They’re learning valuable self-care and stress management techniques that can help them navigate school and life more easily for years to come.

Every semester, students in Peper’s classes learn techniques to combat stress, which include relaxation exercises, visualizations, biofeedback skills and mindfulness practices. The classes often culminate with a project where students identify personal health issues or goals and develop plans to address them.

Eighty percent of those students report significant improvements in health, Peper said. One of these success stories was recently featured in a case study in the journal for the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. The student, a 20-year-old woman identified in the study as Melinda, suffered recurring migraines since she was 14, according to the case study. She said she suffered at least four migraines a week and was taking medication to manage her discomfort. After learning self-regulation, biofeedback and body awareness techniques, such as breathing exercises, posture changes and mindfulness, they disappeared.

“At the 20-month follow-up, the student continued to be headache-free,” Peper said in the case study. “This type of integrated self-healing educational approach is recommended for students, patients and anyone who wants to create lasting health changes.”

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A $15,000 retreat claims it teaches people like Tony Robbins how to control their own brain waves

Austrian psychiatrist Hans Berger – Wikimedia Commons
  • Neurofeedback is a technique that involves placing electrical brain wave sensors on the scalp and using the sensors’ feedback to control a video game or a series of sounds
  • A 7-day retreat uses the technique, claiming it boosts IQ and improves creativity
  • Other neurofeedback providers say their methods can help with everything from mood-boosting to ADHD
  • While science says many of these claims are overstated, but there is one promising area of research

There are three cities around the world where, for $15,000, you can spend a week allegedly exercising your brain.

The cerebral workout plan was created in the 1980s by James Hardt, a physicist and psychologist who claims that a week of his program “expands your awareness more than 20 years of Zen meditation.”

Hardt’s company, called the Biocybernaut Institute, is centered around neurofeedback, a form of therapy that uses information about the brain’s electrical patterns to teach people about how their minds work. The idea is that people can learn to control their brain activity in specific ways — from increasing focus or creativity to decreasing the symptoms of anxiety, depression, or even ADHD.

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