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We like to ask our Neurofeedback seminar participants if they have ever sustained a brain injury or concussion in their lifetime and we are always surprised to see very few hands go up. But when you start to think back, how many of us have fallen out of trees, fallen downstairs, slipped on black ice, have been in car accidents, or have had sporting injuries? Most of us have! Both big and small injuries to the brain can ignite a cascade of inflammation in the brain that is very difficult to stop.
My Brain Injury Experience
These injuries can haunt us over a lifetime, compromising our cognitive and executive function. I know! I was knocked unconscious for several minutes back in 1998 and sustained a bleed to the brain that was first undiagnosed and then poorly treated. I suffered first from vision distortions, dizziness, chronic headaches, and neck pain, but later I developed cognitive disabilities. I had a hard time learning and retaining information, my attention span declined, and my overall memory went down the tube. I felt I had lapsed into old age overnight! Being a naturopathic practitioner and nutritionist, I did everything I could to support my brain through diet, exercise, supplements, and other lifestyle interventions, and although most effective, I was still not quite right. I had this ongoing chronic, silent inflammation in my brain that was taking on a life of its own and taking a toll on the quality of my life. Not knowing any better, I blamed it on my Alzheimer's genes…
Over time I noticed my mood was changing. I was becoming less tolerant, more short-tempered, irritable, and yes, depressed.
Brain Injuries Can Cause Depression
We now know that a concussion or brain injury can be the MAIN trigger for the onset of depression! In Neurofeedback, depression is associated with an imbalance in the asymmetry of beta and alpha brain waves. With depressed clients, we see an excess of slow alpha brain wave activity in the left frontal cortex on their brain maps, which immediately gives us clues as to what might be going on in their life. I wished I had known about Neurofeedback at the time, as it is a very effective therapy for brain injuries, especially when they first occur. We can help rebalance the asymmetry in the brain and help guide the brain back into healthy brain wave patterns. Unfortunately, the only advice I got at the time was to go on an antidepressant that supposedly would also reduce my migraine-like headaches. In desperation, I tried the medication, but I felt worse and was plagued with side-effects. I also knew there had to be a better answer and it has sent me on a journey of self-discovery and healing. Today, I love and am fascinated with the human brain. It has become my passion.
You Need Multiple Therapies to Properly Heal
I’m delighted that in recent years the medical profession is taking head injuries seriously and we now have excellent concussion protocols in place. Also in our naturopathic world, we have a better understanding of the potential chronic nature of a head injury and have developed many strategies and tools to help our clients. This is key. It’s never one thing or a pill that will fix your brain. Your protocol must include multiple therapies, combining emotional, physical, and mental aspects of healing. This is something we pride ourselves on, as for us therapists, it’s not just about the Neurofeedback, it’s a package deal and we want you to heal on all levels. We address your diet and introduce new diet strategies, we help you balance your body and brain chemistry, we talk about sleep, relaxation, stress management, movement, electromagnetic frequencies and grounding, and the best supplements to support your particular condition. This is personalized care at it’s best!
For a brain map and a better understanding of your brain wave activity, please feel free to call us (262) 251-2929 to set up an appointment or just to chat with one of our Neurofeedback clinicians.