Medical sciences for centuries focused on the study of the body, while placing little emphasis on the mind. Questions of emotions, thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs were historically left to the domains of religion, philosophy, and later psychology and excluded from the field of medicine. Currently the head is being reattached to the body through the scientific study of emotions, thoughts and beliefs on the physiological functions of the body in health and disease. In Mind-Body medicine the mind learns to change the body, this can be for prevention of illness or treatment of specific conditions. Mind-Body medicine addresses problems such as anxiety, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome and many others.
YOGA FOR MENTAL HEALTH
Yoga is an ancient mind-body practice, long revered for its ability to promote health, longevity, and spiritual well-being. Scientific evidence is mounting in support of yoga as a treatment for mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, ADHD, schizophrenia, and sleep disturbances. Stephen Lewis, M.A., LMHC, NCC, E-RYT is a trained yoga psychotherapist.
Ayurveda is a 5000 year old science of life originating in India. Ayurveda is a complete medical system that is quite different from Western medicine in how it conceptualizes health and illness. In Ayurveda health problems are a sign of imbalance and the treatment aims at restoring balance.
According to Ayurveda each person is unique and has different lifestyle and dietary needs. When one deals with a health problem it is important to notice what are the lifestyle and diet factors contributing to the disturbance of balance and to address those before proceeding to other treatments.
Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it as it is, without judgment. Practiced in various ways by traditions throughout history, mindfulness has been the subject of scientific research in recent decades.The evidence suggests that mindfulness can bring improvements in both physical and psychological symptoms, as well as improvements in outlook, relationships with others, and an overall sense of well-being. Mindfulness can be cultivated and strengthened through a variety of mindfulness exercises, and can be a powerful component of psychotherapy.
Hypnosis involves focusing attention inward and using your imagination and positive mental images to alter your perceptions. It is believed that the relaxed state induced by hypnosis can make individuals more open to suggestions that improve the effectiveness of treatment. Research suggests that hypnosis can be effective in alleviating a variety of conditions including pain, tension, anxiety, depression, and in smoking cessation.
Breathing training is an important component in treatment of anxiety disorders and behavior dysregulation. Breath is the most direct way to influence the parasympathetic nervous system that available to us in our daily life. You always have your breath with you and learning how to use your breath to calm yourself in a stressful situation or to help you fall asleep is a skill that everyone should have. There is a whole science behind the breath and understanding whether you overbreathe or breathe shallowly or too rapidly can give you clues to understand your symptoms. You can then start to learn a variety of breathing techniques that are helpful for particular problems. In addition breath is a key way to achieving physiological coherence, a kind of synchronization of function of various cyclical body functions such as breath, heart rate, brain waves, and others. Breath training can be supported through the use of Biofeedback.
Apologies, we are not currently providing neurofeedback due to space limitations and will restart the neurofeedback program in 2018.
Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback in which sensors provide feedback about brain wave activity. Neurofeedback provides an alternative to those who prefer to not use, or are unable to use, medications.
Neurofeedback is a unique and emerging treatment approach to mental health and wellness. Also known as EEG biofeedback, neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback in which sensors provide feedback about brain wave activity. Studies indicate that neurofeedback training is effective in the treatment of ADHD with large effect sizes in the treatment of inattention and impulsivity and medium effect sizes in the treatment of hyperactivity.
Neurofeedback is currently being studied as a promising new treatment for alcoholism, PTSD, autism, depression, anxiety, migraine headaches, insomnia, age-related cognitive decline, and traumatic brain injury. Athletes, performers, and others use neurofeedback with the goal of achieving optimal wellness and “peak performance.”
How does it work?
First, we meet for a regular intake interview to learn about your history and current symptoms. We talk about your goals and decide whether neurofeedback may be appropriate for you.
Next, using computer software and a brain wave sensor, we work with you to develop your own personalized program.
You will have one or more sensors on your scalp, while you engage in an activity such as playing a computer game, listening to music, concentrating on a moving image, or watching a movie. The computer will provide feedback or information to you about your brain activity in the form of sounds, pauses in the movie or other signs. Using the feedback from the computer will allow you to develop a greater degree of self-regulation, which will help you improve your brain function.
Your mind is the controller, and positive results—an image of a rocket accelerating through space, or your music continuing to play uninterrupted—occur when brainwave frequencies reach the goal we established for you. Neurofeedback practice can be seen as exercise for the brain. The positive reinforcement that the brain receives in neurofeedback training leads to optimization of brain performance. Exciting new research is exploring the use of neurofeedback training for musicians, athletes, and others to achieve peak performance.
How long is the treatment?
The length, frequency and number of sessions depend on your individual situation and goals. A typical course of neurofeedback involves 20 to 40 sessions. Results are typically seen after the first 8 sessions. You may notice results in fewer sessions, or it might take longer. We recommend that you have your sessions 1 to 3 times per week.
A typical session takes 45 minutes to 1 hour. During the session you will engage in the neurofeedback training for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. In addition you will begin with relaxation and breathing training with or without the use of biofeedback. Some sessions may be shorter, others considerably longer, and we may work with you to gradually increase the length of your neurofeedback training sessions over the course of your treatment. We work with you to determine the effectiveness of treatment, adjusting the brain activity goals, and the length and frequency of sessions as needed.
Neurofeedback in the news?
Neurofeedback is a rapidly growing, dynamic field. Publicity in recent years has touted neurofeedback’s potential to address an astounding range of conditions, from the 2006 World Cup champion Italian soccer team’s testimony of neurofeedback’s role in achieving their “peak performance,” to the Yonkers school district’s reports of dramatic improvements in children with ADHD and behavioral issues. However, while the abundance of anecdotal clinical evidence for a wide range of conditions is powerful, controlled clinical trials are limited to few areas, including ADHD and substance abuse. We believe more research is critical in order to better understand the effectiveness of neurofeedback.
What are the risks associated with neurofeedback?
No long-term adverse effects have been reported with neurofeedback in research studies. A risk of different kind, it the big commitment that neurofeedback treatment requires. A meaningful treatment trial is at least 8 sessions and in general full treatment requires 20 to 40 sessions. The benefits of make this commitment are clearly shown by research for ADHD and addictions, but for other conditions such as depression, anxiety or peak performance the research is promising but still quite limited.
We received training and remain in consultation with Biofeedback Resources International, an organization approved by BCIA. We work to stay informed on research and developments in the field, and we continue to receive mentorship from other neurofeedback practitioners.
We will restart neurofeedback in 2018, apologies for the large pause.
Here are some internet resources about neurofeedback to explore for more information:
Biofeedback is a technology-based mind-body therapy in which visual images or sounds provide feedback about your body’s physiological responses. Biofeedback can relieve the physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety, muscle tension, and stress. Using computer software and a sensor, such as a finger clip that measures your heart rate, you will work to develop greater self-regulation over your body’s responses.
This is a powerful tool to teach yourself to decrease your stress response and activate your relaxation response. You will learn to modify your heart rate variability, increase body temperature, and control other physiological responses.
Biofeedback provides an alternative to those who prefer to not use, or are unable to use, medications.
HEART RHYTHM VARIABILITY (HRT) AND COHERENCE TRAINING
HRV is a form of biofeedback that uses measurements of beat-to-beat changes in heart rate with the goal of teaching you how to reduce stress and increase emotional stability. A growing body of research suggests that this approach helps people to develop a greater awareness of the connection between their emotions, physiology, and behavior.