Friday, January 21, 2011
Neurofeedback Goes Mass Market
I have always thought of neurofeedback as something custom tailored to you, but apparently not. Brain State Technologies is going mass market with neurofeedback by opening franchises throughout the country. Yup, franchising, the same technique that spread MacDonald's hamburgers throughout the land is bringing neurofeedback to your neighborhood. I am seeing people other than neuropsychologists/neuropsychiatrists do neurofeedback: it is showing up in chiropractor's offices as well. In fact, to my knowledge, you don't need to have a professional credential to be a Brain State franchisee. Just pass their in-house training course and get a credential and you are good to go.
Brain State is flogging its technologies for everything from Addiction, Aging, Anger, Brain Injury, Hyperactivity, Lack of Energy, Learning Difficulties, Panic Attacks, Sadness and Trauma. They claim to help athletes achieve peak performance, artists, musicians and ceos become more creative, and a variety of other people solve their problems.
EEG Gama WaveImage via Wikipedia
If relaxing is seriously difficult for you, you might want to try neurofeedback—using readings of brain energy to teach your mind to unwind. (There are neurofeedback practitioners all over the United States; for a directory, go to EEGInfo.com.) You'll be hooked up to an EEG—a device that measures brain activity through electrodes attached to your scalp. Then, using visual and auditory cues such as a video game, you'll train yourself to regulate your brain to help you slow down. (For example, when your brain waves start making a race car speed up, it means you're learning how to move into a more relaxed state.) "Over time a client learns how to achieve the desired state without the visual feedback," says Martin Batty, who has used the method with success in clinical studies (though he notes that the technique is still being studied and more research is needed to help determine its long-term efficacy).
One company with centers around the world is Brain State Technologies (BrainStateTech.com). "A set of ten sessions could cost $1,200 to $4,000, depending on the level of services and the location," says Lee Gerdes, Brain State's CEO. "But once you've balanced your brain, you'll achieve the same relaxed state you get after taking a vacation, and the effects can last a lifetime."
What is the efficacy? I don't know. Don't see anything particularly scholastic out there.