So much of what we hear about the brain is in relation to what we can and cannot do about it. There is mention that there are a limited number of cells in the brain, and that once we damage them, use them up, or alter them, there is not much to be done.
At the same time, we also are told that there are more connections in the brain than there are stars in the universe. So, which is it? A limited number of cells or an endless pool of resources in the brain? I would say both.
Why, how can that be? It has to do with the connections or lack thereof. A model that has evolved regarding brain function is the neuroplasticity model of the brain. Basic premise is that the brain is malleable. That it can be reshaped and can reorganize its patterns. The brain in its first few years of life is busy acquiring patterns through new connections. Developmentally, this happens exponentially in the first few years of life, and then again in certain stages, when biological and environmental challenges occur, such as the surge of hormones during puberty or when we leave home for the first time. These stressors cause new connections to be made in the brain.
What happens is that as we grow older, the rate of new connections stabilizes, we fall into routine and develop patterns or habits. We can call this a healthy stability. Which for the most part is better for us, it allows us to expend less energy, is predictable and has an overall order to it. However, the downside is that we also may be limiting new experiences and growth. To grow we need to challenge ourselves, push into the discomfort and struggle a bit to develop new connections. We might take on new plans, change our diet, exercise more, hire a coach, join a group, all to push us into new patterns.
But what about our mental health? The benefit we might garner from new perspectives and desires revive our loves. So how do we do that? To understand this, we should recognize our mental health is all about the mind, and that our mind is an outcome of the brain. Imagine a flashlight, the light emanates from flashlight, but the light is not the flashlight in and of itself. The light is an outcome of the connections within the flashlight just as the mind is an outcome of the connections of the brain.
Today I want to talk about a useful new tool to help create new connections in the brain called Brain Mapping and Neurofeedback.
What is Brain Mapping?
It is exactly what it states, a map of the brain. The mapping however is not static, it is a current thumbprint of where the electrical-chemical patterns of the brain are. As an analogy, it is much like an evaluation for physical therapy. All the movement and strengths of the muscle are examined to see which ones work well and which one would benefit from strengthening. We can now do the same with the brain. Through brain mapping, we can see what areas of the brain light up and see what areas of the brain may be underperforming.
What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is the repatterning of pathways in the brain using extremely low levels of electrical chemical activity. It does that by tapping into 10,000 points in the brain. Following the brain map, which illustrates current patterns, it redirects the stimulation of the brain to form new networks within the brain. The already patterned networks set up in the brain, were mapped. So now through a feedback system, areas of the brain that would benefit from stimulation will now be addressed and new patterns will evolve from that stimulation. The feedback systems used are sensory, both auditory and visual feedback sensory systems are used to redirect the stimulation.
The new brain patterns are developed by using feedback systems which help to move the electrical-chemical activity of the brain from one location to another. We can view these live changes in a 3D form. We can see the movement as we begin to witness the physical change within the individual’s brain who are undergoing these dynamic alternations. Remember, our behaviors and experiences are linked to brain patterns, changing the patterns, results in changing behaviors.
To sum it up… the brain can be rewired. Let’s change our lives.
IMI offers Neurofeedback in our Brain Mapping service. LEARN MORE about how IMI can help you optimize your mind and brain function today!