Sunday 19 February 2012

Neurofeedback for neuroshaping

Neurofeedback historically has taken many forms.  Initially, the focus was on reinforcing alpha waves on the assumption that they were associated with relaxation and calm, meditative states.  Reinforcement of beta and SMR waves has also been applied to treat clinical disorders such as epilepsy and ADHD.  Alpha-theta training is used to treat clinical disorders such as alcoholism and anxiety.  With the development of normative databases applied to 19 channels of EEG (QEEG), a more holistic approach to treating clinical disorders has evolved with the idea that virtually any condition that is associated with patterns that are sufficiently outside of norms can be successfully treated with individually targeted neurofeedback.

Alpha and alpha-theta protocols are used most commonly to induce meditative states.  With increased knowledge of gamma waves and their role in deep meditation, alpha-theta-gamma protocols are also used to induce meditative states.

Another, quite different approach, is to use neurofeedback to strengthen meditation skills, such as noting, a meditation technique associated with insight meditation.  Theoretically, it should be possible to establish EEG signatures for certain processes, such as mind wandering, thinking, hearing, and so on, and signal to the meditator their presence in a matter of milliseconds, long before the meditator would normally be aware of them.

Consider the implications of this approach.  The emphasis would not be on inducing a meditative state or experience.  It would be on strengthening sensitivity to psycho-physical processes (i.e., guarding the six sense doors), an essential component of mindfulness meditation..    

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