A workout for the brain: Couple uses neurofeedback to help people

SHAFTSBURY — Instead of taking a pill to feel better, exercising your brain might be a better solution.

That's what Tim and Christine Bushee of Shaftsbury believe. They've started training clients' brains in October in neurofeedback at The Alternative Healing Center, LLC.

Bushee is a Holistic Health Counselor and has her bachelors in psychology and Carpenter is an electrician. Together, they work as personal trainers for the brain to help people who suffered from traumatic experiences, concussions, those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and even those who just need to focus before the big game.

They're not doctors or therapists, but want to help folks become better people with technology.

The partners had a friend who ran a neurofeedback business and helped their child who had anxiety and problems sleeping. After an assessment and a few training session, their child improved tremendously. Eventually they decided to take on the business as well.

Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback that records brain activity through electroencephalography (EEG) to teach self-regulation of brain function. It does not put anything into the brain and doesn't change a person's' identity in any way, Bushee and Carpenter explained.

"It's an evaluation system for the brain so that the brain can regulate itself. It can fix itself if it knows what's wrong with it," Carpenter said. "All we're doing is basically assisting the brain in figuring out what's wrong with it, so it can fix itself. It's really as simple as that."

It gives immediate feedback through sight and sound while the participant practices focusing. For example, while hooked up to several leads, analyzing a certain section of the brain for wave patterns, one will watch a movie or listen to music. As the participant focuses deeper, a ticking noise serves as a reward for the action, the computer screen will brighten or the volume will get higher or lower as well.

He added that some clients ask if they think they have a diagnosis at the end of a training session, but Carpenter explained that they don't diagnose, treat or medicate in anyway. Essentially, no one has to know why a client participates in neurofeedback. The only indication of participating is what the client marks on an assessment sheet that states if they've had trauma, anxiety or other issues and if that's something they want to work on. Otherwise, the trainers reveal the session results as brain wave patterns and how they change over time.

"I tell people to research it for themselves before they do it. I tell them to talk to someone who has done it. Don't just jump into it. It's a process," Bushee said.

An initial assessment cost $100, in which the client's current brain patterns and energy habits are evaluated with the use of an assessment cap. The client identifies what they'd like to improve or change. Following, a training plan os developed for the client and they would continue with several training sessions -- 25 to 40 recommended. The total session amount depends on the person. Each training session costs $50 and lasts about one hour.

Bushee lent the example of learning to ignore habits. If someone is always distracted by background noise, it's their primary habit to inquire about that noise when they hear it. After training the brain, that person would still hear the noise, but ignore and continue on with their task. The training subconsciously alters habits.

"If you go to the gym once, you don't see results immediately. That's kind of like how this is -- a workout for your brain," Carpenter said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics determined neurofeedback as evidence based practice to treat ADHD. In a study of 102 children who underwent two types of computer training, neurofeedback and cognitive training, compared to a control group with no computer training, the trained students showed significant signs of improvement in the areas of attention and executive functioning.

"Not everyone uses this because they want to correct something," Bushee said. "They might want to improve something, like athletes use it or people who are top executives who want to be on top of their game."

The therapy dates back to the early 1900's treating people for seizures and eventually for spiritual development.

The Alternative Healing Center's website states that neurofeedback aids in healing ADD, ADHD, Anxiety, autism spectrum, behavior disorders, depression, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, cognitive impairment, stress disorders, learning disabilities, migraines, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, sleep disorders, substance abuse, addictions, mild traumatic brain injury, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and age related memory loss. However, anyone can utilize the therapy to better theirself.

For more information visit neurofeedbackahc.com.

Reach Makayla-Courtney McGeeney at 802-490-6471 or @MC_McGeeney.


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