Windward Biofeedback Associates

Windward Biofeedback

Training Your Brain to Work for You

How does Neurofeedback actually work?

At the conscious level we observe our own behavior and can act to modify our own behavior.

At the same time all of our acts, thoughts, and feelings are handled by the brain in its own code.

And the brain reads its own code by a kind of pattern recognition.

If we now allow the brain to witness its own behavior, it simply applies its pattern matching skills, realizes what the game is about, and is then capable of altering its own behavior.

In neurofeedback, we allow the brain to track its own behavior in our digital mirror. At the same time, we reward the brain if it happens to change in a favorable direction, in a sophisticated game of “warmer/colder.”  Since the brain is  a voracious learning engine, so it incorporates the new information and that becomes new learned behavior, or new functional capability.

Why is Neurofeedback useful for sports?

The skill of the game of golf is recognized to be largely a mental skill. Training a person to play better golf is largely a matter of developing and honing brain-based skills. What makes this all possible is that immediate feedback is always available on the person’s performance because in the motor act the brain’s capacities are on display, in a manner that all can judge. Skill learning is absolutely dependent on feedback—to the trainee and also to the coach. The brain’s trainability is a general property of the brain, one not restricted to motor function. The missing piece is feedback. If we can allow the brain to observe its own behavior, we can train it just as effectively as we can train motor competence. In neurofeedback, that is just what happens. We allow the brain to witness those aspects of its own behavior that relate to issues identified by the therapist. And this opens the door to shaping the brain’s behavior in all of those areas that matter to us in mental health, in education, in our relationships, and even in our deepest inner core of the self.

Neurofeedback and the brain.

Merleau-Ponty urged many years ago that the brain is best regarded not as an observer or witness to its world, but rather as an actor in it. It is especially attuned to its own impact on its surroundings. It is not simply or primarily a respondent. In the feedback screen, the brain recognizes its own agency with regard to the changing signal, and it can’t help but be intrigued. So the same process that works at the level of the person also happens at the level of the brain, in the brain’s own code. The brain’s code is reflected in the EEG. The EEG, in turn, is mapped into the feedback game. And the brain’s pattern recognition skills are such that it is still able—-even after so many levels of abstraction—to discern the correlation of the feedback information with its own internal activity. In this manner, we beguile the brain into altering its own state. Over time and by repetition, functionality is restored to brain networks, and new functional capacities open up.