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  • ILF Neurofeedback

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    ILF Neurofeedback

    Infralow Frequency (ILF) neurofeedback trains the slowest brain frequencies generated in the astrocyte cells of the brain. These slow rhythms are believed to underpin all higher frequency activity of the brain and, as such, determine the overall level of arousal and stability in the central nervous system. Early in the ILF training process, an optimal training frequency is established. The brain’s activity in reference to this frequency is mirrored to the brain through visual, auditory, and tactile feedback. The brain then uses this information to organize itself and its ability to shift from state to state with stability and calm. Benefits are specific to the training, which is guided by protocols that have been developed and refined over the last 30 years. Clients usually notice improvements within the first few sessions, though as with any form of neurofeedback, repetition is required for the gains to be maintained.

    The Tidal Rhythms of the Brain

    Most forms of neurofeedback, including LENS which I also offer in my practice, focus on the “fast waves” of the brain – those that are above 1 hertz. With ILF neurofeedback, we focus on training the very slowest, infralow waves of the brain below 0.1 hertz. Fast waves can be likened to the waves at the surface of the ocean that you can see while standing on the shore. Infralow waves are similar to the rhythms of the tide. The tide has a powerful influence on the surface waves and, in much the same way, the infralow frequencies exercise a great deal of influence on the faster frequencies of the brain.

    By training key sites on the brain at the infralow level, we are affecting core brain systems, such as the Default Mode Network and the Salience Network, that organize the brain’s functioning. The result is a powerful shift in the brain’s ability to regulate itself and to move from state to state with ease.

    Dysregulation of Arousal

    Arousal, the most basic component of brain state regulation, refers to the general tone of the nervous system, ranging from low arousal to emergency mode. Low arousal is necessary for relaxation and sleep. High arousal is needed for emergency situations. In the middle of this spectrum is the range of normal arousal, where the nervous system is activated enough to be able to perform the task at hand, without being so aroused that it is agitated. Arousal is controlled by the brain stem and when the brain stem is unable to flexibly and stably move from one level of arousal to the next, we see symptoms of hyper-arousal, such as difficulty falling asleep, anxiety, anger management problems, oppositional behavior, or symptoms of under-arousal, such as depression, poor motivation, lack of interest and engagement, emotional sensitivity, and more.

    Instabilities

    When the brain lacks proper inhibitory control, hyper-excitability of the nervous system results. Hyper-excitability is at the root of brain instabilities, which can result in a host of symptoms that tend to come “out of the blue,” such as panic attacks, seizures, migraine headaches, dissociation, IBS, difficulty staying asleep, and more. ILF neurofeedback helps the brain to regain control and balance its systems, such as the balance between parasympathetic functioning (i.e., relaxation response) and sympathetic functioning (i.e., fight/flight).

    Disinhibition

    Disinhibition is similar to instabilities; however, it specifically refers to the inhibitory relationship betweeen higher cortical brain regions (i.e., pre-frontal and frontal) and lower lower regions below the cortex. Disinhibition results in underdeveloped, primitive, and immature reactions such as impulsivity, tics, OCD, emotional reactivity, and more. ILF neurofeedback works to strengthen the inhibitory networks of the brain so they can do their job to manage the impulses of lower brain regions, while still allowing the lower brain regions to carry out their vital functions as well.

    Localized Dysfunctions

    Localized dysfunctions refer to problems with specific cortical functions associated with specific parts of the brain. Neurofeedback training targeting localized dysfunctions strengthens brain regions associated with the symptoms. By strengthening these regions, the neurofeedback process can address issues such as sensory processing issues, visual problems, auditory problems, difficulties with movement, reading and math problems, and more.

    Types of Brain Dysregulation

    Instead of relying on diagnostic categories, in all forms of neurofeedback, clinicians utilize the patterns of symptoms reported by the client to assess dysfunction in the brain and central nervous system. In ILF neurofeedback, we think in terms of four patterns of dysregulation. These are described here.

    What Can ILF Address?

    ILF neurofeedback is effective for symptoms associated with a broad range of mental health, cognitive, and physical conditions.

    Mental Health & Emotional Issues

    Anxiety

    Panic

    Depression

    Trauma & Neglect

    Behavioral Problems

    Emotional Reactivity

    Anger Problems

    Eating Disorders

    Attachment & Relationship Issues

    Personality Disorders

    Dissociation

    Self-Injury & Suicidality

    Addiction

    Peak Performance

    Neurological & Cognitive Issues

    ADD & ADHD

    Sensory Processing Issues

    Cognitive Issues

    Tics

    Tremor

    Seizures

    Autism Spectrum Issues

    Developmental Disorders

    Brain Injury & Concussion

    Neurological Lyme

    Reading Problems

    Verbal Problems

    Cognitive Deficits

    Balance Problems

    Mind-Body & Physiological Issues

    Insomnia

    Restless Leg Syndrome

    Chronic Pain

    Fibromyalgia

    Chronic Fatigue

    Chemical Sensitivity

    IBS

    Immune Issues

    PMS & Menopausal Issues

    Migraine Headaches

    Tension Headaches

    Bruxism (e.g., teeth grinding)

    Vertigo

    Muscle Tension