Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fighting insomnia with your brain

About 16 percent of adults and up to 25 percent of children have chronic insomnia. Researchers are attempting to discover new ways to help those who have the disorder. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has conducted a study using Brainwave Optimization as a treatment.

Brainwave Optimization is a non-invasive technology that helps the brain to stabilize itself for top performance. Electrodes are attached to different points on the patient’s head and connected to a computer that picks up the brainwaves from different lobes. The technique breaks brain waves into different musical tones that the patient can hear. A higher frequency would be a higher pitch on a musical scale.

When you experience stress, your survival instincts kick in causing an imbalance of energy in your brain. When the balance isn’t restored, you may have anxiety or trouble sleeping. Brainwave Optimization encourages the brain to correct itself.

Lead researcher Charles Tegeler IV, MD, explained the process this way: “In effect, we are allowing the brain to look at itself in the mirror and see itself in an optimized, energized state. Those areas that are out of balance then begin to work towards a more functional state.”

A group of 20 people were involved in the study, all diagnosed with moderate to severe insomnia. One of the two randomized groups was given eight to 12 Brainwave Optimization sessions, while the other group acted as the control.Once the first set of data was collected, the group that previously acted as the control took part in the Brainwave Optimization sessions.

Researchers have previously looked into using music and biofeedback to relax the brain. In past studies involving music, a computer analyzes the brainwaves and then plays music specific to your unique brainwave pattern.

The techniques are similar to biofeedback, a method of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Biofeedback involves training yourself to recognize certain indicators that your body gives you, such as the levels of muscle tension and brainwaves. It uses a device shows those levels, so you can try to change them in a way that helps you to sleep.

Photo by jemsweb

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