Business Times of Edmond, Oklahoma July 2018 - Page 18

Train Your Brain: How the Balanced Brain Helps Clients Through Neurofeedback STORY BY KRISTY STURGILL I t’s unlikely people regularly notice their brain, because in most circumstances, like any other organ, it just works — until it doesn’t. Neurofeedback helps people recognize when their brain is functioning optimally, and when it isn’t, and by doing so individuals can strengthen areas of the brain that are inactive or in some cases overactive. Gretchen Schell is the founder of The Balanced Mind in Edmond, and she is helping her clients treat everything from traumatic brain injury to anxiety and ADHD with neurofeedback techniques. “I have clients who use neurofeedback to gain clarity, improve performance, find focus or train the brain to calm itself down,” Schell said. There are different parts of the brain that help individuals moderate their mood, focus, stay calm, sleep or regulate emotions. 18 July 2018 | The Business Times Neurofeedback is a technique designed to target different areas of the brain by gathering information and changing how it functions. Schell conducts neurofeedback by putting sensors on the client’s head in specific locations depending on the ailment. The sensors are connected to a special computerized system that measures both the EEG brain activity and gives the client feedback, such as a movie or hearing a beep. So for example, If the client is trying to improve beta waves in the brain, when they are reaching their goal, they might see the movie playing perfectly, but as soon as the client stops focusing on the movie, it begins to fade off the screen. The brain then learns how to keep the movie from fading out by increasing beta waves. “We have one option that includes a little dot running across the screen eating other little dots to reveal a photo. It’s kind of like Pac Man,” Schell said. “I had one ADHD client who noticed he could make the dot move faster or slower depending on how he was thinking at the time. It was a big aha moment for him to realize what it is like to be in ‘ADHD brain’ and what it is like to be focused.” Schell began her training to be certified in neurofeedback two years ago. In June, she received her certificate for completing the program and gaining experience through her practice in Edmond. Her husband was a catalyst that helped her discover the benefits of neurofeedback and subsequently seek out training to provide relief to both him and others like him. Schell’s husband experienced extreme mood swings and anger. They thought he might have a mental illness like manic depression or bipolar disorder. She said his behavior eventually led to their divorce, but