The Healing Powers of Neuroscience
By Stacey Smith, PhD
Vitanya Brain Performance Centers
While we continue to know more and more about the human brain, it is still one of the most mysterious, complicated biological structures currently known to man. Over the last decade, we have begun to reveal some of the underlying processes of the brain and discover how to use these in a drug free, non-invasive way to create healing in both mind and body. This neuroscience uses the mechanisms of neuroplasticity and neurogenesis to increase resilience, performance, sleep, and quality of life while reducing mental health challenges such as trauma, depression, anxiety, and stress.
Neurofeedback and Brain Regulation
Neurofeedback is able to gather information about the brain such as specific brain amplitudes or frequencies that will provide information about the regulation (or dysregulation) of the brain’s processes. Neurofeedback can locate the specific location and the electrical frequency that is not functioning properly. Once this information is gathered, neurofeedback can be used to correct for any dysregulation by providing this information to the brain. The brain then uses neuroplasticity to restore balance and reach a more regulated state (or become more optimized).
The Brain/Gut Connection
The gut has been referred to as the ‘second brain’, based on similarity, size, and complexity as well as the number of neurotransmitters (it produces more than 30) contained and signaling molecules. It has been noted that the gut contains between 200 and 600 million neurons and that 90% of the fibers in the vagus nerve carry information from the gut to the brain and not the other way around. Around 95% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut and up to 46% of the body’s dopamine as well. The implications of this indicate that the gut strongly influences mental health in the areas of affect, memory formation, mood, anxiety, stress, and depression.
The Tempe Coalition Neuroscience Experience
Heal-the-Hero Foundation funded three 6-month programs and three 3-month programs where the services using the principles of neuroscience as well as the brain/gut connection were provided by Vitanya Brain Performance Centers. In the 6-month programs, two of the participants experienced anywhere from a 42% to a 127% increase in 9 areas of cognitive functioning, between a 45% and 55% increase in quality of life, and a 92% to 97% reduction in traumatic symptoms. For the other 6-month program, the individual experienced a major surgery as well as 2 deaths in their immediate support group, causing them to miss 19% of the sessions. Even so, cognitive functioning improved from 3% to 18%, a 11% increase in quality of life, and a 66% reduction in traumatic symptoms. The 3 month program participants also showed significant increases in cognitive functioning (up to 34%), quality of life (up to 26%) and decreases in traumatic symptoms (56-89%).
Something to Think About…
Additional pilot programs continue to provide significant positive outcomes for individuals engaging in the Vitanya Brain Performance program. In a group of veterans, additional study results showed similar outcomes as the two 6-month programs above as well as a 12% increase in resilience and a 19% decrease in suicidal ideation. In a group of women who have suffered from either childhood sexual trauma, domestic violence, or both, all of their scores continue to improve, even during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The experience of these 10 women seems to show that keeping your brain balanced not only helps to improve functioning, but also acts as a protective factor during difficult times.