The latest conundrum to come to light in the field of brainwave therapy is the difference between office-based neurofeedback and the latest advances in tele-neurofeedback training conducted live over the Internet.
Recent studies using at home tele-neurofeedback for insomnia showed considerable improvement over controlled test subjects given only sham training. What was significant is that all subjects were trained “at-home”, while being supervised live by a certified neurofeedback technician. This was done from a remote practice in real-time, over a simple wifi connection in the subjects home. Skype audio and video feeds provided accurate sensor hookups and the techs controlled the sessions with remote support software. All communication was encrypted for patient privacy.
Historically, all neurofeedback had been provided face-to-face in an office setting, with the client having to drive an average of 30-45 minutes one way for treatment. With three sessions per week, this amounted to about 4.5 hours drive-time per week, or 18 hours per month, usually for 3 months or more.
In the above sited studies, there was no commute for the tele-neurofeedback client what-so-ever. And in one study, it stated that the lack of driving may also contributed to the overall success of the studies outcome as well.
The other significant factor seems to be tied to a Wall Street Journal article siting studies linking possible brain damage and reduced cognitive abilities to exposure to traffic emissions. It stated, “Recent studies show that breathing street-level fumes for just 30 minutes can intensify electrical activity in brain regions responsible for behavior, personality and decision-making, changes that are suggestive of stress”. Can this be a factor in actually adding additional stressors to commuting neurofeedback clients?
And although there are many clients who may still prefer the in-office setting, factoring in traffic congestion, pollutants and time away from family, it seems that at-home tele-neurofeedback can and should be seriously considered as a legitimate delivery model.
With these, as well as other challenges confronting the delivery of clinic based neurofeedback, it may make a great deal of sense to consider giving at-home tele-neurofeedback a second look.
David A. Mayen is founder and CEO for Sleep Recovery Centers, Inc., a neurofeedback practice specific to the sleep medicine field.
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