We evaluate Neurofeedback’s effectiveness by (a) reading research, (b) reading testimonials, and (c) people we know who have done Neurofeedback.
However, understanding brain research articles requires technical training and most consumers lack training to assess utility and applicability of research.
Testimonials offer a human touch; reading testimonials feels more personal. Many of us readily relate to the humanity within the language of the testimonials. However, as with research, we still wonder: “Will Neurofeedback work for me?”
No one knows. Just as with a medication prescribed for a condition, no one can predict with certainty if Neurofeedback will work.
Here are testimonials I gathered from military personnel while deployed. My request to my patients was this: “I might be starting a Neurofeedback company when I return to the states. Would you be mind saying a few words about what Neurofeedback has done – or not done – for you?”
Will Neurofeedback work for you? Likely. However, there are no promises. Despite the claims you will read Neurofeedback takes time to work. The brain needs time to learn, research consistently shows that it takes about ten sessions before effects (other than sleeping better) can be seen and upwards of 20-40 sessions before the brain is fully trained into new ways of processing information.
There is no quick fix (yet) with Neurofeedback. Learning takes time.
XXXX-XxXX-XXX 17 March 2012
MEMORANDUM FOR RECORD
SUBJECT: Combat Stress Control and (NF) Neurofeedback Support
1. I have been stationed on FOB XX for over nine months and attest personally and professionally to the amazing results of CSC’s (Combat Stress Control) application of neurofeedback.
2. Professionally, I seen many patients on this FOB with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), prior TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), anxiety, irregular sleep patterns, anger, and situational stress related symptoms. I refer them to CSC [Combat Stress Control] and within 8-10 sessions of NF [Neurofeedback], the immediate improvement of their sleep patterns and stabilization of symptoms are remarkable. The treatment has significantly reduced the frequency, or in most cases, eliminated the need for sleep medication in patients being treated with NF. Also, most follow up encounters with NF patients report better concentration, increased PT (physical fitness) scores and a general sense of well-being. Many of my patients state, “Doc, I wish I would have listened and went earlier, thanks for squaring me away!”
3. Personally, I am a neurofeedback patient and have experienced the long lasting results of better sleep, increased awareness of my surroundings, and ability to concentrate and focus. My experience with NF has completely redirected my clinical and physical acumen, and overall made me better when prior treatment with antidepressants and sleep medication did not resolve my symptoms.
4. I see NF as a critical adjunctive therapy for the current and future treatment of PTSD, TBI, anger, and emotional problems our Soldiers are facing now, and as they begin to leave current theatres. I am amazed that NF therapy has been around for over twenty years and is not in our “medical toolbox” at home and abroad. The data is irrefutable and the results on my FOB and in our AO (Area of Operations), justifies the expansion of this program to obtain real, and long lasting results for our wounded Warriors.
5. Point of contact for further information is the undersigned at xxxx or DSN xxx SIPR xxx
CPT, (name deleted)
In the simplest of terms, neurofeedback helped me calm down mentally and physically. In this way, I was better able to chose words, remember tasks, organize mentally faster. The sleep has improved. I went to Iraq in 2003-2004 and for six years I could not sleep more than four hours before waking and I had a really hard time going to sleep at night. After about seven sessions of Neurofeedback, I can go to sleep right away, stay asleep all night and wake up rested. Which means I am mission focused and can accomplish the tasks at hand without dragging all day. I can go to sleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling like I had a good night’s rest. I can deal with tasks without the irritation taking over and in a nut shell, I feel like I am twenty years old inside and not 55
Participating in Neurofeedback has greatly improved not only my state of mind but my physical condition as well. I began this deployment 8 months ago having nightmares, dissociative episodes, I was feeling like I couldn’t talk to anybody, and my marriage was on the rocks because I was unable to communicate what I was feeling to my wife. I felt like I could barely finish a physical training session, let alone excel in one. Currently, after about 3 months of Neurofeedback with MAJ Villanueva, my marriage is improved vastly, I am running 2 miles a day, and I have had maybe 2 nightmares in the last month. I don’t feel as if I am alone in the world anymore. My goals in life have also gotten much more clear and concise. I went from being an Infantryman, I re-classed to Combat Medic, and had no idea what was next when I got to FOB Spin Boldak, and now I am going to attend medical school when I return to the states, I have almost finished my bachelors degree in the last 3 months. I feel like my life is back on track.
SPC JH Army Medic
Neurofeedback training towards peak performance has improved my ability to focus my attention, enhanced my mental acuity, strengthened my physical fitness performance, and increased my resilience to stress events. Since beginning NF, I have noted a shift in my attention span which enables me to focus my efforts on any given task which, in turn, allows me to complete tasks faster and with a better finished product. I have also noticed that I am far more attuned to nuance and subtlety than before I began training, making me more flexible in discerning problem aspects from differing points of view – I shift more easily among different stages of tactical and operational problem-solving. An unexpected benefit of NF was its effect on my physical fitness. The increased sense of focus has made running far more enjoyable, as my mind no longer wanders during a workout, and instead direct my attention fully into achieving my performance goals. Finally, and most importantly for the deployed environment, I have found myself more resilient to stressors, and patient with those with whom I work. I am no longer so easily annoyed or perturbed as I was prior to training, and am enjoying better interpersonal relationships among my peers, subordinates, and seniors. My personal relationships are more fulfilling to me, and I am simply enjoying people more. I have become “someone who is easy to work with, very level-headed.” I wasn’t before I started NF training – on past deployments I have been prescribed anti-depressants and Valium to regulate my moods and frustration. NF has helped me to improve my duty performance, physical fitness, and even quality of life in the most unlikely of circumstances. My wife says even my voice has changed for the better, and appreciates these other changes in me as well.
Hope this helps, and thanks for introducing us to this – glad I asked you about it.
I have noticed an exponential decrease in feelings of anxiety and considerably less motor ticks. I have had an increase in the quantity and quality of sleep patterns as well. The ability to handle stressful situations has increased and I’m able to remain calm and control my emotions more than I ever have before. My focus and awareness levels have become more acute. Another benefit I have found is that I am able to push my body farther during physical activity. It has made me more aware of any shortfalls which has aided in cognitive self-correction. I definitely feel stronger mentally, physically and emotionally after having undergone Neuro-feedback therapy.
How is that? I hope I don’t sound like a robot… I can tell you it’s one of the best things I’ve done for self improvement.
I’m glad I went to see you guys.
See you tomorrow, 1300. Oh, and by the way… I turned XX today. =)
I hope this will suffice:
Neurofeedback has had several positive effects on me, but the most significant changes I have experienced are the reduction in stress and improved sleep patterns. Before I began neurofeedback, I was always stressed out, agitated, and tired due to significant trouble sleeping. Since beginning neurofeedback, I have experienced a consistent state of calmness, sharpened situational awareness, and dramatically improved ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. From the very first treatment I experienced a state of calmness that I haven’t felt before. I am calm and collected at all times, but with an awareness of my surroundings that is as sharp as a razor. I am amazed at my ability to focus on tasks for long periods of time, which was difficult if not impossible prior to neurofeedback. I perform all of my duties as an Officer and a Soldier to a higher standard with less effort than before. My physical capabilities have also increased considerably as I can better focus on physical demands and the recovery from working out is also dramatically increased. Neurofeedback has been a life changing event and I am confident that it has the ability to help every individual in the military.
I started NF because I was having difficulty in the following areas: sleep (both falling and staying asleep), excessive stress reactions (to the point where my hair was falling out at an abnormal rate), irritability, difficulty concentrating, and overall sadness/depression. After only a few sessions, I was more calm, physically relaxed, had no issues sleeping through the night, had significantly increased ability to focus on complicated tasks and my hair stopped falling out. Also, I no longer had a constant, dull headache (I did not realize this was an issue until I stopped having it and noticed the change). Other changes include faster recovery time after workouts, and faster run times.
Unexpectedly, NF also seemed to quiet my mind enough to where I was able and willing to address abuse issues from my past. Through a combination of wake state NF, AT, journaling and counseling with Dr. Villanueva, I have made more progress in a few months than I have been able to make in the past 25+ years (during which time I had worked with three psychologists, journaled and finally gave up and tried to supress the issue). As a result of this treatment, I am better able to control my anger, emotionally shut down less often, act less passive aggressively, am more assertive and am overall more comfortable with myself.
Here is how I would frame it. Initial session resulted in longer and deeper sleep cycles; had been averaging 4 hours a night and have now for the most part moved to 6 hours. During the day I am no longer feeling tired in the mid afternoons as much as I used to. Prior to NF I had a short temper and would get angry at incompetent and lazy people and had a deep hate for the enemy. I still hate the enemy but do not get as angry as much. As discussed I deal with multiple issues and solve many decisions daily. On some issues answer clearly comes to me–can’t explain it.
I started seeing Combat Stress for NeuroFeedback sessions on the 8th of March 2012. Before starting the sessions I suffered from various problems that made it difficult for me to operate as an Infantryman. These ailments varied from conscious to subconscious experiences. I had sleepless nights waking up two or three times, and night terrors that would wake my wife up and frighten her to the point that we couldn’t sleep in the same bed. I would also have mood swings that touched on every emotion that you can think of. Anxiety that was so bad that I couldn’t stay in a crowd of people for more than 30 minutes without freaking out, accompanied by uncontrollable shaking of my hands.
I have had 6 sessions now and I already see minor changes in my behavior and sleep patterns. After having my 4th session I have already started to sleep through the night without waking up. My mood swings have started to calm down and I am finding
already that it is easier to control my anger. My wife who is also deployed to the same FOB as I am has even commented on the changes that she has noticed since starting the program. I realize that I still have a long road ahead of me and at times it will be difficult.
I am so pleased with this program that I want to try to continue treatment once I redeploy. This treatment is something that I have already recommended to other soldiers in my unit that have experienced similar events and behavior as I have. Something as simple as being able to sleep through the night and control my temper is a wonderful change my life. I am a better Infantryman and a better leader because of it. I can only hope that the Army will adopt this program, because if it can help other soldiers as it is starting to help me, that will be a wonderful thing.
SSG USA INFANTRY
I am a Captain, (name deleted) Armor Officer, Forward Support Company Commander. I command the XX Forward Support. I have suffered from night terrors for most of my life. The night terrors had intensified after my adolescence likely due to my early firefighter/emergency medical technician career. The “panic attacks”, as defined by my own research, were as frequent as 5-7 times a week. It made falling asleep undesirable and has caused poor work performance in my past. This deployment was no exception. The sleep pattern problems appear to have been causing me life altering effects such as lack of energy, lack of motivation, limited physical abilities, muscle fatigue and irritability.
I spoke with MAJ Villanueva at a dinner in September and he recommended the therapy. I have tried many different things to help with my sleep cycle. Most of them simply led me to drink alcohol or take sleeping pills when available to fall asleep. Obviously, alcohol is far from a recommended course of action to fall asleep. The lack of alcohol down range made good sleep cycles just a dream. I am not a big over the counter drug user, minus alcohol, so I figured I would try it. My first session seemed very calming. Neurofeedback therapy changed my life. I almost can’t put into words how I feel. My night terror “panic attacks” are gone. I sleep at least 8 hours, usually continuously without vivid dreams. I am an avid Crossfit athlete. My muscle recovery, endurance, explosion, and motivation is hard to put into words. I have logged every workout sessions and run since September.
The improved documented results are staggering. Although my initial goal was sleep cycle refinement, I found that neurofeedback worked wonders not only in physical fitness, but in my abilities as a Commander in the United States Army. I have ability to multi-task that simply was not there prior to the therapy. Additionally, I complete tasks which in the past would have just lingered. Again, the therapy has changed my life and made me more valuable to the Army. I recommend it for anyone who is having sleep cycle difficulties or mental/emotional struggles.
CPT, AR, COMMANDING
I would like to give you an account of my experience with the Neurofeedback and the Personal Counseling I have received through your highly trained and personable staff. I began my sessions in January of 2012 and have enjoyed the benefits of both. Through my sessions I have found the sources of the turmoil and strife in my current day and younger life. This has been a great help in retraining myself so that I can avoid and recognize the everyday pitfalls of life that can lead to an unhealthy mental state of mind.
Your staff has made great strides to ensure that everyone that comes through the door feels safe and secure that all work and anything spoken of will be kept in the greatest of secrecy. Sense I have begun my sessions I have often wondered why this type of treatment is not given to all soldiers both before and after they deploy into a combat zone. I feel that this would be very beneficial in maintaing a proper state of mental readiness both in a combat zone as well as in garrison. These sessions have opened doors to me that were always locked away never to be addressed. I also have found that my current state of awareness along with meditation will give me a life time of piece of mind even after my last session is complete. I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the care and opportunity that your great staff has provided to me. With this as my final thought you have two very special people here on FOB Spin Boldak and should be very proud of the fast paced work that they provide and the care that they give. TOP NOTCH!!!!
Welder / AC FIRST