Blog: Articles on Psychological Wellbeing, Relationships, Brain Health, Counselling and Neurofeedback

Welcome to the blog of Sojourn Counselling and Neurofeedback. Articles posted here are written by our clinical staff and relate to services we offer or conditions we address. We hope they will be helpful to you in some way, whether you're considering counselling for yourself or someone else, gathering information on a mental health related issue, or just want to find out more about who we are and what we do.

Neurofeedback: A Promising Tool for Addressing Long Covid Symptoms

The Mysteries and Challenges of Long Covid

We’ve all been weathering the impacts of a global pandemic, but for some, the journey has been far from straightforward. Have you ever felt like your body and mind were simply "off" for an extended period, without a clear reason why? If you've had Covid-19 and are still facing lingering symptoms long after the virus has cleared your system, you are not alone. Many people experience what is now termed "Long Covid," a perplexing condition characterized by persistent symptoms such as fatigue, difficulty in concentrating, and neurological issues. The medical community is scrambling to understand this perplexing condition and to find viable treatment options.

The Intersection of Neuroscience and Recovery

Much like the nervous system’s complex response to trauma, Long Covid seems to have a significant impact on neural networks. Your nervous system is finely tuned to direct internal resources towards survival and optimal functioning. However, just as an animal may freeze in the face of a predator, you may find that Long Covid has frozen you in a state of persistent malaise, physical discomfort, and cognitive fog.

When the nervous system gets out of balance, a host of health issues can follow. Your heart rate may remain elevated, your muscles tense, and mental faculties such as memory and concentration become compromised. It's akin to your system being stuck in a "fight or flight" mode, but without a discernible threat to react against. The result? Chronic exhaustion and a diminished quality of life.

The Role of Neurofeedback in Restoring Balance

Given that Long Covid appears to affect the nervous system, it's crucial to consider treatments that directly target neural pathways and their functionality. This is where neurofeedback comes in. At Sojourn Counselling and Neurofeedback, we use advanced neurofeedback technologies like NeurOptimal to help reset neural pathways, leading to improved mental clarity and emotional resilience.

Much like rumble strips on the highway alert you to the fact that you're veering off course, neurofeedback provides real-time information to your brain about its performance. Through a series of non-invasive sessions, the brain learns to self-regulate, ultimately expanding its "window of tolerance" for stress and environmental triggers. Over time, this retraining of the brain can lead to more balanced emotional states, higher energy levels, and improved cognitive function.

What You Will Learn in This Post

- Understanding Long Covid and Its Impact on Mental Health
- The Neuroscience of Long Covid
- How Neurofeedback Works
- Next Steps: How to Get Started with Neurofeedback at Sojourn

By delving into the transformative potential of neurofeedback, this blog post aims to shine a light on a promising avenue for Long Covid treatment. The human body and mind are remarkably resilient, but sometimes they need a little help to get back on track. Could neurofeedback be the missing piece in your Long Covid recovery puzzle? Read on to find out.

If you're struggling with the symptoms of Long Covid and are open to trying a neurofeedback approach, we invite you to make an appointment with one of our skilled practitioners. You can easily schedule a session through our online booking platform here. Let's explore this exciting frontier in neuroscience together and work toward reclaiming your well-being.

Understanding Long COVID
What is Long COVID?

Long COVID is a term that has been emerging increasingly in medical journals, news headlines, and even daily conversations. It refers to a set of symptoms that continue for weeks or months after the acute phase of a COVID-19 infection has resolved. However, understanding Long COVID isn't as straightforward as one might presume. Unlike a broken arm or even more chronic conditions like diabetes, Long COVID remains a shadowy figure in the medical realm, partly because its symptomatology is so diverse.

Common symptoms include but are not limited to extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, joint pain, and chest pain. Many individuals also report a mental fog, characterized by a reduced cognitive capacity that is notably distinct from pre-infection levels. Just as our nervous system primes us for danger, Long COVID keeps those who suffer from it in a state of perpetual, albeit mysterious, imbalance.

The Brain and Long COVID

One of the most daunting aspects of Long COVID is its impact on brain function. Recent studies are beginning to shed light on how the virus may interfere with our neural networks. It's as if the virus sneaks into the command center of a ship and starts tinkering haphazardly with the controls. For some, the symptoms manifest as severe fatigue; for others, it's an incapacitating brain fog or issues with concentration.

These symptoms can't be labeled as mere inconveniences. They affect the very core of how we interact with the world and process information. It’s similar to when our nervous system goes into overdrive, launching us into states of hyper- or hypoarousal, which skews our perception and decision-making abilities.

In essence, the brain, when grappling with Long COVID, operates in a state of dysregulation. Unlike trauma-primed nervous systems that are geared for perceived threats, Long COVID imposes a disarray that is often unpredictable. This chaotic neural activity taxes our cognitive reserves and leaves us feeling both mentally and physically depleted.

The cognitive load that Long COVID imposes on the brain is comparable to a computer running too many applications at once. It gets sluggish, unresponsive, and sometimes, it crashes, forcing a reboot. Except, for Long COVID sufferers, there isn't a straightforward "reboot" option.

This brings us to a compelling question: Could neurofeedback offer a pathway to better management of Long COVID symptoms, specifically those related to brain function? As we venture into this scientific inquiry, we are fueled by our commitment at Sojourn Counselling and Neurofeedback to finding viable, science-backed answers for complex mental health and neurological issues.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into the intricacies of neurofeedback and explore how it might be a key to unlocking better brain health for Long COVID sufferers. Stay tuned.

What is Neurofeedback?
Definition and History

Neurofeedback is a fascinating blend of psychology and technology, a therapy rooted in the concept of biofeedback. Dating back to the 1960s, the initial application of neurofeedback was largely focused on conditions like epilepsy. However, over the decades, its utility has broadened remarkably. Nowadays, it's leveraged to treat a variety of issues such as ADHD, anxiety, trauma, and even peak performance training for athletes. At its core, neurofeedback offers a non-invasive method for "retraining" the brain to function more optimally.

In our work at Sojourn Counselling and Neurofeedback, we have seen firsthand the transformative impact of this practice. It aligns seamlessly with our holistic approach to mental health, providing another layer of intervention that can be integrated with therapies like EMDR, CBT, and mindfulness techniques.

How it Works

So, how does this wizardry of neurofeedback actually work? At the risk of oversimplifying, think of your brain as an orchestra, with various instruments—your neurons—working in harmony to produce the symphony of your thoughts, emotions, and actions. Neurofeedback essentially acts as a highly specialized conductor that fine-tunes this orchestra.

Your brain operates through electrical activity, and this activity generates brainwave patterns. These patterns vary depending on what we are doing—sleeping, solving a complex problem, relaxing, etc. Neurofeedback taps into these patterns through biofeedback mechanisms, offering real-time data about your brain activity. Electrodes attached to your scalp capture this data, which is then fed into specialized software.

This is where NeurOptimal comes into play—a dynamic neurofeedback system we utilize at Sojourn Counselling and Neurofeedback. Unlike traditional neurofeedback that relies heavily on predetermined protocols, NeurOptimal is designed to adapt in real-time. It tailors its feedback to your unique brainwave activity, offering a responsive and personalized approach. This is crucial for addressing the multifaceted and unpredictable nature of Long COVID's impact on brain function.

In our next section, we'll dive into the potential benefits of using neurofeedback for Long COVID sufferers. Keep reading to learn how neurofeedback could be the missing piece in the complex puzzle that is Long COVID.

The Connection Between Neurofeedback and Long COVID
Potential Applications

Now that we've unpacked the complexities of Long COVID and demystified the inner workings of neurofeedback, let's connect the dots. How can neurofeedback, particularly through NeurOptimal systems, become a beacon of light for those navigating the murky waters of Long COVID? Let's delve into some potential applications.

Addressing Cognitive Deficits
One of the most insidious aspects of Long COVID is its capacity to cloud the mind. Cognitive deficits like brain fog, difficulty concentrating, and forgetfulness can feel like an impenetrable fog hindering daily functioning. And here's where neurofeedback shines. By optimizing brainwave patterns, neurofeedback can pave a clearer cognitive pathway. This is not merely symptom management; it's an exercise in foundational change, akin to rehabilitating a muscle that's forgotten its full range of motion.

Improving Sleep Patterns
We've all been there—lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, desperately willing sleep to come. For Long COVID sufferers, sleep disturbances aren't just a one-off; they're a constant companion. Neurofeedback can step in as a non-pharmacological intervention, working at the source—the brain—to induce healthier sleep patterns. After all, sleep is a brainwave activity, and optimizing those waves can guide the brain into deeper, more restorative states of rest.

Easing Emotional Disturbances like Anxiety
Long COVID doesn't discriminate; it permeates multiple aspects of well-being, including emotional health. The anxiety stemming from unpredictable symptoms and the resultant lifestyle changes can be debilitating. Neurofeedback, with its unique approach to recalibrating emotional responses, can serve as a gentle yet effective treatment option. Imagine it as a form of emotional physical therapy for the brain, enhancing its ability to cope, adapt, and thrive.

In sum, neurofeedback offers a promising adjunct to traditional treatments for Long COVID, addressing the condition's unique set of challenges from the ground up. And the beauty of it? It's all rooted in your brain's inherent ability to adapt and heal, an empowering approach that adds another layer to your arsenal in the fight against Long COVID.

Stay tuned for our next section where we delve into case studies and emerging research that underscore the transformative potential of neurofeedback in the battle against Long COVID.

How Neurofeedback Treatment Works
The Assessment

So you're considering neurofeedback as part of your Long COVID recovery journey? That's fantastic! But before you recline in that chair and get those sensors attached, there's an initial assessment to go through. This isn't a mere formality; it's crucial for tailoring the treatment to your specific needs. During this assessment, expect an in-depth dialogue with your clinician about your symptoms, medical history, and treatment goals. 

The Treatment Sessions

What to Expect During a Session
Imagine a space where you're enveloped in a sense of calm, and all that's required of you is to sit back and let the technology do its magic. In a typical neurofeedback session, sensors will be placed on your scalp—non-invasive, completely. These sensors are the gateway through which the NeurOptimal system will read your brainwaves, providing real-time feedback to encourage optimal functioning. There's no discomfort; instead, it's an opportunity to relax, perhaps even meditate, as your brain engages in a form of sophisticated 'mental gymnastics' that it will learn from over time.

Approximate Number of Sessions Typically Required
Ah, the question on everyone's mind—how long before results show up? It's important to remember that neurofeedback is not a quick fix; it's more of a gradual unfolding. While some individuals report experiencing relief after just a few sessions, a more sustained treatment plan often involves anywhere from 20 to 40 sessions. The journey varies from person to person, governed by the intricacies of your neural landscape and the severity of your Long COVID symptoms.


Follow-Up Assessments
Once you've journeyed through your treatment sessions, what then? Follow-up assessments serve as checkpoints to gauge progress and make any necessary adjustments. These evaluations provide an opportunity to celebrate your gains and strategize for continued improvement.

Ongoing Care
Neurofeedback is not about setting it and forgetting it; the brain, after all, is an evolving organ that benefits from ongoing care. Periodic booster sessions can be invaluable for maintaining the benefits you've achieved. Consider these like your regular gym visits, but for your brain, fortifying it against the long-term impacts of conditions like Long COVID.

So, there you have it—a snapshot of what the neurofeedback treatment process looks like. As you read this, I hope the information has felt like a ray of clarity, providing you with actionable insights for your journey towards healing and wholeness.

As we've delved deep into the world of neurofeedback and its application for Long COVID, it's become evident that this groundbreaking approach holds immense potential. From addressing cognitive deficits and emotional imbalances to fostering better sleep, neurofeedback offers a holistic route to betterment—a chance to recalibrate and rejuvenate your neural landscape. Neurofeedback is not just a treatment but a deeply personal journey towards health and well-being.

Remember, while the science is compelling, each individual's journey is unique. To really find out how neurofeedback can best serve you, a one-on-one consultation is invaluable. We're here to provide personalized care, designed to meet you where you're at in your health journey and help you reach your full potential.

Next Steps
Feel ready to take the next step? Fantastic! Our online booking platform is designed to make scheduling your initial assessment as seamless as possible. You can visit Sojourn Counselling's booking platform to select from a range of skilled therapists who specialize in neurofeedback among other therapies. Browse their profiles to find someone who resonates with you—it's like a match-making service but for your brain's well-being.

In the grand scheme of your health, this could be the decision that makes all the difference. We're ready to journey with you towards renewed health and vitality. Are you?

There it is, your complete guide to understanding the promising role of neurofeedback in Long COVID management. If this resonates with you, don't hesitate; take the next step in your recovery journey today.

Orendáčová, M., Kvašňák, E., & Vránová, J. (2022). Effect of neurofeedback therapy on neurological post-COVID-19 complications (A pilot study). PLoS One, 17(7), e0271350.



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