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Welcome, medical contents search April 25, 2013
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Would biofeedback training be helpful for all children, even if they have no problems?

It's advantageous to get biofeedback for both the right and left sides of the brain, in order to balance your child's cognitive skills and emotions.

I'm a mother of two young children, ages 5 and 8. Having seen them start to talk early, excel in vocabulary, and develop excellent memories, I have great expectations for them. Please tell me about biofeedback and how it can help my kids. What should we as parents know about the brain and its functions in order to help our kids?

Although the human brain is a tiny part of the body, taking up only 2% of the adult body weight, it is also one of the most important parts, containing 50 billion nerve cells. It basically controls concentration, attention, actions, and emotions and plays an important role in taking charge of sleeping, thinking, learning ability, feeling body pain, immunity to disease and infection, and motor nerve activities.

The front part of the brain, the frontal lobe, controls concentration, the ability to analyze our actions, voluntary action, and intention. The temporal lobe, located adjacent to the ears, controls hearing. The occipital lobe, located behind the eyes, manages sight. And the parietal lobe, at the back of the head, processes information through the sense of touch.

Additionally, the brain is divided into left and right sides. The right brain is responsible for sensation, vision, and the perception of music, as well as creative expression and inspiration. Further, it controls the left side of the body, stores childhood memories, is the seat of the unconscious, and helps in the understanding of concepts.

The left side of the brain, which controls the right side of the body, tends to be logical, practical, and structured. It plays a role in the acquisition and command of language. When the left part of the brain is not functioning well, a child can have difficulty in school following his teachers' instructions, reading, writing, and presenting.

The right side of the brain, largely neglected in the past in favor of the logical, "productive" left side, is now recognized to play a more important role, providing balance and wholeness in our mental and emotional activities.

Nowadays, psychologists use IQ tests that show precisely which part of an individual's brain is more developed. When there is a difference of 15 points or more in verbal versus non-verbal IQ test results, it frequently turns out that one part of the brain is substantially superior to the other. When this difference is extreme, students can experience learning problems.

Intelligence is more or less innate, but it can be improved with help. According to an article in a recent scientific journal, the cerebrum (the cortex) doesn't stop growing between age 3 -6 as once believed, but continues to grow until age 13. As any skill is developed through practice, so the brain improves by being used to incorporate new skills and knowledge.

Parents can assist their children in improving their IQ in a number of ways. During infancy and adolescence, children can be exposed to various activities that balance their left and right brains, i.e., balancing intellect and emotion, logic and dream. For example, a non-verbal activity like playing the piano (involving complex skills of eye-to-hand coordination and rhythm) enhances learning abilities, while doing puzzles encourages non-verbal, abstract thinking. Reading, art, music, sports, and self-expression help one greatly with the development of perception.

Biofeedback, which allows the subject to gain mastery over various autonomic or involuntary body mechanism and responses (i.e., breathing, sweating, perception of pain-not normally considered to be under conscious control and therefore right brain activities), may be used to stimulate brain integration and balance.

Various biofeedback programs are now available for home use and are perfectly safe.

Parents should take care not to let their children's brains go to waste. Excessive computer games and TV watching should be controlled appropriately.

If your children show cognitive or emotional problems (e.g., lack of attention, dyslexia, learning difficulties, lack of impulse control, explosive disposition), biofeedback may be of use in treating these conditions.

Naturally, a thorough examination by your doctor will be a prerequisite.

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