By Jackie Rainford Corcoran Explore Big Sky Health Columnist

For those suffering from mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, among others, neurofeedback (NFB) can be a useful healing tool without the side effects of prescription drugs.

NFB is a non-invasive biofeedback device that teaches self-regulation by training the brain to fall into step with desired frequencies. It stimulates locked brainwave patterns to become more flexible, balanced and organized.

Jan Matney, owner of the nCenter in Bozeman, provides NFB using a Food and Drug Administration-approved device called the NeuroField as a complement to professional counseling. This allows for physical healing in the brain in conjunction with intellectual and emotional healing.

The nCenter opened its doors in January 2011 and has grown steadily through referrals from physicians, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists, and by word of mouth.

Jan, a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) since 1990, has been offering NFB for the last four years. She has four other LCPCs on staff, as well as her daughter, Ann Matney, who is a certified rolfer – a therapist who improves body posture and structure through soft tissue manipulation – and cranial sacral therapist. Jan’s husband Claud keeps billing and interpretation of important patient information running smoothly.

“[Our team is] all about learning, growing and offering what the community needs,” Jan said in a recent interview. “They are holistic in their approach and keenly interested in all aspects of their clients’ lives: physical, emotional, intellectual and social.”

Therapy at the nCenter often begins with a quantitative electroencephalography brain map, which creates an objective assessment of how the brain works. Sensors are placed on what looks like a swim cap and then placed on the patient’s scalp.

Brainwaves are recorded and a 3-D image of the brain is created showing imbalances and lack of neural communication. This information allows therapists at the nCenter to create highly personalized NFB sessions in conjunction with therapy.

“Once we can see the reason for your symptoms on a brain level, we can choose specifically how to use neurofeedback so that you can address your issues and meet your goals,” Jan says.

NFB results are notable, according to Jan, and clients have reported more stable moods, increased energy, better memory retention and access, as well as increased environmental, personal and emotional sensitivity.

Higher cognitive capacity and function has also been reported, as well as improved coordination, balance and general body function. Parents and teachers have noted more flexibility, focus, better sleep and mood, and emotional regulation from children in their care.

While NFB has been accepted by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a Level 1 “Best Support” intervention for ADHD, insurance companies are slow to cover it. The nCenter can help you navigate insurance options.

“Neurofeedback should play a major therapeutic role in many difficult areas,” said Dr. Frank H. Duffy in the January 2000 issue of the journal “Clinical Electroencephalography.”

“In my opinion, if any medication had demonstrated such a wide spectrum of efficacy it would be universally accepted and widely used,” said Duffy, also a professor at Harvard Medical School. “It is a field to be taken seriously.”

Call the nCenter at (406) 599-2492 to learn more about Neurofeedback therapy, or to schedule an appointment.

Jackie Rainford Corcoran is an IIN Certified Holistic Health Coach, an NASM Certified Personal Trainer, a public speaker and health activist. Contact her at jackie@thetahealth.com, or find more information at thetahealth.org.