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Chronic Illness Q&A with Dr. B.

larry-berkelhammer_hs1This question & answer column is for people living with chronic health challenges and their family caregivers, who want to learn to increase the odds of improving their health by learning to live with mastery & wellbeing.

I invite you to post your questions in the comments box below. When I get a certain number of related questions, I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one.

I post to this blog three times per week. Monday posts are relevant published articles. Wednesday posts are interviews—mostly video. Friday posts consist of questions about living better with chronic health challenges, and my answers to them.

Here is today’s question:

QUESTION: Over the years, many people, including myself, have wondered if there is an easy shortcut to getting the benefits of mindfulness practice without doing a daily sitting meditation.

ANSWER: Neurofeedback, also known as EEG biofeedback, has been used to reprogram the brain, providing many of the same results in the brain that could otherwise only be achieved through mindfulness practice. One could possibly argue that if we can reprogram our brains with neurofeedback to resemble the brains of Buddhist monks who meditate for many hours a day, why bother spending our lives engaged in such a difficult and demanding practice as mindfulness?

Although it is possible to achieve some of the same positive changes in the brain through neurofeedback, one of the most profound benefits of mindfulness practice cannot be achieved with neurofeedback. The insight aspect, found in insight meditation (aka vipassana) is mostly absent from neurofeedback. Unlike neurofeedback, which is a collection of techniques and protocols, mindfulness is a way of approaching the whole of life; it is a way of being.

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment.

What questions do you have about how to live better with chronic health challenges that are related to the relationship between states of mind and health? Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box. I will post a reply to your comment, but your question may not appear in this column.

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