Neurofeedback therapy, what essential oils should be used in addition?

Neurofeedback therapy and essential oils for strees and anxiety.

Neurofeedback (NFB) is a method of neurotherapy that uses software to teach brainwave frequencies in desirable patterns. It is a non-invasive, drug-free approach to improving brain health and function. Neurofeedback has been around since the 1950s and is supported by a number of experts such as Dr. Mercola, Dr. Oz and Dr. Amen. More than 1,000 research papers have been published on neurofeedback therapy. Aromatherapy shows excellent results in combating stress and anxiety. Along with other techniques, essential oils are very useful to complement and support neurofeedback therapy.

Therapies to do in connection with neurofeedback

In addition to NFB there are many other brain health techniques to explore. Some examples include techniques such as eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and emotional speech therapy. Other examples include nutrition, meditation, herbs and essential oils. These are all good complements to neurofeedback. This article focuses on the use of aromatherapy in neurofeedback therapy.

The information below explains how monoterpene-rich essential oils can help with conditions such as anxiety, stress and bipolar disorder. Monoterpene-rich essential oils have been shown to be as effective or better than anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) medications and do not cause adverse side effects. Compared in a double-blind clinical study with Valium, Lavender essential oil was as effective as the drug. The underlying molecular causes of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and manic episodes in bipolar disorder are almost the same. In both cases, two things happen:
  • little GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) activity
  • increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system.

    GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain whose receptors are targeted by commonly used anxiolytic drugs such as benzodiazepines or barbiturates. By stimulating these receptors, GABA has its inhibitory effect on neuronal hyperactivity, preventing the excessive response to stress. If there is a deficiency of GABA, as in GAD and bipolar disorder, excitatory neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine or glutamate may dominate, causing episodes of anxiety, stress and mania. Such a state is amplified by the sympathetic branch of the nervous system which causes the release of stress hormones: cortisol and catecholamines, which tend to increase blood pressure and heart rate.

    Neurofeed back and essential oils
    Diagram of the action of the complex aromatic compounds of essential oils on the brain.

    Which essential oils improve yout body and your mind to fight againts anxiety and stress

    It has been pointed out by many studies that essential oils such as lavender, lemon, bergamot and ylang-ylang effectively alleviate the above symptoms. They all contain large quantities of monoterpenes and their derivatives. Among this family, we find constituents such as linalool, linalyl acetate, limonene, alpha and beta-pinenes or terpinene-4-ol. Monoterpenes have been shown to act on GABA-A receptors in the same way as benzodiazepines by boosting insufficient GABA activity. They do this by binding to a different GABA-A receptor site than the anxiolytic drugs without the side effects of the drugs.

    In terms of their efficacy, monoterpenes cause a similar or greater decrease in HAMA (Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale) than benzodiazepines or tricyclic antidepressants, proving their equal or greater potency: Monoterpenes inhibit the binding of excitatory glutamate to its receptors. Monoterpenes decrease cortisol and catecholamine levels and provide calming effects.

    New study shows that anxiety is not in one area of the brain

    Until recently, scientists believed that a marble-sized brain area called the amygdala served as the hub of fear and anxiety. According to this theory, we would only feel anxiety when signals from the emotional brain overpowered the cognitive brain and entered our consciousness. Recent studies have changed this theory. It is now thought that no single brain region causes anxiety, but rather it is the result of constant chatter between several brain regions called the "fear network. For more information on the parts of the brain that process anxiety, see: with-anxiety-what-are-the-brains-affected-by-anxiety-telling-us-062918 .

    Imagine if you could inhale an essential oil to help ease anxiety or stress. This may be more of a reality than not. From the above findings, it is easy to assume that essential oils rich in monoterpene compounds may be an excellent choice for safely managing stress, anxiety, and bipolar disorder in addition to and in support of potential neurofeedback therapy. Essential oil molecules (when diffused) are small enough to cross the blood-brain barrier, or rather they have a unique ability to penetrate cell membranes and spread rapidly through the blood and tissues. Indeed, essential oils are liposoluble and of very light molecular weight. This penetration occurs through the olfactory system in which the essential oil molecules when inhaled are transported quite easily to the limbic system of the brain.

    Other general therapeutic properties of monoterpenes include anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, decongestant, blood circulation enhancer, general tonic and stimulant.

    Caution. You must choose organic grade essential oils. Your essential oils must also be chemotyped and of aromatherapeutic quality. At InnerWave Center we are fortunate to have family living in France. Thanks to them we found an organic Fine Lavender essential oil grown in agroforestry in the south of France. It is the French laboratory founded by an aromatherapist who markets this exceptional essential oil of lavender. On their online store you can also find many blends of essential oils for cosmetic or therapeutic purposes.

    A short instructional video about Neurofeedback and essential oils

    Dr. Mark DeBrincat introduces you to the 10 essential oils that are most commonly used to support healthy brain function and emotional health in people undergoing neurofeedback therapy.

    Bibliographic reference of scientific studies on neurofeedback and essential oils

    Merino, J. J., Parmigiani-Izquierdo, J. M., López-Oliva, M. E., & Cabaña-Muñoz, M. E. (2019). Origanum majorana Essential Oil Inhalation during Neurofeedback Training Reduces Saliva Myeloperoxidase Activity at Session-1 in Bruxistic Patients. Journal of clinical medicine, 8(2), 158.

    Bruxism affects teeth and provokes sleep alterations. We evaluated whether saliva Myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity could be reduced after 21 neurofeedback training (NO) sessions in Origanum majorana (AE) bruxistic-treated patients (n = 12 patients, 120 saliva samples). The term divergence evaluates cerebral activity, which was compared between bruxistic patients with/without this essential oil exposure during 21 NO training sessions (n = 12, n = 120 saliva samples). The nasal filter used allow us to vehiculizate this Origanum majorana essential oil in patients. MPO activity was measured in six training NO sessions (Session S1, 6, 12, 18, 21). We included a total of 104 patients and 500 saliva samples.
    Results: there was a fast reduction in MPO activity after NO session-1 in bruxistic patients; divergence (an index of NO training brain efficacy) is the difference in cerebral activity found between pre-training and post-training levels. Thus, Divergence can fluctuate during NO training before reaching a final calm state after many sessions (21). Repeated NO training lead to habituation in so far as cerebral activity as well as MPO activity after 21 training sessions. Origanum majorana essential oil modulates cerebral activity at certain training sessions in bruxistic patients. Stress levels were reduced on the perceived stress scores (PSS: Cohen Scale) after 21 NO sessions than for those bruxistic without NO training sessions.
    Conclusions: MPO activity could predict stress level in bruxistic patients and repeated NO reduced their stress level; Origanum majorana essential oil enhanced these anxiolytic effects.

    Hardtle, Christina & Carpenetti, Mr. (2018). Bipolar Disorder: The Brain Chemistry of Mania. Bipolar disorder has two distinct states, depression and mania. This paper is an in depth exploration of the brain chemistry of mania.

    Lavender flower and its extracts have been used, both internally and by olfaction, for centuries as a treatment for anxiety and depression. Modern analytical research has identified the main active constituents of the oil; in vitro and animal studies have begun to elucidate mechanisms of action; and controlled clinical trials in humans now document lavender's efficacy, safety, and dose. This paper reviews these developments, with summary details from selected studies, and provides a preliminary comparison of lavender's efficacy and safety to its main botanical and pharmaceutical alternatives.

    Bekhradi Reza and Vakilian Katayon, The Effect of Lavender Aromatherapy on Test Anxiety in Female Students, Current Women`s Health Reviews 2016; 12(2). "

    Background: Test anxiety is a common problem among Iranian students. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the effect of aromatherapy with lavender on test anxiety.
    Materials and Methods: This randomized clinical trial was performed from June 2012 to July in Arak 186 female students, who were randomly assigned to the intervention and control groups. After obtaining written informed consents from the participants, they were asked to complete the Test Anxiety Scale once at baseline and once following the intervention. The students in the intervention group received aromatherapy for seven nights. For this purpose, five to six drops of lavender were poured on a cotton ball and held at a 5 cm distance from the nose for 5 min. On the other hand, no intervention was applied for the control group. For statistical analysis, t-test and Chi-square test were performed.
    Results: The findings showed no significant difference between the intervention and control groups in terms of mild [30 (49.2%)and 25 (58.1%), respectively], moderate [18 (29.5%) and15 (35.7%), respectively], or severe [2 (3.3%) and 1 (2.4%), respectively] anxiety (P=0.232). However, the number of anxiety-free students was higher in the intervention group (n=11), compared to the controls (n=2)(P=0.03).
    Conclusion: The obtained findings showed that aromatherapy with lavender could increase the number of anxiety-free students. However, no significant difference was found in the severity of test anxiety between the two groups.

    Rombolà, L., Scuteri, D., Adornetto, A., Straface, M., Sakurada, T., Sakurada, S., Mizoguchi, H., Corasaniti, M. T., Bagetta, G., Tonin, P., & Morrone, L. A. (2019). Anxiolytic-Like Effects of Bergamot Essential Oil Are Insensitive to Flumazenil in Rats. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM, 2019, 2156873.

    Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental disorders, and benzodiazepines (BDZs), acting on gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABA-A) receptor complex, represent the most common anti-anxiety medications in the world. However, chronic BDZ use elicits several adverse reactions. Reportedly, aromatherapy is safer for the management of anxiety. Bergamot essential oil (BEO) extracted from Citrus bergamia Risso et Poiteau fruit, like other essential oils, is widely used in aromatherapy to relieve symptoms of stress-induced anxiety. Interestingly, preclinical data indicate that BEO induces anxiolytic-like/relaxant effects in animal behavioural tasks not superimposable to those of benzodiazepine diazepam. To better elucidate the involvement of GABAergic transmission, the present study examines the effects of pretreatment with flumazenil (FLZ), a benzodiazepine site antagonist, on BEO effects using open-field task (OFT) in rats. The data yielded show that FLZ does not significantly affect behavioural effects of the phytocomplex. These results demonstrate the lack of overlapping between BEO and BDZ behavioural effects, contributing to the characterization of the neurobiological profile of the essential oil for its rational use in aromatherapy.

    Perna, S., Spadaccini, D., Botteri, L., Girometta, C., Riva, A., Allegrini, P., Petrangolini, G., Infantino, V., & Rondanelli, M. (2019). Efficacy of bergamot: From anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative mechanisms to clinical applications as preventive agent for cardiovascular morbidity, skin diseases, and mood alterations. Food science & nutrition, 7(2), 369-384.

    We summarize the effects of bergamot (extract, juice, essential oil, and polyphenolic fraction) on cardiovascular, bone, inflammatory, skin diseases, mood alteration, anxiety, pain, and stress. This review included a total of 31 studies (20 studies on humans with 1709 subjects and 11 in animals (rats and mice)). In humans, bergamot-derived extract (BE) exerts positive effects on hyperlipidemia with an oral dose from 150 mg to 1000 mg/day of flavonoids administered from 30 to 180 days, demonstrating an effect on body weight and in modulating total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, and HDL. Studies in animals confirm promising data on glucose control (500/1000 mg/day of BE with a treatment lasting 30 days) are available in rats. In animal models, bergamot essential oil (BEO, 10 mg/kg or 20 mg/kg daily for 20 weeks) increases bone volume, decreases psoriatic plaques, increases skin collagen content, and promotes hair growth. Bergamot juice (20 mg/kg) is promising in terms of pro-inflammatory cytokine reduction. In humans, aromatherapy (from 15 to 30 min) does not appear to be useful in order to reduce stress, anxiety, and nausea, compared to placebo. Compared to baseline, BE topical application and BEO aromatherapy reduce blood diastolic and systolic pressure and could have a significant effect on improving mental conditions.

    Loh Teng Hern Tan, Learn Han Lee, Wai Fong Yin, Chim Kei Chan, Habsah Abdul Kadir, Kok Gan Chan, Bey Hing Goh, "Traditional Uses, Phytochemistry, and Bioactivities of Cananga odorata (Ylang-Ylang)," Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2015, Article ID 896314, 30 pages, 2015.

    Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata Hook. F. & Thomson) is one of the plants that are exploited at a large scale for its essential oil which is an important raw material for the fragrance industry. The essential oils extracted via steam distillation from the plant have been used mainly in cosmetic industry but also in food industry. Traditionally, C. odorata is used to treat malaria, stomach ailments, asthma, gout, and rheumatism. The essential oils or ylang-ylang oil is used in aromatherapy and is believed to be effective in treating depression, high blood pressure, and anxiety. Many phytochemical studies have identified the constituents present in the essential oils of C. odorata. A wide range of chemical compounds including monoterpene, sesquiterpenes, and phenylpropanoids have been isolated from this plant. Recent studies have shown a wide variety of bioactivities exhibited by the essential oils and the extracts of C. odorata including antimicrobial, antibiofilm, anti-inflammatory, antivector, insect-repellent, antidiabetic, antifertility and antimelanogenesis activities. Thus, the present review summarizes the information concerning the traditional uses, phytochemistry, and biological activities of C. odorata. This review is aimed at demonstrating that C. odorata not only is an important raw material for perfume industry but also considered as a prospective useful plant to agriculture and medicine.