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LIFE QUALITY RESOURCES

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For further information about neurofeedback, biofeedback, and psychotherapeutic services offered by Drs. Dan and Lucy Chartier and their associates, contact:

LIFE QUALITY RESOURCES

5613 Duraleigh Road, #101
Raleigh, NC 27612
Telephone: (919) 782-4597
www.LifeQualityResources.org

“Ignore Your Health and It Will Go Away”

Years ago, Dr. Dan Chartier of Life Quality Resources in Raleigh participated in a local wellness center fund-raising activity that included T-shirts with an apt slogan: “Ignore Your Health and It Will Go Away.”

Dr. Chartier provides neurofeedback training for a young patient.

Dr. Chartier, one of the area’s leading psychophysiologic psychologists, encourages his clients to embrace a key concept: optimal well-being is our natural state. “In essence,” he says, “optimal health is our birthright. It is who we really are.

“We were created with wonderful capacities to thrive and to be well and healthy in a great variety of ways. Virtually all of us at some time have had a severe cut or burn, for example—and we didn’t need to consciously direct the healing process. Our bodies took over in a natural way, doing what needed to be done. Even with infection, the body mobilized itself to fight it off and to bring about healing.

“We in fact do have this innate capacity to attain optimum health, but unfortunately, most of us spend our lifetimes rejecting our natural state in many ways—by the wrong foods we eat, the right foods we don’t eat, the tobacco we smoke, and other common excesses. In many ways, we persistently work against the natural state of optimal health that is available to us. That T-shirt slogan was really quite accurate: ignore your health, and it will go away.”

Tools of Self-Regulation

“In this practice, biofeedback and neurofeedback are important tools for us as we work with our clients,” says Dr. Chartier. “Biofeedback refers more to peripheral modalities—such as muscle tension and peripheral temperature, which relate to problems such as back pain, blood pressure and migraine headaches. With biofeedback, people can learn to self-regulate these vital systems of the body. They get computer-generated feedback from biological systems that helps them learn to control those systems.”

With neurofeedback, Dr. Chartier explains, “we’re working directly with feedback of the brain’s activity, often to deal with issues of attention or focus training: the athlete who wants to increase his or her level of peak performance, or the person who has sustained a brain injury or had a stroke and seeks to restore brain function as fully as possible. Neurofeedback also has applications for conditions such as depression, anxiety, and anger management. There are certain brain states associated with states of well-being as well as states of anger, hostility, anxiety, and depression.

Revelations from
Brain Waves

Our brainwaves are revealing, notes Dr. Chartier. “The essence of biofeedback is learning how—as the result of auditory and visual feedback—to access the brainwaves of choice to accomplish what you want to do at a given moment, from sleeping to high levels of concentration.

Alpha waves are the prominent pattern of an awake, relaxed adult whose eyes are closed. Beta waves are a faster oscillation of brain waves, indicating concentration. Delta waves are a common pattern of sleep. Theta are the dominant waves of children from age 1 to 5; in older children and adults, excess theta can indicate the likelihood of inattention or daydreaming.

“Since the disruption of the Covid pandemic I have developed remote programs for biofeedback and neurofeedback training. The technology for self-regulation training has proliferated. There are now easy to use, accurate feedback devices for at-home training. My clients can now have access to training on a daily basis, if they like, and their skills develop more quickly as the result of more frequent training sessions.

In a few cases we have couples and families engaging in at-home training and experiencing the shared experience of improved relaxation, calm and concentration.”

“A critical goal is to give our patients a sense of self-control and self-management—which in this setting they often experience for the first time in their lives. While self-regulation training is at the heart of what we do, it’s often vital to do the counseling work that helps people think about and experience themselves differently. So we do relaxation training and imagery training. We help clients experience and visualize their bodies in new and positive ways. Most people with a chronic condition—pain or anxiety, for example—focus only on the condition. They lose touch with the rest of their self and become only their low-back pain, or they become only an anxious person.

“In our work, we invite them to remember the fullness, the totality of the self. We use equipment that very accurately measures brain wave activity or the firing of motor nerves in muscles, the dilation of blood vessels that affects peripheral temperature, heart rate variability—very objective data-based measurements that provide important information.

“And then we move into the area where the individual gains the ability to alter their heart rate, to alter their blood pressure, to change their brain waves and do it reliably and consistently. And as they do, they become more focused and better able to concentrate if they have an attention disorder. Or they are able to go out in public where before they couldn’t because of the level of anxiety and panic they felt in social situations. Or they restore their ability to read or regain other cognitive skills—such as memory.

“This level of self-control, of self-regulation, often moves to another level. There is a point where our data stops and something else comes in. Call it grace, call it a miracle, but that’s what we see day in and day out in this work. It’s what keeps us excited about what we do.”