Excerpt from…Superparenting for ADD: an Innovative Approach to Raising Your Distracted Child
2008 Random House, hardback page 162 by Edward M Hallowell, MD, pediatric psychiatric clinician, former Harvard Medical School instructor, author of Delivered from Distraction, parent of ADD children, himself an adult with ADD.
Dr Edward Hallowell, MD, ADD expert, author of Driven to Distraction
Here Peter and I agree that this treatment is not yet formally proven effective. For years neurofeedback, a therapy that provides real-time information about brain wave activity and helps teach people to change those patterns of activity, had made sense to me, but I didn’t use it in my practice because it seemed too cumbersome and expensive. In traditional neurofeedback, the client has to go to the practitioner’s office once or twice a week for thirty of forty weeks, each session costing around $100. For a therapy that was unproven, that seemed like too much. Still, the basic idea continued to appeal to me.
Then, several years ago, I gave a presentation at a conference where I met Dr. Len Ochs. He told me about a new form of neurofeedback that he had developed. In his version, the client typically only needs fifteen to twenty sessions, and each session involves only a few minutes of brain stimulation. There is no hour-long active training, in which the client works, for example, to make a car go faster across a screen; instead the client sits passively for a few minutes as ultra-low-energy radio waves, one-thousandth of the energy you get from a cell phone, are passed through the brain. As treatments continue, the brain-wave readings change.
Ochs calls his method low-energy neurofeedback stimulation, or LENS. He has had good results with it in treating a variety of conditions including ADD and anxiety. Ochs doesn’t know exactly how LENS works, but it has helped many people with ADD and anxiety.
I was so impressed that I asked one of the clinicians who works with me, Rebecca Shafir, to get trained in LENS. Not only did she get the training, she now offers LENS as an alternative treatment for clients who come to my center in Massachusetts, and we also offer it in my New York office.
We have seen excellent results, especially in adults who have ADD. LENS seems to help them come out of their fog, without medication. The more I learned and the more positive results I saw, the more impressed I became. I wondered what LENS would do for me if I had the treatment. My ADD is under control; I have unwrapped the gift, so to speak. But I’d had one symptom for most of my life that bothered me; I couldn’t stop worrying about stupid stuff. It made me less happy and calm than I should have been. So I thought I would try LENS and see what happened.
It was amazing. My friends, my wife, and the people who work with me will all tell you that I am more relaxed and less reactive than I’ve ever been. I can tell you that a black knot inside me has been untied. I don’t brood and ruminate the way I used to. And no, I am not on the payroll of LENS. I am just a very satisfied customer!
Without Peter’s prompting, let me hasten to add that this is purely anecdotal evidence and means nothing scientifically. Just as with cerebellar stimulation, we need carefully designed, prospective, controlled studies by independent researchers. But it seems to me foolish not to report on what I’ve seen and experienced just because a study has not yet been done.
(editor’s note: several studies have been done since this was written).