ANNE MUSCAT - PhD
Founder and CEO of Mynd Matters Consulting, Anne works with a number of Olympic, and national organizations in the area of performance and clinical psychology. She is excited and dedicated to support high performance and mental health/well-being of numerous clients in business contexts, elite athletes, health care staff and a wide range of clinical populations (anxiety, depression, trauma, ADD, pain, and eating disorders). Dr. Muscat is a seasoned practitioner working in the field for over thirty years. She has a Ph.D. in Counselling Psychology from the University of British Columbia, and is a Registered Clinical Counsellor as well as a Mental Performance Consultant. Anne provides a comprehensive approach integrating biofeedback training with innovative Neurofeeback and Heart Rate Variability programs.
Our research-based training programs are customized to meet the needs of each client. They offer stabilization of mood, emotional and attentional management strategies, including the perception and ability to cope with stress. Decreases in overall anxiety, making moments of stress and pressure easier to emotionally manage.
In particular Neurofeedback helps decrease distractibility so individuals can perform optimally. Neurofeedback is a tool that is often used in a clinical setting to improve various unwanted symptoms (e.g., anxiety, low mood, inattention, ADD, reduce rumination), but research shows it can be used to enhance performance in sports. Just as physical training aims to strengthen the body, neurofeedback supports peak performance training by strengthen certain brainwave patterns.
The use of neurofeedback to enhance athletic performance dates back to 1991 when it was first applied to archery. Currently, Olympic and professional athletes around the world (Canadian Olympians, including Women’s Gold Medal Tokyo Soccer team, Canadian National Swimming, Rowing, Runners, Hockey, Volleyball, Tennis and many other sport athlete’s use neurofeedback to help improve their game. In fact, when Italy won the World Cup for soccer in 2006, members of their team described neurofeedback to be their secret weapon in performance success. Recent research indicates specific neurofeedback training is particularly beneficial for endurance type sports. Neurofeedback training, helps the brain learn to self-regulate to produces mental clarity, calm, and improved focus while being “in the zone.”
Stress and pressure can produce certain abnormal brain wave patterns and neurofeedback assist the retraining of brain wave patterns to optimal levels. It has been found to reduce cognitive decline, assist with concussion recovery, and improve sleep. Thanks to neuroplasticity, neurofeedback is able to teach the brain to function normally once again.
HOW DOES BIOFEEDBACK TRAINING WORK?
Neurofeedback uses the brain’s ability to respond, change and adapt creating new pathways to improve brain function. After sensors are placed on the scalp a computer screen feeds back information to the client they are in the calm, focused yet alert state known as the “zone.” Through rehearsal the client learns to replicate and simulate this improved mental state.
In the example below three sailboats represent the different brain waves. Yellow sailboat is the slower inattentive/dreamy brain waves, green sailboat is the more alert yet calm waves and pink sailboat represents the “busy brain” or more anxious brain waves. The client’s goal is have the green sailboat to win the race by directing the brain to a more calm, relaxed and focused state. A mouse or cursor is not used to make brainwave changes, it is simply the client directing their brain waves to a more improved mental state and the computer feeds back this information to the client. In addition, breathing and heart rate variability training assists the client to better self-regulate their body which also supports calm brain waves. Self-regulation is key to peak performance for athletes, but also helps students studying and professional in business.
HEART RATE-VARIABILITY TRAINING
Another innovative program offered through highly accurate and scientific calculations of heart rate-variability (HRV). With the use of sophisticated Thought Technology and eVU TPS Biofeedback Training equipment accurate tracking of HRV training is supported. The ability to measure and train your optimal breathing rate (also known as resonance frequency) has a wide variety of benefits from improved cardiac health, reduction of anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, depression, and importantly promotion of both optimal sport performance and recovery. This program starts with an initial stress test and discovery of optimal breathing patterns. Clients are supported with various “take-home” devices, auditory, visual or eVu TPS portable sensor that supports a-home biofeedback training. The sensor is applied to a single finger with a fabric strap and detects and transmits highly researched measurements of psycho-physiological health, including heart rate variability. The TPS measures Temperature, Pulse and Skin conductance. By resting the sensor over your diaphragm, you can practice synchrony between breathing and heart rate changes, thus training heart rate variability. In preparing for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics athletes underwent an EEG and psychophysiological stress assessment, as well as a bio–neurofeedback (BNFK) training intervention. Both athletes and coaches reported that the bio–neurofeedback intervention helped the athletes in managing the stress of training and competition and was a factor in producing better performances.