When Andrea Arel suffered from a severe concussion that impaired her cognitive abilities and memory, she sought rehabilitation through a therapeutic software program called Interactive Metronome. After completing 12 sessions, Arel says she has been "fine ever since."
"We know that this works. We watched it work," her partner, Jeff Hommel says. Arel and Hommel decided to start their own business, The Brain Gym, which utilizes Interactive Metronome to help people with concussions, memory loss, autism, Parkinson's, ADHD, depression and more.
The software retrains the brain to correct timing and sequencing, Arel says, "Timing is everything.
The program requires the participant to clap to a beat. The closer the participant is to aligning their claps with the beat, the higher their cognitive score is. Then, the program gets progressively more difficult, including having the participant speak while clapping, tapping their feet and clapping targets.
The game-like platform builds neurons and creates new pathways in the brain. After completing the program, the new connections and pathways don't go away. "It's not like working out and building muscle," Arel says, "Once it's there, it's there."
The program typically consists of 12 sessions, three times a week for one month. Each session is about an hour long.
The results, Arel and Hommel explained, are astounding. "ADHD kids get off their medication. PTSD patients stop living in their trauma.
Interactive Metronome is already used in hospitals and rehabilitation centers across the country. Utah and Idaho, Hommel explained, are the only two states that "aren't using the program extensively."
The program also reaches beyond those needing cognitive improvement. Because the software is designed to improve timing, attention and processing, Arel and Hommel say they have been successful in implementing the therapy into improved athletic performance. The exercises use the same idea of clapping to a beat, but they are tailored to the sport. For instance, tennis players will mimic forehand and backhand swings while striking a target on beat.
Since the Interactive Metronome software is portable, Arel and Hommel often do therapy at participants' homes, working from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Military personnel can visit www.attentionfund.org to learn about scholarships available to them.
For more information about The Brain Gym or to set up an appointment, call Arel and Hommel at (435) 602-0500 or visit www.brainim.com.