Neurofeedback, sometimes called brainwave biofeedback or EEG Biofeedback, is a non-invasive therapy that uses sensors on your head to observe and record your brain activity. Your therapist will then use software to show you how to control the signals, like changing a picture or movie on a screen, with your mind. This is done to promote self-control over your brain waves and help you change your habits or behaviors that may be contributing to your symptoms.
A variety of conditions can be treated with Neurofeedback. Some of the most common include ADD/ADHD, Anxiety, Autism & Asperger’s Syndrome, Depression, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Sleep Disorders, Epilepsy, Migraines, Tinnitus and more. It is also helpful in reducing Stress and Anger.
The underlying principle behind Neurofeedback is operant conditioning. By putting electrodes on the scalp and providing instantaneous feedback, you can learn to inhibit certain brain wave frequencies and increase others, which helps your brain function more efficiently.
This type of therapy is used to improve mental and physical health by training the brain to produce positive changes. It has been shown to be a safe, drug-free treatment with few side effects. The goal is to retrain the brain to function more smoothly and effectively, which may be especially beneficial for people with traumatic or neurological disorders.
The benefits of this treatment can last a long time after you’ve finished training. Similar to learning a new skill, such as riding a bike or knitting, you will likely need to return on an occasional basis to maintain your progress. Some children and adolescents may need to continue sessions, just as some patients might have to return on a regular basis to a speech therapist or physical therapist.
Some practitioners will create a “brain map” before your first session, which involves attaching sensors to your skull for about two hours and using the software to observe your brain activity. This baseline is used to set your goal for future sessions and to demonstrate that you are making progress in controlling the signals. Other practitioners will simply begin the training process right away, and the brain map is optional or unnecessary.
Studies have shown that some regions of the brain, such as the frontal lobes (FP1, FP2, FPZ, F3, F4), are responsible for immediate and sustained attention, executive planning skills, emotions, empathy, working memory, moral fiber or character, and solving problems conceptualized by these areas. Those are the areas most commonly targeted in neurofeedback therapy.
Neurofeedback therapy is not a cure-all, but it can be very effective in treating many disorders and conditions. It is a safe, effective and non-invasive method of improving your mental and physical health, so it’s worth exploring if you’re dealing with any of the conditions mentioned above. However, you’ll want to do your research before beginning treatment, as results can vary depending on the quality of your practitioner and the experience you have with this type of therapy. This is why it’s so important to work with a provider that you trust!