(AKA EEG BIOFEEDBACK)
Neurofeedback (NFB) is an information feedback system using computer technology to improve brain function. Neurofeedback teaches the brain optimization skills by influencing the EEG, the electrical activity in the brain, through auditory and visual feedback. Most trainees experience two primary phenomena with NFB. First, a reduction in symptoms that may be negatively affecting the trainees functioning and secondly, an increased sense of confidence and well being.
Neurofeedback may best be described as a self-regulatory tool consistent with holistic models for healing versus models where psychopathology is emphasized. From the perspective of self-regulation, symptoms across a spectrum of diagnoses may diminish in intensity and/or frequency as the brain’s dynamic ability to be more resilient, efficient, and stable improves. Neurofeedback is an exciting and rapidly evolving field. Research continues to emerge and consistently supports the efficacy of neurofeedback. (see www.isnr.org for research)
What are brain waves?
Brain waves are the visual representation of the electrical activity of the brain. Brainwaves are distinguished by their frequency (cycles per second) and amplitude (power). Brain waves generate various brain states for accomplishing any task from sleeping to intense concentration. Below are typical descriptions of brain waves and states accomplished with those brain waves.
- Delta (0-4 Hz) is associated with detached awareness, healing, and sleep.
- Theta (4-7 Hz) is associated with meditation, intuition and memory.
- Alpha (7-12Hz) is associated with relaxation, visualization, and creativity.
- Beta (12-30 Hz) is associated with alertness, concentration, and cognition.
Applications of Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback has commonly been applied to symptoms associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder to improve attention, focus and concentration. As the field of NFB has grown, it is being used for a widening variety of issues that affect both children and adults. These include post traumatic stress, sleep disturbance, bedwetting, anxiety, depression, mood problems, addictions, PMS, cravings, bedwetting and traumatic head injury to name a few. Many people have experienced a reduction or elimination of medication (in consultation with their doctors) as a result of doing neurofeedback. Thus, neurofeedback offers a potential alternative to medication without the negative side effects of medication.
How does it work?
The neurofeedback trainee sits in a comfortable chair with a few sensors on the head and ears. The trainee listens to music or watches a DVD while the computer provides visual and auditory feedback to the brain in the form of a very brief interruption. Trainees enjoy the training and usually report a feeling of calm and well being following a session. Training effects continue after the session is over and become more long lasting with additional training. Each session lasts about 50 minutes.
Neurofeedback for Children with Developmental Trauma, Developmental Delays, Learning Problems, and Attachment Disorder
Neurofeedback is being used as a tool to help children with more intractable and serious issues. These include children who may have a Pervasive Developmental Disorder such as Aspergers or Autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Bi-polar Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. When this is the situation, parents can expect that their child will require an extended and intensive NFB program. It may be more economical and efficient for parents to begin treatment in the office and then transition to a home training program. For highly motivated and computer literate parents, home training may be initiated through long distance coaching.
Neurofeedback for Personal Growth and Transformation
Neurofeedback is a powerful tool to shift trainees out of old perceptual patterns into more authentic ways of being. Neurofeedback trainees experience 1.) a melting away of symptoms that were once bothersome or disturbing; 2.) a shift away from old thinking patterns, as old perceptions become less relevant; 3.) and a greater sense of well being, being present in the moment, and calm. Neurofeedback may be combined with psychotherapy to support the trainee’s personal growth and healing.
Neurofeedback and Peak Performance
Athletes, musicians, golfers, meditators, executives, and artists are all benefiting from NFB. Neurofeedback improves performance by optimizing the trainee’s capacity tofocus, remain calm under stressful challenges, and think more creatively from moment to moment. What is called “the zone” is just this capacity to remain calm and focused when performing a task, whether it is on the golf course or in the boardroom. Neurofeedback was used by members of the Italian soccer team prior to their world cup victory in 2006 and most recently by athletes in the 2008 Olympics.
Neurofeedback Services include:
Neurofeedback has substantially and easily improved my ability to focus and concentrate, as well as lightening my overall outlook.
D.F., Sagamore Hills, Ohio
The neurofeedback helped in ways that my Zoloft didn’t. It cleared up my brain fog. I was able to easily complete tasks that were just overwhelming before. It was almost too easy. It was difficult to accept that something so simple could work. I wish that this had come along sooner in my life. I feel that I wasted so much time.
Y.G., Cleveland Heights, Ohio