What is Neurofeedback?
“EEG biofeedback (neurofeedback) originated in the late 1960s as a method for retraining brainwave patterns through operant conditioning. Since that time a sizable body of research has accumulated on the effectiveness of neurofeedback in the treatment of uncontrolled epilepsy, ADD/ADHD, anxiety, alcoholism, posttraumatic stress disorder, and mild head injuries.
Research studies also provide encouraging indications that neurofeedback offers a treatment alternative for use with learning disabilities, stroke, depression, fibromyalgia, autism, insomnia, tinnitus, headaches, chronic pain, and for the enhancement of peak performance.
At a time when an increasing number of people are concerned about negative effects from relying solely on medication treatments, neurofeedback may offer an additional treatment alternative for many conditions.”
D. Corydon Hammond PhD
Neurofeedback is a safe and effective therapy technique that tackles the root of the problem by training the brain to better regulate itself. Years of clinical research have shown that certain patterns of abnormal brainwaves correlate with certain behaviours:
High Beta Anxious
Low Beta Calm/Focused
The human brain emits electrical activity in waves that can be measured by a device called an electroencephalograph (EEG). When the results of an EEG are analyzed, scientists are able to identify certain brain wave patterns. There are several frequencies of brain waves when we are awake; these are called alpha (medium), beta (fast), and theta (slow) waves. Alpha waves are seen when a person is in a relaxed state, beta waves are present during concentration or mental work states, and theta waves are seen during times of drowsiness, daydreaming or light sleep (a fourth type of brain wave, called delta, is seen during deep sleep).
Clients typically come to receive treatment once or twice per week and watch a movie or listen to audio that rewards their brain for achieving the desired behavior, such as producing more relaxation or less anxiety. Over time, your brain learns how to keep this new level of functioning outside of your sessions and into your daily life. Unlike medication, neurofeedback is not a lifetime of treatment. However, training requires commitment and consistency.
Neurofeedback teaches the patient to control their brainwaves, positive feedback for desired brain activity and negative feedback for brain activity that is undesirable.
Anxious and stressed people have too little alpha and theta waves while children with ADHD often have increased amounts of these slower/daydreaming waves and an inability to access the faster beta waves needed for concentration. Training to decrease slow activity and increase fast activity has been performed successfully for over 25 years as treatment for ADHD and epilepsy. More recently, neurofeedback has been used to help with some of the symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury. Many clinicians are also reporting case studies in which the symptoms of depression have been alleviated through neurofeedback training.
Neurofeedback and stress
Neurofeedback and chronic pain
Neurofeedback and psychological health
Psychological health issues have typically been treated with talking therapies and/or medication, however both these approaches are limited in their effect. Neurofeedback as an option can be used by itself or in conjunction with talking therapies and is more effective in achieving emotional regulation.
There is a growing body of robust research evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of neurofeedback on a range of conditions in children and adults and neurofeedback has been shown as effective in treating a range of disorders e.g. ASD, ADHD, insomnia.
Many conditions/symptoms are a result of brain dysregulation e.g. ADHD, migraine, PTSD, vertigo and neurofeedback is a way of supporting the brain to become better regulated and more stable. In effect, neurofeedback is a way of training the brain into functioning better and in doing so troublesome symptoms are eliminated.
Neurofeedback is effective for:
Post Natal Depression
PTSD & Complex PTSD