What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback refers to a type of biofeedback that is specific to the brain. It uses real-time recording of brain wave activity through qualitative electroencephalography (QEEG) to provide the user with information about his/her brain activity, teaching self-regulation and how to normalize his/her neural activity. If any of these brainwaves are in disproportion, either over-active or under-active, it will lead to any number of neurological disorders, depending on which region of the brain is affected.
Improvements you might notice include, but are not limited to:
- Optimized cognitive abilities such as improved memory and processing speed
- Improved attention span and focus
- Improved motor skills
- Eased effort in completing activities of daily living
- Improved ability to stay calm and relaxed; reduced hyperactivity
- Decreased anxiety and depression, mood swings become normalized, emotions balance
- Improved sleep, more energy throughout the day
- Enhanced ability to connect with others; improved socialization
- Increased daily enjoyment, career success, relationship satisfaction
Neurofeedback is effective due to the brain’s intrinsic ability to change itself, known as neuroplasticity. The changes that occur with training are long-lasting and often permanent.
Patients often experience a significant reduction in symptoms following a series of 20 neurofeedback training sessions. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and/or diagnosis, you may require up to 40 or sometimes 60 training sessions before significant changes are developed within the brain. The number of sessions varies due to the brain being an extremely complex structure that takes time to change and adapt. You did not learn to walk, speak, write and ride a bike within a few short weeks as a child, or you did not learn a sport or play an instrument after a few days, your brain requires time to adapt to new ways of focusing that it is learning through the training sessions. The greatest benefits are achieved if you can attend training sessions 2 – 3 times per week at a minimum. However, some people may benefit from training twice a day for a week. As it is stated above, these changes are long-lasting and often permanent. If you are weighing the benefits of neurofeedback to prolonged reliance on medication or other therapies, not only is neurofeedback more economical in the long run, but also it targets the root of the symptoms, thus improving your overall health and wellbeing; whereas conventional drug therapy only masks the symptoms temporarily and does not contribute to long-term health.
So what does neurofeedback involve?
You will work one-on-one with a neurotherapist who will monitor your training progress. A cap will be fitted to your head, containing 19 electrode sites. Each electrode requires the application of a saline gel to conduct the electrical activity from your scalp to the electrode for measurement.
During each one-hour training session, you will be actively training your brain for approximately 45 minutes. As our equipment reads your brain activity, it will provide you with visual and audio feedback regarding your progress. When your brain responds correctly, visual and auditory feedback will be seen/heard, which is registered unconsciously as positive reinforcement, encourages your brain to seek more rewards and this move toward normalization further. Depending on the QEEG analysis, we may recommend using other tools, such as, Neurofield, LENS, or Alpha Stim. These are explained in the neurofieldback tools section.
Neurofeedback works best in conjunction with biofeedback such as deep breathing and inner- body awareness. The more aware you are of your body’s internal processes, the easier it will be for you to re-focus your brain when at home or at work.