What is Neurofeedback?

What is Neurofeedback (NFB)?

  • Also referred to as EEG biofeedback or brain wave training
  • A type of biofeedback where individuals are trained to improve their brain function
  • Foundation in basic and applied neuroscience as well as evidence-based clinical practice
  • Uses sensors to detect physical changes in the body, on the scalp to be able to detect the individuals brainwave activity
  • Once the brainwave activity is detected by the sensor it is immediately analyzed by a computer that presents audio or visual information based on the brain’s performance
  • Using the real-time feedback of how the brain is performing the individual is able to learn to regulate or control his or her own brain state
  • Non-invasive, does not involve surgery or medication, is neither painful nor embarrassing and has long-lasting effects

How is Neurofeedback Training Conducted?

At Inspiration to Live Well Integrated Mental Health every individual that does NFB training in our office starts off with a Quantitative Electroencephalogram (QEEG), also referred to as “Brain Mapping”.  This allows the clinician to have a more precise understanding of the individual nature of the presenting symptomatology and therefore be able to provide a completely customized treatment plan approach.

To perform a QEEG a 19-channel Electro-Cap is worn by the individual.  As you can see by the image below you will not win any beauty contests while wearing the electro-cap, however, it allows us to be able to get 19 channels of data around the entire head at the exact same time.  You will sit with you eyes open for approximately 10 minutes and then sit with you eyes closed for 10 minutes.  Once the data is obtained you will take the cap off and return to the remainder of the activities for the day.

After the data is obtained the clinician takes this data and scrubs it until there is about 2 minutes of high-quality data for both the eyes closed and the eyes open condition.  Then the clinician takes this information and performs the analysis with the database of their choice allowing for the QEEG map to be developed.

Image Source: http://electro-cap.com/default/assets/Image/Caps/caps.png

Electro- Caps: Image Credit

QEEG MAP

Once the QEEG map is completed individualized treatment plans are determined from here.  As with most forms of treatment, NFB results will vary with each individual.

Training can consist of 19-channel “whole-head” training or single sensors the are attached to the scalp at specific locations.

NFB training may require 20-40 sessions or more, depending upon he age of the client and the severity of his or her condition.

At Inspiration to Live Well Integrated Mental Health we assess your symptoms each and every session so we can provide immediate and precise changes to any protocols you may be running in order to offer the highest level of service and best treatment outcomes.

What conditions are effectively treated with Neurofeedback?

  • ADHD
  • Epilepsy
  • Autism *
  • Insomnia *
  • Anxiety *
  • Depression *
  • Substance Abuse *
  • Traumatic Brain Injury *
  • Chronic Pain *

*Promising ongoing research shows the effectives of NFB for these disorders, however, they are less studies thus far than ADHD and Epilepsy.

Are there side effects?

When provided by a qualified professional, NFB training produces few, if any, negative side effects.  There are few published reports of negative side effects.  Clients usually find NFB to be an interesting and engaging experience that feels good.

The literature, which lacks any negative study of substance, suggests that EEG biofeedback therapy should play a major therapeutic role in many difficult areas.  In my opinion, if any medication had demonstrated such a wide spectrum of efficacy, it would be universally accepted and widely used.
Frank Duffy, MD, Neurologist, Harvard Medical School Professor, Head of the Neuroimaging Department and of the Neuroimaging Department at Boston’s Children’s Hospital

For More Information:

International Society for Neurofeedback & Research