Neurofeedback is a form of biofeedback, which uses an external device to help a person learn to become aware of and learn to change bodily processes such as heart rate, skin temperature, muscle activity or, in the case of neurofeedback, brain activity. It is gentle and non-invasive but the principal is profound: the brain has a vast potential to heal itself when it is provided with the information needed to do so. Neurofeedback is a process of providing that information.
The brain generates electrical activity, known as “brain waves”, which can be detected through placing sensors on the scalp using electroencephalography (EEG). These sensors don’t put anything into the brain, they only pick up outgoing energy. They attach to a computer that deciphers this electrical activity and can function as a mirror of sorts, allowing the brain to self-correct problematic electrical activity through the use of feedback about itself. This feedback comes in the form of auditory or visual information and, typically, by learning to control these sights and sounds the person learns how to control the nervous system and brain directly. Some forms of neurofeedback used at NeuroTransformation Center, such as NeurOptimal®, use feedback in a more passive way that allows the brain to self-correct without conscious attention or effort.
Neurofeedback training takes advantage of the fact that the brain constantly changes due to experience or neuroplasticity. Both positive and negative experiences affect brain function and structure. Difficult experiences, mental or emotional distress, biochemical damage, genetic predispositions, brain injury and the suffering caused by any or all of these, can cause patterns of activity in the brain which may, over time, become counterproductive to well being. Sometimes areas of the brain don’t communicate well enough with each other or certain areas become too active or inactive. The good news is that these patterns of activity can be changed and neurofeedback is a powerful and efficient way to do so.
By utilizing a brain assessment know as Quantitative Electroencephalograph (QEEG), a snapshot of brain activity is obtained. The QEEG can be used to develop training protocols, wherein specific brain areas or functions are targeted. In this way, neurofeedback targets problematic brain activity in a direct and empirically based manner and can often result in long-lasting benefits because the brain actually learns how to change itself and this learning persists, both consciously and unconsciously. Neurofeedback is not about masking symptoms, rather it can help promote growth, balance and well being in a sustainable, natural way.
Neurofeedback is commonly used for a wide array of cognitive and emotional concerns, including depression, anxiety, trauma, addiction, migraines, brain injury, autism and more. There is particularly strong research indicating its usefulness for attentional issues and epilepsy. There has even recently been exciting research about its effective use with people suffering from psychosis.
The most common form of neurofeedback uses EEG, or the electrical activity in the brain. The other most common form of neurofeedback is called Hemoencephalography, which uses a different approach. Find out more about it by following the link below.