What is neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is direct training of the brain, which then
learns to function with greater control and stability. We
observe the brain in action from moment to moment. We show
that information back to the person. And we reward the brain
for changing its own activity to more appropriate patterns.
This is a gradual learning process. It applies to any aspect
of brain function that we can measure. Neurofeedback is also
called EEG biofeedback, because it is based on electrical
brain activity, the electroencephalogram, or EEG.
Neurofeedback is training in self-regulation. It is simply
biofeedback applied to the brain directly. Self-regulation
is a necessary part of good brain function. Self-regulation
training allows the central nervous system to function better.
What is neurofeedback good for?
Neurofeedback addresses problems of brain disregulation.
They include the anxiety- depression spectrum, attention
deficits, behavior disorders, various sleep disorders,
and migraines, PMS, and emotional disturbances. It is also
useful for organic brain conditions such as seizures, the
autism spectrum, and cerebral palsy.
Can neurofeedback cure these conditions?
In the case of organic brain disorders, it can only be a
matter of getting the brain to function better rather than
of curing the condition. When it comes to problems of disregulation,
we would say that there is not a disease to be cured. Where
disregulation is the problem, self-regulation may very well
be the remedy. But again the word cure would not apply.
So the symptoms disappear?
Indeed, with neurofeedback the symptoms may be entirely
eliminated. A person with Attention Deficit Disorder may
be able to train the brain to pay attention, so that condition
will no longer be diagnosable. A person with migraines may
no longer have them. (However, that person may still have
a greater “vulnerability” to migraines than
the average person on the street.) A person with epilepsy
may no longer have seizures. (Although that person still
retains a vulnerability to seizures.) A child with severe
rages and temper tantrums may not have them again.
How is this done?
We apply electrodes to the scalp to record brainwave activity.
We process the signal by computer, and we extract information
about certain key brainwave frequencies. We show the ebb
and flow of this activity back to the person, who attempts
to change the activity level. Some frequencies we wish to
promote. Others we wish to diminish. We present this information
to the person in the form of a video game. The person is
effectively playing the video game with his or her brain.
Eventually the brainwave activity is “shaped”
toward more desirable, more regulated performance. The frequencies
we target, and the specific locations on the scalp where
we record the brain, are specific to the conditions we are
trying to address, and specific to the individual.
What conditions can be helped?
In our work, we are especially concerned with the more “intractable”
brain-based problems of childhood whose needs are not currently
being met. This includes first of all seizures. It includes
the severely disruptive behavior disorders, such as conduct
disorder and bipolar disorder. It includes the autistic
spectrum and pervasive developmental delay. It includes
cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury and birth trauma.
Many children have sleep problems that can be helped: bedwetting,
nightmares and night terrors, sleep walking, and teeth grinding.
We can also be helpful with many of the problems of adolescence:
drug-taking, suicidal behavior, anxiety, and depression.
We can help to maintain good brain function as people get
older. The good news is that almost any brain, regardless
of its level of function, can be trained to function better.
What happens if neurofeedback clients
are taking medications?
With successful neurofeedback training, medications targeting
brain function may no longer be needed, or they may be needed
at lower dosages, as the brain takes over the role of regulating
itself. It is important for clients to communicate with
their prescribing physician regarding neurofeedback and
If neurofeedback deals with so many
conditions, why have I not heard of it before?
Neurofeedback involves “operant conditioning”
of the EEG. Generally, the technique is not yet taught in
most medical or psychology graduate school courses. Hence
we need to attract a greater variety of professionals to
"What is Neurofeedback" video by EEG Info
"Faces of Neurofeedback" video by EEG Info
"Neurofeedback - Addictions" video by EEG Info
"Neurofeedback - ADD/ADHD" video by EEG Info
"Neurofeedback - Peak Performance" video by EEG Info