Neurofeedback, also known as EEG Biofeedback or neurotherapy, involves exercising and training the brain, much like working out at a health center exercises and trains our muscles.
Our brain gives off electrical signals of different sizes and strengths. Some signals help us learn. Some help us relax. Some make us sleepy. Some make us excited. During neurofeedback, a person is provided with information about this electrical activity in the brain so that he or she can learn to enhance or inhibit targeted patterns of brain activity. The process leverages the brain’s natural plasticity to restructure brainwaves into the healthy patterns needed for cognitive functioning and emotional self-regulation.
During training, sensors are placed on the scalp with conductive paste. Clients are then invited to relax and watch one of our many computer animation screens as we monitor your brainwaves. As the brain moves toward a healthier state you are rewarded by having the computer animation move and the music play. Gradually through the process the brain “learns” a healthier brain pattern.
By responding to cues provided by a computer. A sensor picks up brainwave signals from your scalp and transforms them into images on the screen and tones. The client learns to move the images by focusing on both the screen and the tones. In the process, the brain learns to work more efficiently.
Because this is a learning process, it takes a number of sessions of practice so that it becomes second nature. The normal training takes 30-40 sessions lasting about 30 minutes each. If training is stopped before it is complete, the improvement usually doesn’t last.
It is usually long-lasting. Persons below the age of 50 typically do not require more sessions later in order to keep the gains they have made. Older individuals can maintain the gains they have made by having a few “booster” sessions once or twice a year.
If conducted by a board certified, experienced clinician there are normally no negative side effects, and people usually find the exercise pleasant. Occasionally, a few people have a mild, temporary headache after the training. Because the brain uses lots of energy during the training, it is not unusual for a person to feel physically tired after a session.
No. It only reads the energy given off as the brain goes about its business. In other words, the computer reads howeffectively the brain works. The computer then creates targets for your training. As you work at reaching those targets, the brain learns to work more efficiently.
Almost everyone can learn to respond to neurofeedback. However, there are some conditions that require special biofeedback. These include diabetes, epilepsy or seizures, and people taking certain types of medications.
We encourage you to do so. However, we do not require a doctor’s authorization for you to participate.
Many people haven’t heard of it because it has not been widely available, though it has been practiced for decades. It takes in-depth specialized training and expensive equipment that most professionals don’t have.
While the vast majority of insurance companies do not cover neurofeedback we encourage all of our clients to check with their insurance company to make certain. There have been isolated instances of insurance companies covering some or all of the services we provide.