What is neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback literally means getting feedback from neurons, in this case, the cells (neurons) in your brain. Sometimes, portions of your brain are too active or too inactive. With neurofeedback, sensors are placed on your head, and we measure the electrical activity. When an area is too active, we set the feedback so that you'll lower the activity; when it is too sluggish, we set the feedback so that you'll increase brain activity. No electricity is put into your brain. Neurofeedback is a pain free, non-invasive treatment that is clinically proven to be very safe and effective when applied by a properly trained practitioner.
How does it work?
First, there is an assessment to figure out which areas of the brain are too fast or slow. Usually, we start with a brain map, which has 19 sensors. Brain maps take about an hour and provide a comprehensive picture of how the patient's brain functions; this allows the practitioner to create a customized training protocol to optimize your brains innate ability for self-regulation and performance. A typical treatment plan consists of at least two 30 minute neurofeedback sessions per week. A few sensors (usually between one and four) are placed on the head where the training is needed. The sensors run through a computer, which provides a continuous display of your brain activity. Now, here is where the "feedback" part comes in. If your brain is too slow in the training area, you'll hear a tone when it speeds up to the desired activity level, which will let you know to do "more of that". When the brain is overactive, the tones will be set to guide you to do "less of that".
What conditions are treated with neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is effective treatment for the following conditions:
Headaches (tension, migraine)
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
Brain injury/stroke rehabilitation
The effects of neurofeedback are typically robust. For example, about 80% of people with ADD/ADHD make substantial improvements, and about 2/3 can reduce or eliminate their medication following treatment. Seizure frequency is reduced by about 50%, and the intensity of the seizures is reduced. In a study of people with traumatic brain injury, memory scores doubled, and symptoms of depression and fatigue were significantly reduced.