HomeServices: Neurofeedback

What is Neurofeedback?

Neurofeedback, often referred to as EEG biofeedback or brain wave training, is a type of biofeedback in which individuals are trained to improve their brain function. It involves learning to control and optimize brain function and has been practiced for over 40 years. Hundreds of thousands of individuals and families impacted by various mental health and/or neurological conditions have benefited greatly from this powerful, effective, established, and proven intervention. 

Like other forms of biofeedback, Neurofeedback Training (NFT) uses monitoring devices to provide moment-to-moment information to an individual on the state of their physiological functioning. The characteristic that distinguishes NFT from other biofeedback is a focus on the central nervous system and the brain. Neurofeedback Training (NFT) has its foundations in basic and applied neuroscience as well as data-based clinical practice. It takes into account behavioral, cognitive, and subjective aspects as well as brain activity.

What is neurofeedback training used for?

Neurofeedback helps to change unhealthy or undesirable brainwave activity into normal, healthy, organized activity. This can help the brain work better. Neurofeedback has been used to treat a range of mental health and neurological disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Autism, Epilepsy, Anxiety, and Depression. 

Where does neurofeedback training come from?

In the 1960s Dr Joseph Kamiya from the University of Chicago successfully trained people to control their brainwaves. Around the same time, Barry Sterman at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) found that neurofeedback could help patients with epilepsy.

How does neurofeedback training help autistic people?

Brain cells produce electrical pulses that communicate with each other. This produces brainwaves. These brain waves show how much brain activity is happening when you think, feel and behave in different ways. Brainwaves change according to how you are feeling or what you are doing. For example, your brain waves are slower when relaxed or sleeping, and they’re faster when you are alert and concentrating.

In neurofeedback training, an (EEG) machine monitors your brainwave patterns. Watching one’s brainwave patterns via a computer screen as lines, graphs or even simple games and listening to auditory feedback allows a person to subconsciously to shift their brainwave activity to a more optimal state. Neurofeedback can help autistic children develop new brain wave patterns leading to increases in sensory and emotional regulation and cognitive and social functioning. Supporters report that it can help improve social skills, communication, ability to focus and self-regulation.

What does neurofeedback training involve?

One or more sensors are placed on a person’s scalp and/or ear lobes. These are attached to an EEG machine, which shows the person’s brain waves on a computer screen as lines, graphs or a simple video game. For example, the game might show a car driving or a ball rising and falling. The person is asked to make the line, graph or object move with their brain. As desirable brain activity increases, the video game moves faster or the ball rises. Undesirable brain activity slows the ball down.
Gradually, the brain learns new patterns.

Neurofeedback sessions might last 20-60 minutes, usually alternating between training and rest. At first a person might have 3 or more sessions a week, with fewer sessions over time. The number of sessions people need varies. One person might do 15 sessions, and another might do 40 or more.

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