Brainwaves and behavior are inseparable. The brain constantly produces a complex array of brainwaves, but the balance changes according to what we’re doing and feeling. The dominant frequency varies depending on your state of consciousness (awake, anxious, angry, calm, relaxed) as well as on individual differences.
A great deal of scientific research and many controlled studies have demonstrated the benefits of EEG biofeedback in ADHD, sleep disorders, seizures, and numerous other conditions. The research for ADHD has been particularly extensive, showing results comparable to treatment with medication.
The International Society for Neurofeedback & Research (ISNR) is a professional organization promoting neurofeedback research and clinical practice. Their website offers a wealth of information.
Scientific understanding of the way the brain works is changing rapidly. Brainwave patterns were once thought to be fixed and unchangeable; many medical professionals were trained in that belief. Recent research has made it abundantly clear that the brain changes with input (“brain plasticity”), even in adults. Neurotherapy techniques are not yet taught in most medical schools or psychology graduate programs, so for many conditions, medication has been the only help that professionals could offer.
Now, however, as research brings to light both the benefits of neurotherapy and the drawbacks of many medications, people are seeking alternatives and neurofeedback is fast gaining recognition.
We strongly recommend that new patients commit to 20 sessions. Individual circumstances and individual brains vary so greatly that it’s impossible to predict at the outset whether more sessions will be needed. There seems to be a relationship between the severity of the symptoms and the length of training required.
You will probably notice progress toward your goals within a few sessions. With continued training, these changes will expand to new areas of functioning and become more apparent and more lasting. We will set goals together, and monitor your progress toward them during your treatment.
The effects of neurofeedback are cumulative. After the first few sessions, the improvements you experience may wear off in a day or two. After more training, the changes will last longer. Once the training is complete and your brain has integrated enhanced self-regulation, the benefits should be robust. Setbacks may occur following severe stressors, such as major illness, car accidents, surgery or major hormonal shifts. If this happens, you may find it helpful to return for booster sessions.
As your brain becomes better regulated, the dosage of medications targeting brain function may need to be decreased; they may even eventually be discontinued. After training for a while, it is often possible to reduce the medication under appropriate supervision. It is essential that patients communicate with their prescribing physicians regarding their neurotherapy and medications. We are happy to consult with your doctor(s) with your written permission.
Definitely not. The electrodes are placed on the scalp to pick up and convey your brainwave activity via an amplifier for processing the signals. This is similar to an EEG (a brainwave test used by neurologists) done with 19 or more electrodes as a diagnostic procedure, but only 3-5 electrodes are used in neurofeedback.
You can watch an excerpt from a video presentation by the EEG Institute; this site has a great deal of helpful information about neurofeedback.
For additional videos on EEG biofeedback, click here:
To read about brain plasticity, click here: