Neurofeedback is a training method directed at the brain allowing it to learn to function more efficiently. It works primarily by monitoring brainwaves, looking for irregularities, and then producing a signal that is designed to correct and guide the brainwave into a healthy pattern. Over time, this process will teach the brain to stay in healthy ranges without the aid of the computer. The result is an improvement in brain regulation, which can reduce or eliminate most neurological symptoms.
Neurofeedback addresses brain dysregulation, which happens to cover a wide variety of disorders. They include the anxiety-depression spectrum, attention deficits, behavior disorders, various sleep disorders, memory issues, brain fog, headaches and migraines, emotional disturbances, and autism spectrum disorders. Neurofeedback does not directly target conditions and symptoms, but it corrects irregular brainwave activity and patterns in the brain.
Neurofeedback has been around since the 1950’s and there are decades of research and case studies documenting the effectiveness and clinical improvements. With the advancement of computer technology, neurofeedback has been able to move from laboratory research to a system that can be administered in an office setting and in some cases, at home.
The equipment we use at Sophia Health Institute® is the Clear Mind System. The typical session starts with a brain map that allows us to see how the brain is functioning by recording the Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Theta brainwaves.This gives us an accurate and customized picture of how fast or slow the brainwaves are moving in different locations in the brain. This data is then uploaded into a database, where it is compared against documented normal brainwaves to determine irregular patterns. A detailed report is printed out identifying problem areas of the brain and specific protocols are advised to target the problem areas.
Another way to utilize this system is through pre-set protocols produced for specific disorders such as ADHD, insomnia, memory/cognition, PTSD, over-eating, migraines, etc. These protocols do not require a brain map prior to treatment and are chosen based on clinical symptoms.
Neurofeedback is administered in a relaxing 30 minute session. Gold electrodes are stuck to your scalp with a conductive paste in order to pick up electrical impulses from the brain. When irregular patterns are detected, a response is triggered from the software that pauses or dims the music. This response automatically causes you to focus more, which will move your brainwaves back into normal ranges. With repetition over multiple sessions, your brain can learn to stay within healthy ranges without the need of assistance. There are no shocks, no pain, and no discomfort.
The number of sessions needed will depend on the individual. Every person requires a different length of time to improve. Twenty to forty sessions is normal for many conditions to improve or even be eliminated. However, benefit has been reported after just a few sessions.
Neurofeedback can be a helpful component to any treatment plan. If you are interested in this modality, discuss it with your provider to find out if this tool will benefit your individual case.
By Amanda Wilms, ND