Here at the Rehabilitation center, we offer EEG neurofeedback training in our Brain Wellness Center. If you’ve found yourself looking into neurofeedback yet remain confused about what it is, fear not! We’re here to break it down for you; we’re going to cover what neurofeedback is, how it’s used, who it helps, and some of the benefits you might receive from using it.
What is Neurofeedback?
Putting it simply, neurofeedback, or electroencephalogram biofeedback (EEG for short), is a therapeutic treatment program that focuses on improving the lives of those who live with neurological disorders, such as Autism, ADHD, depression, anxiety, stroke, and much more.
Need an example?
Neurofeedback is a form of biofeedback: a type of measurement aimed to help people take control of their own psychological functions. For example, imagine an Apple Watch, Fitbit, or smartphone. All of these devices have the capability of displaying your current heart rate. As your heartbeat rises and falls, the change is displayed on the monitor of your device, showing you the fluctuation.
Now, let’s say that you have anxiety. When you become anxious, one of the symptoms you observe is a racing heartbeat. If you are able to observe that your heartbeat is rising quickly through your monitor, you might be able to control your anxiety attack before it hits, or at least employ methods of stopping the anxiety attack before it gets too severe. This is what biofeedback is - a method of tracking biological functions and training the brain to recognize when a function is displaying a symptom.
Neurofeedback employs the same principle. As a subcategory of biofeedback, neurofeedback focuses on providing insight as to how the brain, specifically, reacts to certain sounds and visuals.
How is it used?
Neurofeedback’s monitoring system is used to assess where the brain is not properly functioning. To accomplish this, the physician operating the neurofeedback machine attaches small sensors to the patient’s forehead. These sensors monitor brain waves and compare them to normal brain wave scans to pinpoint what section of the brain is not functioning properly. From there, the physician in charge will prepare a treatment.
This treatment will not focus on treating symptoms. Instead, it will treat the cause. For example, if depression is being treated with neurofeedback, the treatment will focus on pinpointing which section of the brain is reacting to depression and causing symptoms, and then re-train the brain to recognize symptoms early and deal with them appropriately.
Why should I use Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback does sound scary at first; the thought of having a machine monitoring your brain. But there are plenty of reasons why neurofeedback might be the right choice for you.
Your brain will become healthier overall. The ability to train your brain to respond to signals that may have otherwise damaged it before will spark brain growth and health improvements, leading to enhancements in memory, reduced anxiety, reduced ADHD symptoms, more optimal sleep patterns, and much more! We recommend reading this article to find out more information.
It’s non-invasive. No surgery needed! Nobody is going to be picking at your brain during neurofeedback. They won’t be feeding you pills, either, unless they were prescribed by a doctor. The only thing you’ll have to deal with is a few small sensors on your scalp!
Neurofeedback treats causes, not symptoms. We explained earlier in the post that neurofeedback focuses on treating the cause of the problem, not the symptoms. The best part about this is that neurofeedback ends up being a long-lasting treatment. As long as you keep up with exercises and go to your sessions, your treatment results should last for quite a long time.
American Psychology Association. (2016). Positive feedback. Monitor on Psychology, 47(3). Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/03/cover-feedback#targetText=Electroencephalography%20(EEG)%20neurofeedback%20measures%20the,mood%20disorders%20and%20sleep%20disorders.
Asher, T. & Weirbowski, B. (2017). Brain training: The future of psychiatric treatment? Retrieved from http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2017/brain-training-future-psychiatric-treatment/
Enriquez-Geppert, S., Huster, R. J., & Herrmann, C. S. (2017). EEG-Neurofeedback as a tool to modulate cognition and behavior: A review tutorial. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11(51). doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00051
Neurofeedback. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/neurofeedback
What are the benefits of neurofeedback? (2019). Retrieved from https://www.neurocorecenters.com/blog/benefits-of-neurofeedback
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Author: Raeann Calcutta
Raeann Calcutta is a social media intern and blogger for the ONEIL Center for Research Communication. She has her associate's degree in Communications from Sinclair Community College and currently studies Communication and Digital Media studies at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.