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WHAT IS NEUROFEEDBACK?

Click here to go directly to the videos at the bottom of this page which will answer this question as well. There is one organ that runs your entire body and your entire life, your brain! Having your brain in good shape and not misbehaving is vital to healthy functioning. Neurofeedback, simply put, is "beneficial exercise for the brain" where the brain is monitored moment by moment and giving feedback of its own level of functioning. This feedback allows the brain to adapt and change as necessary, and, in turn, allows your brain to function more efficiently in most areas of life. For example, many times we do not notice small things like nail biting, teeth grinding, and difficulty sleeping throughout the night (these are simple examples, but neurofeedback can be helpful for so much more as detailed in Question 1 below), but these symptoms are improved when the brain is challenged or "exercised" to perform better and regulate itself. The more the brain becomes aware of its poor functioning also called dysregulation), the more it stabilizes the Central Nervous System resulting in the ability to attend to activities at length, increasing alertness and awareness of our environment and promoting an overall better regulated state of being. The best part is you only have to show up and your brain will do the rest!

Ask yourself these simple questions:

  • Has your ability to remember things and stay focused diminished recently?
  • Have you noticed a drop in your energy level?
  • Are you impulsive and often regret the choices you make?
  • Do you find that you are anxious, worried, and stressed more than in the past?
  • Do people often mention that you seem moody, or even depressed?

A yes answer to any of these questions could mean that your brain has lost it ability to regulate your body as well as it once did.

A fitting analogy would be to compare our brains to computers: with neurofeedback, we are improving the way that the software (the neuro-pathways) work with the hardware (the brain). Even your car will need a tune-up to run efficiently, our brains are no different.

client neurofeedback training

What should you expect? How does it work?
Each regular session of neurofeedback is 45 minutes unless otherwise arranged with your clinician (the first session will usually be 2 hours). First, symptoms and history are both evaluated which will assist your clinician in determining lead placement, or the area of the brain that will be trained. Once this is determined, your clinician will place EEG sensors on the scalp attached by EEG paste (which is removed at the end of the session). The EEG sensors monitor the brain waves; this is where the "feedback" occurs. During the session your clinician monitors the brain wave feedback while the client watches a movie. The movie has a visual overlay driven by your own EEG that your brain will recognize and respond to.

Sensors are attached to the scalp with EEG paste which then pick up brain waves. It is painless and does not involve the application of any voltage or current to the brain, so it is entirely non-invasive. A computer processes the brain waves and extracts certain information from them. We show you the ebb and flow of your brain waves, and the specific information we obtain from them, in the form of a visual overlay.

What should you expect during your first session?
During the first session symptoms and history of symptoms are explored at length, hence the longer appointment. It is important that you feel comfortable and talk open and honestly with your clinician; this will only help to improve your neurofeedback experience. Exploring symptoms allows the clinician to identify where, when, and why the brain became dysregulated. You can expect to see results or changes within the first couple of sessions. It is important to note and understand that during the first couple of sessions, your clinician will be fine tailoring exactly where to train your brain and on what frequency. Your understanding of this is important as well since you will need to communicate changes to your clinician (before, during and after treatment) so he/she is able alter lead placement as necessary. 


Questions & Answers

(click on any question to see the answer)

QUESTION: What symptoms and diagnoses can Neurofeedback treat?

Most people are surprised at the breadth of issues that neurofeedback can treat. Almost anything that can be regarded as a "bad habit" of the brain can be retrained. Furthermore, most symptoms that can be reduced with medicine, can be reduced with neurofeedback as well. Examples include: stress, headaches/migraines, diagnoses of ADHD/ADD, Autism spectrum and developmental delays, speech delay, anxiety, drug and alcohol dependencies, seizures, anger outbursts, oppositional defiance, depression, insomnia, nightmares, night terrors, bedwetting, teeth grinding, TMJ or “lock jaw,” narcolepsy, daytime sleepiness, dyslexia, cerebral palsy, restless leg syndrome (RLS), and more. Clients often report increased energy, peak performance, and increased ability to focus.

  • Please note: addictions, ADHD, PTSD, eating disorders, Tourette's/tics will benefit most from a combination of counseling/therapy and neurofeedback to improve symptoms.
QUESTION: Is neurofeedback painful?

Absolutely not! Neurotherapy does not hurt and does not cause more symptoms than what you are already experiencing. There is no electrical current to the brain, only electrical feedback read from your brain. Since your brain prefers to be well regulated (and that is what neurofeedback promotes), there is usually a sensation of being very relaxed during a training session.

QUESTION: Should someone stop taking prescribed medications before beginning Neurofeedback training?

No. As your brain begins to function more effectively you will most likely find a decreased need or intolerance for your medications such as SSRI’s (antidepressants) anti-anxiety and Ritalin, etc. As you discuss your symptoms with your clinician, it is also important to be sharing this information with your private physician as well so they can assist you with your medication management. It is important to know and understand that neurofeedback will decrease the need for medications. By knowing this, you are aware of making the choice and willingness to adjust medications as needed. This is something to be discussed at length with your clinician upon initial consultation.

QUESTION: Does insurance cover neurofeedback training?

Depending on your insurance coverage and your diagnosis it may be covered but that would need to be determined by your insurance provider before beginning services.

Additionally, we do not bill insurance companies on your behalf. We feel quite strongly that we can give better service, provide longer appointments, and focus more of our attention on you if you are submitting insurance paperwork instead of us. Nonetheless, we will provide you with any receipts needed so that you can determine if getting reimbursed is an option for you.

You will find more beneficial information about insurance reimbursement by clicking on this link to our FAQ page.

QUESTION: What is the recommended age range for neurofeedback training?

Neurofeedback training can be started whenever a symptom of dysregulation appears, therefore from the age of about 5 years old to 100+ years old. This treatment is very flexible and available to all ages and populations.

For examples of "dysregulation", see: See "What symptoms and diagnoses can Neurofeedback treat?" above.

QUESTION: If Neurofeedback can do so much, how come I haven't heard about it before?

Neurofeedback is just beginning to be taught in some medical schools and psychology graduate programs. This is why many practicing professionals are unaware of the power of this technique. As with any cutting edge treatment, it takes time for the field to grow and adjust to emerging research and this is the case with Neurofeedback as well. You have most likely heard of Biofeedback and Brain Mapping, these are similar sciences which had skeptics at one point and took time to grow as well. Where Biofeedback allows us to see and understand activity in the brain, Neurofeedback allows a way to correct that activity using modern technology.

Additionally, our culture more or less subscribes to the medical model of visiting your physician and being prescribed medications for most things. As such, many people do not take the time to research more effective and/or holistic options. 

QUESTION: Can Neurofeedback CURE me?

Neurofeedback is just beginning to be taught in some medical schools and psychology graduate programs. This is why many practicing professionals are unaware of the power of this technique. As with any cutting edge treatment, it takes time for the field to grow and adjust to emerging research and this is the case with Neurofeedback as well. You have most likely heard of Biofeedback and Brain Mapping, these are similar sciences which had skeptics at one point and took time to grow as well. Where Biofeedback allows us to see and understand activity in the brain, Neurofeedback allows a way to correct that activity using modern technology.

Additionally, our culture more or less subscribes to the medical model of visiting your physician and being prescribed medications for most things. As such, many people do not take the time to research more effective and/or holistic options. 

QUESTION: Do you have any reading suggestions for someone who wants to learn more?

We sure do! Try these:

  • The Body Keeps the Score (2015) -Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma By Dr. Bessel van der Kolk

  • A Symphony in the Brain (2009) -The Evolution of the New Brain Wave Biofeedback By Jim Robbins  

  • ADD: The 20 Hour Solution -Training Minds to Concentrate and Self-Regulate Naturally Without Medication By Mark Steinburg, Ph.D and Siegfried Othmer Ph.D  

  • Getting Rid of Ritalin -How Neurofeedback Can Successfully Treat Attention Deficit Disorder without Drugs By Edward Castro, MD and Robert W. Hill, Ph.D  

  • Introduction to Quantitative EEG and Neurofeedback By James R. Evans, Ph.D and Andrew Abarbanel, MD, Ph.D

QUESTION: Are there other studies or sources of information on neurofeedback?

You bet! Try these:

Smart Brains
http://sharpbrains.com/blog/neurofeedback_now_level_1_support

The Drake Institute
http://www.drakeinstitute.com

QUESTION: Can our brains really be that important to our overall wellbeing?

The human brain is the most complex organ in the body. This three-pound mass of gray and white matter sits at the center of all human activity—you need it to drive a car, to enjoy a meal, to breathe, to create an artistic masterpiece, and to enjoy everyday activities. In brief, the brain regulates your body’s basic functions by; (1) enabling you to interpret and respond to everything you experience; (2) and by shaping your thoughts, emotions, and behavior. Our brains receive and send information to and from every cell in our bodies. So, yes, our brains really are that important!


Helpful Neurofeedback Videos

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