What is Neurofeedback?
Your brain is a living changing super computer consisting of 100 Billion brain cells called neurons. Each brain cell has the ability to connect with its neighbors both near and far. In fact, every time you learn something new your brain cells make new connections. The process of learning is called neuroplasticity. But sometimes neuroplasticity can go bad making poor connections. This can show up as poor attention, distraction, impulsivity, depression, anxiety, poor self control, insomnia, chronic pain and more.
Neurofeedback is the direct training of the brain in real time using advanced computer technology. Over multiple sessions the computer can tune the brain and teach it to function more efficiently, often with permanent results. Neurofeedback addresses brain dysregulation, which can cause many conditions like anxiety, depression, ADHD, sleep disorders, migraines and more.
The Neurofeedback Process
During a session, patients are connected to a computer using sensors. These sensors are noninvasive, no electrical current is put into the brain. The sensors only monitor brainwaves.
For the next 30 minutes, you either watch a movie, listen to music or listen to an audio book. When the computer detects irregular brainwaves, it will fade the video and sound. This will cause the patient to refocus their attention back on the movie or music until it returns to normal. This can happen hundreds of times during a single session. Eventually after multiple sessions, the brain starts to learn to stay in the healthy ranges on it’s own. as that happens the patient will see a reduction in their symptoms.
Neurofeedback does not directly target conditions and symptoms: it corrects irregular brainwaves and modifies timing patterns in the brain. The best part, results are often permanent.
The Benefits Of Neurofeedback
- Improve autism symptoms by speeding up Beta brainwaves
- Increase attention and focus for kids with Learning disorders
- Improve depression symptoms by speeding up Alpha brainwaves
- Reduce anxiety and stress by slowing down Beta brainwaves
- Improve sleep disorders by slowing Delta brainwaves
- Improve memory
- Regulate the brainwaves responsible for addiction, which can reduce cravings
Why Does It Work So Well?
Research shows that people who suffer from neurological issues have irregular brainwaves. A person with ADD will have slower Beta brainwaves, which are responsible for attention and focus.
Training the brain can change these brainwaves over time, speeding them up or slowing them down where needed. Neurofeedback can improve alertness, attention, emotional regulation, behavior, cognitive function, and mental flexibility. When brainwaves are running at the right speed, users will often see a reduction in symptoms.
Results are often permanent, which may allow someone to eliminate medications completely. Where medications only manage the symptoms, the goal of neurofeedback is to address the underlying cause and restore normal brainwave function.
Dr.O'Keefe sat down with Victoria from Simply Today Life Podcast to discuss what neurofeedback is and how it helped Victoria and her career.