Neurofeedback is a non-invasive therapy that empowers individuals to disrupt and replace counterproductive brain activity patterns that underlie unhealthy thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. The aim of neurofeedback is to help you achieve a more harmonious “brain activity orchestra” that embraces an ideal balance between low-frequency and mid-to-high-frequency brainwave patterns.
Disrupted or imbalanced brainwave patterns are associated with numerous psychological and physiological problems including mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, behavioral issues such as impulsivity and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder ADHD, developmental delays, and physical health concerns like headaches, migraines, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue. Neurofeedback is a cognitive training method that takes advantage of neuroplasticity, the brain’s natural ability to change and improve upon itself. It has been shown in hundreds of published studies to help patients regain control over their symptoms and enhance healthy brainwave patterns.
During a Neurofeedback Therapy session, you sit in a comfortable chair with strategically placed electrode sensors on your head, which capture and exclusively reflect the electric signals generated by neurons within your brain. These electrodes are hooked to a computer that monitors your brain waves in real-time. Your therapist will show you graphs of your brain activity while you listen to music or watch a movie, and you practice changing your brainwaves to establish a more balanced and harmonious “brain activity orchestra.”
In addition to improving your mood and mental processes, neurofeedback also strengthens constructive brainwave patterns that foster healthier and more stable thought and behavior, which will continue to serve you well long after your sessions are finished. This is because, unlike medication, neurofeedback is a therapeutic approach that uses a form of reinforcement to reinforce the desired neural pathways.
While the specific mechanism by which neurofeedback works is still under investigation, researchers believe that encouraging certain brain wave patterns encourages the growth of associated cognitive operations. For example, increasing beta and gamma brainwaves may help you focus better, while increasing theta and delta brainwaves can help you relax.
Neurofeedback has been found to be effective in reducing and eliminating many symptoms and disorders. For instance, it has been shown to be an excellent treatment for ADHD symptoms such as inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity by enhancing the production of calming theta and theta delta brainwaves, and it can also help people with dyslexia and other learning disabilities by fostering the production of faster gamma and beta brainwaves that support learning.
Neurofeedback has been shown to be safe for most people, though it’s important that you disclose your complete medical history to your practitioner before undergoing this treatment. Some pre-existing conditions such as narcolepsy and seizure disorders can increase the risk of side effects. Some people may experience fatigue or headaches during or after a neurofeedback session, and some frequencies such as stimulating gamma and beta waves can produce harsher side effects than others. However, these side effects are usually mild and short-lived. In most cases, they’ll resolve on their own after the first few sessions.