Neurofeedback or EEG biofeedback has been called "bio-feedback for the brain." It is a non-invasive, painless training program effective for many learning, behavioral, and physiological problems.
Changing long-established patterns of behavior often require more than good intentions and hard work. Basic patterns of brainwaves are created and maintained at deep neuro-physiological levels, which can be changed by training the brain directly. As the brain learns healthy patterns of functioning, habitual brainwave patterns which cause painful symptoms or harmful behavior can be replaced by balanced and healthy brainwave patterns.
Neurofeedback is a learning process. Because it is a learning process, its results are seen gradually, over time. Like a child needs repeated practice to learn a skill like reading, playing a musical instrument, playing a sport or driving a car, the client also needs repeated practice to learn to regulate his/her brain. Also because it is a learning process, once achieved, enhancements in brain performance most often maintain themselves permanently.
Neurofeedback and Biofeedback assist the body in learning to self-regulate. The natural function of the nervous system is to monitor and regulate activity so that the person can achieve optimal performance. It is easy for this system to be 'deregulated' in our modern world due to physical and emotional stress, environmental pollution, injury, and poor nutrition.
Neurofeedback and Biofeedback gives 'feedback' to the nervous system about it's own performance, which in turn, trains the nervous system to improve it's functioning. With Neurofeedback and Biofeedback the body can learn to regulate it's own functions such as attention, blood pressure, heart rate variability, skin temperature, etc.. In other words, the mind and body learn through feedback.
The brain helps regulate sleep, emotions, thinking, behavior, and much more. The training doesn't directly change sleep or other problems. It helps the brain become better regulated. Since sleep, emotions and behavior are regulated by the brain, improvements are generally seen after training. Clients report that changes can be profound.
When you give the brain information about itself, it has an enormous capacity for change. Neurofeedback makes the information available to the brain almost instantly, and asks it to make adjustments. This gives the brain a greater ability to self-manage or regulate.
For Additional information Please read:
What Is Neurofeedback - An Update by D. Corydon Hammond (0.2 MB)
The Neurofeedback Experience
Neurofeedback is a non-invasive and painless method for "training your brain". The client is connected to a biofeedback computer through electrodes placed on the head. Using information about his or her brain waves which "feedback" to the computer, the client controls computer displays on the monitor screen by subconsciously controlling his or her brainwaves. The client is then given visual and/or auditory feedback - such as with a specially designed computer game. As certain frequencies increase or decrease, the trainee gets increased or decreased feedback - which can include auditory, visual, and tactile (i.e. beeps or games).
Sensors (electrodes) are placed over specific sites and on the ears.. Training may include increasing certain brainwave frequencies and/or decreasing others at specific sites. Rewards can also be given for improving the communication between sites. Auditory and video feedback rewards the client when they meet training goals (more or less of an EEG frequency). The clinician determines the training goals.
Training sessions are often 20-30 minutes in length. The therapist tracks client outcome and makes training adjustments accordingly. As the client improves, the effects are not a conscious effort - the client may not even be aware of the effect. The training - which produces better “brain regulation”, is a generalized effect. That means the client doesn't "think about" the training to get the effect. Their brain simply responds better to demands when in a demanding situation.
Neurofeedback can now be done in a variety of methods from one channel amplitude training to 19 channel Loreta training. Like most clinicians, I started my training in 2000 with one channel training. As the field progressed, I acquired training and equipment for using 4 channel training and most recently, 19 channel training with a full EEG cap. I have seen clients successfully complete their training in fewer sessions with more positive results with this more advanced technology.
A different type of neurofeedback is LENS (Low Energy Neurofeedback System). With this training, sensors are also placed on the scalp and the ears. First, the neurofeedback program reads the activity under the sensor and then it calculates a feedback signal to send back to the brain. This form of neurofeedback works differently from traditional neurofeedback and it can be very successful with some conditions.