What Is Neurofeedback?

neurofeedback

The brain controls much of what people think and feel daily, influencing everything from regulating body functions to pain, trauma and mental health conditions. Neurofeedback therapy, also known as EEG biofeedback, is a treatment that helps people harness the power of their brainwaves and understand their reactions to certain stimuli.

Types of Neurofeedback Therapy

There are multiple different types of neurofeedback therapy. Each one is slightly different, but all involve electrodes attached to the skin that measure brain frequencies. Although it may look a bit intimidating, neurofeedback is safe. It’s non-invasive and poses no harsh side effects.

Types of neurofeedback therapy include:

  • Infra-low frequency (ILF) neurofeedback focuses on extremely low and higher frequency brainwaves. It teaches the brain how to regulate itself better in a non-verbal, non-judgemental way.
  • Frequency/power neurofeedback is the most common type of neurofeedback therapy. It involves attaching between two and four electrodes to the head and detecting brainwaves associated with anxiety, and insomnia, among other things.
  • Slow cortical potential neurofeedback aids those with epilepsy, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and migraines. It has also been tested with children who have ADHD as a potential alternative therapy.[1]

During a typical neurofeedback session, people can often see their brainwaves in real-time. These images reflect the activity within the brain and have different functions associated with various emotions and activities. When people learn to control their brainwaves, they can begin to control their emotional states better.

Neurofeedback aims to give people the tools to reestablish emotional regulation and develop healthy thought patterns. It harnesses the power of neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to adapt and develop new pathways, creates positive shifts, and produces a balance between low, medium, and high-frequency brainwaves.

What To Expect During A Neurofeedback Therapy Session

Neurofeedback usually takes between six to twenty sessions to see results, and the number of sessions can be adjusted depending on the brain’s receptiveness.

A neurofeedback session typically lasts around sixty minutes. During a session, the person is seated or lying down, and the practitioner attaches electrodes to their head. These electrodes, which may be attached to a headband, cap, or helmet, pick up the different brainwaves and sends them to a screen in the room.

The session can vary depending on the condition being treated. People may lie down with their eyes closed, observe the screen as their brainwaves appear, or even play a game on a console via their brain activity. The screen mirrors their brainwaves, and the brain then uses this information to self-regulate and improve its functioning.

Brainwaves

Brain activity is tracked during a neurofeedback therapy session, and the data is communicated with the person through audio or visual signals. These signals show how different stimuli impact the production of different brainwaves.

There are several types of basic brainwaves that neurofeedback charts:

  • Alpha waves are associated with mental coordination, mind-body integration, and learning. Activities such as meditating or taking a walk promote the production of alpha waves.
  • Beta waves are very quick and are linked to greater alertness and arousal.
  • Theta waves influence memory, subconscious information, and vivid imagery. They are often associated with repetitive tasks from which people mentally disengage.
  • Delta waves are most common in deep, dreamless sleep.
  • Gamma waves when in high production, are linked to happiness and a good ability to concentrate. Lower levels of gamma waves can contribute to learning and memory problems.

Trauma has a massive impact on the brain’s ability to regulate itself. Even if someone is in a completely safe environment, they can still feel hyper-alert and on edge or be unable to relax enough to fall asleep at night. This may be due to different brainwaves being produced, for example, being excessively active when they should be calm.

Neurofeedback helps to soothe this dysregulation and retrain the brain to return to optimal functioning. Not only is it a treatment on its own, but it aids people in progressing in all other treatment modalities, as increased regulation makes them much more receptive to different forms of treatment. 

Benefits of Neurofeedback

There are many benefits of neurofeedback for many different conditions. It can address depression, anxiety, insomnia, substance use disorders, and trauma.[2] As well as helping with mental health conditions, neurofeedback can help those with chronically low energy. It identifies where brain activity is low and then emits low magnetic field frequencies that can potentially change how the brain functions.[3] For people who struggle to open up about their past trauma or mental health conditions, neurofeedback provides a safe non-verbal alternative to heal the brain and improve symptoms.

Neurofeedback also displays the inner workings of the brain, revealing reactions that people may not even be aware they have. Identifying and working with these negative thoughts or reactions can help people develop healthier thinking and coping methods.

Additionally, neurofeedback therapy shows the brain’s reaction in real-time. Therefore, people can see their reactions as they happen from an unbiased source. Seeing this data can be especially beneficial for those who struggle with anger and anger management, as they can be sensitive to outside criticism.[4]

Neurofeedback at Khiron Clinics

Khiron Clinics is proud to offer new neurofeedback therapy services to our clients. Our team of practitioners have been extensively trained by experts at the Trauma Research Foundation in ILF neurofeedback, ensuring that they deliver tailored trauma-informed therapy sessions that can be integrated into a comprehensive trauma treatment plan.

Contact our clinical team today to learn more about neurofeedback sessions at Khiron Clinics and the other services we offer.

If you have a client or know of someone struggling with anything you have read in this blog, reach out to us at Khiron Clinics. We believe that we can improve therapeutic outcomes and avoid misdiagnosis by providing an effective residential program and outpatient therapies addressing underlying psychological trauma. Allow us to help you find the path to realistic, long-lasting recovery. For more information, call us today. UK: 020 3811 2575 (24 hours). USA: (866) 801 6184 (24 hours).

Sources:

[1] Christiansen H, Reh V, Schmidt MH, Rief W. Slow cortical potential neurofeedback and self-management training in outpatient care for children with ADHD: study protocol and first preliminary results of a randomized controlled trial. Front Hum Neurosci. 2014;8:943.

[2] Marzbani H, Marateb HR, Mansourian M. Neurofeedback: A Comprehensive Review on System Design, Methodology and Clinical Applications. Basic Clin Neurosci. 2016;7(2):143-158.

[3] Shafiei, S.A., Firoozabadi, S.M. Local ELF-magnetic field: a possible novel therapeutic approach to psychology symptoms. Neurol Sci 35, 1651–1656 (2014).

[4] Walker MD J. QEEG-Guided Neurofeedback for Anger/Anger Control Disorder. Journal of Neurotherapy . 2013;17(1):88-92.

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