What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback (NF) is an advanced form of biofeedback that focuses on the brain and central nervous system (CNS). NF helps to enhance the functioning of the brain and nervous system by providing real time electroencephalography (EEG) information. NF is based on evidence demonstrating that many difficulties, such as depression, insomnia, anxiety, ADHD, migraines, and others, can be associated with unproductive brainwave activity. These maladaptive patterns can be changed through the EEG feedback process.
In NF, a person’s brainwave activity (EEG) is measured microsecond by microsecond. Information gathered from this process is given back to the person through audio feedback. In essence, NF provides the brain with information about its own activity. When given this information, the brain can learn to regulate itself more effectively, which often translates into relief from unwanted symptoms.
What does Neurofeedback training entail?
The most common process of NF entails 1-2 sessions per week for the first 8 – 10 sessions and then reducing the frequency of sessions to once every week or every other week as needed. Many clients notice some benefit within the first few sessions and a significant resolution of their symptoms within 20 sessions. More entrenched problems might take longer to resolve depending on the nature and severity of the issues.
How long do the benefits last?
Because NF is a learning process, once your brain learns how to function more efficiently and optimally, the results tend to be quite permanent. Occasionally, some clients have found the need for “booster” sessions due to significant external stressors that have triggered old patterns of functioning. When this occurs, it usually only takes a few sessions to get back to a better state of mind. Some people enjoy doing maintenance sessions once a month as a type of self-care.
Who can benefit from Neurofeedback?
Because every aspect of human functioning is connected in some way to the brain, NF has a wide range of applications. For instance, many have used NF to help with migraines (click here for an interesting study on the effectiveness of NF for headaches), chronic pain, insomnia, and symptoms of epilepsy. Still others find relief from symptoms of PTSD, ADHD or ADD, depression, or anxiety. NF is also growing in popularity in the area of peak performance, such as with athletes, business executives, or anyone who desires to enhance their overall functioning.
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