How Biofeedback and Neurofeedback therapy work

Biofeedback is a non-invasive therapy method that can help you regulate and improve your autonomic (involuntary) body functions such as heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, body temperature, and muscle activity. You can also train and enhance your brain function through this process which is called Neurofeedback or electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback.

Research has proven that Biofeedback and Neurofeedback are drug-free, noninvasive, and painless methods which, separately or together, can improve numerous problems associated with brain and body dysregulations.    

The primary goal of Biofeedback and Neurofeedback is physiological and psychological self-regulation. These methods help you to normalize and optimize your body and brain functions through a learning process. Once you learn to control your involuntary physiologic functions and improve your brain and nervous system reactions, these skills become automatic, ready to call on anytime, anywhere

What tools do we have?

Like all other learning methods, we need some tools to help us achieve our goal. In Biofeedback and Neurofeedback therapy, operant conditioning training process, brain neuroplasticity, and sophisticated computerized systems are assisting us to reach our target.

Operant conditioning is the process of learning positive behaviors through rewards, and negative behaviors through punishments. However, Biofeedback is designed to always be rewarding. In other words, the successful regulation of specific psycho-physiological process is linked to pleasant experiences.

Our brain has an astonishing ability to modify its connections and to rewire itself and this is how we learn new skills throughout our lives. We call this amazing quality “neuroplasticity” or “Brain Plasticity”.

Neurofeedback and Biofeedback devices are made using advanced technology to gain deep insights into the psychophysiology of health and performance. Through real-time measurement of body and brain signals, these instruments provide the bigger picture of the body and brain`s reactions to physical, mental, and emotional stimulants. These devices come with a customizable software as a platform to help therapist with gathering information, managing the training sessions and storing the data.

Assessment

During assessment process, we monitor in action involuntary physiologic processes and brainwave activities from moment-to-moment.

The results of this assessment are compared with a large database of Physiologically and neurologically typical activities, taking into consideration age and other variables. The findings will help identify which specific autonomic functions and/or areas of the brain are out of alignment. Once we have this important baseline information, the Biofeedback and Neurofeedback therapy can be tailored to the functions and areas that need training.

Image of neurofeedback for PTSD therapy

How it helps?

During the Neurofeedback therapy, while the electrodes are on your head, we train your brain based on the findings in your EEG assessment to produce the brainwaves in certain desired range.  At the same time, the system is connected to an external media system such as a movie, a music, or a computer game. You will be asked to choose the specific medium which you enjoy.

As long as your brain produces brainwaves in the required range, the feedback or medium is running. Whenever your brain generates brainwaves that are outside of the desired range, the feedback fades out and you will no longer see or hear the medium that you were enjoying. So, your brain rapidly learns, before you even realise, how to function in order to keep the feedback from fading out so that you can continue enjoying it.

The Biofeedback procedure works almost the same, although we have sensors attached to other areas like the fingertip and/or shoulder muscles.

Image of neurofeedback for PTSD therapy

Applications

With the help of Biofeedback therapy, you learn to improve and regulate your HRV (heat rate variability), and enhance your breathing, body temperature, and blood pressure in order to reduce the stress.

Biofeedback and Neurofeedback regulate body and brain activities, so it can be used successfully to help with a range of symptoms and conditions associated with body and brain dysregulations such as:

Attention Deficit Disorders

Sleep Disorders

Burnout and Stress

Depression

Anxiety and Obsession

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders

Migraine

Tension headache

Hypertension

Temporoman Dibular disorder

Tinnitus

Heart Rate Variability

References

Swingle PG, Biofeedback for the brain, 2008, P2, 31, 32. [Ref.]

Marzbani, H., Marateb, H. R., & Mansourian, M. (2016). Neurofeedback: a comprehensive review on system design, methodology and clinical applications. Basic and Clinical Neuroscience, 7(2), 143-158. [PubMed.] [Ref.]

Markiewcz R. The use of EEG Biofeedback/Neurofeedback in psychiatric rehabilitation. Psychiatr Pol. 2017 Dec 30;51(6):1095-1106. English, Polish. doi: 10.12740/PP/68919. Epub 2017 Dec 30. PMID: 29432505. [PubMed.]

Yucha C, Gilbert C, Evidence-Based Practice in Biofeedback and Neurofeedback, 2004, P1 [Ref.]

Frank DL, Khorshid L, Kiffer JF, Moravec CS, McKee MG. Biofeedback in medicine: who, when, why and how? Ment Health Fam Med. 2010 Jun;7(2):85-91. PMID: 22477926; PMCID: PMC2939454. [PubMed.] [Ref.]

Schoenberg PL, David AS. Biofeedback for psychiatric disorders: a systematic review. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2014 Jun;39(2):109-35. doi: 10.1007/s10484-014-9246-9. PMID: 24806535 [PubMed.] [Ref.]

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