Neurofeedback is a self-regulatory therapy that helps normalize and optimize brain functioning. Neurofeedback works because of the plasticity of the brain (the ability of the brain to change its activity in response to internal and external stimuli).
The human brain is capable of undergoing astonishing changes, including regeneration and growth. Most brain systems can be modified by learning. Neurofeedback training utilizes this unique feature of the brain. During training, specific experiences are used to change the brain’s cellular structure. In other words, we are “rewiring” the brain.
Neurofeedback helps us gain an understanding of what is disturbing the individual and why. To find this out, we must go directly to the source that is the brain. Brain activity is monitored electronically through electrodes placed on the scalp. The Neurofeedback therapist sets conditions that let the individual know when brainwave activity is moving in the desired direction.
Like conventional health care, Neurofeedback also starts with a diagnosis. The results are compared to large databases of neurotypical brain activities, taking into consideration age and other variables. The data banks serve as a control group for comparison purposes. During the diagnostic process, areas in the brain that are flagged as high or low (compared to the typical values in the database) become the targeted areas for regulation.
A paradigm of this type of regulation-based learning is the use of videos, video games, or music as feedback to help with the training process. Operant Conditioning is used to aid the individual in making an association between a particular behavior and a rewarding outcome.
Neurofeedback has proven benefits in individuals with conditions due to dysregulations of the mind and body some of which are listed below:1
– Attention Deficit Disorders (with or without hyperactivity)
– Depression and Mood Disorders
– Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
– Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain-Fatigue Disorders
– Sleep Disorders
In addition, Neurofeedback has proven to have a positive impact on optimum performance.
1. Swingle PG, Biofeedback for the brain, 2008, P2, 31, 32