HOW NEURO-BIOFEEDBACK WORKS
A bit of background first....
Biofeedback (Which started being used in the 1970's) is a way that technology (usually computers) tells you what your body is doing.
For instance, by putting your finger into a sensor, it will measure your heart rate and sweat glands that can be indicative of how much stress you are under. The number shows up on the computer and tells you that you have a stress level of 15.
You then take a deep breath, and now the number goes to 14. You see this in real time and you have just lowered your stress levels yourself! Because you now have a way (the computer) to do this, you can train yourself to be more calm and lower your stress. This is called self-regulation.
Neuro-biofedback (or neurofeedback) works by measuring the brain waves of an individual with an EEG. (An electroencephlagram). Simply put, The EEG readings creates a map of the brains activity in 20 areas to determine how each of the four major brain waves are working together.
Measurements with the EEG are taking readings of what is coming OUT OF THE BRAIN. NOTHING IS GOING INTO THE BRAIN. There is no pain, no shocks, or needles.
Now the therapist has a road map for treatment.
Certain wave activity could be a signature of ADD or ADHD. Other brain wave readings could mean anxiety or other issues. Neurotherapists concern themselves less with the "diagnosis" than with treating the brain and helping the brain function better. When the brain functions better, many"disorders" tend to diminish.
So the process looks like this, step by step:
- After the map is finished, a treatment protocol is determined.
- In the sessions following the map, sensors are attached to the part of the head we wish to treat. They will show the therapist the brain waves being treated. Again they measure what is coming out of the head.
- The child or adult will sit in front of a computer screen and watch a video game or other type of brain exercise.
Every time the brain waves go in the direction of better function, the game gives the client a reward. (Such as a sound or a spaceship goes faster). This tells the brain that it has done something correct. The process is repeated for 20 minutes or more and the brain "realizes" that this is the direction it needs to go. The brain is rewarded 100's of times each session.
After just a few sessions, the brain has "learned" to function better by decreasing or increasing specific brain waves that research has told us improves attention, or impulse control, or what other specific symptomology is being treated. Again, like going to the gym to strengthen your arm muscles through repetition, this process strengthens your brain " muscles" (IE; stronger brain waves) through repetitions.
The brain learns "by itself". Our conscious minds are not always needed!
This is done two times a week for 25-40 sessions or more if needed. Once the brain is in better balance, behaviors change and many symptoms dissipate.
This is a behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapies are the the safest and usually the most effective of all therapies because they involve repetition for the brain. This type of therapy also creates lasting change.
- It can make the client feel tired.
- It can make the cliet feel a bit hyper
- It can give someone a mild headache