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Neurofeedback (NFB), also referred to as brainwave or EEG biofeedback, is a drug-free treatment technique to support healthy functioning of the brain and central nervous system. Like other forms of biofeedback, neurofeedback uses sensors to monitor physical changes in the body. This form of training involves placing small sensors on the scalp to detect changes in your brainwave activity. The EEG patterns can be immediately analyzed by a computer that then presents sound and video information based on your brain's performance. Using this feedback, you can learn to regulate or control your brain states. This is helpful because the state of the brain has a major influence on how we think, act, and feel, both emotionally and physically.

 

With each passing decade, we become more aware of the high level of flexibility available in the human brain, often called neuroplasticity. Given the right circumstances and training, new neuronal connections can be made and old patterns can be extinguished, even in cases of significant trauma.

Conditions that can be Effectively Treated with Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback integrates clinical expertise with the best available research to address cognitive, behavioral, and subjective functions related to brain activity and therefore meets the American Psychological Association's definition of evidence-based intervention. Extensive research demonstrates effectiveness for specific conditions such as ADHD and epilepsy. Scientific studies are also showing neurofeedback to be promising for depression, insomnia, anxiety, chronic pain, addictions, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and autism spectrum disorders. Individuals have had success when using neurofeedback to address stroke, OCD, PTSD, bipolar disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, migraines, tinnitus and other health issues. Additionally, NFB training is being used to assist athletes and performing artists to remove obstacles to peak performance.

Determining Neurofeedback Training Protocols – qEEG Brain Mapping

Neurofeedback is based on objective assessment of brain activity and psychological functioning. In addition to talking with your neurofeedback professional, you may be asked to fill out a number of questionnaires on the computer to share more information about symptoms, problems and cognitive and behavioral functioning. Assessment is also likely to include a quantitative EEG (qEEG), which records the brain's electrical activity at multiple sites on the surface of the scalp. At Integrative Therapies, qEEG brain mapping typically involves taking measurements from approximately 20 scalp locations, utilizing a cap which fits comfortably on the head. The actual recording time takes around 20 to 30 minutes. The brainwave information that is collected is compared to an extensive normative database. Once the assessment has been completed, your practitioner develops a treatment plan that specifies the sites on the scalp and the brainwave elements to be trained. Feedback parameters may change over time, determined by your brain's response to feedback and general progress over the course of treatment.

The 'Integrative' Approach - Neurofeedback Combined with Other Treatment Interventions

Neurofeedback can be a very effective treatment in its own right but it can also be successfully combined with other therapies to support optimal outcomes. Peripheral biofeedback, such as surface EMG or heart rate variability biofeedback, can help individuals learn relaxation and stress management skills. These modalities can be introduced prior to neurofeedback training or at any point in the therapeutic process to enhance self-regulation abilities. For those who are dealing with anxiety, depression or other cognitive or emotional issues, counseling with a mental health professional may also be an empowering strategy to support well-being.

Many people who are participating in a neurofeedback program at Integrative Therapies, also receive services from our physical therapy and nutrition departments. Individuals who are dealing with neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease or chronic pain conditions such as migraine or fibromyalgia, will often be involved in a physical therapy program that includes neuromuscular re-education and pain management interventions. Because the brain's health can be very dependent on biochemical and nutritional factors, a referral is sometimes made for consultation with one of our registered dietitians.

NEUROFEEDBACK FAQ

What is a typical neurofeedback training session be like?
How often would I need to attend sessions?
How long will training take?
Are there any side effects?
What organizations and professionals are using NFB?
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Who provides neurofeedback services at Integrative Therapies?
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