Neurofeedback is considered a level one therapy for Attention and Hyperactive Behaviors according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. According to the DR. Frank H. Duffy, professor and pediatric neurologist at Harvard Medical School “In my opinion, if any medication had demonstrated such a wide spectrum of efficiency (as neurofeedback), it would be universally accepted and widely used.”
WHAT IS NEUROFEEDBACK?
neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback that measures brainwaves to produce a signal that can used as feedback to teach self regulation of the brain. It is a direct training of the brain function by which the brain learns to become more efficiently. The brain is observed in action from moment to moment and the information is relayed back to the patient. The brain is then rewarded for changing its own activity to come less dysregulated. Your brain is a very complex organ and the base of your nervous system. It contains cells named neurons which need fuel and activation. These specialized cells sends and recieve information from the whole body. These signals cause electrical impulses in the brain and form brain waves. These waves delta, theta, alpha or beta tell us about neural function at a specific location in the brain and if a certain location, lobe of the brain or brodman area has dysfunction.
The example of riding a bike is utilized often when explaining neurofeedback. Our brain learns from experience. The more we fire a neural pathway, the more refined it becomes. Like riding a bike you are getting feedback from gravity, your body in space and what your muscles are doing to keep you on the bike. The more work you put into learning to ride the bike, the more neural pathways are firing more consistently and effectienty. Once you learn to ride a bike you will always have that neural connection to ride the bike. Neurofeedback is the same way. We first need to figure out what waves are firing inappropriately and then stop them from dysreguating your brain. To preform neurofeedback, we are monitoring your brainwave activity while a specific task is being preformed, wether it be playing a game or watching a movie for feedback. Anytime the brain fires inaccurately the game stops, or movie darkens or stops playing letting the brain know that this brain activity needs to stop and these brain neural pathways dampened. In the opposite scenario when the game is playing smoothly or movie running properly your brain is functioning efficiency and effectively. The brain is getting a positive reinforcement and therefore getting a reward the movie is playing. The brain wants the reward therefore it wants more if it reinforcing the pattern. The term is “operant conditioning”. Neurofeedback uses two things the brain is very good at, pattern recognition and reward feedback to train the brain to become more balanced, less dysregulated and more efficient. Like riding a bike once you learn there should be a lasting effect.
WHAT IS BIOFEEDBACK?
Biofeedback is the use of electric monitoring normal autonomic body function (heart rate, brainwaves and respiratory rate), in order to train some on to have voluntary control of that function. For example your heart rate variability. Your heart rate is monitored by your autonomic nervous system with out any thought. Biofeedback allows you to monitor your heart rate and modify it. You may be stressed to speak infront of a group of people so your heart rate increases and may cause discomfort to you. You can with time train yourself to decrease your heart rate naturally and be more effective and focused during the speech.
WHAT IS A QEEG?
This Quantitative EEG or electroencephalogram reports electrical activity from with in the brain that can provide information on brain function. It is know as a Brain Map. This map can show areas of dysregulation and point out focused problematic areas. With correlation to a history and symptomology you can have a good picture of how your brain activity is causing function or dysfunction. This map is like looking through a window into your brain activity, takes the information and analyses it, can create a visual representation of each lobe of the brain and the waves associated with each area. The goal is to find areas that are dysreguated or not functioning optimally and also to locate areas where specific connections are weak or faltering. The QEEG allows for us to localize where the imbalances in brainwave activity are so that we can better interpret and evaluate how it is effecting your health and so we can effectively stimulate your brain where it needs it the most.
The process will take about 30 minutes to aquire the data for the map. An electro cap is placed on the head and electrical activity is recored. The data is then recorded into a visual brain map, WE the take this information and analyze the map to identify any problem areas, or areas of concern. The QEEG can literally tell us why a patient is experiencing certain neurological symptoms and what specific areas need to be worked on to support this patient.
Conditions neurofeedback can help with brain dysregualtion from a variety of health conditions such as: