Here is Everything You Need to Know About Neurofeedback Therapy
At Critical Thinking for Success, we use neurofeedback therapy to help our clients make the most of their minds. It’s a marvelous treatment that has helped many people drastically improve their cognitive functions.
However, we also realize that not a lot of people have heard of neurofeedback. If you are unfamiliar, then the term may sound a bit technical and intimidating. But we want to assure you that neurofeedback therapy is not difficult to understand. To prove it, we want to take you on a comprehensive exploration of the treatment.
In this post, we will explain to you what neurofeedback is, how it works, who it helps, and more.
Are you ready to become a neurofeedback expert? Good! Then let’s begin.
What is Neurofeedback Therapy?
Neurofeedback therapy is a form of biofeedback for the brain. Therapists use it to monitor clients’ brain activity, identify areas of the brain that aren’t behaving correctly, and adjust brain waves using electromagnetic signals.
In other words, neurofeedback allows us to train the brain to function properly using its own language.
The goal of neurofeedback therapy is to teach the brain to balance itself. This method is particularly effective at combating cognitive disorders, such as concussions, ADHD, PTSD, depression, sleep disorders, and memory issues.
It is important to note that neurofeedback is not a cure for these disorders. However, researchers have found that it does significantly improve the conditions and lessen their symptoms.
Different Types of Neurofeedback
There are many kinds of neurofeedback. Each method varies slightly depending on the disorders it treats. Here is a list of a few of the most common types of neurofeedback and the diseases they address:
- Frequency/power neurofeedback – ADHD, anxiety, and insomnia
- Hemoencephalographic neurofeedback (HEG) – migraines
- Live Z-score neurofeedback – insomnia
- Low-energy neurofeedback system (LENS) – concussions, ADHD, PTSD, insomnia, depression, and more.
At Critical Thinking for Success, we have had the most success using the LENS method because of the wide variety of disorders it can improve.
So, for the rest of this article, we will take a closer look at the LENS method of neurofeedback, how it works, and how it helps.
First, let’s look at how this type of neurofeedback works.
How Does Neurofeedback Work?
Like most types of neurofeedback, the LENS method requires an electroencephalogram (EEG). This machine monitors brain activity using sensors and translates it into a readout on a computer screen. An EEG can also communicate with the brain using a weak electromagnetic signal.
So, what does the LENS method look like in action?
First, a licensed therapist will use the EEG to monitor a client’s brain waves. This process requires placing two active electrodes on 21 different regions of the brain and taking readings. While the therapist takes these readings, all the patient must do is sit still with his or her eyes closed and jaw relaxed. Unsurprisingly, most people find this very relaxing.
During this process, the EEG will create a map of the patient’s brain activity. The therapist can then analyze this map and identify areas of the brain that are malfunctioning. These are the areas the therapist will focus on for the rest of the treatment.
Next, the therapist will once again put the electrodes on the patient’s head. However, this time, he or she will focus solely on the areas in need of improvement. The patient will sit with her eyes closed and jaw relaxed as the EEG communicates with the brain using a weak magnetic signal. As the brain waves interact with that signal, they will slowly begin to imitate it. In this way, the LENS method teaches the brain to regulate itself.
Each of these sessions lasts an hour at most, and generally, it takes a few sessions before clients start seeing results. It all depends on the unique makeup of each client’s brain.
What Does Brain Mapping Look Like?
There is an essential bond between brain mapping and neurofeedback. Without an accurate map of the brain, neurofeedback will not work. But what exactly does it look like to map a human brain?
In truth, the maps of the brain we use for neurofeedback look more like bar graphs. Each bar along the graph represents one of the 21 spots on your head where we placed the sensors. Through those sensors, the EEG registered your brain waves and recorded them on the computer.
These graphs tell us a few different things about your brain activity. First, they show the frequency of the brain wave, or how fast the wave is moving. We can also see the variation of the frequencies. And thirdly, it displays the amplitude of the waves, which tells us how much electrical activity is going on in the brain.
From this data, we can determine which areas of your brain are not performing to their full potential. We can then focus on treating those areas as we help you heal your mind.
Who Benefits from Neurofeedback?
One of the things we love about neurofeedback is how it can help just about anyone. Although we frequently use it to help people with cognitive disorders, you don’t have to have a disorder to benefit from it!
People from all walks of life have enjoyed the many benefits of neurofeedback. Office workers enjoy how it improves their ability to focus on their work and organize their tasks. Parents appreciate how it improves their sleep and overall mood. And older adults like how it can improve their memory and decrease their confusion. Indeed, anyone can benefit from neurofeedback therapy.
Of course, as we mentioned, neurofeedback is especially relevant for people with cognitive disorders. This list includes football players with concussions, school children with ADHD, and war veterans with PTSD.
It is always a pleasure to see a person find relief from a disorder with neurofeedback. But how exactly does the treatment help? Let us explain.
How Does Neurofeedback Combat ADHD, Concussions, and Other Cognitive Disorders?
As we mentioned above, we use the LENS method because it can treat a wide variety of conditions. Here’s a brief overview of why it is effective against the following disorders:
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a cognitive disorder that makes it hard to focus. Although the verdict is still out on what exactly causes this disorder, recent research suggests it results from an overabundance of theta waves and lack of beta waves in the brain.
Using neurofeedback, we can detect these wave imbalances and target areas of the brain where they occur. This process has been shown to lessen the severity of ADHD and improve a person’s ability to focus.
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury, which can have devastating long-term effects. Fortunately, neurofeedback therapy is ideal for diagnosing severe brain damage.
Using the LENS method, we can find which of the 21 areas of the brain was damaged by the concussion. Then we can treat those regions with electromagnetic signals, which will increase their health over time.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder in which the brain is stuck in perpetual “fight, flight, or freeze mode.” People develop PTSD when they go through a traumatic experience and their stellate ganglion, the part of the brain that signals danger, gets stuck. As a result, it alerts them of danger even when there is none.
We can use neurofeedback to regulate this disorder by transmitting signals to the stellate ganglion that offset it to a more regular frequency. We have used this method to relieve many people with PTSD of their stress.
Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and depression are crippling disorders that result from parts of the brain malfunctioning. While neurofeedback is by no means a cure for depression or anxiety, it can improve the functioning in these areas and help a person find relief.
It’s no secret that our memory often declines as we age. However, it can be hard to know what to do when you feel yourself becoming more forgetful.
Fortunately, neurofeedback can combat this helplessness by giving us a way to see exactly why a person’s memory is waning. Furthermore, we can target the areas where the mental decay is occurring and get a person’s brain back on track before it’s too late.
Does Neurofeedback Work?
Being able to train your brain through neurofeedback is a nice idea. However, there are those who are understandably skeptical about the overall effectiveness of neurofeedback. And we understand the skepticism. After all, neurofeedback is still a relatively unknown method that has only been around since the late 1950’s.
Still, you cannot argue with results. And at Critical Thinking for Success, we have seen many people’s lives changed through our treatments. In fact, the reason we started doing neurofeedback is that our founder, Bob Kauffman, experienced the benefits of the therapy in the wake of a profound tragedy in his life. He was so astounded by the cognitive relief it brought him that he has made it one of his life goals to give that relief to others.
Of course, the most important thing to understand is neurofeedback treatment takes time. While some patients experience improvements right away after the first session, it takes longer for others. That’s why we want to make it clear up front that for some clients require only ten sessions while others need thirty. It all depends on the unique makeup of your brain.
Where Can I Find Neurofeedback Reviews?
The full story of neurofeedback therapy goes far beyond science. If you want to see the real beauty of this treatment, you should watch and read patient testimonials. You can find many compelling stories online of people having their cognitive health revived by neurofeedback therapy.
If you’re interested, you can find many client testimonials about neurofeedback on our website. You can also visit our YouTube channel to watch former pro football players testify to how our treatments help them recover from concussions.
Is There Neurofeedback Training for Professionals?
Perhaps learning about neurofeedback in this article has sparked your interest in learning how to do it yourself. The good news is there’s plenty of neurofeedback training available for aspiring professionals. Bob Kauffman learned of neurofeedback from a client years ago and fell in love with it. You are sure to fall in love with it as well.
Want to Give It a Try?
We hope you have benefited greatly from this crash course and feel more comfortable with neurofeedback. If it sounds like something you’d like to try, then we would be happy to get you started.
Critical Thinking for Success is Chicagoland’s foremost neurofeedback therapy provider. We have offices in Chicago and Deerfield and offer flexible appointment times to meet your busy schedule.