What Is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is a non-invasive, reward-based training of brain function, by which the brain learns to function more efficiently. Chronic imbalance in the electrical impulses in our brains can have severe effects on our day to day life and causing problems such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, behavior disorders, sleep disorders, headaches and migraines, PMS and emotional disturbances. Organic brain conditions such as seizures, the autism spectrum, and cerebral palsy are also affected by the electrical signals in our brain. Neurofeedback is a form of biofeedback that works to change the electrical activity of your brain and teach the brain self-regulation.
When the brain is dysregulated it is like a symphony orchestra tuning up, making a lot of noise that is unpleasant to the ear. Neurofeedback monitors brain function in real time and provides feedback through visual, auditory and physical means. The brain is then rewarded for changing its own activity to more appropriate patterns.
How does Neurofeedback work?
The Institute of Neurofeedback employs the Othmer Method which is the gold standard of neurofeedback training. During each training session, sensors are placed on the scalp to monitor brainwave activity. A computer then provides feedback on a large video monitor as well as audio and physical feedback using tactile teddy bear. When your brain waves are functioning in an optimal range, the stimuli operate smoothly which acts as a reward for your brain. When your brain is operating in an inefficient manner, you receive negative feedback (the video pauses, the sound stops, etc). This tells your brain that something is out of balance, which encourages it to try and return to a more balanced state.
Over the course of a neurofeedback training program, your brain learns from this feedback. This can promote lasting structural changes within your brain. Much like physical exercises develop specific muscles, the more your brain is exercised into reaching a more comfortable, more efficient position, the better it gets at it. As with learning any new skill, it simply requires time and repetition. The brain then consistently operates within a more optimal range outside of your training sessions, alleviating your symptoms.