Frequently Asked Questions
How Can Neurofeedback Work On So Many Conditions?
Is Neurofeedback Dangerous?
Absolutely not! Neurofeedback is safe because it is non-invasive, requires no drugs and does not produce any radiation like a CT scan does. The goal of neurofeedback is to identify irregular brainwave patterns and make very subtle corrections. With multiple sessions, the brain will learn to self-regulate.
Are Drugs Needed?
No. Neurofeedback does not require anything more than your attention for approximately 30 minutes per session. In fact, after several successful sessions you may be able to start eliminating medications you are taking for attention or other neurobehavioral challenges (based on your prescribing doctor’s approval and instructions). Patient’s often come to use because they do not want to start medications or are looking for options to move away from medications. Many of our patients have been able to meet their goals regarding medication use.
A Brain Map Interesting. Does It Hurt?
Absolutely not! A brain map is simply a surface scan of your scalp which picks up the electrical impulses we call brainwaves. We do use conductive paste, but there are no shocks, no pain and no discomfort. All you do is sit in a comfortable chair while the test is performed for 6 minutes with your eyes open, and six minutes with your eyes closed. The computer does the rest.
Why Haven’t I heard of Neurofeedback Before?
Neurofeedback has been around since the 1950’s. It is only in the last decade and with the advancement of computer technology that Neurofeedback has been able to move from laboratory research to a system that can be administered in an office setting.
Could You Explain More About Brainwaves?
Your brain produces four primary types of brain waves: Beta, Alpha, Theta and Delta. Beta is primarily active during your awake state, which is the majority of your day. Alpha has to do with your subconscious, and is dominant during relaxed states when your eyes are closed but you are not asleep. Theta is present briefly during the periods before you fall asleep and before you fully wake up. Delta is primarily active when you are asleep. All of these brain waves are equally important to your health, and neurological disorders can be attributed to specific brain waves. For example, when you have brain irregularities caused by a head injury, your brain may have too much frontal theta or delta being produced when you are supposed to be awake and alert. By retraining these abnormal patterns in the affected areas, symptoms can be improved or eliminated.
How Long Do Neurofeedback Sessions Take?
Each session usually lasts approximately 30 minutes.
What Happens During A Neurofeedback Session?
Neurofeedback sessions involve relaxing for about 30 minutes in a comfortable chair while you watch a movie or listen to music of your choice. Neurofeedback uses both visual and auditory cues to teach your brain how to function in a health range. Here is how it works…Sensors are attached to your scalp with conductive paste that monitor your brainwaves during the session. When irregular patterns are detected by the computer, a response is triggered from the software that pauses or dims the video or music. This response will automatically teach your brain to focus more, which will move your brainwaves back into normal ranges. During times when desired brain wave patterns are detected, a response is triggered from the software that provides a reward tone and allows the music or video to play normally. These responses during neurofeedback will automatically cause you to focus more, which will move your brainwaves back into normal ranges. With repetition of this process over multiple sessions, your brain can learn to stay within healthy ranges on its own without neurofeedback.
How Soon Will I See Results From Neurofeedback?
Symptoms: Regardless of the reason you came to our office, it is important to understand the difference between symptoms and their cause. As your program progresses, you will have good days and bad days. Don’t get caught up in the roller coaster; it is normal. You will be happiest and get the best results if you understand that this is a process designed to get you functioning at your peak level and get you on the road to wellness. Stay focused on this outcome so you are pleased with your results and can enjoy the journey.
The timing results will vary from person to person based on many factors including general health, exercise, stress, diet, length of time with the condition, the initial severity score given to each patient before starting care. Some feel different within a couple of sessions, while tougher conditions will take many 20-30 sessions to see any noticeable results. It’s important to not get impatient or judge improvements (or lack thereof) from day to day. The type of neurofeedback training we offer here is permanent. Neurofeedback helps to improve functions such as concentration, short-term memory, speech, motor skills, sleep, energy level, and emotional balance.
How Long Will The Effects Of Neurofeedback Last?
Long term follow ups have been done on many patients over the years. Dr. Joel Lubar at the University of Tennessee has followed ADD clients who’ve sustained their improvements from neurofeedback for 10-20 years. Published research on epilepsy 12 months after brain training shows the effects on epilepsy usually holds.
Can I Use Neurofeedback While On Medication?
Yes you can start neurofeedback while on your medications. As you progress your physician might suggest that you slowly reduce or eliminate certain medications related to the condition that you are addressing with neurofeedback. Since every patient is unique, the decision to reduce medication will be up to your physician. More research is needed on this, but a common theory is that the same dosage seems to have a stronger effect on a more efficient brain.
Can Neurofeedback Cause Negative Effects?
If used improperly, it is possible to see problems. That is to be expected from a system that can produce such positive changes. It all comes down to training and proper use. Fortunately, each session is designed to create small changes in brainwave activity, meaning that problems can be spotted and corrected before they become bigger. Our clinic has extensive training on this equipment and can change protocols as needed if negative effects are seen.
Can Neurofeedback Help With ADD And ADHD?
Recent research suggests that individuals with ADD/ADHD tend to have elevated theta brainwave activity and low levels of beta brainwave activity. Symptoms of ADD/ADHD are usually reduced when brainwave activity is changed. Neurofeedback is commonly used as an adjunct or alternative treatment to medication and behavior management.
How Much Research Is There On Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback has been around for decades. To date there are thousands of studies, with more being published every day. The International Society of Neurofeedback and Research has a comprehensive bibliograpthy on all the research related to neurofeedback for a variety of conditions.
My doctor is skeptical about Neurofeedback. What should I do?
Your doctor may not be aware of this specific type of biofeedback. Maintaining healthy skepticism about any new approach claiming these kinds of benefits across disorders is normal. Ask your doctor to review recent research on the effectiveness of Neurofeedback. Research is most readily available at ISNR and sites listed below:
American Academy of Pediatrics Research regarding ADHD
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