Neurofeedback therapy is a type of biofeedback that focuses on the brain and central nervous system.
Like other biofeedback techniques, it enables you to change your physiological activity—in this case, brainwaves—in order to enhance your health and well-being. Neurofeedback therapy uses electroencephalography (EEG, a common diagnostic tool in neurology) to “feed back” information to your brain.
How Does Neurofeedback Therapy Work?
Neurofeedback therapy identifies brainwave patterns associated with negative symptoms and provides feedback that encourages the production of more positive patterns—such as slowing down brainwaves, speeding them up or acting on excitatory/inhibitory pathways.
Unlike conventional biofeedback techniques, in which you concentrate and willfully try to change physiological reactions, you’re not “telling” your brain to calm down or rev up. This therapy focuses more or less on a subconscious level.
What Is a Typical Treatment Session Like?
Before neurofeedback therapy begins, you usually undergo a quantitative EEG that “maps” the electrical activity in your brain and identifies patterns that are likely causing symptoms.
When you undergo neurofeedback therapy, electrodes are applied to your scalp that monitor the brain’s electrical impulses and transmit them to a computer. Then you simply sit back and watch a program on the computer screen.
If you’re focused and relaxed, you’ll enjoy the images and sounds on the computer. When your attention wanders or you become anxious, the pictures and sounds fade in and out until your brain gets back on track.
Sessions last about half an hour and are repeated as needed, usually six to 20 times, or as long as it takes for you to normalize brainwaves on your own.
Brain entrainment may also be used during neurofeedback therapy sessions. This involves wearing special glasses that employ blinking lights to guide your brain toward specific wavelengths. The end result is an enduring sense of profound calmness and well-being similar to meditation or deep relaxation.
What Conditions Is Neurofeedback Therapy Good For?
Neurofeedback therapy treats a variety of diverse conditions, including, but not limited to:
- Cognitive problems,
- Post-traumatic stress disorder,
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