Neurofeedback - Neurotherapy - Listen And Learn Centre
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Neurofeedback – Neurotherapy

Neurofeedback, otherwise also known as Neurotherapy or EEG (Electroencephalogram), is a technology based learning technique that uses a computer to give information to a person about his or her own brainwave pattern in the form of EEG activity, in order to train the person to modify his or her own brainwaves. When the brain is not functioning properly, evidence of this usually shows up in EEG activity. EEG Biofeedback assists a person to alter his or her own brainwave characteristics by challenging the brain to learn to reorganise and function better. The EEG Biofeedback technique is a process in which subtle brainwave information is amplified and shown back to the trainee in the form of a computer game. The object of the training is to re-educate the brain to make voluntary changes via computerized graphic displays and auditory signals that encourage a change in mental state and thus challenge the brain to function more effectively.

The EEG Biofeedback technique has been found to be effective in treating a number of conditions. EEG training is a gradual learning process with full programs taking 20 to 60 sessions.

Treating ADHD with Neurofeedback / Neurotherapy

The Listen And Learn Centre has prepared a paper summarising neurofeedback studies from around the world. You can download the link here…… Treating ADD/ADHD with Neurofeedback

Therapeutic Applications for Children and Teenagers

The following disorders have published clinical evidence or clinical reports on the effectiveness of EEG Biofeedback:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) & ADD
  • Autism
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Epilepsy
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Sleep Disorders

Further information on Therapeutic Applications for Children and Teenagers

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder / ADD

ADHD is characterised by behaviours such as inattention, distractibility and impulsivity. Researchers have identified three subtypes within this disorder dependant on the dominance of the behaviour. One of the subtypes is characterised by the prevalence of inattention, another characterised by impulsivity and hyperactivity, and the third by a combination of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Research has also indicated that children who suffer from ADHD appear to be less able to produce Beta brainwave activity above 14 Hz and experience more slow wave activity specially in the Theta brainwave region from 4-8Hz. In order to learn and concentrate at peak performance, the brain needs to emit high levels of Beta brainwaves and low levels of Theta brainwaves, as an imbalance is believed to be associated with poor concentration. EEG Biofeedback training aims at increasing Beta waves and decreasing Theta waves. In the process of the training the child is rewarded, via a computer game, to make voluntary brainwave activity changes. Using computerized graphic displays and auditory signals that encourage a change in mental state, the brain is challenged to function more effectively and thus teaches the child’s brain to improve skills of managing attention, arousal and to have better control over his or her own emotional state and behaviour.

Autism

EEG Biofeedback training has been shown to assist children with autism in the following areas: verbal, physical and social communication. Clinical evidence of improved speech, responsiveness, balance, understanding and appropriate facial expressions have been observed. EEG Biofeedback training has shown to assist in decreasing sensory sensitivities and to respond better to changes in the environment.

Epilepsy

EEG Biofeedback training was first used therapeutically for epilepsy and clinical research is most extensive in this area. It has been shown to assist in the treatment of the various types of epilepsy, including petit mal, grand mal and complex partial seizures. EEG Biofeedback training can be considered as another element in the management program as it has been shown to assist in the reduction of the medication dose required to achieve seizure control.

Learning Difficulties

Learning difficulties can occur in one or more of the basic processes involved in understanding written or spoken language. Learning difficulties are believed to be a result of variations in the brain’s functioning. Learning problems can occur in the auditory, memory or processing functions and cause problems in the understanding or remembering of words, in expressing or receiving oral or written language, in forming letters or in grasping mathematical concepts. EEG Biofeedback is becoming recognised for its application to learning difficulties. It has been found that children with learning difficulties show elevated levels of Alpha and Theta brainwaves and this could be disruptive to ongoing mental activities. EEG Biofeedback is aimed at lowering Alpha and Theta brainwaves and has shown to improve reading, writing, mathematics and drawing abilities as well as increasing IQ scores.

Sleeping Problems

Sleeping problems involve difficulties related to sleep and can include bedwetting, sleep walking, sleep talking, night terrors and anxiety related to falling asleep. EEG Biofeedback training has been used successfully to assist these disorders as it normalises brain self-regulation of physiological arousal and the first reported signs of change upon initiating EEG training, is improvement in the quality of sleep.

Therapeutic Applications for Adults

The following disorders have clinical evidence on the effectiveness of EEG Biofeedback

  • Anxiety
  • Auto-Immune Dysfunction
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
  • Chronic Pain
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Stroke/Minor Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Tourette Syndrome
  • Peak Mental Performance

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Historically Biofeedback is best known in the area of stress management and relaxation training. Anxiety as a disorder can be described by extreme reactions such as phobias and panic attacks or as severe tension, stage fright or performance anxiety. Anxiety is a sign of difficulties with self-regulation by the brain. EEG Biofeedback training gives the trainee specific information from his EEG, and is asked to bring aspects of it under control, training the brain to regulate itself better. This learned skill is subsequently unconsciously employed to aid in shifting to a more relaxed and appropriate high-performance state, assisting to overcome anxiety and panic attacks.

Auto-Immune Dysfunction

There is substantial empirical evidence that EEG Biofeedback training can assist the symptoms of auto-immune diseases, in which the immune system is at war with the normal functioning body. Diseases such as Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus have been observed to improve in that benefits are shown in terms of higher energy levels, better sleep, focused attention, reduced mood volatility, normalization of pain thresholds and improved overall well-being.

Chronic Pain

EEG Biofeedback has been successfully used with chronic pain sufferers. In chronic pain we assume that the injury, which originally gave rise to the pain has healed, yet the pain survives and may have worsened over time. As pain continues over the long term, the pain threshold may become lower and the perception of pain may heighten. In other words, the brain pays more attention to the sensation of pain. Constant endurance of chronic pain can lower the brain’s threshold to pain, increasing the perception of pain experienced. EEG Biofeedback brainwave training can succeed in raising the threshold to pain and may even restore it to a normal level, thus lowering the perception of pain experienced. If there is continuing injury, the pain threshold can at least be returned toward normal values and pain ameliorated. The brain will have recalibrated the pain threshold.

Depression

EEG Biofeedback training addresses the basic mechanism by which the brain controls physiological arousal, in that it normalises the arousal mechanism. The training is effective regardless of the cause by which the person has become depressed, whether from a genetic pre-disposition, physical or emotional trauma, or from a physiological change of unknown origin. As training proceeds the client may find that anti-depressant or stimulant medication may need to be lowered and hence the person should remain under medical care for his or her condition, so that the medication dose may be monitored.

Epilepsy

EEG Biofeedback training was first used therapeutically for epilepsy and clinical research is most extensive in this area. It has been shown to assist in the treatment of the various types of epilepsy, including petit mal, grand mal and complex partial seizures. EEG Biofeedback training can be considered as another element in the management program as it has been shown to assist in the reduction of the medication dose required to achieve seizure control.

Peak Mental Performance

EEG Biofeedback training has been used for a number of years in assisting a variety of client groups such as golfers, sports people, corporate executives and military personnel, to reach higher levels of mental performance. The training protocols address issues of physiological arousal, focus and attention, brain hemispheric balance, relaxation and executive function. EEG Biofeedback is a learning technique and training tool. The client will become aware of the changes being brought about with the training, and will be able to verify the progress toward a greater level of competency by periodic testing to validate such progress.

Sleeping Problems

There is clinical evidence that EEG Biofeedback training assists a variety of sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea, as well as other sleep problems like difficulty falling asleep, waking up often, etc. which are symptoms associated with states of anxiety and depression. Training with EEG Biofeedback has shown to assist in normalizing brain self-regulation of physiological arousal and because of this, the first reported signs of change upon initiating EEG training is improvement in the quality of sleep.

Stroke/Minor Traumatic Brain Injury

Stroke may have consequences for a variety of brain functions. EEG Biofeedback training can assist with the recovery due to specific loss which the person has suffered, and can also be effective with the secondary symptoms such as malaise, poor sleep, irritability, depression, anxiety and so on. EEG Biofeedback is helpful in the long-term recovery of function. Training is done at the conventional cortical sites for the training of control of physiological arousal. Clinical evidence for the effectiveness of EEG Biofeedback in the treatment of minor traumatic brain injury has also shown that the training assists in reducing symptoms associated with this condition such as: loss of energy; headaches and chronic pain; dizziness and vertigo; memory impairment; difficulty concentrating; anxiety, depression, and mood swings; sleep disturbances and visual perceptual problems. Clinical experience has shown that significant further recovery can be elicited with EEG Biofeedback training even after other therapies have reach a plateau.

Tension Headaches & Migraines

EEG Biofeedback training has been found to be very successful in the remediation of tension headaches and migraines. The training aims at improving brain self-regulation and can induce a change in the physiological state, training the brain to have a higher threshold for headache onset. This is a learning process and testing with the T.O.V.A. or I.V.A. in order to assess a person’s attention skills is very useful, as attention is one of the most fundamental of brain processes, as it is a good indicator of status of brain self-regulation. More than 80% of people who complete the training regime report a remediation of headache syndromes.

Further detail regarding the clinical applications of EEG Biofeedback can be found on the EEG spectrum Website. Additional reading can be found at EEGResearch.com.