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 30 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
- Executive Function within 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.
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.
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.
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.