What is neurofeedback?

Neurofeedback, also called EEG biofeedback, is a system of training the brain to function more efficiently. It involves a system of rewards when the brain changes its activity to more appropriate patterns. The brain’s actions are measured by an electroencephalogram (EEG), and the client learns to self-regulate his or her own brain function.

The technician applies electrodes to the scalp that can monitor brain wave activity. Through the use of an integrated computer, the brain wave frequencies are monitored. Some are desirable, others less so, and the client learns to control his or her brain wave frequencies for better “brain health.”

This is all accomplished through the use of a video game. (Did you ever stop to think that video games might be therapeutic?!)

Mental health specialists and rehabilitation specialists are among the professionals who provide neurofeedback. Discrete protocols are specific to certain types of problems (e.g. specific mental health issues, drug abuse, problems caused by the natural aging process, differing physical conditions, cognitive functions), and assessment tools are available to help determine which will be the most efficacious neurofeedback protocol to use for each individual patient. Almost any brain can be trained to function better.

Neurofeedback’s success rate varies according to the nature and cause of the problem being addressed. Treatment for Parkinsonism, for example, has a less enduring success rate. Treatment for emotional/mental health disorders and for substance abuse is substantially more successful.

Neurofeedback is, in fact, so often so successful that patients taking medications for their problem often can discontinue or at least minimize their meds. Of course, this should not be done without the approval of the prescribing physician, but with his or her approval, it may well be possible to stop the meds in question.