Neurofeedback Therapy has been around for many decades and has continued to gain popularity in the medical and psychological communities. A form of biofeedback therapy, Neurofeedback Therapy attempts to identify and target the sources of behavioral or physiological abnormalities and then treat these problems by altering the patient’s environment and activities. This therapy is sometimes used in conjunction with other medical interventions such as medication or cognitive-behavioral therapy. The use of neurofeedback as a diagnostic tool to identify and treat mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression is becoming more common.
Neurofeedback Therapy was developed by programmers and technicians who were attempting to solve human issues such as attention deficit disorder, epilepsy, and various diseases and injuries involving the brain. Today, neurofeedback therapy is offered at clinics, hospitals, hospices, and even in some insurance companies. Neurofeedback is also known as neurotherapy, or brainwave entrainment, and is basically the application of a stimulus, such as sound or light, to a person’s brain in order to evoke a certain brainwave frequency state. In the 1970s, researchers began developing neurofeedback therapy to help patients suffering from diseases such as epilepsy.
Symptoms of the various afflictions mentioned above can be reduced through neurofeedback therapy, and the onset of the symptoms can be postponed or relieved altogether. Neurofeedback Therapy is often successful in reducing symptoms related to such ailments as chronic pain, migraines, epilepsy, anxiety, depression, and attention deficit disorder. When using neurofeedback therapy, it is possible to control both the physical symptoms of these disorders as well as the emotional symptoms, such as fear, worry, and stress. For example, by applying stimulation to the scalp, or brain, the sufferer can reduce pain associated with tics, hair pulling, twitching, or nervousness; or treat anxiety and panic related to issues such as work, family, or school stress.
Neurofeedback Therapy involves the use of an EEG (electro-encephalograph) to monitor brainwaves during a patient’s brain wave activity. Using this information, a therapist can adjust the brain waves to alter specific brain wave patterns, resulting in the relief or elimination of symptoms. The most common form of neurofeedback therapy is called EEG biofeedback. Brainwave entrainment involves exposing the patient to short tones and pulses of sound, as well as to visually displayed images, in order to evoke a specific brainwave frequency state. This is often used to treat sleep disorders such as insomnia, or to treat serious conditions, such as epilepsy and chronic pain.
Another form of neurofeedback therapy is called coaching. It is similar to neurofeedback therapy, except that it uses an EEG monitor instead of listening to an earpiece or visually displayed image. During a session, a trained individual will coach the patient to alter his or her brain waves from one state to another. For example, a person may be taught to raise his or her brain waves to a lower level when the feelings of anxiety arise, or to lower them when the person feels calm and happy.
The final type of Neurofeedback Therapy is called EEG frequency band selective listening. In this method of treatment, a particular brainwave frequency is used only on some occasions, such as when a patient needs to relax or feel comfortable. This helps to prevent overdosing on certain brainwave frequencies, since only the frequency band that is being used for these special occasions will be picked up by the EEG monitor. While this method does not require the use of an earpiece or any type of visual display, it has been found to be quite effective in treating many different disorders, including depression, anxiety, epilepsy, chronic pain, migraine headaches, attention deficit disorder, OCD, and even ADHD. Since it is non-invasive and can be done in the comfort and privacy of your own home, this type of Neurofeedback Therapy is proving to be a great alternative to medications and invasive procedures.