Neurofeedback

Brain activity is a concerted effort – meaning our various brain functions work together, literally “in concert,” all the time. When we perform various tasks, specific areas of the brain “fire up” and become engaged with other areas. If that engagement is not in sync – that is, if even one area is “off” – the brain loses its ability to process information effectively or respond to the task at hand.

Neurofeedback is an effective tool to recreate harmony in our brain activity, assisting in the treatment of symptoms associated with ADHD, ASD, Depression, Anxiety, Headaches, as well as other problems. At Therapeutic Options, the two types of Neurofeedback we use are Brainwave and pIR HEG.

Initial Assessment

In preparing a person’s Neurofeedback protocol, we consider developmental history, a review of current symptoms, and the goals of the individual. In some cases, we may also use an assessment tool called a Quantitative EEG. QEEG is a brain mapping technique, like an MRI or PET scan, which illustrates brain-timing issues that can impact mood, behavior and attention. For the purposes of Brainwave Neurofeedback, it shows us where to “train the brain.” A qEEG session involves little more than sitting in a comfortable chair with electrodes attached to your scalp and can be done right in our office.

Brainwave Neurofeedback

Brainwave Neurofeedback is a training technique that presents the user with feedback so he or she can establish more control over brainwave activity and its corresponding behaviors, moods and mental states. Brain science has shown that repetitive exercise of brain networks results in an actual change in the brain (neuroplasticity). Based on the idea that the brain can correct and balance itself when given the right opportunity, Brainwave Neurofeedback allows you to address a core neurological problem by reconfiguring the activity in your brain.

During a Brainwave Neurofeedback session, we affix sensors to the scalp to transmit brainwaves to a computer. The computer then translates the information into a series of constantly changing graphs and “video game” displays. If brain activity moves in a desired direction, the person is “rewarded” with visual and auditory cues in the game. This real-time feedback allows someone to learn what it feels like to produce specific, desirable brainwaves. In fact, brain activity feedback is provided every half second. This means that over the course of a 30-minute session, you get over 3,500 chances to “learn.” That’s a lot of repetitive exercise.
 
pIR HEG Neurofeedback – Passive Infrared Hemoencephalography

Another technique we use is pIR HEG Neurofeedback, which was originally developed as an intervention for migraines. Hemoencephelalography is the study of blood flow in certain areas of the brain. Increased blood flow is thought to increase brain activity. Using a forehead sensor, the pIR HEG can provide feedback about the blood flow in the prefrontal cortex – the area of the brain that is primarily responsible for executive functioning. As a result, this system of neurofeedback is particularly well suited for people with ADHD and emotional reactivity.

During a pIR HEG session, the client wears a “headband” around his or her forehead and watches a video that starts and stops in relation to the blood flow to the prefrontal cortex. This feedback helps them learn how to increase blood flow to that area, which translates into easier and smoother sustained attention to tasks as well as the ability to physiologically moderate emotional responses. PIR HEG is also typically successful in reducing headache symptoms in under 10 sessions.

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Who Can Benefit From Neurofeedback

While Neurofeedback is not always indicated for everyone, we have used it to ameliorate many problems for the vast majority of our clients. Current research supports the use of Neurofeedback in the treatment of:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Migraines
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders