Neurofeedback Training – Discovering the New-Gen Therapeutic.
A major revolution in changing the outlook of brain health and seeking brain therapy, is the Neurofeedback training.
Everything we think, feel and do is due to the activity of billions of neurons in the brain, which as s result produces brain waves or EEG (Electroencephalography). Neurotherapy makes us train these brain waves.
Also known as Neurotherapy, Neurofeedback brain training is biofeedback, which provides immediate, real-time feedback on brain activity and uses operant training to reinforce a healthy brain. It measures the brain waves from the subject/patient and teaches him/her self-control of brain function by providing feedback signals. In other words, the biofeedback modulates the brain signal into a wave which provides a relaxed response from the brain. The feedback is usually in audio or video form.
Though it was discovered in the 1950s, neurofeedback therapy was used by NASA to treat and train astronauts. It is not wrong to say that neurofeedback is the science’s answer to head injuries, stress consequences and other conditions regulated by the brain wave function.
The method of neurofeedback therapy teaches self-control of brain functions, treating various disorders of brain and central nervous system like anxiety, depression, insomnia cognitive deficits, focus and concentration deficits, emotional deficits, headaches, pain, etc.
Let us know more about Neurofeedback and the other terms revolving around it.
What is EEG/QEEG- Getting to Know Your Brain Better Through Brain Mapping
A correctly acquired EEG (Brain waves) is analyzed and evaluated using a variety of numerical and statistical techniques, which is known as QEEG. It helps you understand how your brain supports the things you do. QEEG also determines brainwaves relate to one another in different locations, providing measures for similarity in power, speed and consistency of communication. We can get to know about how the brain supports cognitive abilities and emotions, and thereby the QEEG method helps us in designing a method to train the brain directly.
The processed EEG is commonly converted into color maps of brain functioning called “Brain maps”. If we talk about brain maps, a review of the brain helps in understanding it better in order to work on the therapy. There are four lobes in the brain- namely the Frontal lobes, the Temporal lobes, the Parietal lobes, and the Occipital lobes. These lobes are collectively referred to as the cortex. Also, there are two specialized areas that are referred to as the prefrontal cortex; and the motor strip and sensory motor strip. The QEEG and neurofeedback training first involves brain mapping, which includes reviewing this whole structure.
With 72–93% sensitivity and 75–88% specificity, the accuracy of the QEEG findings in identifying depression has been proven and replicated in large samples.
Playing With the Brainwaves – How Neurotherapy Works
Neurotherapy works by teaching a person to produce more optimal EEG patterns using positive reinforcement. The client is wired up to EEG sensors that track their brain activity throughout a neurofeedback session. The sensors are linked to a computer, and a straightforward video game is controlled by the EEG signals.
The real-time feedback on brain activity is measured by sensors on the scalp, and typically in the form of audio and visual rewards. A positive reward, such as a more brightened and clear video is given as a reward, when the brain activity changes in the positive direction, and when the brain produces less harmonious brain wave patterns, there is a formation of dull video (dim screen).
Certain brain wave frequencies are trained in the up or down direction in neurofeedback therapy, which makes the brain wave patterns more efficient and effective, thereby making the brain functions effective and reducing problematic symptoms.
Your brain can learn what to do to increase the screen’s brightness thanks to this immediate feedback. Your brain gradually learns how to create and maintain the desired brainwave patterns that maintain the screen’s brightness while minimizing the development of undesirable ones.
Neurotherapy at Clinic & home – By Whom and Where
Mental health specialists such as Psychologists, family therapists, and counsellors include the people who frequently offer neurofeedback therapy. . Individual customer interactions are typical in these occupations. Nurses, clinical social workers, and rehabilitation experts may also offer the training.
While there are all these specialists that do it, in recent times, there has been a major revolution in this therapy, by the introduction of brain wearable devices. You may perceive, engage with, and self-regulate your mental moods and overall brain functioning with neurofeedback. You can make the changes you want to see in your life with an EEG headband and a program to assist you in understanding your brainwave data. India’s first brain wearable, Neuphony gives an option of neurofeedback brain training at home, making it a lot easier and hassle-free.
Types of Neurotherapy
For the treatment of diverse disorders, there are seven different types of neurofeedback therapy. Depending on the ailment or symptoms you’re seeking to treat, a certain sort of neurotherapy may be advised.
- power/frequency neurofeedback
- Neurofeedback with a slow cortical potential (SCP-NF)
- system for low-energy neurofeedback (LENS)
- Heart-rate monitoring (HEG) neurofeedback
- Z-score neurofeedback in real-time
- electromagnetic tomography with low resolution (LORETA)
- Magnetic resonance imaging that is functional (fMRI)
You will typically sit in a chair during a Neurotherapy session with electrodes attached to your scalp. There is no discomfort at all. It’s comparable to the doctor listening to your heartbeat using a stethoscope.
While the EEG captures the electrical impulses in your brain, your therapist will lead you through a few easy exercises. You can be requested to see visuals on a screen, play a video game, or listen to music depending on your therapy strategy.
Typically, a Neurotherapy session lasts 30 to 60 minutes. 30 to 40 sessions are typical for standard Neurotherapy. It depends on the individual, but it’s unusual for someone to require more than 40 sessions.
Preparing for Neurofeedback training- Things you should know before you start
Will it be a success?
If you follow a proper intervention, the success rate of a neurofeedback training session can be up to 90%. But as we know, that everyone is different, and so is every individual’s brain. There are a lot of conditions, lifestyle choices, and commitment that hampers the treatment. Some individuals respond faster, while some respond gradually. There are few individuals who give no response to the neurofeedback machine, thereby failing the therapy. But every brain is different, and there is not just the above stated factors, but also various physical health or social stress problems. Though neurofeedback is the best method available, in order to train your brain in an optimised ways, there are few things mentioned in the blog later, that you should must follow.
How Long Does a Neurofeedback Training Program Lasts?
A neurofeedback training course is often 30 to 40 sessions. If a subject attends twice per week, then the course of training last 15-20 weeks(4-5 months). While in some cases, the success occurs within 25-30 sessions, as some patients practice optimum self-care and holistic health alongside. Some conditions that appear to be more severe also last for more than 50-60 sessions. .
Process for scheduling appointments
When scheduling appointments, keep the following things in mind:-
- Establish a regular appointment schedule- For having a good progress, it is suggested to see the clinician in a routine, i.e., same day at the same time each week. Following the routine of circadian rhythm (internal body clock) is always the best in order to get the most optimized results.
- Schedule your neurofeedback appointment 6-8 weeks in advance- Every week you should add another appointment to your existing schedule to keep your set appointment ongoing. You can always cancel the appointment is there is a conflict. What to expect after first few sessions
In general, you should not expect to experience a major change after 4-5 sessions. But you might start to feel calmer, more focused, more productive, less foggy, and better sleep. You may experience better sleep, but might not be able to tell the difference. After 20 or more sessions, you should begin to experience the benefits lasting up to 1 week, or more.
How to prepare for each neurofeedback session-optimize experience?
The regular neurofeedback sessions are generally 30 minutes long, but the check-in, prep, and clean-up time sessions will be 45-50 minutes long. There are things that one must keep in mind before coming to a neurofeedback session:-
- Make sure you have shampooed your hair the night before or the day of your session. Dirty hair/hair dyes affect the quality of brain wave readings and can lower the quality of your session.
- Try to have healthy food within a few hours of the session, such as those rich in protein, vegetables, and nuts and avoid sugars, caffeine, and processed foods high in saturated fats or carbohydrates, i.e., bread, chips, starches, etc.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs- some neurofeedback trainers advise stopping it completely, it is better to cautious and limits it. It is advised to avoid hard liquors. Aspartame is a neurotoxin found in many diet sodas and diet foods, that affects the brain and nervous system.
- Avoid cosmetics and supplements- Parabens and phthalates are additives to shampoo, cosmetics and other products, that can cause cancer. Supplements should also be taken with caution, and under the guidance of a physician and registered dietician.
- Limit electronics- Excessive time on electronics is not advised for youth with ADD and ADHD.
- Maintain a routine lifestyle- It is advised to have a routine in life, in sync with the circadian rhythms of the body.
There aren’t any major notable neurofeedback side effects. Even though the therapy is typically acknowledged as a risk-free method for enhancing electro neurological flexibility, some persons experience negative side effects. The majority of reported adverse effects aren’t dangerous and are typically transient, meaning they’ll go away shortly.