Neurofeedback Therapy is a specific branch of Biofeedback; it is also referred to as EEG Biofeedback or Neurotherapy. In essence, it is a form of exercise for one's brain. Neurofeedback Therapy allows the client to naturally rewire their neural pathways, enhancing their brain plasticity and allowing for more optimum brain function. During Neurofeedback Therapy, the brain is observed in action, from moment to moment by monitoring brainwaves. The brain activity is recorded as an electroencephalogram (EEG). It is then converted into a single signal and mirrored back to the brain. Changes in activity occur by rewarding shifts toward a more functional and stable brain state. As this happens, the brain is being trained and actually healing itself. It is a gradual yet dynamic process.
Sensors placed on the head record your brainwaves. It is painless and entirely non-invasive. A computer processes the brain waves and extracts certain information. The ebb and flow of your brain waves, including the information obtained from them, are shown back to you visually, tactilely, and through sound. The specific brain wave frequencies that are reinforced, and the sensor locations on your head, are unique and tailored to your individual needs. The client can meditate or enjoy a movie while doing this therapy. It does not require active conscious thought as it works at the subconscious level. Neurofeedback therapy is typically very enjoyable!
With successful neurofeedback training, medications targeting brain function may no longer be needed, or they may be needed at lower dosages, as the brain takes over the role of regulating itself. It is important for clients to communicate with their prescribing physician regarding neurofeedback and medications.
Neurofeedback Clinician and Brain Health Coach, Jamie Stern
explains the basics of Neurofeedback therapy and discusses the many benefits, on RadioMD.
Original Air Date: 6/26/2017
How does Neurofeedback work? Jamie explains this drug-free approach to healing from PTSD, depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorders, and other complex health issues. Jamie also discusses her work with veterans and shares her own personal experience of how neurofeedback therapy helped treat her chronic migraines and motion sickness.
Neurofeedback can improve attention, sensory processing, and physical movement. Neurofeedback promotes a higher level of processing between the brain and body through the central nervous system. Athletes, actors, musicians, and working professionals can all benefit from peak performance training. Common reasons for Peak Performers to seek Neurofeedback Therapy include:
Stress elevates levels of cortisol in the body which can result in the suppression of the body's natural sex hormones. Acute and chronic stress can fundamentally alter the body's hormone balance. Neurofeedback Therapy is able to help sooth symptoms of hormone imbalances such as:
Neurofeedback Therapy is able to assist clients in reaching more relaxed and grounded states.
Clients are able to meditate during Neurofeedback sessions.
Clients usually require 10-20 sessions to experience more lasting results. Often when working on issues such as relaxation, anxiety, migraine help, sleep assistance, or motion sickness, results are relatively immediate and can be sensed within the first session or two. To make these results last longer than a few days, follow up sessions are critical. Clients can do 1 session per week, however results are seen faster with 2 to 5 sessions per week. After desired effects have been achieved, the client can reduce their number of sessions to once weekly or less for maintenance.
Each session is typically one hour long with discussion and followup occurring within that time. Clients are able to reserve sessions longer than one hour if desired. This option is often used for sleep / nap purposes, pain management, and relaxation.
Clinics and private clients are offered "Mobile Neurofeedback" where the Neurofeedback therapy comes to their location. Contact Jamie for pricing and availability.
For clients who are near the Pacific Palisades, Jamie is available for daytime appointments:
For issues like headaches, sleep, and anxiety, the results can be immediate and last up to a few days. Deeper issues such as trauma and chronic depression require more sessions in conjunction with psychotherapy. To make the changes more noticeable and lasting, clients are encouraged to do multiple sessions to allow their brain enough time to rewire itself into more optimum function.
By engaging in Neurofeedback therapy, clients are giving their brain a chance to observe itself in action. Like looking in a mirror to see one’s reflection, the brain is looking at its own function and seeing where it needs to make adjustments for the better. Using trauma as an example, neurofeedback helps the brain to process out the trauma that has become stuck in the amygdala which is experiencing overactivation. An overactive amygdala spends it’s time unconsciously searching the environment for danger. This results in someone feeling like they are always on high-alert, hypervigilant, anxious, or fearful. Simultaneously, the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortexes are underactive and repressed due to the trauma. This hinders problem solving skills, empathy, personal happiness and more. Processing out this trauma, and creating new neural pathways allows the brain to operate and function as it should. With enough sessions, the client should feel significantly less triggered by their traumas and experience their nervous system as more regulated.
It is alright if the client falls asleep during their session. This is often a good sign as long as the client feels comfortable. (Note: if the client feels a sudden onset of sleepiness and they do not find it comfortable, they must make the clinician aware. Once aware, the clinician can make appropriate adjustments.) As the nervous system relaxes, it feels less compelled to be on guard. This promotes relaxation. For those who have been very tense or sleep deprived, fatigue often sets in during the session. The system that is used to deliver the Neurofeedback therapy has a tactile component which continues to deliver feedback to the client even while they are going in and out of sleep.
Usually, Neurofeedback is a relaxing, relieving, and enjoyable experience. During the first session, the client’s correct frequency needs to be found by the Clinician. This allows clients to receive Neurofeedback at a level that is most comfortable for them. As we search for this correct frequency (usually only requires 10-20 minutes), clients will notice if something does not feel right. If the frequency is too low for them, they may find that they feel lethargic, or a little irritable. If the frequency is too high for them, they may feel a little hyper, restless, or overly alert. Less common are other temporary sensations that can occur at the wrong frequency. Examples include but are not limited to:
o Feeling an itch/itchy
o Bodily areas that carry tension might become more noticeable
o A sensation of increased heart-rate
o A very faint headache
None of these sensations are harmful and immediately dissipate when moved out of the wrong frequency. Once the correct (comfortable) frequency is identified, the client uses this frequency during their following sessions. Finding the right frequency is comparable to lifting weights at the gym. Picking up a weight that is too light for an individual will give some results but ultimately it won’t be as good as it could be. Picking up a weight that is too heavy can be very fatiguing and cause a person to be unnecessarily uncomfortable. Picking up the weight that is just right, is what the clinician focuses on for the client.
The only thing the client needs to do is relax during the session and share feedback if/when uncomfortable. They do not have to focus on anything. If during the session they find their mind wandering, this is absolutely alright. The brain is likely pulling up this material because it either needs to be addressed, or processed out.
Unfortunately, no. The tension in the jaw disturbs the feedback. Sipping water or another liquid, if necessary, is absolutely acceptable.