Neurofeedback literally means “brain” and “input”, where the brain is monitored and input is given instantly. Neurofeedback specifically monitors brain waves, looks for irregularities, then produces a signal that is designed to correct the irregularity and guide the brainwave back into a healthy pattern. With repetition of this process over time, the brain will learn to stay in healthy ranges without the aid of the computer. The result is an improvement in brain regulation, which in turn can reduce or eliminate most neurological symptoms.
Over 1,000 studies have been published related to neurofeedback and biofeedback. The early animal research, which has been validated in many peer-reviewed journals since the 1970s, showed: that brain waves can be changed through operant conditioning and that seizures are reduced with EEG training. These studies were originally done in the 1960’s using cats with no chance of placebo effects. Since the 1970’s research has been verified in human studies, and based on decades of additional research on humans of all ages the basis for neurofeedback has become extremely solid. You can browse many research articles on this site for specific conditions by visiting these research pages.
- Neurofeedback targets the four primary brainwaves (Alpha, Beta, Delta, Theta). Each of these brain waves is responsible for regulating the active and subconscious aspects of your body.
- Delta brainwaves are associated with deep, dreamless sleep and regeneration. Delta brainwaves occur when you are asleep and are responsible for healing the body.
- Theta brainwaves are associated with light sleep or extreme relaxation. When your subconscious takes over you start producing Theta brainwaves.
- Alpha brain waves occur when you are awake but relaxed and not processing much information. When you first get up and right before you fall asleep, you are generating Alpha waves, as well as when you close your eyes to rest.
- Beta brainwaves are associated with the mental state most people are in during the day and most of their waking lives. When you are alert and focused, you are producing Beta brainwaves.
- While each of these brain waves is responsive to different body functions, they all are equally important to your health and well-being. Researchers have known for decades the correlation between Irregular brain waves and common neurological conditions. Neurofeedback is the first field to directly target these irregular brain waves and restore them to normal ranges.
The Use at IWG
Neurofeedback can work on anyone, no matter the age. All that is required is the ability to focus on the audio or video stimulation. Any neurological condition that involves irregular brain waves can be targeted and improved with neurofeedback. These conditions include attention-deficit disorder, addiction, anxiety, autism, brain injury, depression, fibromyalgia, insomnia, migraines, obsessive-compulsive disorder, stress, stroke and more.
The scientific method for brainwave analysis is called Quantitative Electroencephalography (QEEG). QEEG is a means of statistical evaluation of the electrical activity of the brain. Research has shown that the electrical activity of the brain is an accurate indicator of brain chemistry. Using QEEG and powerful computer analysis, scientists have created an objective form of mental health evaluation. the clinician can determine where there is pathology or deviation from the norm and use this information to design neuromodulatory treatments.
Electroencephalography is the brain-imaging tool used to measure the brain’s electrical system. It measures spontaneous brain activity and has the highest temporal resolution of all brain imaging tools. The activity of groups of neurons is represented by specific wave patterns. Optimal patterns of connectivity and networking are vital to good brain health.
Quantitative EEG measures the minute electrical activity of the brain and then compares that unique electrical pattern to known databases of “normal” and “abnormal” patterns. This type of computer-driven statistical analysis is particularly useful in evaluating difficult or borderline cases. This cost-effective diagnostic tool provides an objective means–based on actual physiological characteristics–of assessing cognitive disorders. QEEG analysis is an assessment of the brain’s functioning based on measurements of brain waves-the fluctuation, usually rhythmical, of electric impulses produced by the brain. Research has documented that these brain signals are related to many aspects of thinking, behavior, and emotion. Brain waves occur at various frequencies, some fast, some quite slow and are identified according to their frequency, or wave speed. Generally, it is agreed that brain waves should be grouped as follows: Delta brainwaves are the slowest frequency with the highest amplitude, present primarily during sleep. Theta brain waves are present when daydreaming or fantasizing. Creativity and intuition are also associated with theta waves.
Alpha brain waves are associated with a state of relaxation and basically represent the brain shifting into idling gear, relaxed and disengaged, waiting to respond when needed. Beta brain waves are of low amplitude and faster frequency and are associated with a state of mental, intellectual activity and outwardly focused concentration.
It is essential to a healthy human to exhibit a range of brain wave patterns. Problems arise, however, when humans have the improper mix of frequencies for dealing with a task. For instance, individuals with AD/HD tend to have excess slow waves. When excess slow wave activity is present in the executive (frontal) part of the brain, it is difficult to control attention, behavior, and emotions. Such individuals may have serious problems with concentration, memory, controlling impulses and moods, or with hyperactivity.
The Use at IWG
The qEEG is used to map the brain patterns and imbalances. The map dictates the Neurofeedback treatment protocol.