The Better Brain, Inc.

"Helping the world become a better place, one brain at a time."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almost any brain, regardless of its level of function, can be trained to function better. Training one’s brain results in more optimal functioning, thus improving mental and emotional health.

 

Review information by clicking on the question

 

WHAT IS NEUROFEEDBACK?

WHAT CONDITIONS CAN IT HELP?

WHAT NEUROFEEDBACK IS NOT…

HOW DOES IT WORK?

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHERE TO PLACE THE ELECTRODES?

HOW DOES NEUROFEEDBACK EVALUATION DIFFER FROM TRADITIONAL PSYCHIATRIC DIAGNOSIS?

SYMPTOMS AND BRAIN AROUSAL STATES

HOW LONG DOES THE EFFECT OF TRAINING LAST?

CAN NEUROFEEDBACK TRAINING BE DONE WHILE ON MEDICATION?

WHAT ARE THE COST AND TIME COMMITMENTS?

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY…

RECOMMENDED READING & HELPFUL WEBSITES

 

WHAT IS NEUROFEEDBACK?

 

Neurofeedback is state-of-the-art therapy that helps to strengthen, calm, and stabilize the brain.  Also known as EEG biofeedback, neurofeedback training assists individuals in improving their overall functioning.  It is a non-invasive, drug- free and painless method for training the brain.  People learn (by means of real-time computer feedback) how to produce more of the brainwaves associated with desired behaviors, such as concentration, attention, focus, relaxation, cooperative behavior, and reduction in irritability, anger, pain, and sleep disturbance.  It’s easy…. virtually anyone can do it.

 

The overall goal of the training is to improve mental flexibility so that the brain can produce a mental state appropriate to situational requirements. The brain helps regulate emotions, thinking, behavior, sleep and much more.  It is supposed to shift easily between states: from sleep, to relaxation, to calm alert then to high alert when needed.  If a person is too sleepy or depressed, neurofeedback can wake the brain up.  If a person is too anxious, it can calm the brain down.  Once your brain is “trained”, it can then shift on it’s own (as opposed to being “stuck” in a state of worry, anger, etc.). As the brain learns these new patterns, they become “second nature”.  The most exciting part is that neurofeedback training puts you in control of your life!  (Back to Topics List)

 

WHAT CONDITIONS CAN IT HELP?

 

Neurofeedback addresses numerous mental, emotional and physical problems of brain disregulation.  A better functioning brain can improve sleep.  When you sleep more efficiently, you are more alert during the day. Neurofeedback can be helpful in managing attention…how well you (or your child) can attend to a boring task.   Emotions may feel like the real you, but your brain has a lot to do with emotions.  Think about emotions in light of depression or anxiety, both greatly affected by brain function.   Current research has proven that neurofeedback is a viable option for treating depression and anxiety.

 

Neurofeedback has proven to be very helpful for people who have issues with anger.  Sometime these clients have a bipolar (manic depressive) disorder, struggle with ADHD or simply are “wired” that way genetically.   Anger management courses, and other talk therapy, essentially teach these individuals to “keep a lid” on their anger. These modalities have not had good, long-term success rates.  Neurofeedback can help these clients tremendously.

 

Some of the most debilitating diagnoses that receive help from neurofeedback are people who suffer with chronic lack of energy, fatigue, aching pains and headaches.  Professionals often see these clients as psychiatric when they are actually physiological issues. When appropriate, after a careful assessment, we try neurofeedback. It can help with fatigue, fibromyalgia, migraines/headaches, and chronic pain. I have seen improvements that hold, and as a result, medications can often be reduced. 

 

Autism, aspergers and reactive attachment disorder are the fastest growing areas of neurofeedback.  The calming effect of neurotherapy produces noticeable results quickly in these severely affected populations.

WHAT ABOUT PEAK PERFORMANCE?

 

As neurofeedback training increases the brain’s flexibility, it benefits individuals seeking greater levels of personal performance.  Widely used by athletes, performers, public speakers and others, neurofeedback often helps to increase memory, confidence, and concentration while decreasing

pre-performance anxiety.  (Back to Topics List)

 

WHAT NEUROFEEDBACK IS NOT…

 

Neurofeedback is not electricity to the brain.  There are sensors attached to the scalp to measure electrical activity in the brain, like a stethoscope measures the heartbeat.  Neurofeedback is not mystical.  It is scientific, with over 25 years of research.  Neurofeedback is not traditional biofeedback.  Biofeedback works on the conscious brain…learning to relax, to reduce blood pressure, etc.  Neurofeedback works on the brain itself, opening up neuropathways, so the brain can do what the brain is supposed to do!  (Back to Topics List)

 

HOW DOES IT WORK?

 

The clinician takes a comprehensive assessment of reported symptoms, and if available, combines this with other testing that has been completed.  Over a period of 25 years, models have been developed that correlate the assessment data with brain function.  These are used to identify sites on the client’s head and frequencies at which to train.

 

A special EEG monitor and software are installed on two computers…one for the client, and one for the neurofeedback clinician.  One (or two) electrodes are placed on specific areas of the head according to the assessment.  Because neurofeedback works on the subconscious part of the brain, the client doesn’t need to concentrate or “work at” change.  The client relaxes and watches a simple game on the computer screen (like a boring video game).  Training may include increasing certain brainwave frequencies and/or decreasing others at specific sites.  Auditory (beeps) and video feedback rewards the client when training goals are met.

 

EEG biofeedback is a training regimen in which the client reinforces himself – often 2000 times, or more, during a session. It is a relatively pure learning paradigm with no punishment, negative reinforcement or emotional content. It does not require talking! The client’s EEG is displayed in a way that allows him to change it, earn rewards and see and hear the results of his efforts, moment by moment. One advantage of this therapy is that the client doesn’t have to want to be there.  The client doesn’t have to “think about” the training to get the effect.  This can be especially effective for adolescents who are not interested in talk therapy.  Neurofeedback can be very successful with these kids.  (Back to Topics List)

 

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHERE TO PLACE THE ELECTRODES?

 

Very simply, the left side of the brain controls under-arousal (e.g. depression), and the right side controls over-arousal (e.g., anxiety).  The area of the brain behind the forehead (known as the frontal lobe) helps regulate motivation, organization, impulsivity, learning from previous behavior, etc.  The back part of the brain, helps regulate sensory integration (handwriting, eye-hand coordination, etc.).  After a thorough assessment, the clinician, places the electrodes on the part of the head that correlates with the brain function being treated.  (Back to Topics List)

 

HOW DOES NEUROFEEDBACK EVALUATION DIFFER FROM TRADITIONAL PSYCHIATRIC DIAGNOSIS?

 

Instead of looking at a cluster of psychiatric symptoms, then looking them up in the DSM IV (diagnostic manual for a psychiatric diagnosis), neurofeedback therapists look for underarousal (e.g., depression), overarousal (e.g., anxiety) and overall dysregulation (e.g., migraines).

 

Dr. Jack Golden (www.DrJgolden.com) arranged the following chart describing how we look at symptoms.  “Below are some of the conditions people experience that can be effectively treated with neurotherapy. Notice that in terms of arousal states, there are clusters of conditions that relate. The typical medical model addresses these conditions from an individual diagnosis perspective and doesn't address the clusters of conditions that are related to arousal states. In every case we have treated, we have observed other conditions in the clusters improve dramatically or disappear completely.  The medical model uses medications to stimulate, sedate, and/or regulate the brain to achieve brain state balance.  The significance of neurotherapy is that we can train one or more of twenty sites and regulate the exact area that needs regulating.  Many conditions where people are taking stimulant medication (Ritalin, for example, for ADD) also stimulate other areas of the brain that do not need the stimulation. The same is true for sedatives.”  (Back to Topics List)
 

 

SYMPTOMS AND BRAIN AROUSAL STATES

 

 

Under Arousal

Over Arousal

Unstable Arousal

Poor Sustained Attention

X

 

 

Impulsive

 

X

 

Easily Distracted

 

X

 

Anxiety

 

X

 

Depression

X

 

 

Agitated Depression

 

X

 

Anger

 

X

 

Impatient

 

X

 

Manic-Depressive Cycles

 

 

X

Panic Attacks

 

 

X

Sleep-Difficulty waking in A.M.

X

 

 

Frequent Waking During Night

X

 

 

Difficulty Falling Asleep

 

X

 

Restless Sleep

 

X

 

Nightmares

 

X

 

Night Terrors

 

 

X

Poor Reading Comprehension

X

 

 

Migraine

 

 

X

Tremor

 

X

 

Poor Balance

 

X

 

Poor Coordination

 

X

 

Sugar Craving

X

 

 

Fibromyalgia

 

 

X

(Back to Topics List)

 

HOW LONG DOES THE EFFECT OF TRAINING LAST?

 

In general, clients report that in many conditions, results are permanent.  Once the neuropathways are open and functioning optimally, they continue to do so.  If the client has done enough training and the right type of training, results seem to be permanent.  Certain people may experience a relapse of symptoms at some point. Should they experience a head injury, extreme stress, a neurological disease, etc., often an additional 5-10 sessions can restore them to health.  Rarely is intensive training needed again.  Sometimes clients who have been suffering for years from long-term fatigue may need a session monthly or quarterly to maintain energy and motivation. Children that have been trained before puberty will often need some further training during puberty but fewer sessions then when first trained.  (Back to Topics List)

 

CAN NEUROFEEDBACK TRAINING BE DONE WHILE ON MEDICATION?

 

Yes.  Clinicians report many clients start neurofeedback while on one or more medications.  After a number of sessions, a reduction in medications is not unusual. In fact, it is one of the goals of neurofeedback. It is very important that the client’s doctor be alerted to signs of overmedication and we request that reduction be done under the supervision of a physician.

 

 A common example: A 42-year-old female began neurofeedback.  She had been on four medications for five years to treat depression.  After 40 neurofeedback sessions, she was only using one medication at a reduced dosage, with improved mood and affect.  The theory is that as the brain becomes more activated during training, it works more efficiently therefore needing less medicine.  (Back to Topics List)

 

WHAT ARE THE COST AND TIME COMMITMENTS?

 

Training requires at least one session per week, with two or three sessions per week being more beneficial during the early stages.  Each session lasts 45 minutes (with 30 minutes of actual training). Each session is $100.00.  It is also available in a block of 10 prepaid sessions at  $90 per session. Most clients need between 30 and 50 sessions to complete treatment.  Some chronic situations may require 70 to 90 sessions.

 

This time is needed because at first, the changes are short-lived but gradually the changes will hold for longer. Remember that we are literally reconditioning and retraining the brain. It is exciting to know that with practice, we have a permanent influence on our brain waves.  (Back to Topics List)

 

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY…

 

     “In my 38 years of practice, I have never seen any treatment that comes close to producing the results that neuorfeedback offers… I have seen results achieved in days and weeks that previously took months and years to achieve, using the best methods available to us.”  Jack Woddward, MD, Board Certified Psychiatrist

 

     “Without neurofeedback training, it takes incredible energy and ongoing supervision from parents and teachers to keep children with ADD on track.  It is wonderful to see children learning to do this for themselves as they learn to regulate their brainwaves using neuorfeedback.  This is the most exciting thing I have done in my career as a psychologist.  Neurofeedback empowers people to make changes and achieve things that were just not possible for them before.”  Lynda Thompson, PhD, The A.D.D. Book, Canada

 

     “Neurofeedback enhances functions in particular parts of the brain.  We measure real changes of the brain from neuorfeedback when we do neuropsychological assessment.  You can see the changes in neurobehavioral function…Neuro-biofeedback gives the brain direction – it tells the biochemical system which way to go to make its correction.  The brain needs that guidance, stimulation and direction…it would take 3 – 5 years to do what I can now do in 3 – 5 months.” (In brain injury rehab)  Angelo Bolea, PhD, Neuropsychologist, Maryland

 

I have been a marriage/family therapist for over 20 years, and have looked at many alternative treatments. I found none that had results as significant as current neurofeedback therapy. Because of advances in technology (faster, more accurate computers and ways to view the brain) Neurofeedback is often the treatment of choice for many conditions …. Providing better results faster. Mary R. Vernon MS, LPC, Texas   (Back to Topics List)

 

About Muggs | Neurofeedback | Contact Muggs | Office Procedures | Testimonials | Press | Recommendations

Affiliate of EEG Spectrum International, Inc.

of Woodland Hills, CA

www.eegspectrum.com

Copyright © 2007 The Better Brain
Last modified: 06/28/07