Neurofeedback is a safe, effective, drug free approach to evaluate and treat symptoms, like anxiety, insomnia, and depression that can be affected by abnormal brainwave activity. At any given moment there are slow and fast brainwave activity. Neurofeedback monitors and measures the brain waves in real time by a computer, which can then use that information to produce changes in brainwave activity. The process of adjusting brainwave activity is known as operant conditioning, which is a method where rewards for positive behavior increase learning capabilities
The concept is fairly simple. The computer monitors your brainwaves while you watch a movie. When deviations from normal brainwave activity occur, the computer triggers a visual cue that alerts the patient that they are outside normal ranges. These cues are received by the brain, which subconsciously adjusts itself back to a normal pattern to make the cue stop. With enough repetition of this process, the brain eventually learns to stay in the normal ranges on its own without the computer. With the brain functioning normally on its own, symptoms of irregular brain activity will decline.
It has been well documented that people who suffer neurological problems have abnormal brain waves in certain areas of the brain. For instance, case studies using QEEG “brain maps” have shown that people with anxiety will have elevated Beta brainwaves. Those that suffer from depression have elevated alpha brainwaves. Individuals suffering from memory loss usually have decreased theta brainwaves. For those that suffer from insomnia generally have Delta brain waves.
Training the brain using neurofeedback can change these brainwaves over time, adjusting them into normal, healthy ranges. It can improve alertness, attention, emotional regulation, behavior, cognitive function, and mental flexibility. When the brain moves back into normal ranges, users will often see a reduction in symptoms.
The best part of neurofeedback is that results are often permanent, allowing a person to reduce or even eliminate medications altogether. Where medications only manage the symptoms, the goal of neurofeedback is to address the underlying cause and restore normal brainwave functions.
Patrick Duffy of Harvard University was asked about the effectiveness of Neurofeedback. His response was ” if any medication had demonstrated such a wide spread efficacy it would be universally accepted and widely used.
We offer a drug free non-invasive approach incorporating Functional Medicine, Functional Neurology and Neurofeedback. Medication has become the accepted treatment for symptoms affecting the brain. We all know the problems with side effects and the fact there is never really a long term resolution of the problem.
A more natural way to change the brain is Neurofeedback. We incorporate this method of treatment along with other diet and lifestyle factors. Functional Medicine when coupled with various neurological exercises designed to improve neuroplasticity and the overall function of the brain will provide for much better results.
At our facility we also like to dig a little deeper into potential causes of the problem. For example, genetic testing through Ancestry.com provides a glimpse into the methylation pathway and specifically a few genes like MTHFR , COMT, MAO for issues like depression or anxiety.
A whole body approach is why we have tremendous success in our clinic.
How Does Neurofeedback Work
Neurofeedback is a way to train brain activity; it is biofeedback for the brain. To understand neurofeedback, first we need to understand a little about brainwaves.
Brain waves are the electrical impulses produced as your brain cells communicate with one another. Brainwaves tell us a great deal about how you feel and function; your thought habits, stress levels, underlying mood and overall brain function.
Using sensors on the scalp, we can measure and monitor this activity. With brain analysis software QEEG (brain map), we can identify what specific activity is giving rise to your symptoms.
Once we know the areas of concern, we can create a training plan to help draw your brain into a comfortable, efficient state. That brings us to neurofeedback.
During a neurofeedback session, we compare what your brain is actually doing to what you’d like it to be doing. When your brain is nearing a more comfortable state, you are rewarded with a positive response on a computer screen. This ‘neuro-feedback’ is in the form of a movie.
The images tell you immediately when your brain approaches a more efficient place and when not. When the movie plays, it is because your brain is approaching the desired state. When the movie stops, it is because your brain is heading the other way.
Much like physical exercises develop specific muscles, the more your brain is exercised into reaching a more comfortable, more efficient position, the better it gets at it (see neuroplasticity). As with learning any new skill, it simply requires time and repetition.
Initially we perform a mini-qeeg evaluation. This is a brain map that serves as a window to the brain. It allows us to measure and record electrical activity of the brain.
What Are The 4 Main Brainwaves
The brain has four main waves:
Delta: Delta is the most active during sleep
Theta: Theta is present briefly during the periods before you fall asleep and prior to being fully awake.
Alpha: Alpha has to do with your subconscious and is dominant during a relaxed state. When you close your eyes but are not asleep.
Beta: This brainwave is primarily active in your awake state, which is the majority of your day.
All of these brainwaves are equally important to your health. Neurological disorders have been attributed to specific brain waves. For example with a brain injury there might be brain irregularities in the frontal lobe. This will affect motivation, focus and attention. Often times we will see on a brain map to much frontal theta or delta being produced when you are awake. This leads to a tired, unmotivated, daydreaming state. By retraining these abnormal patterns in the affected areas, symptoms can be improved or eliminated.
How Long Does Each Session Take?
We recommend 30 minute sessions, administered two to three times per week. Some will experience benefit almost immediately, while others may need a series of sessions to stabilize and improve the brainwave activity.
How Many Sessions Is Required?
Neurofeedback is not an instant process. The minimum amount of time or sessions it takes for the brain to change is generally around 20 sessions.
The number of total sessions depends on a lot of factors. The type of problem, the severity, age and overall health.
Remember the goal is not just symptom improvement, it is permanent change.
We will discuss your findings based on the brain map. A customized training program is then designed for the patient.
Symptoms That Are Responsive To Neurofeedback
- Memory Loss
- Chronic Pain
- Head Trauma
Neurofeedback does not specifically target any disorder. Instead, Neurofeedback changes timing and activation patterns in the brain. The goal is to slowly guide your brain back into normal, healthy ranges and reconnect neural pathways that have been disconnected. The result is an improvement in brain regulation, which in turn impacts a variety of symptoms.
There is a significant amount of research available showing the effects of neurofeedback on various neurological conditions.
Dr. Veselak and his wife, Pam, are the perfect duo!
They are the loveliest people and care so much about their clients.
Marilyn, who works at the desk is so warm and inviting every time I walk though the door.
I went to a doctor before them who never really took the time and care for his patients, but Dr. Veselak and Pam exceeded all my expectations.
I feel cared for and understood and most importantly; heard. Working together as a team to try and heal myself from the inside out.
You are getting the best care and kindness when you walk through their doors.
So glad I found them! 🙂 Lily W.