My colleague John Styffe wrote a very cogent description of the neurofeedback process and I wanted to share it with a bit of annotation that relates to our work at Quietmind Foundation.
The key word is feedback. Information about an individual is fed back to that individual. In the case of neurofeedback, information about the electrical activity, in a person’s brain is fed back to that individual. Human brains produce electricity from the chemical activity/neurons in the brains. This electrical activity can be read or measured by placing sensors on a person’s scalp. This electrical activity is then filtered and amplified and is converted into an animation on a computer. As an individual watches the animation/brain waves that individual begins to learn how to change how they feel or think.
Our brain's electrical activity patterns have been mapped and generally it is known, what parts of the brain are responsible for various functions. A sensor is placed on an area of the scalp close to the part of the brain that is responsible for a function that may be affected and improved. Goals are set and the person then notices what is happening inside them when the goals are being met that produce the desired activity in that area of brain. If the person produces the correct activity then they are rewarded with a sound and or a visual activity on the computer monitor. Quietmind's home training system can control the brightness and volume of the display of the computer so that it doesn't matter what is on the screen as it all can be set up to brighten and dim based on the training goals.
The key aspects of this training is that it is non invasive; nothing is put into the brain. It acts like a mirror and as the person looks at the mirror they can learn how to change how their brain functions. Like all reward-based training, it takes time to establish new patterns of behavior. The changes more often than not are subtle and permanent. In some cases the changes can be almost immediate and dramatic. Changes occur more easily when the brain is primed or supported to make these adaptive changes. Near infrared light stimulation at 810nm and 1068nm enhances the brain's ability to change itself and so we include this type of stimulation in both our office and home-based treatment programs.
For more information on Neurofeedback training at Quietmind Foundation please call 610-940-0488 for a no cost phone consultation.