Like other forms of biofeedback, Neurofeedback Training (NFT) uses specialized monitoring devices to provide moment-to-moment information to an individual on the state of their physiological functioning. NFT differs from other biofeedback in that it focuses on the central nervous system, specifically the brain.
During training, sensors are placed on the scalp and then connected to sensitive electronics and computer software that detect, amplify and record specific brain activity. Resulting information is fed back to the trainee virtually instantaneously, and changes in the feedback signal indicate whether or not the trainee’s brain activity is in the designated range. Based on this feedback, various principles of learning, and practitioner guidance, changes in brain patterns occur and are associated with positive changes in physical, emotional, and cognitive states. The feedback occurs in the form of computer games that stop and go on the basis of brain activity, or of pleasant visual images and music that continue or pause. Sometimes a favorite DVD can be watched while the training is taking place. Often the trainee is not consciously aware of the mechanisms by which the changes are accomplished, although people routinely acquire a “felt sense” of these positive changes.
NFT is a completely non-invasive approach, and is neither painful nor difficult to do. Typically, trainees find NFT to be an interesting and often relaxing experience, and in general do not experience negative side-effects. NFT teaches the brain to modulate its own excitatory and inhibitory patterns, thereby increasing flexibility and the self-regulation of relaxation and activation patterns (from "Definition of Neurofeedback," International Society for Neurofeedback and Research, June 2010).
Because the brain controls so many different types of functioning, NFT has its effects in a variety of areas, including:
- Attention and focus
- Sleep disorders
- Pain conditions
- Learning/educational problems
Neurofeedback is typically not covered by most insurance carriers. You may wish to check with your particular insurance plan for more information. We can discuss payment options before beginning NFT sessions.
Many people want to know how many sessions of neurofeedback they will need. While this is an excellent question, it is an extremely difficult one to answer as it truly depends on the severity and complexity of symptoms as well as how long they have been going on. In addition, the response to treatment can also be improved significantly if a person is able to attend more than one session per week, if at all possible. However, it is likely that we can have a better idea of the amount of neurofeedback training you will need once we see how your system responds to 6 to 8 sessions or so. This can all be discussed in much more detail in your initial appointment with us.