FAQs About EEG Neurofeedback Training
What is an EEG?
The brain is composed of a complex network of specialized cells called neurons. Our neurons produce electrical impulses to send messages to each other and to the cells of our body. In addition to neurons, our brain has cells which produce specific hormones and chemicals which help facilitate electrical transmission from one neuron to another.
Your brain is constantly producing distinct, rhythmic, electrical impulses known as brain waves. There are at least seven brainwave patterns; the four that have been most studied and well documented are labeled Alpha, Beta, Theta, and Delta.
Brain waves are measured using Hertz, the same standard of measurement used for all electrical energy. Hertz is frequency of cycle per second. Hertz measures the number of complete cycles of a wave of energy per second. Each brain wave has its own unique frequency range. Beta measures 15 Hertz and above. Alpha is 8-14 Hertz. Theta is 4-7 Hertz. Delta is less than 4 Hertz.
An electroencephalogram, or EEG, is a recording of brain wave activity. Brain wave are measured and recorded using an instrument known as an EEG machine. Beta waves are dominant during the normal waking state and provide energy for the brain to focus and concentrate. Alpha waves are the relaxing state of the brain and are more apparent when the eyes are closed, during meditation, relaxation, and while daydreaming. The slower Theta and Delta are normally dominant during deep sleep. They slow down the brain and are the healing brainwaves of body and brain.
When there is a brain injury or irregularity, the brain tends to over-produce Theta frequency, causing an abnormal slowing of brain function when the brain is in an awake state. All-Digital, Real-Time EEG Neurofeedback uses a special computer to display the brain waves in less than one-thousandth of a second delay. All-Digital, Real-Time EEG Neurofeedback provides immediate feedback for retraining of the brain. During All-Digital, Real-Time EEG Neurofeedback training, the brain learns to inhibit this abnormal amount of Theta and create balance, or homeostasis, of the brain waves.
What happens during an EEG Neurofeedback Session?
In All-Digital, Real-Time EEG Neurofeedback training, non-invasive, painless sensors—called electrodes—are placed on the surface of the head. The electrodes do not have needles and do not produce any electrical current. The electrodes enable the brain wave patterns to be amplified and displayed on the computer screen.
Once the electrodes are in place, brainwave patterns are displayed on the screen. There are two colored columns to the left of the brain wave patterns. One is green and the other is yellow. These columns give information about the brain wave activity and move up and down as the brain waves are being produced.
What do I do during the EEG Neurofeedback session?
Your job is to keep your brain’s attention on the task. You do that by simply relaxing and watching the yellow column. The process of changing the brain’s activity is unconscious. Your brain knows what to do and you can help the very most by relaxing, observing, and encouraging your brain.
How does the brain learn from EEG Neurofeedback?
It is not possible to “make” it happen. The brain learns through the feedback of a beeping sound when the yellow column goes down. The process is intrinsic and involuntary, similar to other body functions, such as breathing, heartrate, blood pressure, body temperature, healing a cut finger, or when our mouth waters at the sight or fragrance of our favorite food when hungry.
How long is an EEG Neurofeedback Session?
Each session lasts about 50 minutes. The actual time spent on the machine is usually 30 minutes. Extra time is required to place the electrodes, set up the machine and discuss progress.
How many sessions will it take?
Individuals are different and learn at different rates. Conditions vary in the amount of time needed for correction. The minimum number of sessions to correct a condition is 15. The more complicated or severe the condition, the more sessions are needed. Usually changes begin to be noticed within 15 sessions. Most conditions require 30-60 sessions. Conditions, such as epilepsy, severe head injury, or coma recovery may need many more sessions.
When will I see some changes?
Some change is usually seen within the first 12-15 sessions. However, there are individual variations and some people experience changes in 3 sessions and others after 30 sessions. Because there is such a wide variation, it is helpful to keep track of your progress with short notes or a brief diary of what you are experiencing. Include what your symptoms or concerns are just before you begin treatment and note changes you or your family, friends, and/or teachers notice as you go through the sessions. You can also receive a copy of the summary of each session to see changes in brain wave patterns.
What kinds of conditions can be helped by All-Digital-Real-Time EEG Neurofeedback?
No claims are being made to cure or diagnose any illness, disease, or condition using All-Digital, Real-Time EEG Neurofeedback. However, many people have reported experiencing improvement after being diagnosed with one or more of the following conditions:
- Anoxia (oxygen deprivation)
- Attention Deficit Disorder
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
- Birth injuries
- Cerebral palsy
- Closed head injury
- Cluster headaches
- Down’s Syndrome
- Learning Disabilities
- Migraine headaches
- Near drowning
- Open head injury
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Pervasive developmental disability
- Post-neurosurgical trauma
- Post-viral brain injury
- Unipolar depression
What can I do to help improve my EEG Neurofeedback Training Sessions?
Eat a well-balanced, low-sugar diet that includes fresh fruit and vegetables, and whole grains. It is important to include high quality animal protein in your diet to help heal the brain, therefore eat lean meats, chicken, and fish. If you are a vegetarian it is especially important to include eggs and cheese. Drink 6-10 glasses of water daily, (soft drinks, tea, and coffee don’t count). As much as possible, avoid refined sugars, caffeine, chocolate, cola drinks, artificial sweeteners, artificial preservatives, and chemical additives. Do light exercise, walk or swim as often as possible. Be sure to get plenty of sleep, especially before and after your sessions. Take balanced nutritional vitamin/mineral supplements to maintain a healthy body and brain.
Can you explain the Functions of the Different Lobes of the Brain?
The brain is divided into two halves, known as the right and left hemisphere. Each hemisphere is also divided into sections called lobes. Many parts of the brain are interconnected and control similar functions, but each part also has unique functions. The following provides a limited explanation of some brain functions
- Ability to feel and express emotions
- Ability to understand feelings of others
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Attention span
- Control distractibility
- Control hyperactivity
- Control rage/anger
- Control time management
- Feelings of self-worth
- Impulse control
- Learning from experience
- Maintaining focus
- Problem solving
- Procrastination and initiation of action
- Social anxiety
- Visual perception
Right Temporal Lobe
- Emotional control
- Fine Motor Control
- Social skills
- Spatial awareness
- Visual learning
Left Temporal Lobe
- Auditory learning
- Control of aggression
- Language skills
- Logical functioning
- Math skills
- Reading skills
- Short-term memory