EEG biofeedback is the most powerful and precise form of brain training that has a fifty year clinical and research history. It is used by thousands of practitioners around the world helping tens of thousands of adults and children. Also known as EEG neurofeedback it uses a specialised, miniaturised EEG device and software to monitor your brainwaves and reflect them back to you in real-time via a computer display. The brainwaves are the bio part and reflecting them back via games, graphics or a video screen is the feedback part. Reflecting your real-time brainwave activity in this way gives your brain extra information about its functioning that enables it to make tiny adjustments. These adjustments help it to break out of any dysfunctional patterns it is locked into. EEG neurofeedback training is simply a processes using technology that gives your brain an edge in its ability to self-correct. Improving brain function in this way is natural and sensible as you are allowing your brain to help itself. The brain is actually quite good at this, which is known as neuro-plasticity and only needs the right help.
EEG biofeedback is used for:
What are brainwaves?
You have probably heard that your brain produces electrical impulses in brain cells (neurons) and these impulses are measured as brainwaves. All of the electrical impulses of the neurons produce a range of brainwaves, divided up into different frequencies called:
Delta (.5-4Hz) is generated by the brain stem and cerebellum and associated with stages 3 and 4 sleep the deep restorative sleep stages. As you drift off to sleep delta will increase sharply and the other brainwaves will reduce. Excess Delta with eyes open is associated with poor cognitive ability, low energy, depression and developmental delay. It is also seen in whiplash victims, minor closed head injury and neural toxicity. Reduced delta can be associated with working memory problems.
(Theta 4-8Hz) with eyes closed represents a deep meditative state, especially when it is highly synchronised. It is associated with access to the unconscious, childhood memories and release of repressed emotions. Alpha-theta EEG biofeedback is used to access high quality theta states. In the eyes open state it is thought to be a binding frequency that allows the brain to tie together different information from different parts of the brain to create a coherent experience of the whole. It is greater in infants and decreases through childhood and is at its lowest in adulthood. The ratio of theta to beta is a measure of brain performance in children it should be no greater than 3:1 and in adults 2:1. Excess Theta is associated with poor concentration, short-term memory and learning, with distractibility, impulsivity, immaturity, hypersensitivity and emotional lability.
Alpha 8-12Hz is generated by the thalamus associated with arousal control. Eyes closed alpha is experienced as light relaxation and peacefulness and can help to rapidly recover from physical and mental fatigue, as well as generate creative ideas and integrate information for insights. Alpha-theta EEG neurofeedback is a fast way to learn to enter powerful alpha states. Eyes open alpha is important for cognitive and emotional wellbeing and when correctly balanced in the brain produces a switched on, happy, confident and engaged personality. It should be higher in the back of the brain compared to the front and the right side compared to the left. Alpha asymmetries (the balance is the opposite) causes problems. Too high in the front of the brain produces mental slowness and fogginess. Too low in the back creates anxiety and sleep problems. Higher on the left compared to the right creates a glass half empty mindset and tendency towards depression. There are two alpha bands low alpha (7-10) and high alpha (10-13). The brains idle speed should be in the high alpha range at 10Hz this is when the brain is in neutral waiting for a task. If this is too low general fatigue and slowness is experienced, when it is too high it creates anxiety and rigidity. Alpha decreases when you go from idle to performing a task, called alpha blocking. When this doesn’t happen people have a hard time doing anything and mentally tire very easily. Alpha intrusions is when there is too much alpha during sleep so the brain is more active than it should be and people report that they don’t feel like they slept at all even though they were. Excess alpha is associated with poor concentration, short term memory and learning, immaturity and spaced-out or daydreaming, depression and poor sleep. When there is a deficit of alpha people will experience learning problems and anxiety and possibility rigidity and inability to relax, integrate information or be creative. A sub-type of alcoholics have very low alpha and elevated beta. Drinking alcohol initially increases alpha (the merry stage) producing relaxation and mild euphoria.
SMR (12-15Hz) sensory motor rhythm is found predominantly in the sensory motor strip and is a performance frequency between low beta and high alpha. It is associated with a physically relaxed but mentally quiet…yet alert state. When cats are stalking they produce a lot of SMR. High achievers in a flow state of peak performance like athletes, artists, musicians and rock climbers are producing high amounts of SMR. It is seen as a stabilising frequency that helps balance the brain. Excess SMR can produce similar problems to excess alpha but is a lot rarer. Decreased SMR in the sensory motor strip creates issues with impulsivity, clumsiness and sleep onset difficulty.
Low-beta (15-22Hz) is a performance frequency generated by localised parts of the brain in a desynchronised state performing all the tasks associated with you engaging the world around you. There should be more beta in the front of the brain than the back and more on the left side than the right. When there are beta asymmetries (an inversion of this relationship) it creates problems. Too much beta in the back of the head creates learning issues and anxiety plus sleep problems. Too little in the front of the brain creates problems with executive control. Too much on the right side results in anxiety and too little on the left results in poor cognitive function, low mental and emotional energy (arousal) and depression. Overall excess of beta creates agitation, obsessiveness and hyperactivity.
Hi-beta (22-38Hz) is associated with high arousal and intense focus and is useful in short burst when you need action as in an emergency or sport. It can also be present with bursts of excitement of any kind. However, when it is high and present all the time it causes many problems like anxiety, paranoia, aggression, mood instability, sleep problems, nightmares, teeth grinding, tics, inability to concentrate, fidgety, restless, low tolerance to frustration, multiple competing trains of thought etc.
Gamma (38-42Hz) is a crucial brainwave range thought to help the brain communicate across all structures and bind information. Even more crucially it is thought to be associated with consciousness at 40hz. It’s also associated with high level information processing and high level awareness. Studies have shown that experienced Buddhist monks produce high levels of highly synchronised gamma in the frontal lobes when in the deepest part of their mediation, thought to be related to high states of consciousness. Low levels of gamma can results in many learning difficulties and low mental and emotional states.
When brainwaves are out of balance
All the brainwaves are present at any given time but it’s the relationship between them that makes all the difference. In certain combinations they produce different states and/or effects. If there are too much or too less of any brainwave type, it causes all the problems that we know of, like ADHD, ADD, learning, behaviour and mood problems, etc. For example in kids and adults with ADHD and ADD, their brainwave patterns are different to the brainwave patterns of people who don’t have ADHD or ADD. It is the same for:
- Learning disorders
- Mood and behaviour problems
EEG neurofeedback training helps your brain to re-balance its brainwaves and eliminate problems.
How your brain tunes itself
Brainwave patterns tell us how the brain is regulating, managing or tuning itself. In fact medical specialists and neuropsychologists regularly do EEG (brainwave maps) and compare these to normal EEGs to show people they have some problem, unfortunately all they offer are drugs that don’t heal the underlying issue and only manage symptoms.
By mapping the brainwave patterns of your brain we can see how well it is tuned. This is called a QEEG and done using a cap on your head with many sensors that record your brainwaves with eyes closed, eyes open and doing different tasks. The information is then analysed by software graphing the results to produce a report that is used to guide the EEG biofeedback.
We can show you the imbalances in your brain
We can easily see where there are imbalances and show them to you. Based on this brain map we target the training specifically to your unique needs. We know which structures control what functions and so can train those structures directly and eliminate the problems, associated with that part of your brain. EEG neurofeedback enables your brain to rebalance its brainwave patterns, break out of dysfunctional patterns and manage its functioning better, which eliminates all the problems, which actually heals your brain for the long term.
How does EEG neurofeedback training work?
It uses your brainwaves in a clever way, as it enables your brain to exercise in very precise and direct ways that rebalance brainwaves towards a normal harmonious state. Issues slowly but surely diminish and then disappear as your brain improves its overall functioning.
EEG biofeedback is scientifically proven
It is a scientific field that goes back to the late 60s with a rich clinical and research history. There are hundreds of positive studies showing neurofeedback remediates many issues. Yet it is relatively unknown in mainstream medicine, psychology and alternate healing. However, due an explosion in understanding of the brain and its functioning over the last 10 years because of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), there is growing acceptance and interest in brain training. This has flowed onto the neurofeedback field with more and better research and MRI based research like the recent study that demonstrated conclusive evidence of changes (neuro-plasticity) in people’s brains that did neurofeedback. Neuro-plasticity is a scientific term for the brain re-tuning, changing and healing itself.
Dr Norman Doidge psychiatrist and author of two best sellers The Brain that Changes Itself and The Brain’s way of Healing who has popularised the fact of neuro-plasticity and brains remarkable capacity to change itself for the better, now claims that neurofeedback is the “unsung hero of neuroplasticity.” He states that he sends all his patients for neurofeedback before anything else. Due to the work of Dr Doidge and from the rapid proliferation of cognitive brain training and brain games many healthcare providers, life coaches and the public are aware they can train their brains and improve functioning.
Cognitive brain training in all its forms merely practices mental skills. EEG neurofeedback is far superior because it actually enables the brain to change the functioning of the structures that allow you to have the skills in the first place. Structures that enable concentration, attention, awareness, comprehension, emotions and self-control, for example are targeted and trained directly. Cognitive brain training can only train them indirectly and it can’t train to change emotional and behavioural issues.
I have over 20 years of professional EEG neurofeedback experience helping people just like you. Don’t hesitate to contact me and I can answer all your questions and discuss your needs in detail and the best way to set you up with supervised home based EEG biofeedback. You and/or your loved ones do not need to struggle with these issues anymore.