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Journal of Neurotherapy, 15:305–336, 2011 Copyright # Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

ISSN: 1087-4208 print=1530-017X online DOI: 10.1080/10874208.2011.623090

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WHAT IS NEUROFEEDBACK: AN UPDATE

D. Corydon Hammond

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Written to educate both professionals and the general public, this article provides an update and overview of the field of neurofeedback (EEG biofeedback). The process of assessment and neurofeedback training is explained. Then, areas in which neurofeedback is being used as a treatment are identified and a survey of research findings is presented. Potential risks, side effects, and adverse reactions are cited and guidelines provided for selecting a legitimately qualified practitioner.

INTRODUCTION

In the late 1960s and 1970s it was learned that it was possible to recondition and retrain brainwave patterns (Kamiya, 2011; Sterman, LoPresti, & Fairchild, 2010). Some of this work began with training to increase alpha brainwave activity for the purpose of increasing relaxation, whereas other work originating at University of California, Los Angeles focused first on animal and then human research on assisting uncontrolled epilepsy. This brainwave training is called EEG biofeedback or neurofeedback. Prior to a more detailed discussion, the author will review some preliminary information about brainwave activity. Brainwaves occur at various frequencies. Some are fast, and some are quite slow. The classic names of these EEG bands are delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma. They are measured in cycles per second or hertz (Hz). The following definitions, although lacking in scientific rigor, will provide the general reader with some conception of the activity associated with different frequency bands.

Similar to riding a bicycle, we learn at first how to balance, steer and pedal. It is overwhelming at first, but most of us learn how to do this. We get feedback when we are leaning too much which tells our brains, “hey, not this much leaning” until we automatically stay upright. How did this happen? It happens through feedback that we have received through our senses.

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Getting in Gear: Syncing to Optimal Brainwave Patterns

What is the Goal to Neurofeedback?

The goal to Neurofeedback is to optimize your brains frequency level and increase functioning. Brainwaves occur at various frequencies. Some are fast, and some are quite slow. The classic names of these EEG bands are delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma. They are measured in cycles per second or hertz (Hz). Generally speaking the brains optimal daily functioning level ranges from about 12-15 Hz. Listed below to explain the different bands/activity levels:

Gamma brainwaves are very fast EEG activity above 30 Hz is associated with intensely focused attention.

Beta brainwaves (above 13–30 Hz) are small, relatively fast brainwaves associated with a state of mental, intellectual activity and outwardly focused concentration. This is basically a ‘‘bright-eyed, bushy-tailed’’ state of alertness to relaxed attentiveness.

 

Alpha brainwaves (8–12 Hz) are slower and larger. They are generally associated with a state of relaxation. Activity in the lower half of this range represents to a considerable degree the brain shifting into an idling gear, relaxed and a bit disengaged, waiting to respond when needed. If people merely close their eyes and begin picturing something peaceful, in less than half a minute there begins to be an increase in alpha brainwaves.

 

Theta brainwaves (4–8 Hz) activity generally represents a more daydream-like, rather spacey state of mind that is associated with mental inefficiency. At very slow levels, theta brainwave activity is a very relaxed state, representing the twilight zone between waking and sleep.

 

Delta brainwaves (.5–3.5 Hz) are very slow, high-amplitude (magnitude) brainwaves and are what we experience in deep, restorative sleep.

Cited from: WHAT IS NEUROFEEDBACK: AN UPDATE, D. Corydon Hammond
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

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How Does Neurofeedback Work?

What does Neurofeedback treat?

Neurofeedback is used to treat many conditions such as: ADHD and ADD, stress disorders, anxiety, panic attacks, Autism, Asperger’s, depression, mood disorders, addictions, personality disorders, headaches, migraines, concussions and sleep issues. It also used to aid memory concerns; to help individuals struggling with epilepsy, PTSD, Tourette Syndrome, learning disabilities, obsessive/compulsive behaviors and aggression; as well as to repair brain damage from stroke or a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

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Peak Performance! 

Designed for executives, top athletes, competitors, military, musicians, artists and leaders at any level

Neurofeedback is also used to enhance many professional athletes and business professionals’ performance and productivity through increased focus and better stress management and to acquire additional benefits of improved sleep, less anxiety, great ability to handle daily challenges and overall increase cognitive functioning.

Is a way to leap past your limitations and your competition for business executives and professionals and teams driven to improve your performance and creative edge while reducing stress and anxiety. 

Eliminate pressure and obstacles with enhanced mental performance!

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