Neurofeedback is Covered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan
What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is natural, medication-free approach to improving functioning in all areas of your life: behavior, emotion and relationships. It is a technology based learning technique that uses a computer to give information to a person about his or her own brainwave pattern in the form of EEG activity, in order to train the person to modify his or her own brainwaves. When your brain is not functioning properly, evidence of this will show up in brainwave patterns as well as in emotional, behavioral or relational problems. Neurofeedback assists a person to alter his or her own brainwave characteristics by helping your brain to learn to reorganize and function better. The technique is a process in which subtle brainwave information is amplified and shown back to the client in the form of a movie. The object of the training is to re-educate your brain to make voluntary changes via computerized graphic displays and auditory signals that encourage a change in mental state and thus encourage your brain to function more effectively.
What is Neurofeedback used for?
Neurofeedback addresses many common problems of psychological functioning. It is especially effective in treating ADHD and other attention deficit related disorders. It has also been used with anxiety issues, depression, behavior disorders, various sleep disorders, headaches and migraines, anger management and other emotional disturbances.
How does Neurofeedback work?
Neurofeedback is a painless, non-invasive procedure. Two or four sensors are placed on the scalp, and one on each ear. The sensors are like little stethoscopes which “listen in” and feed the brain waves into an amplifier that is linked to a computer. We amplify the signals with the computer software, which enables us to get valuable information about your key brainwave frequencies. We show the ebb and flow of this activity back to you. Depending on your goals, some frequencies we wish to promote; others we wish to diminish. We present all this information to you in the form of a movie. You simply sit in a comfortable chair or couch and watch a movie with your brain guiding the show: both the picture and sounds are affected by your level of brain wave coherence. Eventually the brainwave activity is “shaped” toward more desirable, regulated performance. The frequencies we target, and the specific locations on the scalp where we listen in on the brain, are specific to the conditions we are trying to address, and specific to the individual.
The brain is amazingly adaptable, and capable of learning. It can also learn to improve its own performance, if only it is given cues about what to change. By making information available to the brain about how it is functioning, and asking it to make adjustments, it can easily do so, without your having to make any conscious effort to facilitate the changes.
Do the effects of Neurofeedback training really last?
For many issues, if you have enough sessions, neurofeedback can result in a permanent shift in your functioning and brain organization. Neurofeedback involves learning by your brain and if that brings order out of disorder, the brain will continue to use its new capabilities, and thus reinforce them.
The typical length of Individual Neurofeedback for most issues is 30 – 40 sessions, though more serious or complex issues will require a longer length of treatment to have lasting effects. Think of it like going to the gym, because you are exercising your brain to stay in a more coherent, higher functioning state, much like someone who is working out regularly. Individual Neurofeedback is a learning process that allows people to change the ways their brains work. Just as physical training allows people to achieve and maintain strength and flexibility in their bodies, Individual Neurofeedback allows us to improve strength and flexibility in our brains. Our brains actually prefer being in a more coherent state, and once you reach a more optimal state, your brain will reinforce itself for staying in that condition.
Also note that a person living in a dysfunctional environment (in either the physical or the psychological sense) and/or with poor nutrition will have a more difficult time retaining good functioning.
Has any research been done on Neurofeedback?
Yes, a great deal. For a review of the latest research on using Neurofeedback for a wide variety of clinical issues, please visit the two following resources: