Frequently Asked Questions
How Can Neurofeedback Work On So Many Conditions?
Many brain issues are caused by irregular brainwaves. Neurofeedback works because it does not directly target any conditions and symptoms…It corrects irregular brainwaves and modifies timing patterns in the brain. This is achieved through multiple neurofeedback sessions, where the brain is re-trained into making normal patterns. The result is an improvement in brain regulation, which then impacts a variety of symptoms.
Is Neurofeedback Dangerous?
Absolutely not! Neurofeedback is safe because it is non-invasive, requires no drugs and does not produce any radiation as a CT scan does. The goal of neurofeedback is to identify irregular brainwave patterns and make very subtle corrections. With multiple sessions, the brain will learn to self-regulate.
Are Drugs Needed?
No. Neurofeedback does not require anything more than your attention for approximately 30 minutes per session. In fact, after several successful sessions you may be able to start eliminating medications you are taking for attention or other neurobehavioral challenges (based on your prescribing doctor’s approval and instructions).
A Brain Map Sounds Scary. Does It Hurt?
Absolutely not! A brain map (qEEG) is simply a surface scan of your scalp which picks up the electrical impulses we call brainwaves. We do use conductive paste, but there are no shocks, no pain, and no discomfort. All you do is look at the wall in front of you for approximately 6 minutes with your eyes open, and for approximately six minutes measurements are made with your eyes closed. The computer does the rest. You can learn more about a qEEG or brain map here.
Why Haven’t I heard of Neurofeedback Before?
Neurofeedback has been around since the 1950’s. It is only in the last decade and with the advancement of computer technology that Neurofeedback has been able to move from laboratory research to a system that can be administered in an office setting.
Could You Explain More About Brainwaves?
Your brain produces four primary types of brain waves: Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta. We use a qEEG or brain map to record the brain waves made by your brain. Beta is primarily active during your awake state, which is the majority of your day. Alpha has to do with your subconscious and is dominant during relaxed states when your eyes are closed but you are not asleep. Alpha is also considered to be the idling frequency of the brain. Theta is present briefly during the periods before you fall asleep and before you fully wake up. Delta is primarily active when you are asleep. All of these brain waves are equally important to your health, and neurological disorders can be attributed to specific brain waves. For example, when you have brain irregularities caused by a head injury, your brain may have too much frontal theta or delta being produced when you are supposed to be awake and alert. By retraining these abnormal patterns in the affected areas, symptoms can be improved or eliminated.
How Long Do Neurofeedback Sessions Take?
Each session usually lasts approximately 30 minutes.
What Happens During A Neurofeedback Session?
Neurofeedback sessions involve relaxing for about 30 minutes while you watch a movie or listen to music of your choice. Sensors are attached to your scalp and ears (with a conductive paste) that monitor your brainwaves during the session. When irregular patterns are detected, a response is triggered from the software that pauses or dims the video or music. this response will automatically cause you to focus more, which will move your brainwaves back into normal ranges. During times when desired brain wave patterns are detected, a response is triggered from the software that provides a reward tone and allows the music or video to play normally. These responses during neurofeedback will automatically cause you to focus more, which will move your brainwaves back into normal ranges. With repetition of this process over multiple sessions, your brain can learn to stay within healthy ranges on its own without neurofeedback.
How Soon Will I See Results From Neurofeedback?
Again, results will vary from person to person. Some feel different within a couple of sessions, while tougher conditions will take many sessions to see any noticeable results. It’s important to not get impatient and listen to the practitioner. They should be able to show you the graph results of each session, which will provide a visual reference for improvement. The type of neurofeedback training we offer here is often permanent as long as the correct number of neurofeedback sessions are completed. Neurofeedback helps to improve functions such as concentration, short-term memory, speech, motor skills, sleep, energy level, and emotional balance via the learning process called operant conditioning.
How Long Will The Effects Of Neurofeedback Last?
Long term follow ups have been done on many patients over the years. Dr. Joel Lubar at the University of Tennessee has followed ADD clients who’ve sustained their improvements from neurofeedback for 10-20 years. Published research on epilepsy 12 months after brain training shows the effects on epilepsy usually holds. Owners of the New Mind System have commonly reported no relapses from patients after 10 years.
Can I Use Neurofeedback While On Medication?
Yes, you can start neurofeedback while on your medications. As you progress your physician might suggest that you slowly reduce or eliminate certain medications related to the condition that you are addressing with neurofeedback. Since every patient is unique, the decision to reduce medication will be up to your physician. More research is needed on this, but a common theory is that the same dosage seems to have a stronger effect on a more efficient brain. What this means is you may experience increased side-effects from your medication due to your brain working better. This is similar to why someone taking blood sugar reducing medications may have increased side effects from the prescribed dose of medications after they have changed their diet to a healthier one that naturally reduces blood sugar levels. In each case, the prescribing doctor should be consulted to lower the dosage (or direct you to stop taking your medication) as it may no longer be needed due to the positive changes from your care program and/or dietary changes.
Can Neurofeedback Cause Negative Effects?
If used improperly, it is possible to see problems. That is to be expected from a system that can produce such positive changes. It all comes down to training and proper use. Fortunately, each session is designed to create small changes in brainwave activity, meaning that problems can be spotted and corrected before they become bigger. Our clinic has extensive training on this equipment and can change protocols as needed if negative effects are seen.
Can Neurofeedback Help With ADD And ADHD?
Recent research suggests that individuals with ADD/ADHD tend to have elevated theta brainwave activity and low levels of beta brainwave activity. Symptoms of ADD/ADHD are usually reduced when brainwave activity is changed. Neurofeedback is commonly used as an adjunct or alternative treatment to medication and behavior management.
How Much Research Is There On Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback has been around for decades. To date there are thousands of studies, with more being published every day. This page has a list of conditions known to respond to neurofeedback and a link to a comprehensive list of studies on neurofeedback for many conditions. You can view them here.
Want To Schedule Your Brain Map?
Michigan Brain Health
Karl R.O.S. Johnson, DC, BCN, DNMSC, FIFHI, FICPA
51735 Van Dyke Ave
Shelby Township, MI 48316
Hours Of Operation
Monday, Wednesday & Thursday
9:00 AM – Noon, 2:00 – 6:00 PM
2:00 – 6:00 PM
Fri, Sat, Sun