Neurofeedback is a non-invasive and scientifically-proven therapy that trains the brain to function better. Like conditioning muscles at the gym, neurofeedback enhances neural flexibility and stability, and allows the brain to strengthen neural connections. This has a desirable effect on both the bioelectrical and biochemical communication. This communication is called “self-regulation.” Once the brain learns better self-regulation, these changes are maintained and built upon throughout life because the brain is highly adaptable.
With neurofeedback we’re capitalizing on the brain’s adaptability, or neuroplasticity - its ability to learn and change.
This therapy was developed by UCLA neuroscientists over four decades ago. They proved neurofeedback can help stabilize the brainwaves of epileptics, thus reducing seizures, and thereby reducing patients' dependence on medications. Patients also found improvements in their mood, mental clarity and sleep. We now know the benefits of neurofeedback extend beyond a single diagnosis, and even the side effects are beneficial.
When the brain improves its efficiency, stability and flexibility, symptoms resolve. The ability to be happy, calm, productive, motivated, alert and able to get good sleep occurs naturally in the process.
Frank H. Duffy, M.D., Professor and Pediatric Neurologist at Harvard Medical School, stated in an editorial in the January 2000 issue of the journal Clinical Electroencephalography that the scholarly literature suggests that neurofeedback should play a major therapeutic role in many difficult areas.
"In my opinion, if any medication had demonstrated such a wide spectrum of efficacy it would be universally accepted and widely used. It [neurofeedback] is a field to be taken seriously by all."
— Frank H. Duffy, MD
A healthy nervous system has good self-regulation. This means it’s flexible and balanced with appropriate responses to the environment and what's being demanded of it. For example, the brain calms down before bed so that sleep occurs easily, and it becomes focused and alert when concentration is required. The brain creates appropriate responses using a complex web of electrical activity that operates in a system of timed neurological events. If this timing system is not working properly, different areas of the brain are functioning with inappropriate levels of activity, or arousal. This creates a state of dysregulation in which various symptoms or a single symptom can develop - such as anxiety, depression, over-sensitivity to pain, difficulty paying attention, insomnia, lack of motivation, irritability, etc.
In normal functioning, when the whole brain is at a very low level of arousal, a person is sleeping. On the other end of the spectrum, when the brain is in a very high state of arousal, a person is experiencing a flight-or-fight response and feeling terror or rage. Dysregulated areas of the brains display patterns of arousal that are often too high (i.e. anxiety, anger, fear), too low (i.e. depression, lethargy, foggy thinking) or a combination of both. Neurofeedback is a powerful tool which helps the brain to find its own optimal regulation. The brain learns and begins to maintain the right balance of arousal and timing, and communication pathways (neural connections) are strengthened.
Often to get the most benefit from neurofeedback twenty to thirty sessions are recommended. More difficult cases, such as autistic spectrum, can require longer treatment, while with other conditions fewer than twenty can provide substantial improvement. Changes are often experienced within the first few sessions and the benefits gained by the brain are lasting. The end result is often transformational, described as a “new lease on life.” Neurofeedback is a tool for both discovering and recovering one's true self with the ability to function at a higher level and engage more fully in life.
- Attention (ADD/ADHD)
- Brain Injury
- Chronic Pain
- Learning Disabilities
I started the sessions because of a very severe case of insomnia. After several sessions, I not only was dreaming more and sleeping heavily, but my decision making abilities and mood improved immensely. I seem to react more calmly to things than I did before. Is it because I am sleeping better now, or the additional brain work? Who knows, but I do know that I'm a strong believer, now, in biofeedback therapy!
Neurofeedback has been great! After only a handful of treatments, I found myself working and concentrating for eight-hour stretches... so given my customary attention span of about 90 seconds, this has proven to be an excellent investment.
The neurofeedback has been extremely helpful to my thinking and emotional state. I feel much lighter and brighter. My mental state is more flexible, and I enjoy life and being around people in a way I haven't for a long, long time. I'm also sleeping better than I have for a long while. I am very grateful for Dr. Thomas’s work and highly recommend it.
Neurofeedback has made a real difference in my quality of life. I enjoyed working with Dr. Thomas. She is knowledgeable and warmhearted.
I had no idea what to expect from neurofeedback therapy. Immediately after my first session I saw the world clearer and brighter. My organizational skills, sense of purpose, and tranquility have re-awakened. I find myself seeing familiar objects as new, and notice more of their details.
I have been gluten free for two years and discovered other food intolerances and allergies. Avoiding these foods was not enough. My concentration was poor and I was still fatigued. Neurofeedback has been exactly what I needed to feel alive again. I feel like I’m actively living, instead of dying. I’m now living a purposeful life and even having less pain. People have told me that I look different, that I look younger and much happier. Thank you for all of your help Dr. Thomas.
Dr. Noel Thomas is a knowledgeable, kind, and caring physician. She takes the time to really listen to me. Neurofeedback (NF) has changed my life. I have ADD and before NF, my anxiety/panic attacks were pretty debilitating. I now talk about my life as BNF and ANF (before NF, after NF), because it has been so different. I would need a whole sheet of paper full of adjectives like superb, wonderful, exciting, awesome, incredible, in order to tell you about the changes that NF has made in my life. Here are some examples:
- Sleep: Sleep better overall
- Calmer: I don’t have near the same level of anxiety, and when I do, it’s easier to come out of it using skills like deep-breathing, etc. because NF made it possible for me to focus.
- Clarity: It’s like I was myopic and someone put prescription glasses on my eyes. For example, I recognize the signs of anxiety before it becomes overwhelming. I also recognize other ADD behaviors that I don’t like, and am able to stop myself.
- Anxiety: The anxiety went from a 9-10 down to a 2-3 and is improving with each treatment. The panic attacks are much more infrequent and I come out of them easier.
- Depression: Now down from 8-10 to a 2-4. ANF, the depression is not as bad and I am able to come out of the depression faster.
- Starting tasks: With ADD, it’s hard to start tasks because it’s overwhelming. ANF, I have been able to start tasks sooner and actually complete tasks well before the due date.
- School: It’s not an exaggeration to say that if I had received Neurofeedback as a child, I would have graduated with a much higher GPA and retained so much more. When I pick up a book now, I can actually focus.
- One of the best parts of NF is that the treatment results stick and I have experienced ZERO side-effects.
- In sum: With neurofeedback, I function better at work and play. I sleep better overall. I have better control of my life/actions. I am not nearly as depressed, and not as often. I recommend it to EVERYONE.