Neurofeedback is a term used to describe biofeedback for the brain using EEG (Electroencephalography). It is also frequently referred to as EEG Biofeedback.
Electrical brain activity creates different types of waveforms (Alpha, Beta, Theta, Delta, Gamma). Each waveform type can be associated with different activities or mental states. Too much or too little of certain types of waveform patterns can be problematic. Neurofeedback provides the opportunity for certain waveforms to be rewarded/inhibited, or simply allows the brain the opportunity to stabilize itself in its own way based on the information it is receiving through audio/visual feedback (music or video) via the EEG sensors.
Neurofeedback allows the brain to immediately receive information about its activity and adjust how it responds/processes the information/stimuli at that time. Regular training with neurofeedback for a period of time (recommended 2 sessions per week) facilitates stabilization extending well beyond the training period. The number of sessions before experiencing benefit varies from person to person. Some notice benefits within 1-4 sessions. Depending on the reason for training with neurofeedback, maximal benefit typically takes 20-40 sessions. People return periodically if they encounter stressors in their lives and experience a return of symptoms. At those times, generally only a few sessions are required to help manage symptoms.
Neurofeedback is not painful and is non-invasive. Sensors are placed on the ears and scalp with conductive paste. Nothing is introduced into the brain. EEG is simply a means of accessing information about the brain’s present activity.
The exact mechanism of NF is not well understood, however, there is mounting evidence for its positive effects with people suffering from an array of mental conditions and with individuals who want to improve their mental and physical performance.