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What is Neurofeedback Therapy Used for? (Reference Guide)

Neurofeedback therapy can be used to treat a wide variety of disorders, including ADD, ADHD, Autism, depression, Anxiety, Stress, insomnia, addictions, PTSD, and many more. But what is neurofeedback? 

Basically, neurofeedback therapy is a non-invasive and drug-free treatment that teaches patients how to shift their brains from unhealthy patterns into functioning patterns that are healthier and more stable. Self-regulation helps patients regain control over their lives and may lead to long-term improvement of symptoms without having to take prescription medications. 

What Is Neurofeedback?

Neurofeedback, also called EEG-Biofeedback, is a form of biofeedback. Biofeedback is a process that teaches patients how to monitor and alter certain bodily processes in order to improve health and well-being.

Neurofeedback falls under the broader umbrella of biofeedback because it focuses on the brain. During treatment sessions, neurofeedback practitioners teach patients how their brains work so that they can generate the proper brainwave patterns at the right time. This allows them to reduce symptoms related to anxiety, depression, ADHD, etc.

After neurofeedback treatment ends, patients can continue practicing the techniques and skills they developed during therapy in order to self-generate long-term improvements. The reason why neurofeedback is good for treating various disorders over the long run is that it allows patients to take an active role in determining how their brains function—something that traditional medication does not allow for.

How Does Neurofeedback Work?

The brain is a complex system that controls our thoughts, emotions, and actions. It consists of millions of neurons (nerve cells) that communicate with each other through electrical impulses. These impulses can be measured using an electroencephalography (EEG) machine.

Neurofeedback therapy NYC works by helping patients regulate their brain activity, which is measured as brainwaves. There are four primary types of brainwaves that serve different purposes in the brain. While they are all necessary for proper functioning, disruptions can occur when one brainwave becomes dominant at an inopportune time, resulting in poor cognitive functioning, stress, anxiety, and more. Below is a breakdown of the 4 primary types of brainwaves and when they occur:

  • Beta Waves

Beta waves are the highest (i.e., fastest) frequency waves. They occur when the brain is actively engaged in a task, like taking an exam, giving a presentation, solving a problem, or having an interesting conversation. You’ll feel alert and “at the ready” when these waves are dominant.

But there are times when beta waves can be too much of a good thing. If your brain is always firing on all cylinders and racing forward at a breakneck pace, you may experience feelings of anxiety or being overwhelmed. That’s because your brain is working hard to process all this information—and it can take a toll!

To counterbalance the effects of too much beta activity, try listening to alpha waves during your daily routine. These slower, more relaxed frequencies can help you feel calmer and focused without feeling overwhelmed or anxious about what lies ahead.

  • Alpha Waves

These are the next fastest-frequency brainwaves. They are present when the brain is in a more relaxed state and can make you feel satisfied or at ease. When you close your eyes to relax or meditate, your brain produces more alpha brainwaves.

  • Theta Waves

Theta waves are the slowest type of brainwave and are present when we’re sleepy or daydreaming. These waves help us get ready to “shut down” at the end of a long day. Still, they can also disrupt our thought patterns if they occur at the wrong time—like when you’re studying for a test or taking an online class. Excess theta waves are frequently the cause of poor focus and attention, as is often the case with individuals with ADD/ADHD.

  • Delta Waves

Delta waves are the slowest frequency brainwaves, and they become predominant primarily when we are in a state of deep, dreamless sleep. If you’re wondering why you’re having trouble focusing on even the most trivial and mundane tasks, it may be because your brain is stuck in an unhealthy functioning pattern.

Delta waves are essential for optimal brain function, but when there aren’t enough high-frequency waves (or vice versa), your brain won’t be able to perform at its highest capacity. When this happens, you may feel an overwhelming sense of fatigue or like you’re living in a fog or feel agitation or restlessness.

Is Neurofeedback Safe?

Neurofeedback is a safe method of treatment that has been used by countless people with many different types of brain disorders. While the process may seem strange, it is actually quite simple. The brain produces electrical signals, which are picked up by an electrode attached to the scalp. These signals are then measured and analyzed by a computer program that compares them to normal values. If there is an abnormal pattern in the brainwave activity, then it can be corrected using feedback therapy.

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