- Alzheimer's Disease Update with William Mobley MD (UCSD) This video outlines the background of the epidemic that is growing in our society and how treatment is now focusing on improving the elmination of...
- Researchers at UCSF create a virtual brain lab to train brainwaves Researchers at UCSF's Mission Bay campus are opening a new window into the human brain. It's an interactive lab that could soon be used to understand...
- The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder The Number of Diagnoses Soared Amid a 20-Year Drug Marketing Campaign "After more than 50 years leading the fight to legitimize attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Keith Conners could be celebrating. ...
Frequently Asked Questions
What is neurofeedback?
Like exercise for the body, neurofeedback is exercise for the brain, a proven technology that trains the brain to function more efficiently. It’s also called EEG-biofeedback, because it’s based on recording electrical brain activity with an electroencephalogram (EEG). Neurofeedback is a passive method of retraining unbalanced brain waves using computer-driven sessions.
This non-drug, noninvasive, brain-training method “reads” your brain’s electrical waves through small sensors on the scalp. A computer compares these readings to a research-based, FDA-standard database of hundreds of thousands of human brain wave patterns that match your age and sex. During a treatment session, you receive feedback from this comparison in the form of lower volume or poorer picture resolution in the movie you’re watching or the music you’re hearing. The healthiest brain wave patterns produce the clearest picture and sound. Sound and picture improve when your brain unconsciously matches healthy patterns. Through such “rewards,” your brain effortlessly learns the patterns that make it function more efficiently.
More than 40 years of worldwide clinical research has demonstrated that neurofeedback provides dramatic changes in a variety of neurological and psychological disorders.
Neurofeedback can improve and in some cases reverse progressive memory or motor coordination loss, whether from dementia or stroke or life-stressors like head injury or Parkinson’s disease. It has also proven useful for ADD/ADHD, learning disorders, PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, autism, sleep problems, and addiction.
Neurofeedback has helped children with attention deficits and other forms of disruptive and disturbing behavior. It has helped adolescents who struggled with anxiety and depression, and adults have effectively addressed symptoms of physical and emotional problems such as migraines, PTSD, seizures, stroke, or traumatic brain injuries.
EEG-neurofeedback training has been extensively studied by the U.S. military for improving performance and is often used by individuals looking to enhance performance and abilities in sports, business, and the arts.
For clients who already function well, neurofeedback can sharpen focus, concentration, and coordination and even increase IQ. Clients for such “peak performance” training range from students, athletes, musicians, and artists to lawyers, corporate sales teams, and executives.
What’s more, marketing departments, here and abroad, are now able to fine-tune an advertisement to synchronize its intended message and the message perceived by a target audience, using EEGs to track subjects’ real-time response to content.
How long does neurofeedback take?
Each session may last anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. A typical course of therapy takes 20 to 40 sessions, with 20 being average. The typical schedule is 2 to 3 sessions per week, but daily or even twice-daily sessions may be recommended for certain people. Sessions can take place in our office, or your home or office, which ever you choose.
Before your first treatment, you will complete a medical evaluation, neuropsychological testing, and a symptom questionnaire. Then the technician administers quantitative electroencephalogram (qEEG) to measure your brain wave type, strength, and coordination. To learn more, see “What’s qEEG?”
The qEEG is painless and noninvasive. The technician places a cap with 19 electrodes on your head and connects the electrodes to a computer. The computer reads your brain wave activity and compares the results with an FDA-registered database to determine areas of over- and under-activity compared to the average of people of your age and sex. From this information, we create a colorful “map” of your brain waves. We review the results of your testing and brain map with you, and prepare a customized plan of care for you.
During the course of treatment, we work with you and your physician to monitor your treatment and progress.
From decades of worldwide research, we know that some brain wave patterns are indicative of increased concentration and performance, while others are counterproductive. Careful analysis reveals how closely your own brain activity patterns match those of people who have no cognitive or behavioral disorders.
The technician attaches a few computer sensors to your head and earlobes with a bit of gel. While connected to the sensors, you can choose to watch a movie or listen to music. When your brain’s attention slips, picture or volume also slips, reminding your brain to focus more closely.
The technician monitors your brain wave patterns as you listen to music or watch a movie, and adjusts the computer feedback, encouraging balanced brain waves. When your brain waves are ‘in sync’ with the desired computer pattern, the movie or music is loud and clear; when your brain waves are ‘out of sync,’ the volume drops, the screen goes dim. Slowly, over the course of treatment, your brain waves learn to achieve equilibrium, which leads to peak functioning.
Significant improvements in attention and concentration, movement, relaxation, sleep, and memory can begin with these effortless, computer-driven sessions.
We expect the effects of neurofeedback to last indefinitely, barring a concussion, stroke, TBI, or other new insult to the brain. Follow-up of some patients has shown improvements that lasted 10 to 20 years after the end of treatment. Unlike drug treatments, neurofeedback retrains the brain to a more efficient state. When the brain reaches the desired state, treatment ends. To lock in this new state of brain function, treatment should continue for up to 10 sessions after original symptoms improve.
We don’t ask you to stop any medications you’re currently taking while you undergo neurofeedback therapy. You may find that when your brain begins to work more efficiently, the medication may have a stronger effect. We will work with you and your physician to track your progress and perhaps lower or eliminate a medication.
You won’t have to think about it. During treatment, the reward of better picture and sound reminds your brain to return to its target brain wave patterns. Your brain learns these patterns by itself and will regulate itself to stay with those patterns in your daily life. As with physical exercise, you will find yourself on a more even keel in general -- more focused during the day and sleeping better at night.
An electroencephalogram (EEG) measures the normal electrical activity taking place in the brain that can be measured at the scalp surface. EEG measurements are used in neurology for example, to determine the presence of tumors and epileptic seizure activity. Quietmind Foundation and Quietmind Associates use EEG information to assess a range of specific patterns of activity in the brain, under various conditions, and compare these patterns against norms established by age, sex, and handedness. We use these comparisons in our clinical trials and to guide our construction of customized neurofeedback training protocols.
A quantitative encephalogram (QEEG) is a “map” of a client’s brain waves. A QEEG is completed for each client before treatment begins to determine the appropriate treatment for that client.
To obtain this brain map, a client dons a soft cap with noninvasive sensors floating above the scalp and placed at 19 specific points on the head. The sensors connect to a computer program based on more than 40 years of worldwide clinical research into thousands of people’s brain wave patterns. This program compares the client’s brain waves with those of people of the same age, sex, and handedness to determine where the client’s brain waves differ from the standard.
The resulting brain maps are used in conjunction with other clinical information to construct a neurofeedback training protocol specific to the client. The colorful map easily demonstrates how each client’s map differs from the standard baseline.
At the end of all neurofeedback treatments, a second qEEG is done to determine the client’s progress achieving peak performance. Pre- and post-treatment brain map changes are clearly visible to the untrained eye.
A referenced-EEG (rEEG®) allows physicians and patients to make evidence-based decisions about prescribing psychiatric medications by indicating the medications that are likely to be most effective for a patient's specific pattern of brain waves. The rEEG is a unique analysis of qEEG data, involving the comparison of the qEEG data against a database containing specific biomarkers for predicting efficacy of a particular drug in relation to specific EEG brain wave patterns. See “What’s qEEG, or Brain Mapping” for more details.
Infrared light is light at a specific lower, or “near,” part of the electromagnetic spectrum, ranging from 700nm to 1400nm in wavelength. Infrared wavelengths between 940nm and 1072nm are used in therapy to help relieve symptoms often associated with traumatic brain injury, anxiety and depression, musculoskeletal pain, cognitive and behavioral symptoms of dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.
The Low-Energy Neurotherapy System, or LENS, is a minimally invasive technique that employs extremely low levels of stimulation using very weak radio wave signals that are specifically determined by the person's own EEG activity patterns. These signals are absorbed into the brain's ongoing activity and thereby facilitate an often rapid and effortless shifting of habitual responses, leading then to higher levels of cognitive, energetic, and physical functioning.
This neurotherapy approach has proved effective with attention and learning disorders, traumatic brain injury, depression, and mild cognitive impairment. Quietmind Associates utilizes both LENS and Neuro-Gen protocols that were developed by one of Quietmind Foundation’s technical consultants, Corey Snook, BSEE.
A hemoencephalograph (HEG) is a measurement of blood flow and oxygen levels at the surface of the brain. Many neurological problems are caused by or compounded by decreased blood flow -- and therefore oxygen -- to the brain. The HEG device is a lightweight headband that sends information wirelessly to the computer for use in biofeedback training to increase blood flow to all brain tissues and thereby improve brain functioning.
The personal ROSHI (pROSHI) is a non-EEG-driven stimulation device that employs LED lights embedded in special glasses and electromagnetic stimulation to interrupt habitual brain activity patterns and push the brain to generate new brain wave frequencies. These new patterns of brain wave activity help expand the brain’s range of possible responses to situations, resulting in increased capacity for new thoughts, sensations, and feelings.
Sessions of pROSHi rapidly improve the brain’s ability to relax and focus attention. Since the early 90s, pROSHI has been used for peak performance training.