Neurofeedback, also known as brain biofeedback, is a direct way of training and changing the brain using non-invasive safe technology that teaches your brain what to do differently.
It is an entire science with 40 years of research and is recognized as the number 1 treatment tool for ADHD recommended by the American Paediatric Association Physician group.
It is used extensively in the treatment of issues like depression, anxiety, insomnia, addictions, PTSD especially in the USA who are the leaders in this field and technology.
It is also used in the peak performance world by:
- NASA astronauts
- Olympic champions
- Real Madrid, Chelsea and AC Milan
- Tony Robbins
- The London School of Music
How It Works
- Your Brain Activity is picked up by electrodes
- A Computer program reads the brainwave patterns and feeds it back to person by giving a reward sound when the brain ‘does the right thing’ makes ‘good brainwaves’
- It can change how brain cells ‘talk’ to each other and what they ‘say’
- It Tells your brain what to do differently–removes the guesswork for brain!
- Helps the brain change dysfunctional patterns directly
- Based On Neuroplasticity, neuroregulation & brain networking research-40+ years to help the brain function better under stress
- It can change Neurotransmitter & cortisol stress hormone levels
- Enhances brain’s ability to self regulate
- The Brain changes are long term
- It Takes Motivation to meditate out of equation & the changes are trackable
- Beta fast waves are needed for focus and concentration
- Too much Beta in the wrong area of the brain cause anxiety, worry, overthinking, body tension including:
- High right hemisphere beta waves
- High beta in the back of the head
- Beta wave imbalances lead to burnout, brain anxiety & toxic stress symptoms because the brain has no ‘off button’ and cannot return to a low arousal
- Alpha brainwaves are the ‘middle frequency’ waves made when the brain is conserving energy or is ‘idling’ / relaxed but awake
- Too much alpha in the LEFT frontal lobe is associated with low moods, motivation, problems getting up & going in the am
- Slow alpha waves especially in the front of the brain is a marker of brainfog and mental sluggishness
- Theta brainwaves are part of the slow waves along with delta waves.
- Theta waves are involved with emotional processing, memory and deep trance states
- Theta is highly linked to the brain’s limbic system & amygdala and the brain’s response to stress
- Low Theta to beta ratio in occipital lobes -issues with energy management and inability of the brain to self-rejuvenate
- Low posterior theta- adult ADD symptoms (poor focus)
- High frontal lobe theta-brainfog and inability to focus under mental strain
History of Neurofeedback
In the 1960’s researchers (Dr. Joe Kamiya & Dr. B. Sterman) discovered you can retrain brainwave patterns by using EEG brain feedback and they first used it to treat drug-resistant epilepsy with positive results.
But the initial equipment was hard to use, large and extremely expensive-only used in research labs and studies at big university centres.
We now use a modern higher-tech and portable form of this ‘fast brainwave’ training to balance right and left brain hemispheres, enhance focus and mental clarity and target specific brainwave pattern issues that contribute to symptoms such as anxiety, low mood, fatigue, brainfog and even unrestorative sleep and morning tiredness.
History of Neuromeditation
At the same time, other researchers were developing a different form of neurofeedback training the slower brainwave frequencies and tapping into the ‘deep states,’ and this was led by Dr. Elmer Green, who was himself a devoted meditator as well as researcher and clinician.
He took his equipment to India and brainmapped advanced yogic monks in states of deep meditation to look for brain signatures of these states that took decades to master.
He discovered through this process a specific brain signature at the back of the brain when they entered into these deep states, and then created a way to use the EEG brain biofeedback to train the brain of any normal person into this deep state, called the ‘twilight state.
This deep brain training was called ‘alpha theta neurofeedback’ and used subsequently to help treat war vets suffering with PTSD and patients with alcoholism addiction.
Dr. Eugene Peniston found that using it, Negative ‘problem personality traits’ disappeared and his patients were able to maintain sobriety even after 2 years vs ‘standard treatment’.
The reason it worked in these difficult to treat cases of addiction and emotional trauma has to do with its ability to put our brains in a unique ‘twilight state’ in between sleeping and waking where the amygdala and fear centres are taking ‘offline’ and the brain can reintegrate.
This same training is also used by peak performers to have more ‘aha moments’ of great insight or invention and to help solve problems that seem ‘unsolvable’ using normal ‘frontal lobe’ conscious awareness problem solving.
This special state allows the brain to resolve deep psychological issues of the unconscious mind and brain, enhance novel thinking & creativity and help to heal the brain & body physiology from the long term effects of chronic stress and burnout.
We use a modern form of this Deep State alpha theta neurofeedback combined with specific guided meditations as a ‘brain warm up’ to guide your brain into the ‘twilight’ state.
Spending time in this unique brain twilight state lowers levels of brain and body cortisol (stress hormone) and enhances the body’s natural feel good chemicals (Beta Endorphin, serotonin).
The results from deep state brain training often go way beyond what talk psychotherapy offers and with greater depth for both healing and personal development and mental performance.
What is the Twilight State?
This special state is marked by the intersection of the alpha and theta brain waves and is called a ‘crossover’ or twilight state.
Alpha brainwaves are generally found when we are awake and conscious but relaxed, like in many meditative states.
Theta brainwaves are related to day dreaming, emotions, memory and deep trance states.
In modern life, we no longer know how to access this twilight state because we are either ‘awake’ or asleep and only pass through the twilight state for a few seconds as we fall asleep each night.
When you are able to harness staying in this special ‘twilight’ state for more than a few seconds, profound brain changes occur to help the body and brain maintain health, heal and recover.
Anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia, worry, & digestion problems are all conditions that can be solved very effectively by tapping into the the twilight brain state.
Tapping into this and similar ‘altered states’ is actually the basis of most ancient / traditional healing techniques eg. shamanic journeys, research with psilocybin (magic mushrooms), LSD, other traditional psychoactive compounds used by various tribes in ritual, etc. (note: good reading material on this topic: DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor’s Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences by Dr. Rick Strassman)
This is what deep state brainwave training or neurofeedback does but without any substances or shamanic help.
This technology allows you to ‘cheat’ by guiding your brain into the twilight state and keeping you there for 30 minutes to allow this healing state to occur without spending years in meditation.
‘Brain Fear & Anxiety Loop Reset’
The number one health & healing ‘roadblock’ is in the brain. This roadblock is hyperarousal of the limbic brain and amygdala (the brain centre for fear and anxiety) overactivity.
When the brain is constantly in fight or flight due to low grade everyday stress of modern life it gets stuck in ‘background’ noise loops of mental chatter, worry and hyper-vigilance.
In this state the brain cannot integrate trauma, rebalance body hormones or maintain a calm balanced mood.
Being in this state too much of the time also affects the ability to get restful sleep at night and shut off the mind.
In order to break these loops, the brain has to be able to shut off the amygdala, that brain centre that is driving fear memory and fight or flight reactions.
When you are in the twilight crossover state, the amygdala part of your brain naturally goes ‘offline.’ At the same time, your memory and emotional centres remain active but without the fear memory or ‘fight or flight’ response.
This unique combination of emotional awareness without fear, panic or anxiety reactions allows your brain to heal old neural patterns of stress, anxiety, worry and trauma that are taking up brain resources and running as ‘open programs’ in the background of your mind constantly.
The RAS Arousal Brain System & Toxic Stress
When the fight or flight overdrive is taken care of, your brain also changes its level of arousal at a deep level in a brain network called the Reticular activating system in the brainstem, the oldest part of the brain.
The RAS is your arousal system that controls motivation and need for stimulation.
Deep state training resets your RAS to a lower healthier level of arousal by deactivating your amygdala (fear and worry).
This process also lowers your cortisol (the stress hormone that is toxic to your brain’s memory cells in the hippocampus), increasing beta endorphin levels (natural feel good brain chemicals) and helps body operate at lower level of baseline arousal so you don’t exhaust your neurotransmitters related to overarousal (Dopamine & Norepinephrine).
Exhausted neurotransmitters result in symptoms related to stress & burnout, chronic fatigue, brain fog, anxiety and panic and eventually depression.
Balance can be restored to all of these systems by getting your brain into the natural crossover ‘in between state’ modern life has forgotten how to access and prolonging this state to allow for total deep brain rest and reset.
How is a Session Done?
You will place the EEG sensor on the back of the head and asked to close your eyes.
The first 8 minutes after you close your eyes is spent listening to a guided relaxation and imagery program to help transition to a relaxed receptive mental state.
Then the brain feedback reward tones will start to guide the brain to increase both alpha and theta waves in specific proportions to guide you into the twilight state.
What Happens When You Close Your Eyes
When you close your eyes, your alpha brainwaves naturally rise briefly before falling gradually until consciousness is lost.
With eyes closed, theta naturally rises with delta as sleep approaches but does not normally rise high enough to meet alpha until sleep occurs.
With these reward noises, the alpha is encouraged to stay higher and maintain consciousness and not drop into sleep so rapidly and the theta is encouraged to rise higher than normal whilst still conscious.
Reaching the ‘Twilight State’
The tones can thus guide you into the elusive alpha theta state, but you don’t have to worry about what the sounds mean, your brain knows what to do naturally so you can release all mental effort.
The tones keep you in this twilight state in between the states of awake and sleep. Normally you fall asleep if left on your own.
The tones you hear coming from the computer holds you in that normally fleeting state of conscious.
Session by session the brain becomes more skilled at remaining around the cross-over state and profound changes begin to occur in how you feel in waking life and old traumas are cleared out.
Benefits of Deep State Sessions
You will become more resilient to stressors. You will have more ‘aha moments’ and more creative ideas.
You become less ‘reactive’ to situations and people that normally provoke you.
Solutions to major life & health/healing ‘roadblocks’ start to emerge because your brain engages naturally again in novel behaviours, once anxiety and fear loops are broken.
This state allows the brain to get rid of negative subconscious ‘mental chatter’ that is taking up brain resources.
Most clients report enhancement of their personal meditation practice done outside of the sessions and the mind calms down and becomes quiet more easily.
- Increases ability for novel behavior by breaking brain’s stuck patterns of thinking and behaving
- Decreases brain and body stress hormone (Decreases Cortisol)
- Increases Beta Endorphin Levels
- Decreases Addictive Tendencies/Behavior
- Resets the brain’s attentional network- your RAS (reticular activating system) to lower baseline level of arousal so you can perform better under pressure
- Decreases fear, worry and anxiety
- Decreases racing thoughts/constant thinking you can’t ‘shut off’
- Increases social accuracy (which is your ability to get social resources-ie get what you want from other people in social, romantic and business relationships by intuitively reading people and situations accurately and responding most appropriately to meet their emotional needs)
- Enhances Self Awareness
- Enhances Creativity & creative problem solving
- Helps to heal emotional trauma by reintegrating old trauma memories by taking the amygdala offline. This free ups brain capacity
- Enhances effects of daily meditation practice
- Gives your brain the ability to calm down better especially under pressure
- Helps to resolve Insomnia by resetting RAS and sleep wake cycles in the brain that become dysfunctional over time due to modern life habits and stress
- More ‘Aha’ Moments of spontaneous insight & invention
Neuromeditation training also enhances dreams for many people.
We get messages from our subconscious in the forms of dreams, although most people are unaware of most dream material.
During the deep state brain training process, the majority of clients begin to dream more frequently and have vastly better dream recall.
This is a sign of brain integration as the older parts of the brain start to talk to the newer thinking brain.
Many people experience major positive life changes in the realm of career, relationships and personal growth as a result of their training.
Both Neuromeditation deep brain training as well as ‘fast-wave’ customized to your brain training can now be done at home and is a core component of our Ultra Resilience Program due to its unique ability to change the brain in a fraction of the time vs traditional mindbody approaches or nutritional approaches alone.
Alpha Theta (Neuromeditation) Research
Improvements in Mental Performance, Memory, Neuroplasticity and Resilience
Neurofeedback for enhancement of memory and concentration
The effect of training SMR neurofeedback protocols on cognitive performance
Optimizing microsurgical skills with EEG neurofeedback
SMR Training for Enhancing Golf Performance http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26866770
Shutting down sensorimotor interference unblocks the networks for stimulus processing: an SMR neurofeedback training study.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24794517
SMR for Inducing Calmness http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23357178
EEG-neurofeedback and SMR for optimising performance: a Review of the literature: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24125857
Neurofeedback training induces changes in brain white and gray matter.
Neurofeedback: an emerging technology for treating central nervous system dysregulation
Tuning pathological brain oscillations with neurofeedback: a systems neuroscience framework.
Endogenous control of waking brain rhythms induces neuroplasticity in humans http://www.nici.ru.nl/twiki/bin/viewfile/Main/MoniekMunneke?rev=1;filename=2010_Ros_et_al_-_Endogenous_control_of_waking_brain_rhythms_induces_neuroplasticity_in_humans.pdf
Training Upper Alpha band for enhancing cognitive performance:https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S105381191001181X
Enhancing ability to handle mental workload:http://www.sid.ir/En/Journal/ViewPaper.aspx?ID=531322
QEEG brainmapping for brain performance and resolution of stress-related symptoms & burnout http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7846849/
Replication of Elite Musical Performance in novices using neurofeedback peak performer rhythm training https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301051113002238
EEG-based upper alpha neurofeedback training improves working memory performancehttp://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/6090651/?reload=true
EEG-neurofeedback for optimising cognitive performance:https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149763413002248
Enhancement of short term memory:https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167876012005478
Improvements in Executive Function & Mental Performance: Boosting Brain Functions with Neurofeedback
Gaining Direct Control over brain functions:
How Neurofeedback allows you to ‘experience’ and gain control over your brain
Emotional Regulation, Anxiety and Mood (Depression/anxiety)
Neurofeedback to Reduce Anxiety
Neurofeedback for depression
ADHD, Focus & Concentration
Neurofeedback outperforms ADHD medication for academic performance without side effects
Neurofeedback changes brain structure in both grey and white matter related to attentional processes
Lubar, J.F. and Shouse, M.N. (1976) EEG and Behavioral Changes in a Hyperkinetic Child Concurrent with Training of the Sensorimotor Rhythm (SMR): A Preliminary Report. Biofeedback Self Regul. 1976 Sep;1(3);293-306. ABSTRACT
Lubar, J.O. & Lubar, J.F. (1984) Electroencephalographic Biofeedback of SMR and Beta for Treatment of Attention Deficit Disorders in a Clinical Setting. Biofeedback Self Regul. 1984 Mar;9(1):1-23. ABSTRACT
Insomnia & Sleep disorders
Hoedlmoser, K. et. al. (2008) Instrumental Conditioning of Human Sensorimotor Rhythm (12–15 Hz) and Its Impact on Sleep as Well as Declarative Learning. Sleep. 2008 October 1;31(10): 1401-1408.
US Military Use of Neurofeedback
Migraine & Chronic Pain Syndromes
Neurofeedback therapy in patients with acute and chronic pain syndromes–literature review and own experience
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & ME
||EEG biofeedback as a treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome: a controlled case report.James LC, Folen RA Behav Med 22 (2): 77-81 (1996)
||Chronic fatigue syndrome: Its response to 14 Hz EEG neurotherapy training.Tansey, M.A. (1994). Presentation at 1994 Society for the Study of Neuronal Regulation, Las Vegas NV.
||A controlled study of the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) with 13-14 Hz beta band electroencephalograph (EEG) biofeedback.Lowe, F. (1994). Presentation at 1994 Society for the Study of Neuronal Regulation, Las Vegas NV.
||EEG Patterns and Chronic Fatigue SyndromeKatherine M. Billiott, M.A., Thomas H. Budzynski, Ph.D., and Frank Andrasik, Ph.D. Journal of Neurotherapy, 2(2), 1997
10 Hz Elevations as the Core of Eyes Open Alpha in ADD, Chronic Fatigue, Depression
by Brown VW, Ph.D.
This presentation examines the phenomenology of the eyes open alpha demonstrated in a variety of conditions. Case review of 10 clients with mixed clinical presentation will be used to demonstrate that the core constituent of eyes open alpha elevations consists in prominent elevations at 10 Hz regardless of client presenting symptomatology.
EEG Patterns and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
by Billiot KM M.A., Budzynski TH Ph.D., Andrasik F Ph.D.
This study examined the relationship between EEG recordings of 28 females with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and age matched controls of the same gender. CFS subjects’ EEG recordings were also compared to their responses on the Profile of Fatigue Related Symptoms, and two questionnaires developed specifically for this study.
EEG Biofeedback as a Treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Controlled Case Report [abs.]
by James LC and Folen RA
EEG neurofeedback has been identified as a potential diagnostic and treatment protocol with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) symptoms. In the present case study, the authors applied an EEG neurofeedback biofeedback paradigm as a treatment modality with a CFS patient. Baseline data were acquired using the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised and qualitative and subjective ratings of cognitive improvement. Test results and clinical findings revealed improvements in the patient’s cognitive abilities, functional skill level, and quality of life. The patient showed significant differences in pre- and posttest levels on the Wechsler scale.
Treatment of Fibromyalgia Incorporating EEG-Driven Stimulation: A Clinical Outcomes Study [abs.]
by Mueller HH, Donaldson CC, Nelson DV, Layman M
Thirty patients from a private clinical practice who met the 1990 American College of Rheumatology criteria for fibromyalgia syndrome (FS) were followed prospectively through a brainwave-based intervention known as electroencephalograph (EEG)-driven stimulation or EDS. Patients were initially treated with EDS until they reported noticeable improvements in mental clarity, mood, and sleep. Self-reported pain, then, having changed from vaguely diffuse to more specifically localized, was treated with very modest amounts of physically oriented therapies. Pre- to posttreatment and extended follow-up comparisons of psychological and physical functioning indices, specific FS symptom ratings, and EEG activity revealed statistically significant improvements
Fibromyalgia treatment of 252 patients with Neurofeedback: http://www.drmueller-healthpsychology.com/f/Donaldson,_Sella,_Mueller,_1998.pdf
Neurofeedback Improves Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia In A Randomized, Controlled Study
by Fisher A PHD
In a recently published article in the journal, Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, researchers report that neurofeedback, a form of biofeedback, significantly improves symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). The authors devised a well thought out study that included a total of 36 patients who experienced FMS. Patient were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups: 18 in a neurofeedback group and 18 in an Escitalopram (i.e., Lexipro) group.
Neurofeedback Intervention in Fibromyalgia Syndrome; a Randomized, Controlled, Rater Blind Clinical Trial [abs.]
by Kayran S, Dursun E, Dursun N, Ermutlu N, Karamürsel S
We designed a randomized, rater blind study to assess the efficacy of EEG Biofeedback (Neurofeedback-NFB) in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). Eighteen patients received twenty sessions of NFB-sensory motor rhythm (SMR) treatment (NFB group) during 4 weeks, and eighteen patients were given 10 mg per day escitalopram treatment (control group) for 8 weeks.
EEG Biofeedback in the Treatment of Lyme Disease: A Case Study
by Packard RC M.D. and Ham LP M.A.
Neurofeedback and Lyme’s Disease: A Clinical Application of the Five Phase Model of CNS Functional Transformation and Integration
by Brown VW Ph.D.