Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback that monitors your brainwaves and shows you what areas of the brain are functioning better or worse. This feedback is often through a movie, game or other visual or audio cues. The therapy is non-invasive and has been around since the 1970s. It has been found to be an effective treatment for conditions such as ADHD, PTSD, sleep disorders, chronic pain and fibromyalgia, and even migraines.

During a session, small sensors are placed on the head using conductive gel and connected to a computer program that monitors brain activity. The software then analyzes and displays your brain wave data in real time. The therapist guides you through the process of changing your brainwaves by giving you information about your behavior. As you work to change your brainwaves, you are rewarded with a positive feedback such as the movie continuing without any pauses or fades. In this way, your brain learns to optimize the brainwaves associated with being calm and focused, and the brain learns to suppress the negative wave patterns that cause anxiety or fear.

The therapist may also use brain analysis software to find and identify activities that are potentially at the root of symptoms like depression, insomnia, anxiety or a chronic illness. Neurofeedback is used with a variety of psychological and physical therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which has been shown to be effective for many symptoms such as chronic pain, PTSD, phobias, GAD, OCD and more.

There are many types of Neurofeedback protocols, each targeting a specific type of brain function or reaction. The most common uses of Neurofeedback involve reducing the frequency of beta waves, which are associated with fear and anxiety, while increasing alpha waves that help you to relax.

Another very popular use of Neurofeedback is to target the slow cortical potentials in certain brain regions to treat ADHD, narcolepsy and migraines (Zandi-Mehran, Haghshenas, & Rostami, 2014). During this training, a weak electromagnetic signal is delivered to the head while the patient sits motionless with eyes closed.

Lastly, the therapist may also train the brain to increase theta waves, which are associated with hypnosis, meditation and deep relaxation. Increased theta wave activity is associated with higher intelligence, better memory and lower stress levels. It has been shown to improve reading comprehension, verbal fluency and math skills (Wang & Sourina, 2013). If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury or concussion, neurofeedback has been proven to be an effective treatment for the long-term effects of these injuries. This includes reducing migraines, balancing mood and emotions, improved focus, and improved cognitive functions and learning abilities. Depending on the condition, a therapist will determine the specific protocol to use.