Neurofeedback therapy is an incredible procedure that allows the brain to correct irregularities within itself. Conditions as varied as depression, anxiety, and migraines are treatable with professional care. However, as with most procedures not as straightforward as daily medication, a lot of questions arise. And with these questions, many different myths about neurofeedback have spawned. Here, we intend to put nine of these myths to rest.
Neurofeedback is NOT a fancy term for shock therapy. The purpose of hooking up FDA-approved biofeedback equipment is to perform “brain mapping.” Not an invasive procedure, neurofeedback monitors brain activity and the patient is able to see what is going on in the form of video or audio. The brain corrects itself, and over multiple sessions, the results become permanent.
Disorders or conditions of the brain do not crop up independently. They are the results of brainwaves that are misfiring or otherwise irregular. Neurofeedback therapy treats the function of the brain as a whole, as opposed to targeting individual problems. When one undergoes this therapy, the overall health of the brain boosts.
Technicians receive extensive and very specialized training when it comes to neurofeedback therapy. It isn’t a matter of hooking up the equipment and pressing “go.” Precise, mathematical adjustments are necessary to address what the brain needs. Each patient’s case is different and requires a different subset of rules.
Conditions such as depression or anxiety often feel like they are part of one’s personality. However, neurofeedback therapy designed to help combat these conditions do not take away keystones to a personality so affected by them. If anything, it allows one to discover oneself outside of these barriers. Patients have described their experiences with neurotherapy as “liberating.” They have been able to experience life in an entirely new way.
Though it is an exciting suggestion, patients do not learn the skill of controlling his or her brainwaves. By way of therapy, the brain corrects itself through a process called neuroplasticity. The human brain is an amazing thing; when it recognizes in itself an irregularity, it will begin working to regenerate proper functioning.
Your doctor may not recommend neurofeedback, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be effective. Few health professionals receive extensive training in neurofeedback, and often they don’t know enough about it to feel comfortable recommending it. It is important to take seriously what your doctor suggests, but it is also helpful to seek outside professionals in specific fields. Dr. Aaron Nelson of Allied Health Care is trained in neurotherapy and can offer a professional consultation without stepping on the toes of your doctor, who may know little about it.
This myth derives from the fact that yes, each neurofeedback session can be pricey. However, these sessions also expedite a reliably positive outcome. Instead of dutifully taking medication or attending talk therapy sessions for months or even years, a patient can make as much if not more progress in just 8-12 weeks of neurofeedback therapy. In comparison, the price for a few weeks of neurofeedback is far more economic than years of filling prescriptions.
Though neurofeedback is often a good replacement for medication, brain mapping can also be a good way to determine what medication will work for the brain. The numerous possibilities of neurofeedback does not always negate the need for medication. But the good thing about brain mapping is that the doctor and patient learn more about what works and what doesn’t.
In patients for whom neurofeedback is effective (80-85%), neurofeedback goes for the gold: permanent healing of the brain. The very reason that we recommend our patients to receive up to 40 sessions of therapy is to ensure that the change is permanent. In very few cases, patients will have to return for a “tune-up.” For conditions whose root does not extend outside of the brain, neurofeedback does incredibly well.