APEX Brain Centers

Neurofeedback: A Game-Changer in Brain Health and Performance

Neurofeedback has emerged as a game-changer in the field of brain health and performance. This innovative approach involves providing individuals with real-time feedback about their brain’s electrical activity, enabling them to learn how to optimize their cognitive, behavioral, emotional, physical, and autonomic functions. By gaining control over their own brainwaves, people can experience improvements in focus, memory, anxiety, and overall mental agility.

What is neurofeedback and how does it work?  How can neurofeedback help with ADHD, anxiety, depression and PTSD?  How can we utilize neurofeedback for better cognitive function?  Are there side effects?  Let’s break it down.

Understanding Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is a form of biofeedback that helps individuals learn to self-regulate their brain functions by measuring brainwaves, feeding them into sophisticated software systems for analysis, and providing real-time feedback. This modern technique, also known as EEG biofeedback, utilizes an electroencephalogram (EEG) to record brain activity and produce feedback signals to help train one’s brain. Transforming this information into audio and/or video feedback, allows the person to observe and alter their brain activity real-time, resulting in improved mental performance and overall cognitive and physical health.

In our practice at APEX Brain Centers, we use neurofeedback as one of our primary approaches for helping individuals with brain injuries, cognitive impairments, and learning and behavioral disorders such as OCD, anxiety, ADHD, and addiction, among others. 

An important aspect of neurofeedback is the capacity to enhance cognitive abilities, improve focus, and boost overall performance. This technique can also help with a variety of conditions, including decreased attention span, memory and concentration, stress reduction, and diminished self-awareness. These improvements can translate to a better quality of life, both at home and in professional settings.

Through regular neurofeedback sessions, clients can develop more control over their brain activity, which may lead to lasting improvements in their mental health and well-being. By incorporating this innovative therapy into our practice, we strive to optimize each individual’s brain function, fostering a healthier and more resilient mind.

How Neurofeedback Works

Neurofeedback is a game-changing therapy for brain health and performance utilized by practitioners across health disciplines and plays a crucial role in our approach by allowing us to train brainwaves and enhance cognitive performance, so that other therapies may become more effective.

When we implement neurofeedback training, we first measure the patient’s brainwaves through sensors placed on the scalp. These sensors record real-time information about the patient’s brain activity, including delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma waves, which are associated with different mental states. This information is then translated into visual or auditory feedback, often in the form of specific sound frequencies, and visual feedback such as video games.

During training, the patient is asked to perform specific tasks or engage in certain thought patterns; although, most often, to attempt to quiet the mind. The audio and/or video provides immediate feedback to the patient, communicating positive reinforcement for the desired brain activity and cues about undesirable patterns. Through continuous and targeted training, patients learn to self-regulate their brainwave patterns and functions and improve their overall cognitive performance.

By carefully monitoring and adjusting brainwave patterns, neurofeedback has the potential to significantly improve cognitive performance, attention span, anxiety, and overall brain function.

Neurofeedback in Medical Therapy

At APEX Brain Centers, we recognize the value of neurofeedback in supporting a variety of medical treatments, and not simply offering neurofeedback as a stand-alone therapy. As a form of biofeedback, neurofeedback allows individuals to become more aware of their brain activity and learn to self-regulate for improved performance and overall brain health1. Our approach to brain health incorporates neurofeedback as a core component of our therapeutic interventions, alongside functional neurology, low-level laser therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, balance, and vestibular therapies, eye movement rehabilitation, frequency-based modalities, metabolic and nutritional therapies, and home care programs.

In our practice, we have found that combining neurofeedback with other therapies can produce significant benefits for individuals with brain injuries, cognitive impairments, and learning and behavioral disorders such as OCD, anxiety, ADHD, and addiction. By helping patients achieve better self-regulation, neurofeedback can improve their ability to focus, reduce impulsivity, and mitigate anxiety, leading to better progress in other treatments and therapies 2.

When utilizing neurofeedback therapy, we first conduct a comprehensive neurological assessment, including quantitative EEG (qEEG) or “brain mapping”, to determine the specific areas of the brain that may need to be targeted. Based on this assessment, we customize a neurofeedback program for each individual, tailored to their unique needs and goals. The therapy involves real-time monitoring of the patient’s brain activity, with feedback provided through audio and visual cues. As they learn to regulate their brain activity, patients may experience a reduction in symptoms and an improvement in overall brain function 3.

While neurofeedback can be a valuable addition to traditional therapies, it is important to note that it should not be considered a standalone treatment. Our experience has shown that mental health services become significantly more impactful when combined with functional neurology assessments and interventions. We believe that our multi-faceted approach to brain health, which places equal emphasis on rehabilitative therapies and support modalities, is essential to achieving the best possible outcomes for our patients, and is the future of brain-based health care!

The Role of Neurofeedback in Treating ADHD

At APEX Brain Centers, we have found that neurofeedback can play a crucial role in helping with ADHD symptoms. ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and poor self-regulation. Traditional approaches to address these issues often involve medication and behavior modification therapy. However, neurofeedback has emerged as a promising alternative/complement for those looking to boost their brain health and performance.

Neurofeedback is a non-invasive, drug-free approach that involves training the brain to self-regulate its activity patterns. This can lead to improvements in attention, focus, and emotional regulation, which are essential for individuals struggling with ADHD. By utilizing state-of-the-art, FDA registered equipment and applying specific neurofeedback protocols, we can target the areas of the brain most affected by ADHD; including the frontal brain and cingulate cortex, among others.

Research supports the efficacy of neurofeedback as a helpful approach to ADHD management. In particular, three standard neurofeedback training protocols—theta/beta (TBR), sensory-motor rhythm (SMR), and slow cortical potential (SCP)—have shown promising results in treating symptoms of ADHD effectively. Newer protocols, such as z-score training and region of interest training are gaining popularity and acceptance as viable treatment options. By implementing these protocols, coupled with our other approaches, we’ve seen firsthand how neurofeedback can lead to lasting improvements in attention, focus, and self-regulation.

Neurofeedback is an essential component of the integrated approach we take at APEX Brain Centers to help individuals with ADHD. By incorporating neurofeedback and other cutting-edge therapies, we aim to optimize brain health and performance—providing lasting benefits for our clients.

Effectiveness of Neurofeedback for Anxiety and Depression

Neurofeedback has shown promise in helping with anxiety and depression. According to a meta-analysis, bio- and neurofeedback techniques are effective interventions for individuals with clinical depression and secondary depressive symptomatology. Similarly, single randomized controlled trials suggest that neurofeedback treatment offers a statistically significant improvement in symptoms for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) when compared to no treatment. These findings highlight the potential of neurofeedback as a valuable therapeutic tool.

It’s important to consider the duration and commitment required for neurofeedback therapy. Participants often require multiple sessions to experience significant improvements in their anxiety or depression symptoms. In our experience, the therapy is well-tolerated with minimal side effects, making it a favorable option for many clients. We also offer distance-based training programs to assist patients long-term in meeting their healthcare goals. Neurofeedback equipment can be purchased or rented to minimize in-office treatment time and barriers to access where there are limited providers.

In summary, neurofeedback is a promising strategy to help individuals manage symptoms of anxiety and depression. By combining it with other therapeutic modalities at APEX Brain Centers, we provide a comprehensive approach to optimize brain health and performance.

Neurofeedback as a PTSD Treatment Option

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a neuropsychiatric affective disorder that can develop after experiencing traumatic life events. Exposure-based therapy has proven to be one of the most effective treatments for PTSD, but the high aversion to traumatic stimuli during the treatment leads to a significant number of patients dropping out of therapy sessions.

At APEX Brain Centers, we have found that incorporating neurofeedback as a treatment option for PTSD can help individuals overcome some obstacles faced by traditional therapy methods. Neurofeedback trains individuals to better self-regulate brain functions, leading to improvements in sleep patterns, focus, anxiety levels, and impulse control. 

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the effectiveness of neurofeedback for PTSD treatment, with the FDA clearing neurofeedback interventions for PTSD in 2023. This has led to more research on specific therapeutic approaches based on neurofeedback. One such method is Decoded Neurofeedback (DecNef), which aims to identify and target the key neural connections between the amygdala and frontal cortex, improving emotional regulation and stress resilience.

Neurofeedback for Better Cognitive Function

One of the primary ways neurofeedback can improve cognitive function is by enhancing attention span. Learning becomes increasingly more effective when attention span is improved. In our practice, we have developed neurofeedback training systems specifically designed to target attention and cognitive performance. These engaging, interactive protocols provide an enjoyable way for individuals to develop better control over their brain activity and, in turn, their attention span.

Aside from attention span, neurofeedback has also been shown to be beneficial for memory. In a study examining the effects of cognitive training in conjunction with neurofeedback, it was found that the combined approach led to greater improvements in cognitive functions compared to cognitive training alone. By targeting specific brain networks, neurofeedback can help enhance memory in both healthy individuals and those experiencing mild cognitive impairment.

In our practice, we measure various aspects of attention, memory, impulse control, executive function, etc. through diagnostic testing batteries both pre and post-treatment; often showing significant gains for many of our patients.

In addition to memory and attention span, neurofeedback can provide benefits for focus and concentration. When individuals are able to control their brain activity, they are better equipped to maintain focus and concentrate on tasks for extended periods of time. As a result, neurofeedback can act as a powerful tool for boosting cognitive capacities and optimizing brain health.

Neurofeedback Side-Effects

While neurofeedback offers various benefits for brain health and performance, it’s essential to understand the potential side effects that some people may experience.

Some individuals undergoing neurofeedback may report experiencing mild side effects such as headaches and fatigue; although, these rare symptoms are often easily mitigated with other therapies we provide. These side effects are generally temporary and tend to subside as the individual’s brain adjusts to the treatment. In our experience, we have found that managing these side effects can be accomplished through careful monitoring of the individual’s progress during neurofeedback sessions.

It’s important to note that every person’s experience with neurofeedback may differ. While some individuals might experience headaches or fatigue as a side effect, most will not  experience any side effects at all. This is because each person’s brain is unique, and the effects of neurofeedback can vary depending on the individual’s brainwave patterns, overall neurophysiology, and pre-existing health status.

At APEX Brain Centers, we emphasize the importance of maintaining open communication with our clients throughout their neurofeedback program. This allows us to address and manage any potential side effects they may experience promptly and effectively. Our goal is to help individuals achieve optimal brain health and performance while minimizing any adverse effects they might encounter along the way.

Neurofeedback Sessions and Equipment

At APEX Brain Centers, our neurofeedback sessions utilize state-of-the-art, FDA cleared EEG equipment and software applications to monitor brain activity in real-time. We work closely with our clients to establish specific training goals and develop tailored programs to help them achieve those objectives. Throughout the sessions, our experienced neurotherapists are there to guide and support clients at every step.

During the sessions, clients wear an EEG cap equipped with numerous electrodes to accurately measure and record brainwaves. Based on the individual’s training goals and needs, our neurotherapists set specific thresholds in the training programs to help clients learn to self-regulate their brain activity. 

As clients progress through the sessions, we continuously monitor their brain activity and adjust the training thresholds accordingly, while re-examining their data at specific intervals during and after training. This personalized approach ensures that each individual receives the most appropriate and effective training for their specific needs and goals

Download Our 10 Tips for a Better Brain eBook

Through state-of-the-art brain mapping, objective neurological testing, intensive research-based brain training, and nutritional intervention, we are able to assess and train the brain to perform at peak condition. Take the firsts step today!
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Footnotes

  1. Neurofeedback is a kind of biofeedback
  2. Neurofeedback addresses problems with mental health from an entirely different direction
  3. Neurofeedback, also known as EEG biofeedback, is a therapeutic intervention

Dr. Michael S. Trayford is a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and Neurofeedback Specialist with over 20 years of experience in the practice of advanced functional neurology. He is one of the most highly sought-after brain rehabilitation specialists because of the life-changing outcomes his patients consistently experience. After over a decade in private practice and working alongside other pioneers in the field, Dr. Trayford developed his multimodal intensive brain training and rehabilitation program built around the science of Neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to learn and grow dependent upon the stimulation it receives from its environment. He later founded APEX Brain Centers to combine his ground-breaking rehabilitation approach with a unique patient and caretaker-centered care model. Under Dr. Trayford’s leadership, APEX Brain Centers has successfully treated thousands of patients and earned the reputation of a world-renowned brain training and rehabilitation practice. Since its inception, Dr. Trayford has been a leader of the Brain Training revolution treating patients worldwide. In addition, he is a published journal contributor and international lecturer. His experience with various patients of all ages and neurological conditions has given him a unique perspective on brain health and human performance. He is also well-versed in collaborating with other health care professionals, making him an invaluable asset to any care team. Dr. Trayford was awarded the Functional Neurologist of the Year distinction by the International Association of Functional Neurology and Rehabilitation, where he is a proud member and conference lecturer. Currently, he serves on the Advisory Council for the Dementia Society of America and the Board of Directors for the International Society for Neuroregulation and Research. He is also a servant leader who has dedicated his adult life to serving multiple communities through Rotary International and other notable causes. When he’s not treating patients, Dr. Trayford usually reads or researches anything related to the brain, human performance, and leadership. He also loves spending time outdoors with his wife Denise, their two daughters, and dogs in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina. https://www.linkedin.com/in/drmichaeltrayford/

Leave a Comment





Find Out if Brain Rehabilitation Can Help

 

Get your questions answered and understand treatment options by one of our board-certified physicians with extensive functional neurology experience.

Consultations are free, 15-minute phone calls, scheduled Monday through Friday.

Recent Blog Posts

The Silent Struggle: Unmasking OCD and Anxiety- Revealing Hidden Challenges

Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are common mental health issues that many individuals ...

Feeding the Brain: The Role of Metabolic and Nutritional Therapy in Brain Health

In our practice at APEX Brain Centers, we recognize that nutrition plays a ...

From Chaos to Calm: A Comprehensive Guide to OCD and Anxiety

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety are two common mental health challenges that can ...

The Future of Brain Health: Exploring Hyperbaric Oxygen & Low-Level Laser Therapies

The future of brain health is undoubtedly an exciting and rapidly evolving area ...

Neurofeedback: How It Can Help Improve Your Quality of Life

Neurofeedback is a powerful technique that can help improve the quality of your ...

From Under the Sea to the Speed of Light: Exploring Hyperbaric and Laser Therapies for Brain Health

The world of brain health has seen significant advancements in recent years; advancements ...
The Silent Struggle: Unmasking OCD and Anxiety- Revealing Hidden Challenges

The Silent Struggle: Unmasking OCD and Anxiety- Revealing Hidden Challenges

Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are common mental health issues that many individuals silently struggle with in their ...
Feed the brain

Feeding the Brain: The Role of Metabolic and Nutritional Therapy in Brain Health

In our practice at APEX Brain Centers, we recognize that nutrition plays a crucial role in brain health ...
From Chaos to Calm: A Comprehensive Guide to OCD and Anxiety

From Chaos to Calm: A Comprehensive Guide to OCD and Anxiety

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety are two common mental health challenges that can have a significant impact on ...
See if APEX Can Help

Schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our board-certified physicians.