APEX Brain Centers

Neurofeedback: How It Can Help Improve Your Quality of Life

Neurofeedback is a powerful technique that can help improve the quality of your life by enhancing brain functions and optimizing brain activity. At APEX Brain Centers, we incorporate neurofeedback into our comprehensive care programs, which are designed to address the needs of individuals with a variety of brain injuries, cognitive impairments, and learning and behavioral disorders – such as OCD, anxiety, ADHD, and addiction.

This state-of-the-art approach measures and provides feedback on your brain’s electrical activity, allowing you to better understand and modify how it operates. By learning to regulate your brainwave patterns, you can effectively strengthen your brain’s ability to process information, resulting in improved mental health and overall function. In our practice, we have seen firsthand how the integration of functional neurology assessments and interventions, along with other modalities like low-level laser therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, balance and vestibular therapies, eye movement rehabilitation, and metabolic and nutritional therapies, significantly enhances the impact of neurofeedback.

Ultimately, with improved brain function and activity, you can experience a higher level of mental clarity, focus, and cognitive performance. By embracing the potential of neurofeedback, you are taking a proactive step towards optimizing your brain health and unlocking your full potential for a more satisfying life.

Understanding Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback, also known as EEG biofeedback or neurotherapy, is a therapy that uses real-time feedback from brainwave analysis to help improve cognitive abilities, focus, and overall brain function. This non-invasive, drug-free method utilizes an electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure brain activity and identify specific patterns, made up of alpha and beta brainwaves, among others.

Neurofeedback sessions typically involve placing sensors on the patient’s scalp to measure and analyze their brainwave activity. During the session, patients are given specific tasks or goals, or simply asked to relax and focus on their breathing, while their brainwave patterns are displayed in real-time on a computer screen. This allows our team to identify any irregularities in the patterns and help guide the patient to either increase or decrease these brainwaves as needed.

One of the key aspects of neurofeedback therapy is the qEEG (quantitative electroencephalogram), which provides a detailed evaluation of a person’s brainwave activity. This information allows us to create a personalized training plan for each individual and develop targeted strategies to improve their brain function.

In our practice, we make use of various neurofeedback techniques to cater to the unique needs of our patients, whether they are dealing with cognitive impairments, brain injuries, or learning and behavioral disorders. By incorporating neurofeedback as an integral part of our comprehensive treatment approach at APEX Brain Centers, we hope to improve the overall quality of life for our patients and help them achieve their full potential.

How Neurofeedback Works

Neurofeedback is a non-invasive process that uses real-time displays of brainwave activity to help improve the functioning of the brain. This therapy involves placing sensors or electrodes on the scalp with a conducting gel to measure the electrical activity of the brain while the individual is engaged in simple tasks, or with a relaxed mind.

During neurofeedback sessions, brainwave patterns are monitored, and the individual receives feedback on their brain activity. This feedback (audio or visual) helps to train the brain to function more efficiently, ultimately leading to increased focus, better emotional regulation, and improved cognitive performance. Electrical potentials or brainwaves are responsible for various functions such as walking, talking, eating, thinking, or feeling emotions and sensations.

By providing real-time feedback, neurofeedback encourages the brain to adjust its own activity patterns, leading to increased focus, decreased stress, and greater resilience. By addressing the underlying problematic brainwave activity, individuals can experience lasting benefits such as better sleep, improved attention, enhanced emotional regulation, and more. With a customized approach and a focus on addressing underlying issues, APEX Brain Centers can help individuals achieve lasting improvements in their mental and emotional well-being.

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Techniques and Equipment in Neurofeedback

One of the primary tools used in neurofeedback is an electroencephalogram (EEG) amplifier, which measures brainwave activity. This advanced equipment detects clients’ brainwaves through non-invasive sensors placed on their scalp. The information gathered by the EEG is then analyzed and compared to established patterns of healthy brain functioning in various databases.

In most neurofeedback sessions, we use audio and video elements to convey feedback to our clients. When their brain activities align with the desired patterns, positive feedback (e.g., pleasant sounds or visuals) is given, reinforcing the beneficial brain activity. On the other hand, therapeutic feedback is provided when undesirable brain activity is detected, encouraging the client to correct their brainwave patterns.

There are several types of neurofeedback techniques we employ at APEX Brain Centers, including:

  • Z-Score Training: This technique involves comparing the client’s brainwave activity to a normative database and identifying deviations from the average patterns of brainwaves for individuals of similar age and sex. By using standard deviations from the average population, we can better understand the areas for improvement and develop personalized neurofeedback protocols.
  • Frequency-Based Training: This method of neurofeedback targets specific brainwave frequencies to help improve cognitive or emotional functioning. For example, we might target alpha (8-12 Hz) or beta (15-30 Hz) frequencies, depending on the client’s individual needs.

Therapeutic Applications of Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is a powerful tool that can help improve various aspects of mental health, including attention, focus, stress, addictive and compulsive behaviors, and anger management. One primary application of neurofeedback in our practice involves helping those with learning and behavioral disorders such as OCD, anxiety, ADHD, and addiction. By providing real-time feedback about a person’s brainwaves, neurofeedback allows individuals to gain better control over their mental processes. As a result, they can potentially experience significant improvements in focus and attention. This can be particularly beneficial for those struggling with ADHD, as it may enable them to function more effectively in their daily lives. Being able to sit through sessions of increasing length, one can train their ability to stay focused and calm.

Neurofeedback has also shown promising results in managing stress and promoting relaxation. In today’s fast-paced society, many of us experience high levels of stress, which can negatively impact our health and well-being. Through the use of neurofeedback, individuals can learn to better regulate their stress responses by recognizing and adjusting their brain activity patterns, as well as heart rate, breathing patterns, and more. Consequently, this may lead to improved stress management skills and a higher quality of life.

Anger management is another key area where neurofeedback can be beneficial. Excessive anger can result from various cognitive or emotional factors, as well as dysregulation in the autonomic nervous system, and may manifest itself through various maladaptive behaviors. Neurofeedback can help individuals identify and address underlying brain activity patterns that may contribute to their anger, and in turn, develop more effective strategies for managing these emotions.

Neurofeedback for Specific Conditions

At APEX Brain Centers, we have found that neurofeedback can be beneficial in helping with a variety of conditions, such as anxiety, ADHD, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In this section, we will discuss how neurofeedback can help improve the quality of life for individuals suffering from these conditions.

People with anxiety often suffer from racing thoughts, restlessness, and difficulty concentrating; as well as bodily symptoms of chest tightness, elevated heart rate, sweating, and more. Neurofeedback helps to address these issues by training the brain to better self-regulate, leading to reduced anxiety levels and improved focus. Attention/Focus and self-regulation are located in the same part of the brain! Similarly, for individuals with ADHD, neurofeedback can contribute to enhanced attention, reduced impulsivity, and better overall cognitive performance.

Depression affects millions of people worldwide and can manifest as persistent sadness, feelings of hopelessness, and a lack of motivation. Through our experience at APEX, we have observed that neurofeedback can aid in alleviating depressive symptoms by targeting specific brain regions, like the left frontal lobe, that are involved in mood regulation, helping individuals feel more balanced and in control of their emotions.

PTSD is an agonizing mental health condition, often resulting from a traumatic event, that can leave individuals feeling constantly on edge, experiencing flashbacks, and struggling with insomnia. Neurofeedback has shown promise in managing PTSD symptoms by increasing the brain’s ability to self-regulate and reducing hyperarousal. In turn, this can lead to a decrease in the intensity and frequency of flashbacks, as well as improved sleep quality.

Moreover, neurofeedback has been found to be helpful for people suffering from other conditions such as epilepsy, insomnia, and post-concussion syndrome. In cases of epilepsy, neurofeedback can help reduce seizure frequency by training the brain to generate more stable brainwave patterns that root one’s body in their brain (embodiment). For those with insomnia and post-concussion symptoms, neurofeedback aims to promote more restful sleep and improved cognitive functioning, among many other positive clinical effects.

Lastly, aging can often be accompanied by cognitive decline and memory loss. Our work at APEX has shown that neurofeedback might be able to slow down or even reverse some of the age-related cognitive loss we experience as we get older, as it can help to improve memory, focus, and overall brain function.

Neurofeedback in Children

In our practice at APEX Brain Centers, we help many children with various neurocognitive issues, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities, and other behavioral disorders. Neurofeedback has shown promising results in improving the quality of life of children dealing with these challenges.

Children with ADHD often struggle with hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. Using neurofeedback, we can help them by training down theta waves and training up beta waves. These are methods that have shown improvements in sustained attention, motor control, and bimanual coordination in children. Besides ADHD, neurofeedback has also been applied to improve the symptoms of children on the autism spectrum, through the use of computerized neurofeedback techniques.

We monitor brainwave activity with sensors during neurofeedback training sessions. This allows us to give the child useful tasks that aid in the development of attention and concentration skills. Over time, these skills become more ingrained and can be applied to everyday life situations outside of our sessions, improving the child’s overall mental health. Coupled with our vast array of therapeutic modalities, the sky’s the limit!

Application of Neurofeedback in Sleep Disorders

Improved sleep quality, in turn, positively impacts memory, learning ability, and overall cognitive function.

Some studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of neurofeedback in addressing sleep disorders. For instance, a study focused on sensorimotor rhythm neurofeedback showed that it may help improve subjective sleep quality. Another study highlighted the potential benefits of alpha-increase neurofeedback protocols in treating sleep disturbances and acute stress symptoms.

Incorporating neurofeedback into our comprehensive approach allows us to better assist individuals coping with various sleep disorders, such as insomnia or sleep-related anxiety. While neurofeedback is a valuable tool, it’s essential to recognize that it works best in conjunction with other suitable therapies to maximize results.

By integrating neurofeedback into our practice, we strive to help individuals achieve their optimal level of cognitive function and overall quality of life. By addressing sleep disorders, we can effectively support positive outcomes in memory, learning, and behavioral aspects, contributing to the overall success of our therapies and interventions. And, most importantly, many individuals are able to have decreased reliance on the many sleep medications that are widely prescribed for those with insomnia.

Research and Efficacy of Neurofeedback

Over the years, research has shown that neurofeedback can significantly help improve various aspects of a person’s life. Various studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of neurofeedback in a range of mental health conditions. For example, a meta-analysis on neurofeedback in ADHD treatment found that protocols like theta/beta, sensory-motor rhythm, and slow cortical potential training were efficacious and specific. Another study highlighted the effectiveness of neurofeedback in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder by showcasing how it could positively impact psychosocial functioning and biophysiological parameters.

Recent advancements in neurofeedback have also made it possible to use this technique for cognitive enhancement and intervention in brain plasticity. By providing real-time feedback on brain activity, individuals can gain insight into their cognitive processes and learn to control their brain functions, leading to directional changes in neuronal connectivity and plasticity.

Overall, neurofeedback research has continually supported its effectiveness in improving various aspects of life. By integrating it with functional neurology assessments and other complementary therapies, we are confident in its potential to foster better mental health and cognitive performance for our clients at APEX Brain Centers.

Neurofeedback and Insurance

At APEX Brain Centers, we often receive questions regarding insurance coverage for neurofeedback services. While each insurance plan is different, there are some general points worth noting.

It is important to remember that coverage can vary widely based on your specific insurance plan and the provider network. To avoid surprises, We recommend contacting your insurance provider to verify your coverage for neurofeedback services. When inquiring about coverage, make sure you have the appropriate procedure codes (also known as CPT codes) for the neurofeedback services you are seeking. We can provide you with these codes to seek potential out-of-network benefits.

We understand that cost can be a barrier for many individuals seeking neurofeedback services. Therefore, we encourage potential clients to explore all available options, including insurance coverage, flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts, our 0% financing programs, and financial hardship agreements, to help finance their neurofeedback sessions. Ultimately, investing in neurofeedback can lead to long-term improvements in brain function and overall quality of life.

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/

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