The brain is our highest instance in constant interaction with the rest of the body. It is the brain that adapts and responds to every piece of information it receives from inside and outside the body. Nothing and no one is above it to tell it if its way of functioning is effective or if it needs to correct itself.
This is where neurofeedback (also called neurotherapy) comes in, acting as an intermediary. How does it work? The electrical activity of the brain is measured in real time (neuro) and feedback is given to the brain about its own activity (-feedback).
See the relevant page for more information on qEEG & brain waves →
Here is what a session looks like
In the diagram above, you have the example of a client suffering from anxiety: the brain is overactive mainly at the central level in red (right brain). This state is not rewarded, the film remains dark. When the brain decreases its over-activity (left brain), it is rewarded with a clear movie of good quality. The brain makes the association 'decrease of waves = better quality of film': it is motivated to reduce its anxious brain activity.
In this process, we are not changing your brain. We simply show it the best way to function by changing the brightness of the screen. The brain then follows these instructions, it is the brain that is motivated to change its activity by itself so that the screen is clear. Why? Because the brain does not like irregularities, the dark screen. You still see the movie on the screen but it is not perfect.
Remember, when you are in the car. The radio is playing good music, suddenly you hear slight crackling. You can still hear the music but the signal is disturbed and the sound is not as good. Our first instinct is to change the radio station for something clearer. Same process as during a session!
Does neurofeedback really work? Check out the FAQ →
For neurofeedback to be effective, it must respect several physiological, cognitive and learning principles. It is based on the following concepts:
Also called neuronal or cerebral plasticity, this concept emerged in 1848 with the famous patient Phineas Gage. Developed by Santiago Ramón y Cajal in 1906, it was not accepted by the scientific community until 1970.
This term describes our brain's ability to adapt to the environment and to change itself as needed. We all have the capacity to create, undo or reorganize our neural networks and the connections between these neurons, from our birth to our death. This is why we speak of a plastic brain, because it is malleable, like a muscle, it shapes itself according to our experiences and learning.
Neuroplasticity intervenes during any learning process, whether it is motor, linguistic or creative... Thus, it is possible to learn to play the piano at 30 years old, gymnastics at 52 years old or Chinese at 75 years old.
This process is also visible after a stroke or a head injury: in case of bleeding in the brain or a violent blow, neurons die and some functions may "disappear" (walking problems, inability to speak etc.). In reality, the brain is able to use other areas of the cortex to replace these functions allowing the person to recover abilities.
It is a learning method developed in part by Frederic Skinner that allows the association between a behavior and its consequence: reinforcement or punishment.
Any behavior followed by a reward will be reinforced, it will tend to be repeated because there is motivation to receive the reward. On the contrary, any behavior that is not rewarded will tend to decrease to avoid punishment. For example, to teach a dog tricks, we will motivate it with food as soon as it performs the requested action.
For the brain it is the same, in a healthy environment it will be motivated to activate itself in a certain way to get as much reward as possible. In the case of neurofeedback, the reward is a movie projected on a screen with good image quality and good sound, while the "punishment" is a darkening of the screen with a reduction of the sound (it is also possible to do this with music for people with severe vision problems).
Before becoming automatic (you read without having to make specific efforts to decipher each letter and syllable), you had to learn. How? Through repeated reading exercises from the beginning of your schooling with your teacher and with your parents at home. By dint of this, the brain eventually learned to read and today it masters it perfectly: you read automatically (it is very difficult to stop yourself from reading something).
These two elements are not incompatible, one acts on the electrical activity and the other on the biochemistry (although the latter can influence the electrical activity).
In fact, neurofeedback often allows you to reduce or even stop your treatment, in agreement with the health professional who follows you.
Never stop your treatment suddenly without asking your doctor!
What are the differences between the two?
Less precise because the whole body and brain are flooded with the molecule.
Accurate and personalized
With the qEEG baseline assessment we can target symptoms and tailor treatment to each client.
Effective on the symptoms but not on the cause
Often, as soon as the treatment is stopped, the symptoms come back because the origin is not taken into account
Identification of the source
Once the origin of the symptoms is identified, it is possible to work on them and reduce them
Many people cannot tolerate conventional treatments
Rare post-session side effects
Sometimes a little fatigue or heaviness in the head that disappears very quickly after the session
The two are complementary but do not have the same action
There are many different types of neurofeedback! The word "neurofeedback" is not a protected term and is often misused, so be careful. When seeking neurofeedback treatment, make sure:
|1. Learning & Developmental Disabilities||2. Stress & emotional disorders|
Attention Deficit Disorder with or without Hyperactivity (ADHD) & Oppositional Disorder
Developmental and learning disorders (Dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia,...)
Autism & Asperger's (ASD)
High Intellectual Potential (HPI) & Hypersensitivity
Anxiety & panic attacks
Depression & loss of motivation
Psychological trauma (TPSD)
Sleep Disorders & Insomnia
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) & Tics
|3. Instability & brain alteration||4. Performance & Optimization|
Epilepsy & Absences
Migraine & Headaches
Neurodegenerative diseases (Dementia: Alzheimer, Parkinson...)
Head trauma & Stroke
Burn-out, Bore-out & Loss of meaning
Improvement of Mental Performance
Improvement of Sports Performance
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