Effective treatment for:
Anxiety and Stress
What is Neurofeedback?
Brain training is becoming increasingly feasible using a technique called neurofeedback, which allows individuals to change the way their brains function by responding to personalized feedback about how their own brains work naturally. Neurofeedback is a reward-based training system for your brain. Neurofeedback is a specialized treatment that uses advanced computer technology for balancing and optimizing your brain. It is a fun, interactive, and engaging treatment that helps you strengthen and retrain your brain to a healthier, more focused state.
Neurofeedback (NFB), also called Neurotherapy or neurofeedback, is a type of biofeedback that uses real-time displays of brain activity in an attempt to teach self-regulation of brain function. Neurofeedback, also known as EEG (electroencephalogram) biofeedback is a therapy that provides immediate feedback from a computer-based program that assesses your brainwave activity. The program then uses visual signals or sound to reorganize or retrain these brain signals. Neurofeedback is a non-invasive treatment that works toward improving the source of your unwanted symptoms. The brain needs healthy fast- and slow-moving brainwave activity to function at its best.
What does Neurofeedback do and how does it work?
Sensors are placed on the scalp to measure electrical activity, with measurements displayed using video displays or sound. Neurofeedback is a way to train your brain to work more efficiently using a reward system. The process starts with an assessment. The assessment involves wearing a cap that has sensors attached to it. These sensors are able to pick up frequencies or waves that are naturally occurring inside your brain.
These waves give insight into how your brain is functioning and indicates how you may be feeling. For example, if you have too many fast-moving waves, you might be anxious or have racing thoughts. Another example is when you have too many slow-moving waves which affect how alert you are during the day. The relationship between brain waves and behavior is complex and unique for every individual, yet they give the clinician a good representation of the state of your brain and how to improve it.
Neurofeedback uses brain training sessions. During these sessions, you wear a headband with special electroencephalogram (EEG) sensors that monitor your brainwaves, and a computer to send feedback back to you. There are different ways to receive this feedback. It can involve playing games, listening to music, or watching a video. The stimuli (games, music, or video) only operate smoothly when your brainwaves are functioning within an optimal range. This acts as a reward for your brain. When your brainwaves fire at a rate that’s not optimal, you’ll receive negative feedback (your movie pauses, the music stops, etc.). This tells your brain that something is out of balance and causes it to “figure out” how to return to a seamless movie, music, or games.
Over the course of a neurofeedback training program, your brain learns from this feedback. This can promote lasting structural changes within your brain. The brain then consistently operates within a more optimal range outside of your training sessions, alleviating your symptoms by teaching your brain to work more efficiently.
What does Neurofeedback treat?
Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of neurofeedback to improve many conditions including:
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Traumatic Brain Injury
Scientific Evidence for Neurofeedback
Research over the last several decades indicates that our brains are, in fact, malleable, therefore trainable. Neurofeedback has been applied to a wide variety of psychiatric illnesses, as well as to treat subclinical symptoms, and even to enhance performance in healthy populations. Research shows positive changes in physiological, neuropsychological, behavioral, interpersonal, and societal functioning following neurofeedback. studies suggest neurofeedback’s bright future for brain training treatment.
“I have been on antidepressants for 25 years. Living in New England, I have suffered from SAD for 6 months out of every year. Zoloft, Prozac, Wellbutrin, Buspar have all been tried. While these meds took the “edge” off, I always felt that I was fighting a losing battle. This technology has changed that. I always felt that something wasn’t right, and this device helped my brain “rewire”. It was worth every penny. My life has changed so much for the better. I am so glad I took the chance with it."
“I suffered from insomnia for 30 years until using the Fisher Wallace Stimulator before bed. Almost immediately, I had less anxiety, racing thoughts, and transitioned from the devices' finishing to sleep. I used it nightly to start with but now years later if insomnia returns, a simple session or two returns my brain to the relaxed state I seek!”
“I had a bone marrow biopsy in 2015 and apparently they damaged a nerve because it was extremely painful during the biopsy and the pain continued afterward. This pain continued for over a year. I purchased the Fisher Wallace stimulator and used it as prescribed, red on the back of the neck, black directly over the location of the biopsy. The pain was gone within a week and has not returned!”
“Suffered a bad stroke at work and was fired from my job while still undergoing brain surgery in the ICU. Deep depression, memory loss, inability to focus, no concentration, PBA, financial destruction, etc. This device is nothing short of miraculous. Now all I want to do is stand on the cliff and shout out to the world what this FW cranial stimulator has done for me. I am no longer merely existing, I am living! Please, for those who are sad and hopeless for whatever reason, get an FW device!”
In-School Neurofeedback Training for ADHD: Sustained Improvements From a Randomized Control Trial.
Naomi J. Steiner, Elizabeth C. Frenette, Kirsten M. Rene, Robert T. Brennan, Ellen C. Perrin. Pediatrics Mar 2014, 133 (3) 483-492; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2013-2059
Conclusion: Neurofeedback participants made more prompt and greater improvements in ADHD symptoms, which were sustained at the 6-month follow-up, than did CT participants or those in the control group. This finding suggests that neurofeedback is a promising attention training treatment for children with ADHD.
Sustained effects of neurofeedback in ADHD: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Sustained effects of neurofeedback in ADHD: a systematic review and meta-analysis. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
Van Doren, Jessica & Arns, Martijn & Heinrich, Hartmut & Vollebregt, Madelon & Strehl, Ute & Loo, Sandra. (2018). 28. 10.1007/s00787-018-1121-4.
Conclusion: Our meta-analytic results of NF treatment follow-up sug-gest that there are sustained symptom reductions over time in comparison with non-active control conditions. The improvements seen here are comparable to active treatments (including methylphenidate) at a short-term FU of 2–12months. As such, NF can be considered a non-pharmacological treatment option for ADHD with evidence of treatment eﬀects that are sustained when treatment is completed and withdrawn.
EEG neurofeedback treatments in children with ADHD: an updated meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
Micoulaud-Franchi, J. A., Geoffroy, P. A., Fond, G., Lopez, R., Bioulac, S., & Philip, P. (2014). EEG neurofeedback treatments in children with ADHD: an updated meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 8, 906. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00906
Conclusion: This meta-analysis of EEG-NF in children with ADHD highlights improvement in the inattention dimension of ADHD symptoms. Future investigations should pay greater attention to adequately blinded studies and EEG-NF protocols that carefully control the implementation and embedding of training.
Neurofeedback Treatment of Depression and Anxiety.
Hammond, D.C. J Adult Dev (2005) 12: 131. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10804-005-7029-5
Conclusion: Since the completion of the successful cases reported in this paper, I have personally treated approximately 15 additional patients suffering from depression, but sometimes without post-treatment testing and lengthy follow-up. It is my impression from both this case series and from my subsequent clinical experience that the use of this neurofeedback protocol results in signiﬁcant, enduring improvements approximately 80% of the time. Most patients perceive a difference after between three to six 30-min sessions, feel a very signiﬁcant improvement after 10–12 sessions, and usually complete treatment within 20–22 sessions. It has been impressive to me that this treatment not only improves depression that has commonly been medication-resistant, but it also commonly reduces anxiety and rumination, increases ego-strength, and as one would expect from activating an approach motivation area of the brain, decreases withdrawal and introversion. However, this report and the other literature just re-viewed on neurofeedback with depression only rep-resent uncontrolled case series reports. Thus, though encouraging, these preliminary results now require controlled trials. Similarly, the preliminary reports on the neurofeedback treatment of OCD are intriguing and encouraging but likewise require controlled research. The research that we have reviewed on the neurofeedback treatment of generalized and phobic anxiety, as well as PTSD, is more rigorous, warranting at least the status of being considered a probably efﬁcacious treatment.
Alpha suppression and symmetry training for generalized anxiety symptoms.
Kerson, C., Sherman, R. A., & Kozlowski, G. P. (2009). Alpha suppression and symmetry training for generalized anxiety symptoms. Journal of Neurotherapy, 13(3), 146–155. https://doi.org/10.1080/10874200903107405
Conclusion: Participants also completed a daily shortened version of the STAI, which indicated that anxiety improved after neurofeedback but not after ETB.
Frontal alpha asymmetry neurofeedback for the reduction of negative affect and anxiety.
Mennella, Rocco & Patron, Elisabetta & Palomba, Daniela. (2017). Frontal alpha asymmetry neurofeedback for the reduction of negative affect and anxiety. Behaviour Research and Therapy. 92. 10.1016/j.brat.2017.02.002.
Conclusion: Above all, the data from this study have shown that strength-based PPIs can effectively improve young adults' subjective well-being and mitigate the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Crucially, the process of adaptive emotion regulation might be the potential mechanisms by which PPIs brought benefits. Our findings may have clinical implications for providing potential biomarkers for the early prevention of mental disorders. Furthermore, beyond psychological interventions related to well-being, the neurofeedback training of subjective well-being can be developed to improve levels of health.
Effects of an EEG Biofeedback Protocol on a Mixed Substance Abusing Population.
William C. Scott, David Kaiser, Siegfried Othmer & Stephen I. Sideroff (2005) Effects of an EEG Biofeedback Protocol on a Mixed Substance Abusing Population, The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 31:3, 455-469, DOI: 10.1081/ADA-200056807
Conclusion: This protocol enhanced treatment retention, variables of attention, and abstinence rates one year following treatment.
Alpha-theta brainwave neurofeedback training: an effective treatment for male and female alcoholics with depressive symptoms.
Saxby, E., & Peniston, E. G. (1995). Alpha-theta brainwave neurofeedback training: An effective treatment for male and female alcoholics with depressive symptoms. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 51(5), 685–693. https://doi.org/10.1002/1097-4679(199509)51:5<685::AID-JCLP2270510514>3.0.CO;2-K
Conclusion: To improve the efficacy of neurofeedback training, more well-controlled studies need to be conducted for the three training protocols, particularly QEEG-guided neurofeedback training. Additionally, more research needs to be conducted on using neurofeedback training with substance use disorders that are comorbid with other disorders and looking at comorbid ADHD, conduct disorder (CD), and oppositional
defiant disorder (ODD) in adolescents. It is believed that comorbid ADHD, CD, and ODD in adolescents is a risk factor for substance use disorders, and treating these can prevent substance use disorders in adulthood.
The Treatment of Addictive Disorders by Brain Wave Biofeedback: A Review and Suggestions for Future Research.
Trudeau, David. (2000). The Treatment of Addictive Disorders by Brain Wave Biofeedback: A Review and Suggestions for Future Research. Clinical EEG (electroencephalography). 31. 13-22. 10.1177/155005940003100107.
Conclusion: Studies need to be done that compare the efficacy of both alpha-theta training and other forms of brainwave biofeedback in subjects both with and without significant comorbidities that may influence clinical response to a particular biofeedback protocol. For instance, as previously discussed TBI, ADHD, and stimulant-related neurotoxicity all seem to be important and common comorbidities of PSUD that could conceivably alter the outcome of brain wave biofeedback. It is even possible that alpha-theta training may be contraindicated as a first line of approach for subjects such as chronic cannabis abusers, chronic stimulant abusers, or comorbid ADHD subjects who already may have excess frontal alpha or theta.
Neurofeedback training of EEG alpha rhythm enhances episodic and working memory.
Hsueh, J., Chen, T., Chen, J.J., & Shaw, F. (2016). Neurofeedback training of EEG alpha rhythm enhances episodic and working memory. Human brain mapping, 37 7, 2662-75.
Conclusion: Not public
The relation between memory improvement and QEEG changes in three clinical groups as a result of EEG biofeedback treatment.
Thornton, Kirtley & Carmody, Dennis. (2012). The Relation Between Memory Improvement and QEEG Changes in Three Clinical Groups as a Result of EEG Biofeedback Treatment. Journal of Neurotherapy: Investigations in Neuromodulation, Neurofeedback and Applied Neuroscience. 17. 116-131. 10.1080/10874208.2013.785183.
Conclusion: Not public
EEG neurofeedback: A brief overview and an example of peak alpha frequency training for cognitive enhancement in the elderly.
Efthymios Angelakis, Stamatina Stathopoulou, Jennifer L. Frymiare, Deborah L. Green, Joel F. Lubar & John Kounios (2007) EEG Neurofeedback: A Brief Overview and an Example of Peak Alpha Frequency Training for Cognitive Enhancement in the Elderly, The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 21:1, 110-129, DOI: 10.1080/13854040600744839
Conclusion: Not public