What is Neurofeedback Training?
Neurofeedback, also referred to as EEG biofeedback, is a brain-computer interface-based training method that provides the brain with a rapid and consistent sensory feedback signal of its ongoing electrical activity, allowing a person to learn to predict and control this activity.
Neurofeedback, in combination with non-invasive brain stimulation, is a promising, safe and medication-free clinical tool for improving performance and longevity and for correcting dysfunctional patterns of information processing, arousal and affect, such as the observed in Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, Asperger’s or Cognitive Difficulties.
Neurofeedback is an evidence-based brain training and therapeutic method.
It is easy to understand neurofeedback, if we acknowledge the intimate relationship between mind and brain; all our subjective feelings and thoughts, all our intentions and actions are characterised by distinct objective neural activation patterns in our brain. Disruption in these activation patterns is found alongside poor emotion regulation, accompanying states of depression, anxiety or anger, or alongside cognitive problems related to memory, attention and learning.
With the help of neurofeedback, guided by instantaneous, rewarding sensory feedback, we can learn to successfully predict and modulate dysfunctional brain patterns in a direct and natural way. As a result, various affective and cognitive symptoms diminish or disappear, while the brain regains homeostatic and vitality.
How does Neurofeedback work?
During a neurofeedback training session, you are sitting in a comfortable chair, participating in a simple computer game or watching a movie. Your moment-to-moment electrical brain activity determines what happens on the screen.
When the electrical activity within and between key brain areas (frequently the ones identified as sub-optimally functioning during your EEG LORETA Assessment) approaches the set training targets and you are entering a desired mental state, you are winning the screen game or enjoying a clear and continuous video stream. When your brain activity drifts away from the set targets and your focus or calmness decreases, you are losing game points, or face a disruption in the movie stream.
Over multiple sessions, guided by this continuous real-time sensory feedback, you learn to predict and regulate your brain activity and to induce desired mental states. This engaging learning experience is accompanied by a seamless reorganisation (re-wiring) of key brain areas and networks. As a result, you become capable of transferring and maintaining the positive brain states achieved during the neurofeedback sessions, in various everyday life situations, out of the training environment.
This can be received while on task, as a standalone treatment and in combination with bioneurofeedback brain training.
NIBS (Non-invasive brain stimulation) methods
The umbrella term Non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) methods refers commonly to brain stimulation techniques that do not involve surgical intervention and yet are powerful enough to influence cortical processing. Such techniques are transcranial electric stimulation (tES) and transcranial magnetic field stimulation (TMS). The NIBS methods are rapidly gaining popularity in the research and therapeutics of mood, cognition and brain functionality due to their capacity to influence brain dynamics in a precise and controlled manner and to enhance cognition and well-being.
Nadia selects and creates personalised non-invasive brain stimulation protocols based on the individual’s physiological data collected during the initial CNS and PNS system assessment and the individual’s history, symptoms and goals. The stimulation can be applied as a standalone method at rest to improve vagal tone, mood and emotion regulation, and on task to induce relaxation and to aid performance.
The non-invasive brain stimulation can also be combined with bio-neurofeedback to prepare the brain and body for change and to facilitate the training progress achieve better and longer lasting training results.
At the beginning of your neuro-programme you will undergo a two-hour-long psychophysiology assessment. The psychophysiology assessment combines quantitative assessment of your central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS). Nadia conducts the CNS assessment by recording and analysing your brain activity at rest and on task with the help of electroencephalography (EEG).
The EEG recording is completed using a standardised 19-38 sensors-EEG cap placed on your head. This recording is a safe and non-invasive procedure. The collected raw EEG data is then visually inspected, processed and analysed to reveal states of vigilance, patterns of cortical activation and de-activation and individual information processing pathways and biases. Selected computerised cognitive speed-accuracy tests may be performed on demand.
The PNS assessment is based on measurement of heart rate variability, electrodermal response and electromyographic activity at rest and under stress.
The data of your psychophysiology assessment is used in conjunctions with your symptoms, history and goals and with the information to design your personalised neuro-programme.
The results are typically visualised as raw EEG waves, 2-D surface brain maps and 3-D standardised weighted low resolution electro-tomographic analysis (swLORETA) brain objects.