Neurofeedback: an effective treatment option for a range of peadiatric conditions
Updated: Nov 13, 2018
The rates of childhood mental disorders are growing exponentially and now, more than ever, parents need more safe and reliable treatment options.
In recent years Neurofeedback has gained acceptance as a scientifically validated therapy for the treatment of ADHD, anxiety and other childhood brain-based conditions. It works by training healthier brainwaves to support learning, attention and development.
This article will describe Neurofeedback: how it works, who it helps and why it acts as a integral adjunctive therapy for a variety of pediatric conditions.
In order to understand Neurofeedback we must first take a look at brainwaves.
Our brains house approximately 100 billion brain cells which produce small amounts of electricity to power our thoughts, memory, mood and actions.
This combined electrical activity forms a range of patterns known as brain waves. Researchers and Neuroscientists have found five main patterns known as Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta and Gamma frequencies.
Throughout the day we normally cycle through different brainwaves although some are more dominant at different times of day. For example, delta brainwaves usually predominate during deep sleep. While Beta waves are responsible for maintaining alertness and concentration during the school day but in excess may contribute to feelings of anxiety and stress.
Electroencephalography (EEG) is the preferred mechanism for measuring brain wave activity - involving electrode sensors on the scalp to detect microvolts of electricity. Many Neurotherapy clinics around the world will use a quantitative EEG (more on that later) to guide Neurofeedback treatment.
DYSREGULATED BRAIN WAVES
So what happens when brain wave activity goes a little awry?
With the help of rigorous scientific research, Neuroscientists have established that poorly regulated brain activity could lie at the core of many neurological conditions.
When brain cells do not fire efficiently and effectively this can cause a cascade of symptoms including anxiety, mood disorders, learning difficulties, ADHD, developmental delay, sleep disruption and even gut dysfunction.
These symptoms manifest when Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta and Gamma frequencies are over-active or under-active. In some circumstances, when important networks and centres of the brain do not communicate at their best, this can also lead to poor cognitive function.
How does brain wave activity become dysregulated?
Genetic predispositions, early life adversity and high levels of stress are just a few of the many reasons why someone may express dysregulated brainwaves on their EEG.
NEUROFEEDBACK AIMS TO REGULATE!
Neurofeedback is a non-invasive form of biofeedback therapy that corrects and regulates brain function by establishing healthy brainwave patterns.
Neurofeedback trains healthy neural pathways to support learning, development and the ability to thrive in any environment.
WHAT IS NEUROFEEDBACK?
Neurofeedback (NF), otherwise known as EEG Biofeedback, is the direct training of brain function. This gradual learning process rewards brainwaves that fall into desired, healthy patterns to ultimately strengthen certain pathways in the brain. In some ways, it's like taking your brain to the gym.
The goal of NF is to transform dysregulated brainwave patterns into healthy, efficient and regulated brainwaves over a repeated sessions. And in turn, NF aims to remediate a variety of brain-based conditions.
WHAT DOES A NEUROFEEDBACK SESSION LOOK LIKE?
Once a comprehensive assessment is performed and treatment goals are established, a client is ready for their Neurofeedback sessions.
A 19-lead sensor cap is placed on the clients' scalp at the beginning of their session, which
monitors their brain wave patterns and then provides real-time feedback. When the brain activates in positive way, patients receive a reward through a visual or auditory cues. Over time, the brain learns to correct itself and function more effectively.
WHAT SETS SYDNEY NEUROFEEDBACK CENTRE APART FROM OTHER CLINICS?
The type of Neurofeedback and the quality of service is our differentiating point. We offer a 19-sensor cap that gives the most advanced and comprehensive qEEG reading available in Sydney. In addition, Sydney Neurofeedback Centre offers the latest in brain-stimulation technologies to further enhance the therapeutic benefits of Neurofeedback.
The Neurofeedback team are big believers in an integrative and holistic approach to patient care. Not only will a qEEG Brain Scan help to inform a Neurofeedback protocol, but it may also indicate where other treatment options may be useful for the patient. Working in conjunction with other practitioners such as Occupational Therapists, Biomedical Doctors, Speech Pathologists, Nutritionists, Psychologists and Tutors is an integral step towards improving any clients journey to good health.
DEBUNKING THE GREAT BRAIN MYTH:
WHY IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO CHANGE YOUR BRAIN!
It was once believed that the adult brain was completely static and unchangeable following years of hard-wiring during childhood development.
Thanks to our Neuroscience trailblazers, this myth has been completely busted!
Our brain has the ability to constantly change and adapt at a physiological level in response to our lifestyle, behaviours and experience. This is known as Neuroplasticity and has given hope to many patients who once believed their mental health was fixed and out of their own hands.
With the right therapies, including Neurofeedback training, the brain is given an opportunity to build and strengthen healthier neural pathways to support learning, development, memory and psychological wellbeing. And the best part? This is possible to do in a toddler, teenager, adult or ageing brain.