What Is Neurofeedback And Does It Work?

Neurofeedback and its applications are classed under psychophysiology, which, according to the online dictionary, is "the study of the relationship between physiology and psychological phenomena." To understand neurofeedback, one needs to glance back at the history of its origins.

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Types of Neurofeedback Therapy

Traditional or EEG Neurofeedback has been in use since the 1970s. Electrodes that record brain regions are placed on the person's scalp , and then stimulated with various treatment protocols.

There are seven types of EEG neurofeedback therapies that work well for the treatment of various disorders. Traditionally, two brain sensors, two ear sensors, and the ground is used. The treatment can be tailored to the individual in training surface brain activity, except in the case of LORE-TA and fMRI neurofeedback. These therapies allow for whole and deep brain stimulation.

EEG Neurofeedback is versatile in its application but requires great expertise to administer.

  • Frequency/Power Neurofeedback: This is the most frequently-used neurofeedback, also called 'surface neurofeedback.' Two to four electrodes are used to change the amplitude or speed of specific brain waves in particular areas of the brain. Frequency Neurofeedback is used, in particular, to treat ADHD, anxiety, and
  • Slow Cortical Potential Neurofeedback: This type of neurofeedback is used to treat epilepsy, ADD, ADHD and migraines.
  • Low-Energy Neurofeedback System: This delivers a weak electromagnetic signal to change the person's brain waves while they are motionless with their eyes closed. It is known to be effective in the treatment of ADHD, insomnia, traumatic brain injury, restless leg syndrome, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, and
  • Hemoencephalographic (HEG) neurofeedback: This gives feedback on cerebral blood flow and is used for treating migraines.
  • Live Z-score neurofeedback is used to treat insomnia.
  • Low-resolution electromagnetic tomography (LORE-TA) is a neurofeedback technique that involves the use of 19 electrodes. This allows for simultaneous neuro-training in multiple areas of the brain, as opposed to single areas with the more common two-sensor neurofeedback. It is used to treat addictions, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a new type of neurofeedback that "regulates brain activity based on the activity feedback from deep subcortical areas of the brain." fMRI neurofeedback is used to treat an array of conditions, including ADHD, ADD, depression, anxiety, Parkinson's disease, even phobias.

Treatment Protocols

Alpha Protocol

The alpha wave in a brain is associated with calm and relaxed, yet alert and focused brain functioning. It relaxes muscles and eventually leads to sleep. Research has shown that meditation increases alpha brainwaves.


  • Pain relief
  • Stress and anxiety reduction
  • Improves mental performance
  • Improves memory
  • Treats brain injury.
  • Deep muscle relaxation
  • Decreases heart rate and regulates breathing

Beta Protocol

Beta waves are indicated for improving mental performance. It should be applied to care, as inappropriate beta activity usually results in depression, ADHD or insomnia. Beta waves are also associated with problem-solving and focus.


  • Induces focus and attention
  • Improves reading ability and computational performance
  • Reduces worries, OCD, and over-thinking
  • Treats alcoholism and insomnia
  • Reduces anxiety, epilepsy, anger, and stress

Alpha/theta Protocol

This protocol is one of the most popular forms of training for stress-reduction.


  • Improves severe depression, addiction, and anxiety
  • Increases creativity, relaxation, and musical performance
  • Helps with healing of trauma

Delta Protocol

These are the slowest brain waves and associated with deep sleep.


  • Pain reduction
  • Improves insomnia by reducing concerns
  • Alleviates traumatic brain injury, severe headaches, and learning disorders

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