What is Direct Neurofeedback?
Direct Neurofeedback is a revolutionary technique for helping the brain to get out of dysfunctional brainwave patterns, while restoring optimal brain function. It is a drug-free treatment for individuals struggling with a wide variety of problems, such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, ADD/ADHD, chronic pain (including migraines and headaches), and more.
Direct Neurofeedback sends a very small electromagnetic signal to the brain, based off of a person’s unique EEG pattern. The signal strength is 1000 times weaker than an AA battery being held to your head. This signal helps the brain to reorganize and get out of stuck patterns. Essentially, it is like rebooting a frozen computer.
How Does Direct Neurofeedback Work?
Sensors are applied to the scalp, which reads brainwave activity. The device then sends back a very small signal to the brain through the sensors that are placed on the person’s skin. The signal causes a slight fluctuation in brain waves, which then allows the brain to reorganize itself and get out of stuck patterns. The client does not have to do anything, except receive the neurofeedback. Typically the actual treatment itself lasts about 30 seconds to a couple of minutes. The rest of the session time is spent assessing symptoms and monitoring progress.
The change may be noticed immediately during treatment or can take a few hours to be noticed. Many notice a feeling of calm, relaxation, energy, or increased clarity.
Ultimately, the Direct Neurofeedback allows an increase in the parasympathetic nervous system response, and a decrease in the sympathetic nervous system response. It works at optimizing brain functioning and improving the response of the nervous system.
Direct Neurofeedback Can Help With:
- PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
- Mood- anger, rage, sadness
- Traumatic brain injury, including concussions
- Eating Disorders
- Chronic Pain
- Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia
- Headaches and Migraines
What’s the Difference between Direct Neurofeedback and Traditional Neurofeedback?
Traditional Neurofeedback involves direct attention to stimuli during a 45-60 minute session. Typical results are achieved in an average of 30-40+ sessions. In Direct Neurofeedback, no sustained attention to stimuli is required. In fact, treatment is very passive in that you just sit back and allow it to work for you within a few seconds to a few minutes. Typical results are seen anywhere between 1-20 sessions.
Direct Neurofeedback allows the dysfunctional brainwave patterns to be disrupted, whereas traditional neurofeedback trains the brain.
Results from Direct Neurofeedback are typically felt immediately, often surfacing in the first few sessions. With Traditional Neurofeedback, it often takes 6-10 sessions to see initial results.
Who Can Use Direct Neurofeedback?
Direct Neurofeedback can be used on young children to older adults and can often be used in conjunction with other therapies. It has even been used on animals!
Can I be on Medication and Receive Direct Neurofeedback?
Yes, you can be on medication, as it doesn’t change the effectiveness of the Direct Neurofeedback.
How Effective is Neurofeedback?
Over 85% of clients benefit significantly from Direct Neurofeedback. The average amount of sessions needed is 15-20. Once sessions are completed, the changes are enduring and additional treatments are not generally needed. Occasionally, some clients do require a booster session.
What Does the Research Say About Direct Neurofeedback?
Direct Neurofeedback is very similar to LENS (Low Energy Neurofeedback System). In a clinical outcome study of 100 patients at Stone Mountain Center, statistically significant improvements were shown in 15 areas (such as anxiety, insomnia, mood disturbance, dissociation, attention, addiction, pain, fatigue).
Read the study, or visit the International Society for Neurofeedback & Research to read a complete bibliography of hundreds of neurofeedback studies.
Are There Any Potential Health Risks?
From over 100,000 clients who have received treatment, there have been no cases reported of someone who is worse off from pursuing the Direct Neurofeedback. It has been used for over 20 years, and while it is less known about in the general public, it is not an experimental therapy.
Are There Any Side-Effects?
Some occasional side-effects are a mild headache or feeling tired, wired, or spacey. These side-effects are temporary, and if they occur, treatment can be adjusted to minimize future side-effects.
Where Can I Find out More Information?
For Additional Reading:
The Healing Power of Neurofeedback, by Stephen Larsen (2006).