What is Brain mapping?
The Brain Map graphically represents the results of a quantifiable electroencephalogram (qEEG).
qEEG is the numerical analysis of the waves record by EEG. It identifies the regions of the brain and the brain wave frequencies that are abnormal when compared to a database of age and sex matched individuals.
The report of brain wave analysis is a diagnostic aid that gives health care practitioners an objective scientific tool for use in assessing a client's mental health. The report provides information about exactly what is electrically out of balance in a given person's brain, and, in turn, may be causing that individual's symptoms or interfering with peak mental performance.
What is neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback means 'brain-input'. It is where the brain's activity (brain waves) is measured, and the brain is provided with instant feedback about the 'acceptability' of its activity.
Neurofeedback monitors the brainwaves using a computer, looks for irregularities, then produces a signal to the brain that guides the brain back into a healthy brain wave pattern. With repetition of this process over time, the brain will learn and strengthen the healthy brain waves and become able to maintain them without the aid of the computer. This leads to better brain regulation, which increases brain performance and reduces or eliminates most neurological or psychological symptoms .
How is Brain mapping done?
An initial brain map identifies the amplitudes of the four main brain wave frequencies in different regions (lobes) of the brain.
The EEG recording is uploaded to a database and compared to healthy individuals of similar sex and age.
A customised protocol is selected to guide the brain in lowering high amplitude and elevating low amplitude brain waves.
The total process with report explanation takes one hour.
How is Neurofeedback training done?
The neurofeedback training is done by watching a movie or listening to music of your choice, while your brain waves are being monitored by a computer. If the brain wave amplitudes are ideal, the sound is clear and the video is bright. If the wave amplitudes deviate from ideal, the sound decreases and the video fades. By attending to the video and sound, your brain will automatically work out what it needs to do to maximise video brightness and sound volume. Regular training strengthens these pathways so that eventually they become the default and the computer feedback is no longer required.
Training session are usually 30 minutes, and it takes 20 - 40 sessions to make permanent changes. Sessions can be multiple per day to weekly.
The process is enjoyable, cost-effective, non-invasive, pain-free and requires no drugs or radiation. In fact in can reduce or eliminate the need for drugs and medical intervention, as the brain's function becomes healthier.
Who can benefit?
Neurofeedback can work at any age. It only requires the ability to focus on the audio or video stimulation. Neurofeedback does not target particular symptoms. Rather it realigns brain waves, resulting in better brain function. This leads to increased performance and fewer symptoms.
Any neurological condition that involves irregular brainwaves can be targeted and improved with Neurofeedback.
These include :
brain injury (traumatic, stroke, infectious)
epilepsy / seizures
obsessive compulsive disorder
stress / PTSD
and many more.
How does Neurofeedback work?
There are a few theories to explain the changes seen with neurofeedback training. Neurofeedback uses the information gained from the qEEG to provide targeted signal feedback to the abnormal regions to influence their activity.
One theory is that the feedback encourages particular nerve pathways to fire, which then leads to them becoming stronger via more and larger connections between nerves.
Another theory is that of systems theory, were introducing feedback into a system of the signal to be changed allows the system to self-regulate
Nerve Cell Anatomy
Neurons (also called brain cells or nerve cells) are the basic working units of the brain that generate the electrical activity. Large assemblies of neurons behave as electrical generators causing the brain waves that can be measured on the scalp. Neurons need both electrical and chemical stimulation in order to operate. Neurons function in both the initiation and the conduction of electrical impulses within our nervous system. In order to produce an electrical impulse, neurons must be triggered by a "stimulus," which can be anything inside or outside the body that evokes a physical or psychological response.
When triggered, the electrical impulse travels along the neuron’s outgoing branch, the axon. The axon is surrounded by a myelin sheath (a fatty covering) that acts as an electrical insulator. The myelin sheath also assists the speed of the travelling electrical impulse down the axon to the point at which it meets the next neuron at a synapse.
The incoming branches into a neuron are called dendrites. The space where the axon of one nerve cell connects with the dendrite of the next nerve cell is called the synapse, or synaptic gap on account of the 1/1,000,000 cm gap at this point.
Nerve signals jump the synaptic gap with the help of specialised chemicals called neurotransmitters that are released from the tips of the axon. Depending on the stimulus, these neurotransmitter chemicals will act either to excite or inhibit a response depending upon which chemicals (e.g., norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine) are released into the synaptic gap.
There may be several different neurotransmitters at a synapse simultaneously, causing a communication “interaction” resulting in an electrochemical resolution, a message causing either the firing or the inhibition of firing of the following neuron. The chemical messages exchanged at the synapses are susceptible to such things as fatigue, essential fatty acid and micronutrient deficits, oxygen deprivation, toxic chemicals, and drugs. Psychoactive drugs are pharmaceutical agents that work by either imitating or interfering with the chemistry of the neurotransmitters, thereby influencing the message received at the nerve synapse.
What are Brain Waves?
Brain waves are the electrical signals that are generated by large groups of the brain's cells to communicate with each other. The four primary brain waves are:
Delta (1-4 Hz) - sleepy, dreaming, regeneration - occur when you are asleep and assist healing of the body. Difficult to achieve if overactive at the beta frequency.
Theta (4-7 Hz) - drowsy, meditative - associated with light sleep or extreme relaxation. Occurs when your subconscious takes over.
Alpha (8-13 Hz) - relaxed, reflective, not processing much information. Usually occurs when you first wake up, and just before falling asleep, and when you close your eyes to rest.
Beta (16-35 Hz) - alert, working - occurs during most of the waking day, when you are alert and focused.
While each of these brain waves is associated with different body states, they are all equally important to your well-being and health.
What is an EEG?
It has been known since at least the late 1800s that the brain produces electricity. In 1929 Hans Berger published the first modern-looking tracing of a brain wave and he identified the most prominent waves that occurred with the conditions of eyes closed and eyes opened. “Alpha” was the name given to those brain waves that were most prominent with eyes closed. By the 1930s investigators were learning to identify patterns associated with sleep, epilepsy, coma, brain infection and other conditions. Despite the invention in the late 20th century of other types of scans (MRI, CT, SPECT, PET), the EEG has remained a crucial clinical and research tool. And unlike other types of scans it does not require that the patient be exposed to external radiation or be injected with radioactive tracers. Until about the 1970s EEGs were recorded using ink on rolling paper with a device the size of a small desk. Usually 19 sensors are applied to standard locations on the scalp.
What research has been done?
Thousands of human studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals since the 1970's showing that brain waves and symptoms can be changed with Neurofeedback training.
Why are the glasses with flashing lights used?
Research has shown that using photic stimulation lights during Neurofeedback training will result in more accurate detection of abnormal brain wave activities
Neurofeedback doesn’t cure all problems. Neurofeedback works best with clients who are motivated, want to improve, and are experiencing significant symptoms.