Neurofeedback 101:
How does neurofeedback work?

an illustration of a woman with a brain overlayed on top and a sphere of neurons surrounding her

Meet the Brain

Our brains are about three pounds of Jello-like substance containing 1.1 trillion cells, including 160 billion neurons.

  • Each neuron has approximately 5000 synaptic connections with other neurons.

  • The neurons connect through bursts of neuro-transmitters, signalling neighboring neurons to fire, and thus carrying continuous messaging through the brain.

  • Neurons fire on average over 200 times per second, controlling all of the chemical, cognitive, physical and emotional functions in our bodies. This is a lot of chemical / electrical activity! 

If we plot those neuronal firings on a graph at 256 – 8000 samples per second and connect the dots, we see brain waves. The sensors used for neurofeedback allow us to see which type of brain waves are occuring at what frequency, and in which parts of the brain. This provides a baseline for pinpointing problems, designing protocols and assessing progress.

an illustration of a brain

Brain Waves

While each lobe and structure of the brain is responsible for specialized behaviors and functions, they must work together to carry out complex functions. This intricate dance of complex functions is performed by several different types of brain waves. Although each type of brain wave is seen in all parts of the brain, in a healthy brain certain types of brain waves are dominant in specified parts of the brain based on activity, time of day and brain states. 

For example, Delta brainwaves are commonly associated with deep sleep. We should only observe them at appropriate times, in designated parts of the brain and at a fairly low amplitude. High amplitude Delta waves in adults often indicate brain injury. This can be modulated through Neurofeedback training. 

As another example, High Beta waves are expected during anxiety or when fight or flight responses are triggered, but if observed in the relaxed state of a Neurofeedback session they likely indicate an anxiety disorder or sleep disorder. 

Optimum brain function occurs when brain waves are triggering at appropriate times, in the proper parts of the brain, at the ideal amplitude and in proper proportion. If this does not occur efficiently, the result is a loss of vital information and a host of undesirable symptoms.

“Scholarly literature now suggest that neurofeedback should play a major therapeutic role in many difficult areas. In my opinion, if any medication had demonstrated such a wide spectrum of efficacy it would be universally accepted and widely used.”

Frank H. Duffy (2000), Professor and Pediatric Neurologist at Harvard Medical School

What is Neurofeedback?

Watch this informative video from the Center for Brain.

Maggie's Story

A powerful story of the effects of biofeedback and neurofeedback on one young patient.

What is Biofeedback and Neurofeedback?

Learn why biofeedback and neurofeedback therapy work. This video is provided by Mind Media and features the NeXus.

Learn more about neurofeedback or request your complimentary consultation with the GreyMatters team!