Brain Training with Neurofeedback
Neurofeedback training is based on a direct, immediate feedback signal to the subject reflecting the state of his/her brain. The brain wave frequencies are measured, analyzed and converted into auditory and visual signals which are fed back to the subject via loud speakers and a computer screen (see figure).
The feedback signals, in the form of sounds, music and animations, inform the subject of what to do and what not to do in order to get into the right state. In the course of training the person will gradually learn to go into the desired brain wave state and stay there for longer and longer periods of time.
Neurofeedback Technical Setup
The practical training. When we see a client for the first time, an interview is performed and the client fills out a questionnaire. Then we take a so called quantitative EEG (QEEG). This is analyzed for frequency, amplitude etc. on a computer, and a brainmap is printed out (see Brainwaves and Brain Mapping). The client gets a copy of the brainmap with a written evaluation, and the meaning of the brainmap is also explained to him/her verbally. Following this the client has a test training session.
On the basis of the interview and the brainmap, it is decided which type of training the client should have – where to put the electrodes and which frequencies to train. When we are dealing with stress in a person with low Alpha, we usually start with Alpha wave training. Small sensors (electrodes) are mounted on the head and ear lobe and the client is seated in a comfortable resting chair. Brain wave signals from the electrodes are fed to the computer, stored on the hard disk and displayed in real time on the computer screen.
During the Alpha session the client is resting with closed eyes and every time his Alpha amplitudes exceeds a certain threshold a pleasant sound is automatically released from a pair of loud speakers. The subject is instructed to turn his attention inward and let go of all tensions, feelings and thoughts. When he does that successfully he hears the sound from the speakers telling him that he is in the right state producing Alpha waves. This is a systematic learning process in which the subject is taught to go into the high Alpha state and stay there for longer and longer periods of time up to 40 minutes. After 10 sessions most people are able to go into the Alpha state without feedback and thus start to use it in their daily lives. This is also a very effective way of learning to meditate.