What is Neurotherapy?
Brain Therapy Centre specialises in the assessment and treatment of brain function.
Neurotherapy (or neurofeedback therapy) involves measuring and training the electrical signals generated by the neurons (nerve cells) of the brain. These signals, called EEG, are related to the degree of activation of different brain regions, and show how effectively the different parts of the brain are operating.
What is neurotherapy?
Neurotherapy works by teaching a person to produce more optimal EEG patterns using positive reinforcement. During a neurofeedback session, the client is connected to EEG sensors that measures their brain activity. The sensors are connected to a computer, and the EEG signals are used to control a simple computer game.
The game provides the client with feedback about their brain’s activity. When their brain produces more optimal activity the game will start, which rewards the client for successfully changing their EEG. When their brain produces less optimal activity the game will stop, which removes the reward. By repeatedly rewarding optimal activity, the client’s brain learns how to produce more of the optimal activity and less of the sub-optimal activity.
Who Can Benefit From Neurotherapy?
Neurotherapy can be used to improve a wide variety of symptoms in people of all ages. Neurotherapy can help improve anxiety, depression, stress, attention, insomnia, chronic pain, substance abuse, stress, headaches, trauma and brain injury.
Neurotherapy can also improve functioning in people with developmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, learning problems, and intellectual disabilities. Neurotherapy can also be used to improve the peak performance of musicians, executives, and athletes.
What is EEG?
The electroencephalogram (EEG) is a measurement of the electrical activity of the brain. The nerve cells, or neurons, communicate by ‘firing’ tiny electrochemical signals from one cell to the next. These signals travel through the skull and cause tiny electrical fluctuations in metal sensors placed on the scalp. By the time the neural signals reach the scalp they have dropped in amplitude to around 10 millionths of a volt! These electrical fluctuations are amplified and displayed on a computer.
The EEG appears as a wavy line, and shows the electrical fluctuations caused by the synchronised firing of groups of neurons. The placement of the sensors on the scalp determines which parts of the brain are measured.
This raw EEG can be mathematically divided into different waveforms, which represent different kinds of firing patterns. These different firing patterns, in general terms, represent different levels of brain activation. Smaller, faster waves such as Beta represent greater activation, whereas bigger, slower waves, such as theta, represent lower activation. There are correlations between brain activity patterns and cognitive and behavioural functioning.
For example, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has a common EEG ‘biomarker’ that shows as excessive slow wave activity in the frontal and central parts of the brain. This means that these brain areas are less active, which can cause problems with regulation of attention and physical activity.