Neurofeedback Training in Ottawa

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Neurofeedback Therapy with Professional Neurofeedback Technicians

Neurofeedback training is an evidence-based form of biofeedback that uses EEG/brainwave information to help teach you how to regulate your brainwave activity and improve your brain function. 

It is a non-invasive therapeutic approach to enhance neuroregulation and metabolic function for a variety of conditions. Additionally, Neurofeedback uses the model of operant conditioning, a form of learning that associates behaviour with a stimulus.

girl undergoing neuro exam

Neurofeedback Therapy with Professional Neurofeedback Technicians

Neurofeedback training is an evidence-based form of biofeedback that uses EEG/brainwave information to help teach you how to regulate your brainwave activity and improve your brain function. 

It is a non-invasive therapeutic approach to enhance neuroregulation and metabolic function for a variety of conditions. Additionally, Neurofeedback uses the model of operant conditioning, a form of learning that associates behaviour with a stimulus.

What is Neurofeedback?

Neurofeedback uses EEG/brainwave information to regulate brainwave activity and improve brain function. The brainwave activity can be measured by different types of brainwave bands (i.e. delta, theta, alpha, and beta waves).

Delta waves are:

  •  Frequency Range 1 – 4 Hz.
  • Associated with slow activity and stages of sleep.
  • Generally, there should be very little Delta in waking EEG records of adults.

Delta at Healthy Levels During Sleep is Associated with:

  • Triggering the release of hormones that help the body heal and recuperate.
  • Transferring new learning and memories into long-term memory storage.

Abnormal Delta is Linked to Disorders such as:

  • ADHD: Low Posterior Delta – reduced capacity to decode facial expressions as they relate to social contexts.
  • Schizophrenia: excess delta in frontal brain regions.
  • Anxiety.
  • OCD.
  • Parkinson’s disease.

Excess Waking Delta May Indicate:

  • Head trauma.
  • Exposure to toxins such as heavy metals, pesticides, etc.
  • Cognitive impairment – result of liver disease or degenerative brain diseases (dementia / Alzheimer’s disease).
  • A lesion / tumor or may indicate damage from a stroke if found in one location (Focal Delta).

Neurofeedback to Normalize Delta has been shown to:

  • Lowering Delta can decrease symptoms of Chronic Fatigue, head trauma (concussion or TBI), and schizophrenia.
  • Normalizing Delta can also lessen anxiety and OCD symptoms.

Theta waves are: 

  • Frequency range is 4-7 Hz.

Role of Theta at Healthy Levels:

  • Theta in the memory and emotion areas of the brain (Hippocampal and Limbic Theta) is very involved in making long term memories, especially ones linked to emotional events.
  • Cortical Theta is important for fast processing speeds (quick thinking).

Excess Theta Can be Associated With:

  • Hypoactivity/ feeling sluggish (less behavioural activity and movement due to less oxygen being absorbed in the brain).
  • Daydreaming.
  • Inattention and absence of directed thought/ running thoughts.
  • Drowsiness. 

Disorders Associated with Excess Theta in qEEG:

  • ADHD.
  • Learning disabilities.
  • Head injuries or brain lesions.
  • PTSD.
  • Certain neurological disorders.

Neurofeedback to reduce theta has been shown to:

  • Aid in anxiety reduction and processing of traumatic memories (PTSD and Anxiety Disorders).
  • Improve memory, focus and attention (ADHD and Learning Disabilities).

Alpha waves are: 

  • Frequency range is 8-12 Hz.

Healthy Levels of Alpha is associated with:

  • Relaxed attentiveness.
  • Can provide feedback on visual skills, visual memory, emotional trauma, and artistic skill or interest. 

Symptoms & Disorders associated with Abnormal Alpha in qEEG:

  • Low Alpha Peak– Associated with disease or brain injury such as TBI, dementia, medication effects, and age-related cognitive decline.
  • High Alpha Peak– Associated with Anxiety and OCD symptoms.
  • Prominent Frontal Alpha– Depression symptoms and Attention issues.

Neurofeedback to Normalize Alpha has been shown to:

  • Improve Overall Cognitive Function.
  • Lessen Symptoms of Brain Injuries, Anxiety, OCD and Depression.
  • Reduce Attentional Issues.
  • Result in less severe and less frequent Migraines.
  • Improve Mood and Decrease Stress.

Beta waves are:

  • Frequency range is 13-25 Hz.

Healthy Beta Plays a Role in:

  • Efficient Information Processing and Problem Solving.
  • Concentration.

Symptoms and Disorders Linked to Abnormal Beta:

  • Spindling Beta– Increased cortical irritability seen in ADHD, Epilepsy, and Anxiety disorders.
  • Excess Beta– Over-arousal of the Brain can lead to anxiety, obsessiveness, sleep difficulties and hyperactivity, as well as other issues.
  • Deficient Beta– Under-arousal of the brain can lead to difficulty concentrating, problem solving, and focusing attention.

Neurofeedback to Normalize Beta has been shown to:

  • Increase efficiency of problem solving, concentration and focused attention.
  • Treat symptoms of ADHD, Epilepsy and Anxiety Disorders.

References:

1. Swingle, P., (2008). Biofeedback for the Brain. Rutgers University Press: New Brunswick, NJ.

2. Kerson, C., Linden, M., Gunkelman, J. et al. QEEG-Guided Neurofeedback: New Brain-Based Individualized Evaluation and Treatment for Autism. Autism Science Digest, 3.

What are the Benefits of Brainwave Therapy?

There are many benefits of neurofeedback therapy, including: 

  • Improved attention and concentration
  • Reduced hyperactivity and impulsivity
  • Enhanced creativity and problem-solving
  • Decreased anxiety and stress
  • Improved mood and self-confidence
  • Optimized sleep
  • Improved cognitive functioning (e.g. memory, executive functioning)
  • Improved reading and writing due to learning impairments
  • Mental alertness and physical relaxation
  • Optimal performance (e.g. athletes, professionals)
  • Reduced tension, headaches, and pain

How is Brainwave Activity Monitored?

To monitor brainwave activity and train your brain, sensors are gently placed on your scalp to read EEG (brainwave) activity. These EEG signals are monitored by a computer-based system, which provides immediate feedback by means of video display and/or game, along with audio signals. This feedback provides reinforcement to your brain, which promotes regulation and healing.

By improving your brain’s ability to self-regulate, you will feel better emotionally and physically and notice improved attention and concentration. With regular sessions, symptoms associated with brain dysregulation will improve.

What Should I Expect from Neurofeedback Training?

Changes in brain activity tend to happen slowly and over time. In order to achieve long-term change, it is recommended to do neurofeedback training repetitively and consistently. It is best to follow a regular schedule of 2 training sessions per week (with sessions lasting between 30-60 minutes).

While everyone is different, most individuals complete approximately 10-20 sessions before noticing improvements. The total recommended range of sessions needed is typically between 40-60. Goals and brain activity are actively discussed and re-assessed throughout the course of treatment.

Does Neurofeedback Therapy Actually Work?

fMRI research has identified changes in brainwave connectivity and microstructural changes in white and gray matter as result of neurofeedback.

Studies have shown efficacy of neurofeedback in improving symptoms related to:

Neurofeedback is effective at encouraging neuroplasticity, which means it has the potential to help individuals achieve long-term symptom relief and long-lasting improvements in the brain.

We have seen improvements in many symptoms at the Stradwick Clinic due to our personalized and evidence-based approach that consists of formally trained staff, QEEG-based brain mapping to determine individualized protocols, ongoing mentorship, continued education, and objective and subjective methods of monitoring progress.

You can take advantage of the client-specific protocols that we have implemented. These protocols have led to significant improvements (up to 90% of clients reported improvements) and objective improvements (up to three standard deviations) of long-term brainwave changes.

There are many studies that support neurofeedback’s effectiveness, but research is still ongoing. However, neurofeedback is based on tried and true scientific principles, including neuroplasticity, self-regulation, operant conditioning, and learning theory. It continues to gain traction in the clinical and scientific communities.

Are You Looking for an Ottawa Neurofeedback and Psychotherapy Centre?

The Stradwick Psychology & Neurofeedback Clinic team includes a licensed clinical psychologist and neurofeedback technicians who are skilled at developing customized treatment plans that include evidence-based practice.

We have numerous clinics in Ottawa and surrounding areas to serve you. You can find us in Stittsville, Nepean, and Centretown.