Quackery Exposed: Neurofeedback/biofeedback

Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback. Neurofeedback is the direct training of brain function. Practitioners claim it helps the brain function more efficiently. The brain is observed in action from "moment to moment." The information is shown back to the patient. The brain gets rewarded for changing its own activity to more typical patterns. This is a gradual learning process. This is more like brain training.

The neurofeedback trains in self-regulation. Neurofeedback addresses brain dysregulation. The conditions that cause this are:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • ADHD
  • behavior disorders
  • sleep disorders
  • headaches
  • migraines
  • PMS 
  • emotional disturbances
  • seizures
  • cerebral palsy
  • autism
  • brain injury
  • birth trauma
  • bedwetting
  • sleepwaking
  • sleep talking
  • teeth grinding
  • nightmares
  • night terrors
  • drug abuse
  • PTSD

How it works

Electrodes are applied to the scalp. This is done to listen to brainwave activity. The signal is processed by a computer. The practitioner extracts the information about key brainwave frequencies. The data is shown to the patient, then the patient attempts to change the activity level. The information is in the form of a video game with their brain. Eventually, the brainwave activity is shaped into what the practitioner desires. It feels like ABA for the brain. 

Who provides neurofeedback?

  • mental health professionals
  • nurses
  • clinical social workers
  • rehabilitation specialists
  • Medical doctors

Is it a cure?

With organic brain disorders, it is a matter of getting the brain to function "better" than being a cure. When it comes to dysregulation,  it is not a disease to be cured. Where dysregulation is an issue, self-regulation is a remedy. 

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