Neurofeedback in Wisconsin - Locate a Neurofeedback Provider in Wisconsin

Frequently Asked Questions About Neurofeedback

What is the difference between Neurofeedback and Biofeedback?
Biofeedback is the general umbrella for learning how to self regulate. Biofeedback is for the body where Neurofeedback (also known as EEG Biofeedback) is for the brain. Biofeedback can help calm down the central nervous system and decrease the stress response. When we enter a state of fear or great stress, the front part of our brain temporally shuts down as we are in survival mode. Biofeedback can help one regulate his/her breathing, muscle tension, and heart rate so neurofeedback can be more effective.

What is the connection between my brain and behavior?
Our brain controls everything we do in daily life. Our brain’s activity gives rise to the mind, which is what allows us to perceive, think thoughts, feel emotions, and become determined to take action. Thus, our behavior is the end result, being the actions we take, based on how we process things in our mind, based on having a brain functioning to send signal and allow us to have conscious awareness.

How long do the effects of Neurofeedback last?
Neurofeedback can last for quite some time as long as you take care of yourself. Substance usage, medication changes, stressful environments, and negative thinking/emotions can send the brain back into a fear mode, thus sending the brain on a mission control again. This is why most physiological or mental health related disorders are best worked in tandem with a professional counselor and neurofeedback provider. There is most often a mental and brain-based component to the problem.

Do medications get in the way of Neurofeedback working?
Yes, they can. Medications are making the chemicals or neurotransmitter do certain things. When we ask the brain to speed up or slow down, it has to fight through the meds to allow us to learn through operant conditioning. Thus, the goal is usually to remove the meds slowly, but only under the care of your medical doctor. A neurofeedback provider, unless a medical doctor, has no authority to change medication levels or dosages and should be working with the primary care doctor who is prescribing the meds.

How does Neurofeedback fix the brain?
Neurofeedback allows one to non-consciously develop new neural pathways in the brain. One can learn, through feedback of his/her brainwaves on the computer, what it feels like to be relaxed and focus in comparison to being out of balance. When you relax or focus and remove all the other junk in your mind, the computer will reward you with a beep, an animation, or sometimes even a video game or movie to watch. The goal is to relax and focus and let your brain do the work. If they could train cats to increase certain brainwaves, by giving them milk when they did the right thing, I think us humans can let go of our thoughts and follow the lead of the rewards.

Is there any proof that Neurofeedback really works?
There are several decades of studies proving the effectiveness of Neurofeedback. There are certain conditions that Neurofeedback works really great for and other conditions where it is still considered experimental.

Who can benefit from Neurofeedback?
There are two sides to this. First, some people feel anybody can benefit from Neurofeedback training. Some people offer peak performance training for athletes or business professionals, hoping to reward certain frequencies to improve productivity and skill. The second group looks at assessment activity of the brain, usually a full QEEG brain map, to determine if one’s brain is within the clinical normative limits where Neurofeedback wouldn’t change much. However, most people in today’s world are stressed and could use a little brainwave training and regulation to improve sleep, focus, or learn how to relax in life’s busy times.

Why is there such a wide discrepancy of successful cases in Neurofeedback?
Some providers only use Neurofeedback on certain conditions, where others try to help anybody who comes in their office. Neurofeedback is efficacious for ADD/ADHD more so than addictions and compulsiveness, yet some providers offer individuals a chance to see what they can fix, but don’t promise perfect results.

Why do Neurofeedback sessions cost so much?
In a world with so much technology and creative marketing, you can only hope to get quality training for a fair price. Traditional Neurofeedback or surface neurofeedback takes longer, but costs less per session than the latest and advanced LORETA whole head training. Some providers charge the same whether they are talking to you, or providing other neurofeedback options they offer. Others have different rates based on what machines and technology is being used. You have to look at the overall cost or big picture. If session cost twice as much, but you only need a third of them, you are still coming out ahead. Ask for follow up studies or referrals, who can testify to the progress and success a provider is claiming to have.

Why doesn’t insurance cover Neurofeedback?
Many reasons, but here are a few: Insurance usually covers medical conditions, but neurofeedback training process is more about training the brain than taking a pill, thus it is more behavioral than medical. Also, there is a regulating board, but no license for Neurofeedback, so you can be a home trainer and provide similar services to a medical doctor offering neurofeedback training at his/her office.

Why are there so many machines and styles of Neurofeedback?
Hard to say, but after all it is still a business. As always, there are people who will try to “reinvent the wheel” by taking existing machines, training and ideas and applying a fresh spin on things. Most people agree that an assessment is needed and then there are a multitude of angles and training methods available to regulate the brain. Traditional neurofeedback is still getting good results with certain brainwave patterns, and the latest LORETA Neurofeedback is also helping more complex brainwave imbalance patterns become more regulated. Dr. Lubar, a pioneer in the field of Neurofeedback, claims that 50-80% of the people get 50-80% better using traditional surface neurofeedback. In a recent study at Fort Campbell, we had a 98% success ratio using LOREATA Neurofeedback with Soldiers.

What is whole head Neurofeedback?
Whole head Neurofeedback can be broken into two groups – surface and LORETA. Surface Neurofeedback is traditional in nature, in that amplitudes or the intensity of the brainwaves are being trained, yet all 19 are being trained at once. This allows for a deeper level of training the connectivity of the entire brain if needed. LORETA Neurofeedback is the next generation of 19 channels in that it takes the data gathered in surface Neurofeedback and calculates deeper in the brain where the signals are coming from. Now, Brodmann Areas of the brain can be trained, instead of just small spots on the surface. LORETA Neurofeedback can train brain networks or specific regions of interest and the software has the highest success rate so far at 98%!

What is Z-Score Neurofeedback?
Z-score Neurofeedback is a more advanced form of surface training and relies on a database to produce a reference point for the clients’ brainwaves. As one is training, his or her brain is guided towards the normative rages of brainwave activity. Traditional surface neurofeedback trains amplitude, whereas Z-score trains the amplitude but uses the database as a reference for balancing the brain.

What is a brain map?
This term can be misleading. The original term was used when somebody had a full 19 channel EEG recording completed. However, now people are getting creative and recording the same 19 channels as the full EEG, but doing so in a segmented fashion. Therefore, there is no way to see what all the channels are recording simultaneously, but with a huge delay between recording 2 channels at a time. Further, connectivity of the brain is very important, and the mini-brain maps or segmented brain maps cannot account for important measures of phase or coherence, which can only be seen when all 19 locations are recorded at once.

What is QEEG or also called qEEG?
The “Q” in QEEG stands for quantitative analysis of the EEG. Once the raw data is collected from the 19 locations, it is then run though a database where the one is compared against a norm for his/her age, gender and what hand they write with.

What does the qEEG show?
The qEEG is an analysis of brainwave activity as it is normed against a database. There are some skeptics to the use of databases as we don’t want to make people average. However, the term average isn’t middle, but healthy and without brain disorders or injury. There are several studies that demonstrate the correlation between brainwave patterns seen on the QEEG reports and specific disorders.

What are brainwaves?
Brainwaves are the electrical signals of the neurons in the brain firing. Thus, if one has 10 neurons firing or connecting in one second that is 10 hertz. Brainwaves are broken down into 5 main categories being Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. Neurofeedback can train individual frequencies, such as 10 hz, or entire bandwidths like alpha or beta. Brainwaves are linked to behavior in slower brainwaves like Delta are associated with sleep, and Beta on the higher end are associated with over-activation or anxiety. The QEEG brain mapping process can show all 19 locations and if any of these sites are over or under activated in all these different frequencies and bandwidths of brainwaves.

Can I take medication and do Neurofeedback?
Most people coming into Neurofeedback are frustrated by the medications and are seeking alternative help. Sometimes, the wrong medication can be given for a brain pattern causing more side effects or negative behaviors because most doctors are going off of symptoms instead of the underlying brainwave imbalances seen on the qEEG brain map analysis used in Neurofeedback. Most clients of Neurofeedback work with their primary care physician to gently decrease dosages. Your Neurofeedback provider should be willing to work with your general practitioner or medical doctor prescribing the drugs.

Can I use Audio Visual Entrainment (AVE) with Neurofeedback?
Many people do well with AVE as it can help regulate the nervous system and provide a calmer relaxed brain as well. Some people who offer Neurofeedback are threatened, while others warmly welcome it as it can help the Neurofeedback training process. There is research for AVE and Neurofeedback working to decrease psychological and brain related concerns.

What are the benefits of Neurofeedback?
In a nutshell, neurofeedback offers many benefits including but not limited to a reduction in anxiety, stress and temper; as well as improving energy levels and clarity. Learning how to self-regulate, without the need for medications, is not only an admirable goal, but for most, a highly desirable one too! Neurofeedback can also bring balance to the brain and the central nervous system improving focus and creating a more stable and positive mood. This in turn allows us to more fully and harmoniously enjoy life to its fullest.

Why should I do both Neurofeedback and Biofeedback?
Biofeedback is a great tool to calm down the central nervous system that can get excited or stressed in our fast-paced lifestyle we live these days. Learning how to regulate breathing, muscle tension, and heart rate just to name a few are great modalities to help calm the body and send less stress signals to the brain. Therefore, when doing Neurofeedback, the brain is more relaxed, with less stress and it is more flexible to learn how to regulate itself in the neurofeedback sessions. Some clinicians feel doing biofeedback or audiovisual entrainment can also decrease the number of Neurofeedback sessions needed as the brain isn’t as stuck and remains more flexible between sessions, thus learning more during the sessions.

How does my brain learn if it’s watching a movie or playing a game inside of a Neurofeedback training session?
Good question, long answer: Neurofeedback shows you on a computer screen what’s going on in your brain. The training protocol, created during the assessment portion, offers you a chance to be rewarded with a game, sound, animation, or movie when you brain does what it’s being asked to do. While this sounds vague, here’s an example: When you try to stop your racing mind, and focus on the screen your brainwaves change, and if the training program is looking for focusing waves, then you get a reward on the screen. The continued rewards for having your brain become more regulated and the computer program monitoring this is a form of operant conditioning. You don’t have to “think” to make Neurofeedback work; you just relax and focus on the training protocol.

How do I choose a neurofeedback provider that is able to help me?
This is a tough question, but the answer starts in a solid assessment. Providing neurofeedback to somebody is a process and it starts with an assessment to show areas of the brain that need to be regulated. If a provider can quote a price and number of sessions required all before they formally meet you, then run away (seriously)! This cookie cutter approach is NOT the best option. If optimal results are your goal, then look for a provider who offers the full qEEG brain map, not a provider who merely offers mini-maps.

Although it may require additional travel to find the right provider, it is imperative that you begin your neurofeedback program in the best way possible. Once you have completed the initial qEEG brain mapping assessment, it may then be possible for you to locate a different provider closer to your own home that is willing to let you have a qEEG brain map and bring him/her the results.

This website is offered as a resource and learning tool for Neurofeedback training & finding a provider in Wisconsin.
Sponsored by The Center for Mind Brain Balance in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
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