Family Medicine physician serving Montrose, La Cañada, La Crescenta, Glendale and neighboring areas
Brain Mapping & Neurofeedback
Why Brain Health Matters
The brain plays an active role in nearly every function of your body. From logic and critical thinking to imagination and talent, from digestion and sleep quality to heart rate and recovery, the brain is there, making sure everything runs smoothly.
So when the brain isn’t working properly, it can affect us in many negative ways. When we lose our temper or experience extreme sadness or lack of control, it could very well be that our brain is out of balance. An improperly balanced brain can lead to many neurological problems, such as:
- ADHD & Learning Issues
- Addiction & Abuse
- Anxiety & Stress
- Brain Injury & Concussion
- Chronic Pain & Fatigue
- Epilepsy & Seizures
- Insomnia & Sleep Issues
- Memory Loss
- And More
What is Brain Mapping?
Brain Map: A Customized, Accurate Analysis Of Your Brain
A Brain Map is a non-invasive tool we use to identify the problem areas of the brain. There is no more accurate tool available today for identifying irregular brainwaves. It also generates a set of protocols that can correct your specific brainwave irregularities using neurofeedback and other modalities.
The Brain Map process is painless, safe, accurate, and non-invasive. There really is no better tool for analyzing brainwaves and collecting customized data for each individual.
It is important to note that people especially over 65 years of age should at least get a brain map and that neurofeedback may or may not be appropriate.
How Does A Brain Map Work?
A brain map involves scanning the brainwaves on the surface of the scalp using a nylon cap. This method is known as a Quantitative Electroencephalogram (QEEG) and provides the most accurate recording of your normal brain function. The system then compares your brainwave activity to a database of established standards of normal brain function to determine if problems are present. It does not identify specific conditions: It shows a map of problem areas in the brain that we can use to expertly determine likely neurological conditions.
Why Brainwaves Are Important
Brainwaves are extremely important to how we function. There are 4 main brainwaves, and each of them regulates a different part of our body. From sleep to emotions to critical thinking, we would not be who we are without our brainwaves. Let’s learn about each one.
These brainwaves are commonly observed while we are awake. They are involved in conscious thought, logical thinking, writing, reading and stimulation. Having the right amount of beta waves allows us to focus and complete school or work-based tasks easily. Having too much beta may lead to us experiencing excessive stress and/or anxiety.
This frequency range bridges the gap between our conscious thinking and subconscious mind. It helps us calm down when necessary and promotes feelings of deep relaxation. If we become stressed, a phenomenon called “alpha blocking” may occur which involves the beta waves “blocking” the production of alpha waves.
This particular frequency range is involved in daydreaming and sleep. Theta waves are connected to us experiencing and feeling deep and raw emotions. Too much theta activity may cause depression and make people “highly suggestible” because they are in a deeply relaxed, semi-hypnotic state. Theta can improve intuition, creativity, and makes us feel more natural. It is also involved in restorative sleep.
These are the slowest recorded brain waves in human beings. They are associated with the deepest levels of relaxation and restorative, healing sleep. Adequate production of delta waves helps us feel completely rejuvenated after we wake up from a good night’s sleep.
The Brain Map Report
What makes our system so unique and successful is the ability to analyze each brain and generate a customized report that shows the problem areas of a person’s brain. This comprehensive report of findings is unique to each individual and very detailed. Not only does it show problem areas, but also how to improve them with neurofeedback. Think of it as a customized care plan for your brain.
We Can Help Balance Your Brain!
Oasis Family Medicine offers a scientifically proven system that can safely fine-tune the brain to eliminate the triggers that often cause the issues above. We can also help overcome attention and focus issues, as well as improve memory retention. Best of all, this process is drug-free, safe and non-invasive.
What is Neurofeedback?
What if you could eliminate or reduce chronic neurological conditions just by watching a movie or listening to music?
That may sound too good to be true, but this amazing technology works by re-aligning brainwaves while you are engaged in a movie or music. Decades of research have shown that properly aligned brainwaves can positively affect the way our body functions.
How Does It Work?
Neurofeedback does not directly target conditions and symptoms: it corrects irregular brainwaves and modifies timing patterns in the brain. This is achieved over the course of multiple neurofeedback sessions, as the brain is re-trained into normal patterns. The result is an improvement in brain regulation, which can impact a variety of symptoms.
Think of your brain as a musical quartet: When all musicians are in sync, the sound is harmonious. But if one musician is out of tune, the overall sound is affected. Brainwaves operate in much the same way, working together to keep your mind and body in sync and running smoothly. But if any brainwaves are off, it can impact your entire system negatively. Many common conditions like anxiety, depression and others can occur when brainwaves are running too fast or too slow. Neurofeedback teaches the brain to regulate its brainwaves properly, which can result in better overall health.
Neurofeedback Is Not New
It has been around since the 1960’s. There are decades of research and case studies that document its effectiveness in improving brain health. Advances in computer technology have made it possible for doctors to easily administer neurofeedback in their clinic.
Neurofeedback has 3 main goals:
- Identify irregular brainwaves (Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Theta)
- Guide those brainwaves back into regular patterns
- Teach the brain to maintain regular patterns permanently
Neurofeedback works primarily by monitoring brainwaves on the surface of your head. To start, small electrodes are placed on your scalp. These electrodes have a paste on them which makes it easier to pick up brainwave patterns. For the next 30 minutes, you get to watch a movie of your choice, listen to your music, or listen to an audiobook. That is all that is required of you. It is non-invasive, uses no drugs, and does not involve any radiation.
During a normal session, the computer is monitoring your brainwaves, looking for any that are out of the normal range. When it finds one, the system triggers a response that changes the movie or music. This change is not annoying, but it is subtle enough to get your attention and make you focus more. Refocusing corrects the irregular brainwaves, which then move into the normal range. At that time, the movie or music will resume normally. This process is called Operant Conditioning. Over the course of multiple sessions, the brain eventually learns to make healthy patterns on its own. At that time, no further neurofeedback sessions are needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens during a Neurofeedback Session?
Neurofeedback sessions involve relaxing for 30 minutes while you watch a movie or listen to music of your choice. Electrodes are attached to your scalp that monitor your brainwaves during the session. When irregular patterns are detected, a response is triggered from the software that pauses or dims the video or music. Your brain senses the change and subconsciously modifies itself back into a normal pattern. With repetition of this process, eventually your brain learns to stay within healthy ranges on its own without neurofeedback.
How long do Neurofeedback Sessions take?
Each session is 30 minutes.
How many Neurofeedback Sessions are needed?
The number of sessions needed will depend on the individual. Much like going to the gym, every person requires a different length of time to improve.
How soon will I see results from Neurofeedback?
Again, results will vary from person to person. Some feel different within a couple of sessions, while tougher conditions will take many sessions to see any noticeable results. It’s important to not get impatient and listen to the practitioner. They should be able to show you the graph results of each session, which will provide a visual reference of improvement.
How long will the effects of Neurofeedback last?
Long-term follow-ups have been done on many patients over the years. Dr. Joel Lubar at the University of Tennessee has followed ADD clients who have sustained their improvements from neurofeedback for 10-20 years. Published research on epilepsy 12 months after brain training shows the effects on epilepsy usually holds. Owners of the Clear Mind System have commonly reported no relapses from patients after 10 years.
How much research is there on Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback has been around for decades. To date, there are thousands of studies, with more being published every day. This site has a comprehensive list of studies on neurofeedback for many conditions. You can view them below.
Research on ADD/ADHD
People with ADD can have a variety of symptoms. They can be easily distracted, impulsive, and inattentive. However, ADD is not laziness or a psychological problem – it’s a brain problem. Doctors know ADD is not laziness; that’s why they prescribe medications. Unlike medication, neurofeedback trains the brain, resulting in significant improvement in ADHD/ADD symptoms. With neurofeedback, people can increase self-control and attention. According to health professionals who use neurofeedback in their practices, many clients with ADD/ADHD learn to increase focus, reduce impulsivity, and manage their behavior when they train with neurofeedback on a consistent basis.
Evidence-Based Information on the Clinical Use of Neurofeedback for ADHD [pdf]
Tais S. Moriyama, Guilherme Polanczyk, and Luis A. Rohde www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3441929/
Research on Addiction
Many people think addiction is due to a lack of self-discipline, but addiction is physiological, not psychological. People with addiction are often called “weak” by their family and friends, but addiction is a disease, and it is very hard to change. Addicts struggle with emotions such as guilt and shame, anger and frustration. Addiction is a brain disease, a mental health disorder that severely debilitates a person in all aspects of his or her life. In addition, people with addiction frequently suffer from other mental health disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. Neurofeedback targets the brain disorder of addiction. Through neurofeedback, a person’s brain is retrained. Teaching the brain how to be calm, focused, and relaxed helps a person think more clearly. Neurofeedback training provides a solid base on which to build recovery and prevent relapses. It helps teach the tools one needs to cope long term.
Neurofeedback Training for Opiate Addiction: Improvement of Mental Health and Craving [pdf]
Fateme Dehghani-Arani, Reza Rostami, and Hosein Nadali
Published online: 20 April 2013.
Research on Anxiety
Anxiety sufferers are often overwhelmed, exhausted, and stressed out. Some can’t concentrate due to their intense internal focus. Others obsess about specific things. Anxiety is easily detected if someone appears outwardly nervous. At other times, anxious people can appear calm, but their brain seems to never quiet down. They can’t stop thinking. The constant internal chatter can get so bad that it interrupts their sleeping and steals their quality of life. They don’t live in the present, they constantly worry about the future or live in the past. Helping people learn to calm or quiet themselves is by far the best and most effective solution for anxiety. Learning to decrease anxiety gives sufferers hope as they take control of their lives. Biofeedback and EEG neurofeedback are two of the quickest and fastest ways to teach people to learn to help themselves, and it’s easy to learn. These technologies have been used for many years with solid, proven results. It’s true, one can learn how to decrease anxiety and remain calmer with neurofeedback.
Orbitofrontal Cortex Neurofeedback Produces Lasting Changes in Contamination Anxiety and Resting-state Connectivity [pdf]
D Scheinost, T Stoica, J Saksa, X Papademetris, RT Constable, C Pittenger and M Hampson From Translational Psychiatry (2013)
Research on Autism
Neurofeedback training has been used with several thousand autistic spectrum children over the last 15 years, by hundreds of clinicians. There have been several research studies published to support these efforts. What’s the first thing parents consistently report as their children start training? They usually notice their child is calmer, manages emotions better, and doesn’t get overwhelmed as easily. There are many other changes, as noted below, but these are typically the first.
QEEG Characteristics and Spectrum Weighted Frequency for Children Diagnosed as Autistic Spectrum Disorder [pdf]
Nada Pop-Jordanova, Tatjana Zorcec, Aneta Demerdzieva, Zoran Gucev Pop-Jordanova et al. Nonlinear Biomedical Physics 2010
Research on Bipolar Disorder
Brain training via neurofeedback teaches the brain to maintain a consistent state. Learning self-regulation allows a person to achieve mood stabilization. After beginning neurofeedback, clients commonly comment that they can once again “trust their brain.” What does this mean? Bipolar clients undergoing neurofeedback training report less susceptibility to mood swings, increased ability to focus, and reduced anger. Their ability to function increases as they find themselves less reactive and increasingly able to respond and act appropriately.
The Bipolar Child
by Demitri and Janice Papolos Book review by Siegfried Othmer, Ph.D
Research on Brain Injury
With a traumatic brain injury (TBI), the brain itself needs to be targeted. With neurofeedback, the brain is exercised. The specific areas of the brain affected by the TBI are targeted during neurofeedback therapy. Often in the case of TBI, a neurofeedback practitioner will utilize a QEEG brain map to determine which areas should be targeted. A variety of symptoms can be improved through neurofeedback training, such as speech, movement, regulating moods, controlling behavior, and reducing headaches. Neurofeedback works because the brain regulates each of those issues. For people recovering from TBI, neurofeedback training can be particularly helpful in improving speech. During neurofeedback training, the specific areas of the brain related to speech can be targeted. In this way, the areas associated with speech can be strengthened and improved. In fact, some neuropsychologists believe that neurofeedback is actually rehabilitating the damaged speech areas of the brain rather than just dealing with compensation.
Evaluation of Differentiated Neurotherapy Programs for a Patient After Severe TBI and Long Term Coma Using Event-related Potentials
Maria Pachalska, Malgorzata Lukowicz, Juri D. Kropotov, Izabela Herman-Sucharska, Jan Talar, The Medical Science Monitor, 2011
Research on Chronic Pain
Pain is one of several sensory systems that keep us apprised of the status of our bodies. As we hurry through our daily lives, we usually view pain at the very least as an inconvenience, if not a major disruption. It’s fortunate that we have our pain sensors – they provide a valuable warning to us that we need to stop and take care of ourselves. For chronic pain, neurofeedback can help reduce pain or perhaps how the brain manages pain, even in severe cases.
New Hope for Sufferers of Chronic Pain [pdf]
by Siegfried Othmer, Ph.D.
Research on Depression
Feeling down or depressed from time to time happens to most people. Usually, such feelings pass and a person can improve his or her mood naturally. However, some people cannot break out of a depressed state over an extended period of time. In those cases, a person is considered to have clinical depression. However, there is much research that shows that depression is neurological, not psychological. Certain brain patterns are frequently linked to depression. Therefore, training the brain through neurofeedback has a powerful ability to treat depression. With neurofeedback training, the brain practices a healthy pattern of mood regulation. Sometimes people with depression notice improvement after only a few sessions. However, for the brain to fully learn, more training is required. In time, the brain learns to regulate mood on its own.
Real-Time Self-Regulation of Emotion Networks in Patients with Depression [pdf]
David E. J. Linden, Isabelle Habes, Stephen J. Johnston, Stefanie Linden, Ranjit Tatineni, Leena Subramanian, Bettina Sorger, David Healy, Rainer Goebe
Research on Epilepsy
A seizure disorder can be explained as a brain that has lost stability. People with seizures can regulate and stabilize their brains through neurofeedback training. Eighteen well-run research studies show how effective neurofeedback training can be in the reduction of seizures. Interestingly, this research began with studies performed on cats. In an experiment to determine neurofeedback’s effectiveness to combat seizures, it was found that cats with neurofeedback training, when exposed to a chemical, experienced far fewer seizures than those without the training.
A model of feedback control for the charge-balanced suppression of epileptic seizures
Beth A. Lopour and Andrew J. Szericorresponding, Journal of Computational Neuroscience, (2010)
Research on Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is “A common syndrome of chronic widespread soft-tissue pain accompanied by weakness, fatigue, and sleep disturbances; the cause is unknown.” The word fibromyalgia comes from the Greek myos meaning “muscle”, Greek algos meaning “pain”, and New Latin fibro meaning “fibrous tissue”. Fibromyalgia is a common and chronic disorder. When a health illness or condition is chronic it means it is long-lasting. Even though fibromyalgia is frequently referred to as an arthritis-related condition, it does not cause joint damage or inflammation, as arthritis does. Neither does fibromyalgia cause damage to muscle and other tissues. However, it is similar to arthritis because it causes severe pain and tiredness, and can undermine the patient’s ability to go about his daily activities. Fibromyalgia is seen as a rheumatic condition. A rheumatic condition is one that causes joint and soft tissue pain.
Efficacy of EMG- and EEG-Biofeedback in Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Meta-Analysis and a Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials
Julia Anna Glombiewski, Kathrin Bernardy and Winfried Hauser www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3776543/
Research on Learning Disorders
Many of the methods used and promoted to help people with learning disabilities are intended to help a person compensate for, or work around, their learning difficulties. Neurofeedback actually improves learning skills by training the areas of the brain relevant to learning or executing skills such as math, reading, and auditory and visual processing. Research studies show that several areas of the brain coordinate in the learning process. These separate parts of the brain communicate with each other at extremely fast speeds. If the timing of the communication is even slightly off, there can be impairment in the ability to learn. New research shows that this “connectivity training” seems to consistently improve learning difficulties. Neurofeedback training can improve the coordination and communication between different areas of the brain. Improved timing in the brain has a significant impact on one’s ability to learn. Neurofeedback directly targets the coordination and communication between areas of the brain to improve timing and therefore learning.
Research Review: Emanuel Miller Memorial Lecture 2012 Neuroscientific studies of intervention for language impairment in children: interpretive and methodological problems
D V M Bishop www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3593170/
Research on Migraines
Although neurofeedback training can stop a migraine while it is occurring, stopping individual migraines is not the main goal. Training with neurofeedback can be very effective in reducing the intensity and frequency of migraines over the long term providing real relief for people suffering from migraines. Deborah Stokes, Ph.D., a neurofeedback clinician in Alexandria, VA. recently published a study that showed significant improvement in migraines using neurofeedback. The study was co-authored with Martha S. Lappin and entitled “Neurofeedback and biofeedback with 37 migraineurs: a clinical outcome study”. The study found that, with neurofeedback, 70% of migraine sufferers have a significant reduction in the frequency of their migraines.
Neurofeedback and biofeedback with 37 migraineurs: a clinical outcome study [pdf]
Deborah A Stokes, Martha S Lappin Behavioral and Brain Functions 2010, 6:9
Research on O.C.D.
With Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a person can’t stop repeating specific behaviors or stop his or her brain from repeating particular thoughts. A substantial body of research shows that problems with OCD are related to the functioning of areas in the front of the brain. If that part of the brain is working too slowly or quickly, a person is unable to stop repeating certain thoughts or behaviors. Many therapists and other health professionals using neurofeedback to treat OCD note marked reductions in OCD symptoms in their clients after neurofeedback training. People with OCD relate that, after neurofeedback training, they do not really need to make an effort to stop unwanted repetitive thoughts and behaviors. They say that they their minds are much quieter. With neurofeedback training, the brain learns to respond to situations in a more conventional and healthy manner.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and the Efficacy of qEEG-Guided Neurofeedback Treatment: A Case Series [pdf]
Tanju Siirmeli and Ayben Exrteme Clinical EEG & Neuroscience, Volume 42 No 3
Research on Stress/PTSD
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a serious type of anxiety caused by an extremely stressful event or series of events. People who suffer from PTSD are looking for a method to treat their symptoms, and unfortunately, many people experience only limited benefit after trying various therapies and medication. Neurofeedback trains the brain to produce a calm state as well as regulate stress response. In addition, the specific areas of the brain affected by PTSD can be targeted. Frequently, the first sign of improvement is that a client sleeps better. Then other symptoms begin to improve. After sufficient training, someone with PTSD can maintain a calm state on his or her own. When a person has reached this stable state, neurofeedback treatments can be decreased until no further trainings are necessary.
Research on Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that generally appears in late adolescence or early adulthood; however, it can emerge at any time in life. It is one of many brain diseases that may include delusions, loss of personality (flat affect), confusion, agitation, social withdrawal, psychosis, and bizarre behavior. It may be hard to make sense of what a person with schizophrenia is talking about. In some cases, the individual may spend hours completely still, without talking. On other occasions, he or she may seem fine, until they start explaining what they are truly thinking. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMN), treatment can help relieve many of the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Taking Back the Brain: Could Neurofeedback Training Be Effective for Relieving Distressing Auditory Verbal Hallucinations in Patients With Schizophrenia? [link]
Simon McCarthy-Jones www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3406539/
Research on Sleep Disorders
At least 40 million Americans each year suffer from chronic, long-term, sleep disorders. An additional 20 million experience occasional sleep problems. Neurofeedback is a powerful tool for helping people fall asleep and stay asleep. Over 3,000 licensed health professionals such as psychologists, therapists, and doctors now use this new technology daily with patients. As a group, they report significant and consistent improvements for client sleep problems. Many brain training options can help, as well as making lifestyle changes and changes in sleep “hygiene”. A skilled neurofeedback clinician can review many different options with clients to help them assess what’s most appropriate for their problem, including several brain regulating technologies such as Alpha-Stim and Brain Music.
Research on Stroke
A stroke is a condition in which the brain cells suddenly die because of a lack of oxygen. A stroke can be caused by an obstruction in the blood flow, or the rupture of an artery that feeds the brain. The patient may suddenly lose the ability to speak, there may be memory problems, or one side of the body can become paralyzed.
Parietofrontal integrity determines neural modulation associated with grasping imagery after stroke [pdf]
Ethan R. Buch,Amirali Modir Shanechi, Alissa D. Fourkas, Cornelia Weber, Niels Birbaumer, and Leonardo G. Cohen Brain: A Journal Of Neurology 2012
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