The purpose of this article is to give you some guidelines and factors to consider when evaluating integrating Neurofeedback as a part of your healing modality. More in depth articles will be released about specific conditions and aspects of neurofeedback.

EEG Neurofeedback (NFB) also termed Neurotherapy is used to improve brain performance in a number of ways. It is used:

1)      to assist in stroke recovery

2)      improve brain speed

3)      improve verbal processing

4)      improve auditory processing

5)      improve sleep issues

6)      heal from brain traumas, soccer head injuries, biking injuries, car accidents, and improve outcomes after brain surgery

7)      improve mental clarity

8)      improve energy

9)      boost the body’s immune system ( a little know function)

For individuals with chronic inflammation, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, lyme disease, chronic immune disorders, history of chronic or severe ear infections, ADD, ADHD, autism, Asburger’s syndrome, those suffering from facial tics, tremors, weakness in the limbs, chronic insomnia, individuals who cannot take prescription, herbal or supplements without reacting to them, individuals with multiple head injuries or one significant head injury, neurofeedback could be extremely helpful if not essential. However, PRECAUTIONS are in order that most patients are not advised when approaching a neurofeedback practitioner.

Prior to undergoing any EEG Neurofeedback, patients should have a qEEG done (quantitative EEG) which is not the same as an EEG. In Western medicine the EEG is read as part of their disease based model. The eyes are open during this procedure and there is no concern for how the brain is compensating in wave function. Optimizing or balancing brain wave forms is not of concern in the Western medicine model, pathology is. Therefore, an EEG will not replace the need for a qEEG.

In the qEEG, the patient has 19 electrodes attached to their head and the examination takes approximately one hour to perform with eyes open and eyes closed. Four different brain wave frequencies are examined and recorded: delta, theta, alpha and beta. The details about the significance of these brain wave frequencies will be discussed in future elaborative articles. The amplitude or lack thereof of these frequencies, the wave form distortions, the location in the brain where these wave forms are distributed are all part of the complicated evaluation in determining brain function, mood, and other physiological influences coming from the brain and affecting the body such as: stressing the heart, thyroid, and weakening the immune system.

The interacting of the brain’s electrical system and its effect upon the physiology of the body, whether the brain is stressing the heart, the thyroid or weakening the immune system and draining the body of its energy is not something that is addressed with neurofeedback practitioners in most cases because they are not licensed medical health care practitioners. Therefore, if you do have the above listed serious or chronic conditions, you absolutely must work together in conjunction with a health care practitioner knowledgeable about brain chemistry and internal medicine sufficient to be able to provide you with the necessary nutritional support, neurological and physiological laboratory findings beyond the periodic neurofeedback assessment for the following reasons:

Chronic systemic infections can localize in the brain and have a detrimental effect upon neurofeedback.  Individuals with childhood histories of repeated sinus or ear infections, and streptococcus infections and those with lyme disease are at higher risk for harboring localized areas of inflammation in the brain, particularly the temporal lobes, for years! This makes the use of headphones problematic in neurofeedback and can increase sensitivity to sound, and aggravate a potential or existing seizure focus (even without a history of seizure). In the worst case scenario, it can stimulate the onset of a pre-existing seizure focus and result in a seizure.

Therefore, a brain map is highly suggested and not all neurofeedback practitioners are capable of performing or interpreting a brain map. Do not skip having your qEEG sent out for a brain map report before beginning any neurofeedback work and avoid headphone usage in the training if you have already begun neurofeedback without this additional information as an extra precautionary measure. To proceed with neurofeedback without knowing if you or your child’s brain has localized sites of inflammation in the temporal lobes is like trying to train a sick athlete, they will get sicker or their training will be less effective.

Your brain may have epileptic wave forms present with no symptoms of epilepsy. A qEEG and brain map in particular will go the distance in terms of the detail you need to determine if there are specific wave forms in you or your child’s brain that are potential sites for seizures to occur. These sites also are known to be the cause of migraines and headaches, and mood disorders, especially those resistant to drug therapy. These sites in the brain are aggravated by certain prescription and non-prescription drugs, herbs and supplements and in some cases are caused by adverse reactions to drugs and prescription medications. Knowing if these wave forms exist is therefore essential and sadly is not a pre-requisite before neurofeedback in the industry.

The brain map will warn of systemic conditions in those experienced where brain function complicates physiology. Immune Matrix has seen in many chronic cases examples of brains that drain the body of its energy, immune system function, aggravate undiagnosed cardiovascular and endocrine issues that would not have been picked up but for the brain map. These individuals classically reach a plateau in their normal treatment protocols for lyme disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and have chronic inflammatory processes that have not been addressed. These individual will often need to be referred out for an fMRI. These individuals will need additional supplemental support addressed towards healing the brain besides neurofeedback, and the underlying inflammatory processes will have to be addressed in order to bring both body and brain to improved function.

Long forgotten head injuries have a significant impact on current brain health. Immune Matrix explains to patients that a head injury, whether it be a fall to the head as a child, repeated soccer head impacts, bike falls, head impacts from sports, whiplash, even those head injuries that do not cause concussions, can have a long term detrimental scarring effect upon the brain. It has been surprising to see the evidence reflected in the qEEG and brain map for injuries decades old. Once the brain receives a significant injury, it’s like getting a scratch on a CD, the evidence of it stays and continues to affect function. If you had hurt your elbow, it would have long been healed, but not for the brain. What occurs is that the brain first avoids the area and alters its wave forms to “recruit” its necessary wave form function from another area of the brain. Unfortunately, the brain does not go back and “un-recruit” if the area improves in healing but continues to rely on its altered patterning and sometimes the recruitment grows and expands. Over time this alteration causes other dysfunctions in the brain and brain fatigue that can affect the entire body with time. The brain map is an essential piece of information to help the neurofeedback practitioner and medical practitioner understand whether old head injuries are limiting your energy, immune function, and brain function.

The injured brain has specific nutritional needs. Neurofeedback practitioners are not required to be medical health care professionals and are therefore not trained to advise patients on their specific nutritional needs that can foster improved brain performance. The more chronic or severe your symptoms the more you will likely need to determine your relative levels of dopamine, serotonin, GABA and other markers of brain function in order to optimize your neurofeedback outcome. To try to train a brain to increase its speed when its chemistry is off is like trying to train an athlete without proper nutrition. It simply does not make sense.

Immune Matrix recommends a baseline urine neurotransmitter test, available online at at the online store, under labs. Order kit, NeuroScreen/NeuroScience – urine testing SKU: SKU16270.  It takes two weeks to obtain the results of this urine test and includes a consultation with a licensed medical health care practitioner. If the brain chemistry is too “off” one cannot hope to prompt it into improving its performance by neurofeedback alone. Certain nutritional supplements the topic of future discussion, and avoidance of certain nutritional substances is essential in optimizing brain performance and healing.

As you are now becoming aware, for those suffering a chronic condition, an inflammatory based condition, a neurological disorder, severe head trauma, any condition severe enough to impact your brain’s performance and physiology such as ADD, ADHD, OCD, schizophrenia, bipolar, drug or alcohol addiction, depression, autism, Asburger’s, etc., you need to go beyond just “trying” out neurofeedback to see if it helps. In fact trying it out without knowing the information provided above about your brain could hinder your progress in neurofeedback and contribute to complications. A casual attitude of this sort can be detrimental to those brains with hidden epileptic wave forms, old forgotten head traumas’, localized inflammatory conditions in the brain, heavy metal toxicity, and imbalanced brain chemistry. Proceed with caution, work with experienced neurofeedback and medical health care practitioners, do your homework and get a qEEG AND brain map before beginning a course of neurofeedback. If needed, Immune Matrix will work with your neurofeedback practitioner to assist you in gathering the essential information you need to ensure optimized neurotherapy.

Please note:
Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

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Anna Manayan

Anna Manayan