Neurofeedback is based on a simple principle; the brain emits different types of waves, depending on whether we are in a focused state or daydreaming. The goal of Neurofeedback is to teach the patient to produce the brain-wave patterns associated with focus. The result: Some symptoms — impulsivity, distractibility, and acting out — diminish. During treatment, the patient wears headgear with sensors attached while sitting in front of a video screen. The goal: to move the characters in a computer or video game (goals vary, depending on the protocol the practitioner uses) by producing short bursts of sustained brain-wave activity in those areas of the brain thought to be under-aroused. Loss of focus will cause the game to stop. It plays only when the patient exercises that portion of the brain that is deficient in focus.
During a Biofeedback session, electrodes are attached to your skin. These electrodes/sensors send signals to a monitor, which displays a sound, flash of light, or image that represents your heart and breathing rate, blood pressure, skin temperature, sweating, or muscle activity. When you’re under stress, these functions change. Your heart rate speeds up, your muscles tighten, your blood pressure rises, you start to sweat, and your breathing quickens. You can see these stress responses as they happen on the monitor, and then get immediate feedback as you try to stop them.
Biofeedback therapy helps you practice relaxation exercises, which you fine-tune to control different body functions. For example, you might use a relaxation technique to turn down the brainwaves that activate when you have a headache, or feel excessive worry or impulsiveness. Several different relaxation exercises are used in biofeedback therapy, including deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and mindfulness meditation.