The Pros and Cons of Neurofeedback


4 min read
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Neurofeedback is a type of therapy that can alleviate various symptoms by training the brain to function better with the help of visual and/or audio stimuli.

If you are interested in trying neurofeedback sessions and you are curious to find out more about what it entails, you must surely be wondering what are its benefits and downsides. 

Let’s take a look at some aspects of neurofeedback and their pros and cons.


It’s Approved as a Method of Wellness.

Pro:

Neurofeedback falls under the FDA guidelines for wellness and it can provide great results for managing multiple symptoms. Some of its applications include:

  • Managing ADHD and behavioral disorders
  • Optimizing physical and intellectual performance
  • Increasing academic achievements
  • Reducing anxiety and depression
  • Stroke recovery
  • Improving sleep
  • Practicing mindfulness and relaxation
  • Achieving relaxation
  • Regulating emotions


Con:

In order to take advantage of the full range of possibilities, neurofeedback is still in the process of being medically tested for multiple disorders.  There is the push back from mainstream medicine. This includes physicians, researchers, and Big Pharma. They demand a standard of research that many believe to be too stringent. There are literally millions of hours of outcome studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of neurofeedback, but these are discounted a little too quickly, ostensibly because of various complaints about sample size and a lack of double blind, controlled research designs. Much of this criticism has more to do with economics and egos than genuine dedication to “science,” let alone patients’ needs.


It’s Non-Invasive And Efficient.

Pro:

Neurofeedback (or EEG Biofeedback) is a method of regulating certain involuntary processes in order to improve them. This non-invasive brain training uses the brain’s own ability to reorganize itself in order to build long-lasting results. 

The only tools used in a neurofeedback session are:

  • An EEG machine that measures brain waves through sensors attached to the scalp
  • A screen monitor
  • software specifically designed for neurofeedback exercises


The EEG sensors are attached to the scalp, with minimal discomfort and nothing is being added to the brain or the body. There is no medication involved, which means that there are no side effects. This makes neurofeedback suitable for children, as well as adults. 


Con:

Ultimately, the effectiveness of this method is determined by the client’s consistency. The more they follow through with the sessions, the more efficient the results will be.

For some, the best results can be achieved after 20+ sessions, however, with some of the best brands of neurofeedback, such as NeurOptimal®, improvements can be noticed as soon as the first session. Children can show improvements at a faster rate than adults. Their brains are continuously learning and developing, which makes them more adaptable to the learning curve.


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It Is a Holistic Approach.

Pro:

Neurofeedback goes to the root of the problem and targets the brain activity that should be improved in order to solve the issue or manage its symptoms. Just as with any type of therapy, neurofeedback is a process.

For example, taking a pill can alleviate your headache for the time being. Neurofeedback can target the cause of the pain (such as stress or lack of sleep) to reduce the frequency and the intensity of the headaches overtime. 

A similar approach is taken for ADHD. Neurofeedback exercises the child’s brain into understanding what it means to be focused, increasing their concentration levels, and balancing the mood, which leads to reduced ADHD symptoms. This is why neurofeedback is a preferred alternative to medication treatment.

Con:

Because it treats the cause and not the symptoms, neurofeedback can feel underwhelming for people who expect an instant result.


The Sessions Are Engaging And Comfortable.

Pro:

During a neurofeedback session, the client is asked to sit down in a comfortable chair and either close their eyes while listening to relaxing music and/or watch a screen. The tasks are accomplished by activating certain brain waves and, while the brain learns actively, the action in itself is passive. Depending on the neurofeedback method, sometimes the client is only asked to follow what happens on the screen.

This type of brain training relies on feedback and many of the tasks involve either watching a movie, playing a game, or simply relaxing with your eyes closed. 

For example, you might be asked to make an object move by staying focused. When the brain waves show that you are not concentrating anymore, the object stops.

Con:

Some clients feel tired after a neurofeedback session, similar to being sore after you have completed a physical training. Emotional discomfort and intense emotions might also arise in the process of getting better.

These feelings are normal and temporary as the brain finds healthier patterns to balance the mood, help deal with stress and manage anxiety.


Different Options Are Available.

Pro:

For children dealing with ADHD or behavioral disorders, the aspect of spending time with someone who is focused on them can be beneficial in itself.

The best way to take advantage of neurofeedback is to work with a certified neurofeedback provider. 

In today’s world going to an office might not be an option available all the time. For people who want to practice neurofeedback at home, the same NeurOptimal® devices used in the office are available for purchase or rental. This also makes financial sense as more people can benefit from neurofeedback at the same price.

The system is fully automated and it comes with comprehensive instructions, which makes it easy to navigate.

Con:

Neurofeedback is rarely covered by insurance and can be costly, however, therapists want the best for their patients and they offer many solutions. Neurofeedback at home is a great option to save time and money while getting the most out of this modality. Do not hesitate to contact a neurofeedback provider and discuss your concerns.


Reach Out.

I am a Certified Advanced NeurOptimal® Trainer and a Certified Brain Health Coach. Reach out to request a free consultation or schedule an appointment and let’s discuss how you or your child could benefit from neurofeedback.


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