Neurofeedback: Training the brain to self-regulate

At Choratech we use the state of the art in evidence-based interventions to improve brain function, whether it's for people who have attention problems, learning disabilities, or mental illnesses; or for athletes, students or professionals looking to enhance their performance. In all cases we match the solution closely to the individual, tailoring what we do to his or her specific characteristics and needs. 

Raw EEG sample

Neurofeedback represents the best of Choratech's personalized approach. It's a fruitful marriage of brain science, physiology and psychology, in which the principles of learning theory are applied not to externally observable actions, but to what might be considered the brain's "micro-actions": the activity of its various structures and networks, as reflected in the electroencephalogram (EEG). Using this information we quite literally train the brain to regulate itself more effectively, sharpening its capacity to do what is asked of it—and to refrain from doing what isn't appropriate. 

Biofeedback processHere's how the process works: We start with a rigorous assessment, which includes a full quantitative electroencephalogram, or QEEG. This provides us with detailed information about the state of the person's neurophysiology, including areas of over- and under-activation and problems in connectivity between brain regions. This individualized information is used to design a custom neurofeedback protocol.

During subsequent neurofeedback sessions, the person has sensors placed on his or her scalp, and the sensors pick up the brain's electrical activity. The signals are processed and translated into feedback in the form of a graph, musical notes, an animation or a video game. The feedback gives the brain information about its own moment-to-moment status, rewarding the brain when its status shifts toward better regulation. As the brain consolidates its learning across multiple sessions, it develops the ability to place itself in a healthy configuration more easily, and eventually it can produce that configuration on its own, without the need for further feedback. At Choratech we often combine neurofeedback with other forms of biofeedback, using physiological signals such as heart rate, respiration, and muscle activity.

Neurofeedback has two broad sets of uses. It's been shown in scientific studies to be effective for numerous clinical conditions such as ADHD and disruptive behavior problems, learning disabilities, stress and anxiety disorders, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, migraine, even autism spectrum disorders. However, its scope is broader yet: research has also found neurofeedback to have peak-performance applications, such as enhancing attentional focus, fine-motor control, and creativity for top performers.

About EEG

One of the EEG's most recognizable features is the posterior dominant rhythm, a large-amplitude, easily identified rhythm in the Alpha range (8-12 Hz) arising over the back of the head when the subject is relaxed but alert, with eyes closed. This rhythm was called "alpha" by Hans Berger, the discoverer of EEG. It was the first feature of the EEG he noticed, so, naturally, he named it after the first letter of the Greek alphabet.