Neurofeedback, also known as neurobiofeedback or neurotherapy, is a self-regulation technique that uses a person’s brain functions to help promote states of relaxation and self-control. The principle of neurofeedback training is based upon a direct, immediate feedback signal that reflects a person’s neurological state. These brain wave frequencies may be measured, analysed, and converted into auditory/visual signals which are able to be processed by the participant. ‘Traditional’ neurofeedback records electrical activity from different areas of the brain and converts it into a tracing called an electroencephalogram (EEG). With these brain wave patterns being reflected through the EEG, an indication of an individual’s neurological state and their level of consciousness is provided.
These feedback signals provide a real-time indicator of brain activity from which a participant will be trained to improve upon, gradually learning to achieve the desired brain wave state and maintain that state for longer periods of time.
Neurofeedback can be used as an interesting alternative treatment that fosters improvement in range of groups, including those that are subject to struggles with mental health or other difficulties. However, this therapy has some issues, as it can be expensive and time-consuming, with the desired improvement taking months to appear and long-term application being limited as the benefits post-treatment are not long-lasting. Despite criticisms to the treatment’s scientific validity and arguments that it relies on a powerful placebo response, neurofeedback may nonetheless offer a potent psychosocial intervention that promotes an increase in adaptive brain activity and desired behaviour.