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Neurofeedback

Discussion in 'Alternative Therapies' started by Nielk, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. Nielk

    Nielk

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    The only alternative therapy that had a substantial improvement in my
    health is neurofeedback. It is also called brain training. It is similar to biofeedback but it is used with eeg connected to the brain.

    The premise is that if you change the brain which after all controls all our bodily functions, you change the disease. It's been mainly used for children with
    ADD or ADHD. It has also had positive results in people with depression.

    In general, it makes the brain more lucid. Professionals have use it for performance improvement.

    It has helped me with my cognitive problems and also when I'm depressed (of being sick)

    But, I can only go when I'm at a better level. Not when I'm crashing like now.
    jeffrez likes this.
  2. margib

    margib Senior Member

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    Neilk, please take it easy so you can recover from your crash!
  3. Sing

    Sing Senior Member

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    Years ago I tried Flexyx Neurofeedback, which sounds like what you describe. I'd be hooked up between electrodes on certain sites on my head to a computer which would do a quick take on my EEG then send a very low, usually imperceptible, sound wave back to those sites which simply reflected back to my brain exactly what is was doing. Mirroring. Often, temporarily, I would experience some improvement. Lower pain, more access to the resources of my brain, memories and creativity. But this never lasted more than a few hours. Overall, however, this treatment may have helped get the glue out of my memory function, which was so bad in the first several years. But I had to travel for hours to get to the therapist and pay out of pocket so I only went once a month at most. I thought at the time that if I had had a machine at home I could have been helped more. Is this the type of neurofeedback you are doing or different?
  4. Phil

    Phil

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    Hi Nielk and Sing
    I see this is an old post but I've only just started using this site, so here's my comment.
    I also used neurofeedback/eeg and biofeedback with good results. For me it was the first time in my life that I learned to relax on purpose (without using strenuous exertion like running or swimming). This was many years ago and I was
    using emg biofeedback, eeg both alpha and theta training and Les Fehmi's multi channel synchronicity training and Les Fehmi's Open Focus technique (no machine required). It was a huge change for me. Here's a link where I wrote briefly about the Open Focus portion of this: http://planetthrive.ning.com/group/healinglab/forum/topics/lesser-known-mindbody.
    Through these means I was not only able to relax more but I changed my basic experience of myself.

    In more recent years I tried Len Och's Flexyx (now called LENS) and it helped me reduce my explosive anger by maybe 20-30%. Also it seemed to open the door for further improvement as I continued to reduce the anger over the 7 years since whereas before that I could not make any changes.

    None of these approaches directly helped my food or chemical sensitivities which is my biggest problem. Still all of them were very important for me. Good luck to you with approaches in this area.
    Phil
  5. gracenote

    gracenote All shall be well . . .

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    I just checked my college library for studies on neurofeedback and chronic fatigue syndrome. I thought I'd find more articles, but found only this one and one other from 1996. Both of them are case studies.

    It would think that neurofeedback would be a helpful adjunct protocol, so I'm surprised there aren't more studies. (It says "chronic fatigue" in the title, but refers to chronic fatigue syndrome in the article.) I don't have full text.

  6. acer2000

    acer2000 Senior Member

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    I had neurofeedback two years ago and it made me worse in ways totally inconsistent with "CFS". It still has not wore off.
  7. Phil

    Phil

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    Hi Asus
    Sorry to hear that. I have at times gotten worse from supposedly great treatments. In fact a diet by a locally praised psychic nutritionist followed by a colon cleansing program are what totally destroyed my health. I would be curious as to what approach and what therapist you saw that produced that effect for you. There are many different approaches within the area of neurofeedback and it is hard to evaluate the effectiveness of them all. So if you could give details as to approach, number of sessions and what got worse it might be useful.
    Phil
  8. muffin

    muffin Senior Member

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    quantitative EEG or qEEG testing - husband and i just started this therapy

    My husband and I just started quantitative EEG or qEEG testing and then re-training. I had my full ($750 not covered by insurance) qEEG test yesterday and will get results in three weeks. It took one hour and had periods of closed eyes, open eyes, reading text for comprehension (gibberish from three different sources), and math (not scored, just looking at brain waves). The first 50 minutes for me were OK since it was 9am and I was tired and still had nighttime meds in my system. The last 10 minutes were NOT good for me since my arms went numb, my neck and head started hurting and I had to keep moving due to pain. That all got picked up on the machine and the tech kept telling me how long until it was over. She could see when my forehead was tense and squinched and had to keep telling me to relax my forhead - she saw this off the machine since I was not facing her but away from her and towards a wall. Oh, there is a showercap -like thing that they put on your head that picks up many different sites within the brain and captures the brain waves from all of those sites to gather up patterns.

    Let me make it clear that at this point I do not believe this is CBT training. It involves brain waves and re-training the brain waves for pain, sleep, ADD, etc. I have reservations that this will be all that helpful for me since I was a very hyper, agitated Type A person BEFORE CFIDS and then after CFIDS fall alseep anywhere, anytime. But I think it will be helpful for my husband who was "normal" before he got sick five years ago. He never had sleep problems or hyper personality like I did from the very begining. So we shall see how this goes. The more information on this therapy that I get, the more I will post.
    Below are some links that explain what qEEG is. Or you can google qEEG and/or neurofeedback. Look at the pictures of brain waves and the explanations for what is going on within the brain given what ALL the different brain waves sites are showing.

    http://www.neurodevelopmentcenter.com/index.php?id=39
    http://www.bioneurofeedback.com/
  9. muffin

    muffin Senior Member

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    Better qEEG site with diagrams, charts with brainwaves, etc.

    http://www.qeeg.com/qeegfact.html
    THIS IS A BETTER SITE. THIS SITE HAS MANY CHARTS AND DIAGRAMS SO YOU NEED TO GO TO THE SITE AND SEE WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT. TEXT IS HERE ONLY:

    Quantitative EEG and Neurotherapy Fact Sheet
    Quantitative EEG is the measurement, using digital technology, of electrical patterns at the surface of the scalp which primarily reflect cortical electrical activity or "brainwaves." Below is a normal adult male, eyes closed, showing good alpha activity at P3/P4, O1/O2, the back of the head where on should find alpha if the eyes are closed.



    Brain waves occur at various frequencies, that is, some are quick, some quite slow. The classic names for these "EEG bands" are delta, theta, alpha and beta. The dominant wave pattern you see above is alpha; these waves happen between 8 and 13 times per second, or 8-13 Hertz (Hz). Alpha represents a sort of "idle" state, or "ready but not doing much" state and is normally fairly large over the back third of the brain when the eyes are closed and when you are awake. Alpha disappears when we either get mentally busy (e.g., open the eyes, start doing intense mental work even eyes closed) or when we become drowsy. Thus the presence of alpha can show the presence of an awake, resting state. If it is present at a fairly high voltage when the eyes are open, this would usually indicate an inattentive, daydreamy state. In fact we often see this sign in adolescents and adults with attentional difficulties.

    When we get mentally busy and engaged, we should see alpha "block," or reduce significantly in size. In its place we see mostly smaller, quicker "beta" waves. The beta family of waves happen at frequencies from 16-35 Hz, with higher frequencies known as "gamma".

    Delta and theta waves are relatively slow. Delta is usually defined as waves occurring from 1-4 times per second (1-4 Hz). Theta occurs at 4-7 Hz. During drowsiness, first alpha disappears, then the size of theta waves begins to increase. As sleep begins, theta waves get quite large, then become mixed with and eventually give way to slower delta waves.

    The presence of delta and theta waves in the waking, eyes open EEG is normal, but only if the waves are fairly small. High amplitude slow waves can be signs of various neurological and psychological problems, ranging from epilepsy to ADHD.

    For years all that was possible was recording these waves on paper with the traditional polygraph. Over the last 25 years, advances in signal processing made it possible to sample these waves many times per second (usually 128 or 256 samples per second; our current equipment samples at 4096 per second) and to analyze them in various ways. Using this technology we can now measure precisely the amplitude and frequency of waves of interest, be fairly exact about the scalp distribution of the waves, and even compare a client's qEEG to a normative life-span wide reference database that shows how the person's brain activity compares, on the average across a particular task, to healthy people of similar age and same sex.

    We use a 32 channel EEG system, the Truscan 32 by Deymed Diagnostic, which allows high quality digital recording as well as EEG biofeedback. The digital quantitative EEG (qEEG) shows the actual brain electrical events associated with periods of inattention very clearly, for example the under-aroused, "sleepy" signals. The recording below shows big "theta" waves over the front of the brain, indicating periodic "sleepiness" in these critical executive systems.





    The excess theta pattern is the most common pattern seen in children with ADHD diagnoses. About 80% show this pattern. A recent study (Synder & Hall, 2006) meta-analyzed 9 QEEG studies covering a total of 1498 children diagnosed with ADHD. The study showed an amazing sensitivity and specificity of 94% for identifying ADHD from the QEEG alone. That means that if excess theta and diminished beta activity is present, there is very likely going to be an ADHD diagnosis. The pattern correctly predicts ADHD 94% of the time.


    J Clin Neurophysiol. 2006 Oct;23(5):440-55. Links
    A meta-analysis of quantitative EEG power associated with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
    Snyder SM, Hall JR.
    Department of Psychology, University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas, USA.

    A meta-analysis was performed on quantitative EEG (QEEG) studies that evaluated attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) using the criteria of the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition). The nine eligible studies (N = 1498) observed QEEG traits of a theta power increase and a beta power decrease, summarized in the theta/beta ratio with a pooled effect size of 3.08 (95% confidence interval, 2.90, 3.26) for ADHD versus controls (normal children, adolescents, and adults). By statistical extrapolation, an effect size of 3.08 predicts a sensitivity and specificity of 94%, which is similar to previous results 86% to 90% sensitivity and 94% to 98% specificity. It is important to note that the controlled group studies were often with retrospectively set limits, and that in practice the sensitivity and specificity results would likely be more modest. The literature search also uncovered 32 pre-DSM-IV studies of ADHD and EEG power, and 29 of the 32 studies demonstrated results consistent with the meta-analysis. The meta-analytic results are also supported by the observation that the theta/beta ratio trait follows age-related changes in ADHD symptom presentation (Pearson correlation coefficient, 0.996, P = 0.004). In conclusion, this meta-analysis supports that a theta/beta ratio increase is a commonly observed trait in ADHD relative to normal controls. Because it is known that the theta/beta ratio trait may arise with other conditions, a prospective study covering differential diagnosis would be required to determine generalizability to clinical applications. Standardization of the QEEG technique is also needed, specifically with control of mental state, drowsiness, and medication.

    This pattern is very responsive to the stimulant drug methylphenidate, since it "wakes up" the frontal and prefrontal cortex enough so that it can do the critical jobs of motivation, impulse control. Until the medication wears off.


    Many adolescents, some pre-adolescents and many adults with ADHD diagnoses show too much alpha, with normal levels of theta. This is a different type of brain. The excess alpha pattern does not commonly respond to methylphenidate or amphetamine very well. The excess alpha pattern represents vast processing regions that are "awake" but are failing to "allocate" their resources to the job at hand. This causes the experience of "I heard your voice but I have no idea what you just said." The pattern looks like this:





    This recording shows high amplitude alpha waves over most of the back half of the head. Notice the first example, the excess theta waves were over the front of the head (top four tracings plus the third one from the bottom).


    Some people, often with more severe difficulties, show a mixture of alpha, theta and often delta waves. This next example is from an 11 year old girl previously diagnosed with Pervasive Devlopmental Disorder NOS, a major failure to develop age-appropriate social and academic skills:





    Some of the big waves are alpha, the wider ones are theta and the widest ones are delta. Contrast these patterns with the following example of entirely normal activation during a task:




    Notice all the waves are much smaller. There are some little alpha waves, e.g. immediately above the word "normal", but they don't go on for a long time and they are not big. This indicates "pretty good" allocation of brain resources to the job.


    You can see clear signs of over-excitement in some people, correlating with high anxiety. The next recording shows an anxious adult female with her eyes closed. Notice there is very little alpha activity, but a whole lot of beta (the small, close together waves). This person was also diagnosed with "ADHD", but reacted very badly to a stimulant medication given by a physician who was simply "going by the book" and diagnosing ADHD by the symptoms, or complaints. Examining the QEEG would easily have suggested this person is already very aroused, over-excited and that anxiety and distracting thoughts were causing the inattention. Contrast this eyes closed "resting" recording with the normal recording at the top of this page.




    WHAT ABOUT THE QUANTITATIVE PART, THE DATABASE?

    First one must be able to read and understand the "raw data," the recording themselves (as in the examples above). Then, we select areas of the raw data that are free from "artifact" (eye movements, too much muscle tension, etc.). Those chunks of data are analyzed statistically. The size, frequency and coordination of the various waves are measured by the software (Neuroguide, by Robert Thatcher, Ph.D., http://www.appliedneuroscience.com) and presented as numbers and as statistical "brain maps."

    Below is a statistical topographic map of the record above. The small dots on each circle represent the recording electrodes. Each separate circle represents the electrical power that was found at a particular frequency, e.g., at 1 Hz, 2 Hz, 3 Hz, up to 30 Hz. Notice the first row maps the 1-5 cycle per second (Hz) waves, the second row maps 6-10 Hz waves, etc. Green means the size of the waves is normal at the frequency of the map. Red indicates 3 standard deviations above the mean power for the person's age and sex. That is like being 7 feet tall. Very big. The analysis proves that there is in fact a large excess of electrical power in the "beta" range. That's what my experienced eye told me from looking at the raw data, but it is nice to have this confirmed and made more precise by comparison with age and sex normals. This excessive beta activity over sensorimotor and parietal "association" cortex reflects a very busy brain that's working over time producing thoughts, images and tension. This is commonly found in anxious people. Settling this down (training for lower beta amplitudes, coupled with increased alpha activity) helps the person find a relaxed mental and physical state.



    Below is a topographic map of a teen with an excess of alpha activity during listening. This alpha waxes and wanes, but on the average - which is what the statistical maps show - there is a major excess of it.


    Thus we can see a physical reason for the inattention. We can also see which regions of the brain are having the problems. This lets us "aim" the neurofeedback training at these regions. This information also tells us which task is the hardest for the particular person, so we can have them do that task (e.g., listening) while doing neurofeedback.

    We can usually predict which type of task is hardest or least fun for a child to do, based on the presence of slow, "sleepy" or "out - of - gear" brain waves. The child and parents usually confirm that. We then know what type of task to focus on during EEG retraining. Some kids (and adults) have what I call "art brains." They get very fine activation when they draw, although they may be very inattentive during listening or other verbal/analytic tasks. These kids I encourage to take "picture notes" in class instead of just writing down words.

    QEEG is not intended to be a "stand alone" diagnostic or as a substitute for other medical diagnostics. It is, however, a helpful adjunct which can guide prognosis and intervention. qEEG is best used as an tool to aid in the clinical diagnosis of various dysfunctional states and not as a substitute for clinical judgment and medical opinion. The qEEG should be combined with other medical, psychological and neuropsychological data to best aid the patient.

    The sister technology to qEEG is called EEG biofeedback, neurofeedback or neurotherapy. The qEEG provides the "targeting" information. That is, it tells us where and under what conditions (reading, listening, math, etc.) the problem is worst. This analysis allows accurate electrode placement for feedback and suggests the tasks that should be used during therapy. Neurotherapy is EEG feedback-assisted cognitive behavior modification. It couples EEG feedback with the full range of traditional cognitive behavior therapy methods, including imaginal rehearsal, correction of maladaptive thought patterns, and rehearsal of new skills. We commonly utilize intensely activating, challenging tasks during the sessions to enhance brain activation and teach what it feels like to be focused and functional again. The EEG feedback signals the patient when their brain is in fact in a more activated state, indexed by decreased delta and theta brain wave amplitudes, and increased beta and/or alpha amplitudes.

    Neurotherapy is no panacea. Like any therapy it works best with people who are motivated, who want to improve, who are experiencing some significant suffering from their symptoms and who are not so discouraged by years of trouble that they don't even want to try any more. In this latter case, depression, helplessness and negative attitudes toward the self - and often others - may have to be treated before the underlying attention, organization or learning problems can really be addressed.

    THE SCIENTIFIC BASIS OF qEEG TESTING and NEUROFEEDBACK: References to Publications
    The 1970's and 80's were decades of exploration and experimentation with qEEG. The technology is no longer "experimental." It is used in literally thousands of scientific studies to assess how people's brains are functioning under various conditions of illness, stress and mental difficulties. Patterns in the qEEG reflect emotional and cognitive states and predict whether people will be able to attention, or even what their mood is likely to be.
    The 25 year-long research programs of Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, for example have shown an association between under-excitement in the left front brain and/or over-excitement in the right front brain to be associated with depression. The work of Joel Lubar at the University of Tennessee, E. Roy John, Robert Chabot at New York University's Department of Psychiatry and many others have shown qEEG abnormalities associated with ADHD, learning disorders and a range of emotional problems. For even more information go to PubMed (the National Library of Medicine portal) and simply search "QEEG". You'll pull up abstracts of hundreds of articles showing how QEEG is sensitive to dementia, depression, ADHD, etc. For more specific articles, enter the terms "QEEG ADHD."

    Operant conditioning of EEG characteristics (what we now call "neurofeedback" or "EEG biofeedback") is also well documented in the scientific literature. Training easier access to the calm state of "alpha" (10 Hz synchronized brain rhythms associated with relaxed awareness, little active thinking, "just being there") has been used for decades to promote learned relaxation. There are at least 18 studies showing neurofeedback can suppress epileptic seizures. With some people, particularly those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, we may train for increased alpha and theta to access deeper states where the unconscious mind can bring up personally important images and feelings.

    Alpha and theta is what anxious, stressed people have too little of (too little access to) and what "ADD" kids often have too much of. Training to decrease slow activity and increase fast desynchronized EEG activity has been used for over 25 years to ameliorate ADHD and epilepsy. More recently EEG operant conditioning has been successfully applied to patients with mild traumatic brain injury. Reports of literally hundreds of case studies have been presented at conferences of the National Head Injury Society as long ago as 1987. Many clinicians are reporting case studies of depression being improved with the proper type of neurofeedback training (calming down the right front brain, getting the left front side more activated). The applications are many. Unfortunately, there are those in the medical and pharmaceutical industries that choose to ignore the existing research and the large body of clinical experience that exists and claim there is no evidence for the utility of QEEG or neurofeedback. You should look at some of the actual literature and judge for yourself. Or access some of it and talk it over with a physician or psychologist you trust. It is worth noting that the American Psychological Association has endorsed qEEG and neurotherapy as within the venue of psychologists with appropriate training. Professionals with other healthcare licenses may also be qualified to do qEEG and neurofeedback, but the potential client should ask about the credentials and traing of anyone they are considering working with.

    What is the background of Dr. Nash that qualifies him to use this technology?

    Dr. Nash received his Bachelor of Science degree in biology/biochemistry from Princeton University in 1968. He received a Masters degree for work at the Institute for Neurological Science at the University of Pennsylvania. His Psychology Ph.D. is from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where his dissertation involved human EEG research on attention and perception. He received National Institutes of Health-sponsored postdoctoral training in one of the first four Behavioral Medicine training programs in the U.S., at the New Jersey Medical School. He completed his postdoctoral internship at the Clinical Psychology Department, Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines. He has worked with psychological, emotional
    and physical problems for over 25 years, using cognitive behavior therapy and biofeedback.

    Dr. Nashs professional activities have included working in a large multi-specialty medical practice in the Twin Cities, being Clinical Director of a
    Community Mental Health Center, evaluating human EEG and biofeedback research for NASA and operating his own private practice in the Twin Cities since 1987.

    Dr. Nash helped found the International Society for Neuronal Regulation in 1992 and was on the first neurofeedback certification boards the NRNP and the ACN (now folded into the BCIA, see below) and was its President in 2000. He is currently on the ISNR Standards Committee which is commissioned to improve the regulation of neurofeedback equipment and insure its proper use by trained and licensed professionals. He has published on neurotherapy and EEG in peer reviewed journals. His is a Consulting Editor for the Journal of Neurotherapy. He also has extensive experience speaking and consulting with management and professional groups.

    Behavioral Medicine Associates, Inc. has many very satisfied patients who can testify that neurotherapy has reduced their symptoms of ADHD, anxiety, depression and brain injury. Memory has been improved, emotional instability has been decreased or eliminated, and executive function has been improved.

    IF QEEG AND NEUROTHERAPY ARE SO GOOD, WHY AREN'T MORE CLINICIANS USING IT?
    We estimate that perhaps 3500 clinicians are actively using neurotherapy in the U.S. Most psychologists and physicians simply have not been educated in the clinical applications of EEG biofeedback and have not read the existing research and clinical literature, in spite of the fact that applications to anxiety, epilepsy and attentional deficits date back to the 1970's.
    The instrumentation is expensive and requires serious study and training to use competently. Proper instrumentation has only recently become generally available. Two national organizations to promote and develop this approach have been formed in the last three years. Attendance at the ISNR national conference has grown to 450 this year. More clinicians are using neurotherapy each year. For psychologists and others who did not have extensive graduate training in neurobiology in graduate school, it takes some serious study and work, including supervision, to become competent in neurotherapy. So the spread is slow, but steady.

    Certification in neurotherapy is advancing and, we believe, necessary so that insurers can choose to reimburse only certified clinicians. A national biofeedback organization, the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America, certifies health care practioners as competent to perform a wide range of types of biofeedback. The BCIA was established in 1981 to certify practitioners in peripheral (EMG, temperature, GSR) biofeedback techniques and now has certification in EEG biofeedback (neurofeedback) available via tests administered at the major annual conferences of the ISNR and AAPB.
  10. acer2000

    acer2000 Senior Member

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    Yeah I have seen those abstracts. Most of the good research on Neurofeedback is on ADHD and certain types of epilepsy. There probably actually is pretty good evidence that for these conditions, when carefully applied, neurofeedback is reasonably safe and can be helpful.

    The problem is, there are many types of neurofeedback all being sold under the same guise and they aren't all the same. So you go to someone for "neurofeedback" you could be getting one of many subtypes of therapy, not all safe or appropriate for your problem. There haven't been a lot of objective comparisons between the "schools" of neurofeedback, and there doesn't seem to be a big desire to do so among the proponents of each method. So unlike when you go to a regular doctor, where you can be reasonably sure you are going to get the same agreed upon treatment for your disorder no matter where you go, the same is not true of neurofeedback. The same patient with ADD could go to 5 different neurofeedback providers and get 5 different treatments recommended - none with comparative research showing one method is safer or better than another.

    Then there is the issue of the fact that since Neurofeedback isn't really regulated, practitioners advertise their services for helping disorders that there really is *no* research to support its use. I would argue CFS falls under this category. Unlike ADHD, there is literally no published research on Neurofeedback for "CFS". In fact, there is very little research on what "CFS" itself is. Given that unlike anxiety, depression, and even ADHD, CFS is probably an acquired infectious disease that impacts the nervous system, I wouldn't expect Neurofeedback to necessarily be safe or all that predictable or helpful.

    Because of this lack of standard of care, and lack of license requirements, its really difficult to tell if a practitioner of neurofeedback is trained properly and has the right experience to be working with the disorders they claim to treat (even among the disorders its known to be safe/effective for based on research). There appear to be some efforts to fix this within the neurofeedback field (BCIA certification namely), but participation doesn't seem particularly widespread among practitioners and of course its voluntary. There is no law saying someone has to have specific agreed upon training or experience to practice neurofeedback. Given that they are seeking to permanently modify how your brain works with this technology, this to me is a serious problem.

    So I guess if you want to try it, be careful. As someone who has been harmed by it, I would caution you that the rosy claims made by various neurofeedback practitioners aren't really backed up by sound science - especially when you start talking about treating something other than ADD/ADHD.
  11. acer2000

    acer2000 Senior Member

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    The first approach was an "Othmer/EEG Spectrum" method in which I was left feeling very hyper and overstimulated and lots of mood swings following a T3/T4 protocol (none of which were symptoms of "CFS" as I experienced it). The second approach was supposed to fix the problem the first person introduced, but I think basically the practitioner didn't understand the "Othmer" method, so they did a QEEG and did SMR training at C3/CZ/FZ and created a set of symptoms that most closely resemble dissociation (again, not a symptom that is part of CFS).
  12. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    australia (brisbane)
    neurofeedback interests me as a treatment for insomnia (related to cfs) but here in australia it costs around $100 a session and they say a minimum of 10 sessions. $1000 is a big gamble if it doesnt work, or makes you worse. If there was more of a guarantee like say 80% success rate then i would invest in the treatment, would be nice to sleep drug free. Would like to see more success stories.
    cheers
  13. rebecca1995

    rebecca1995 Apple, anyone?

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    Neurofeedback has been one of my few successful treatments, especially for insomnia. Even though my overall strength and functioning are much worse than they were 8 years ago, my sleep is vastly better. I credit ~60% of the improvement in sleep to neurofeedback; 20% to tapering off Klonopin; and 20% to the methylation/Yasko protocol.

    I saw a neurotherapist in '02 who did QEEGs on me and set me up with a small EEG machine to use on my home computer. (Unfortunately, this equipment is no longer made, and as soon as it dies for good, I'll try to get set up with another home EEG machine, the Brainmaster.) Even before I became homebound and bedbound, I mostly trained at home as it was difficult for me to get to her office. Initially, I trained a few times a week, now every 1-2 weeks.

    I still have an occasional all-nighter (a few times per year) or extreme difficulty falling asleep (maybe 1-2 times per month), but these nights are far more rare than they were before neurofeedback. The other benefit is improved cognitive function. But if I stop training, I lose these benefits.

    acer2000:
    It's standard to train SMR at C3, esp. for insomnia, but why would they have you train such a low frequency (13-15 Hz) in the front of the brain? That doesn't sound right and it just goes to show how difficult it can be to find a good practitioner.
  14. heapsreal

    heapsreal iherb 10% discount code OPA989,

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    australia (brisbane)
    !!!!home neurofeedback machines, how much does that cost to set up, mmm interesting.
  15. rebecca1995

    rebecca1995 Apple, anyone?

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    heaps...you could try finding a practitioner who would rent you a machine (perhaps 'til you own it). That way you wouldn't have to outlay the entire cost of the machine upfront.
  16. Phil

    Phil

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    Hey Acer
    Thanks for the details about what happened to you. I had a similar experience with the Othmer's approach in the mid nineties. I got an increase in energy but felt kind of wired and had an increase in headaches. Sue Othmer said this is not right and we should stop. The symptoms faded away and I appreciated the honesty and straight forwardness she had in saying we should stop. I've encountered plenty of practitioners who want to keep you going on and on no matter what results you're getting. I know the Othmer's have changed their approach a great deal over the years, so it's certainly obvious they haven't had "the neurofeedback answer" but I would have no problem (other than money etc) in going back and checking out what they are doing now. Of course if I had stayed stuck in that wired headache place I would feel a bit differently.
    What I'd say is that after trying 4 neurofeedback approaches and getting good results with 3 and poor with one
    is that I think it's reasonably safe. I have found personally that most everything can be dangerous for some people (and certainly for me) and you really have to be thoughtful and observant about everything you try. I've tried 6 different psychotherapy approaches and 4 of them turned out to be bad. There was considerable harm done to me and others by the four. And of the other two one could have been shortened greatly I'd bet if it had been better directed. That leaves only one that finally produced clear benefit (the last one) and I'd say that much of that benefit came about because by that time I was able to play a major role in directing the process.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I think almost all your points about the risk in neurofeedback are valid and useful, but from another perspective I see it as having great possible benefits (and have experienced such benefits) with a reasonable level of risk. I wish I could say there is no risk involved but yes you're right, there is, still I see risk where you don't apparently as with medical doctors. There are perhaps less risky approaches mind/body approaches such as mediation probably. We just have to pick and choose what we think will help us. I didn't realize years ago when I started searching for ways to improve my life just how incredibly difficult that picking and choosing was going to be.
    Best of luck getting away from those bad effects.
    Phil
  17. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    I have had a lot of exposure to EEG NF, and I find that my experiences and opinions accord almost 100 percent with what acer2000 has said. I was significantly harmed by the Othmer "low frequency protocol," from which I have not recovered a year and a half later (or is it 2.5 by now? sheesh) and was made worse after that by some completely incompetent "practitioner" marketing himself as some kind of guru. I have had a LOT of trouble with the NF "community" when things started going wrong. They tend to want to sweep all reports of unwanted iatrogenic effects under the rug and just push NF as the cure-all to just about everything.

    Having said that, I should also say that when I first developed chronic fatigue (not chronic fatigue SYNDROME ;)), following a round of corticosteroids where the MD took me off them wrong, leading to a crash, leading to CFS-like fatigue symptoms and PEM ever since, I had a COMPLETE, 100 percent remission of all fatigue and PEM symptoms following a round of neurofeedback, specifically in this case SMR training at C4. That lasted for days, but since the practitioner wasn't really used to such dramatic results and wasn't really familiar with CFS and how amazing that kind of result was, had me continue training about a week later, which somehow "undid" what the earlier training had done, and I was back in the CFS. Since then, I have had an immune activation event (fever, chills, swollen glands, etc.) which triggered the actual CFS, and NF hasn't been much help since then.

    But I just mention that positive result to say that my bad experiences with both the training and the community don't mean that I think NF is a quackery kind of thing. It definitely has effects, the problem is that, in my opinion, no one really knows how to predict what those effects are likely to be in any given case, or even any given session. And when things do go wrong, no one knows enough to know how to fix it. It's not something straightforward or direct, like a surgeon slipping and cutting some vein he shouldn't have, where the fix is obvious: repair what you messed up. Or even with giving the wrong drug, which we can then know the actual biological effects and so possibly apply some other chemical remedy to offset or correct it. With NF it is much more complex and often non-linear than that, which just goes to say that we don't really understand what we're dealing with, i.e., the complexities of the brain. If we did, we would know how to fix NF things that go wrong

    All the points about these practitioners not really knowing what they're doing (my paraphrase), or going to 10 different clinicians and getting 10 different recommendations for training, are also very valid, imo. I also think it is possibly very problematic to be treating a CFS brain from the standpoint of "normalcy" or a normal brain. The two are simply not the same, even when a healthy person has dysfunction leading to ADD, depression, or whatever. The CFS brain is simply different, is functioning differently, which I think is pretty well established by now with the various kinds of brain scans showing altered blood flow patterns, oxygen/glucose uptake and utilization, etc. Not that some benefit can't be had sometimes, but again it just goes to the issue of what we know and what we don't know. I think *in general* the risks of NF for someone with CFS are probably therefore greater than for someone without, who has normal brain energy metabolism, etc. At least then there might be a greater chance of the brain having the energy to correct itself, or be open to correction, than a CFS brain might. That's just speculation, but it is my general intuitive sense of things. It might actually be the case that a relatively less stable CFS brain might be more conducive to getting out of a bad state. So perhaps if that is in fact a concern it's dependent on the actual circumstances, what went wrong, the individual involved, etc.

    Regardless, I think any consideration of NF with CFS warrants a lot of caution and probably (in my opinion) should only be undertaken as a last or near-last resort. Even then, going *very* slowly is absolutely essential. I think the "TLC" method, where the person's brainwaves are actually measured and graphed, etc. as frequently as possible, is probably the safest for people with CFS. At least there you can actually see what is out of whack (of the sites measured, at least), and perhaps avoid some of the problems that come just from some "practitioner" hooking up electrodes according to some pre-conceived training plan they usually follow - which in reality means basically at random. QEEG might or might not be similarly useful - I have had 2 QEEGs, one of which corresponded pretty well to the tendencies I see with the TLC scans, one which did in some respects, but training those 'problems' tended to worsen things. So it is really a crapshoot - or Russian roulette, as I often put it. Be careful!
  18. gracenote

    gracenote All shall be well . . .

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    Mr.Kite. Thank you for your very clear explanation of your experience.

    And welcome to the forums.
  19. rebecca1995

    rebecca1995 Apple, anyone?

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    Interesting. SMR at C4 has been one of my most helpful protocols, too. There's quite a bit of research on this site-frequency combination, even animal research.

    See, for example, Wyrwicka, W. & Sterman, M.B. (1968). "Instrumental conditioning of sensorimotor cortex eeg spindles in the waking cat". Physiology and Behavior, vol. 3,pp. 703707. http://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...serid=10&md5=71e1a4f456b254136bda3f060dc91c02

    After a couple months of SMR training, my insomnia finally began to come under control. I fell asleep more quickly and slept through the night with fewer wakenings.
  20. jeffrez

    jeffrez Senior Member

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    You might benefit from the old Val Brown "5-phase" (or "period 3") approach, which focuses in the beginning almost exclusively on smr at C4, or Cz, with varying the low inhibit from 2-6 to 2-4 or 4-6 depending on symptoms. That used to really help me, but for some reason with all the bad effects I then started reacting badly to C4 training. I can send you the files if you want - they're pages from his old web site that he took down after he went to this new "zengar" thing he developed. Just let me know if you want them and I can try to dig them up for you.

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