Neurofeedback, or EEG (electroencephalography) biofeedback, is a therapeutic intervention in which your brainwave activity is monitored and assessed, providing immediate feedback, typically in a visual format.
Why is this a big deal? Access to brainwave data opens the door to retraining or reorganizing your brain signals! The symptoms of various neurological and mental health experiences are relieved by learning to regulate and improve brain function through this neurofeedback process.
At Healium, we pair neurofeedback with a virtual reality meditation experience to provide you an actionable tool to achieve mental fitness.
Curious about the difference between biofeedback vs. neurofeedback? Learn more in our blog!
There are a plethora of neurofeedback wearables on the market today. Some neurofeedback equipment you’ll find within a traditional medical setting, while others are more geared for users to experience the benefits of neurofeedback at home.
At Healium, we make it easy to do neurofeedback at home with a consumer wearable.
If you’re interested in learning more about neurofeedback equipment, we wrote the perfect neurofeedback equipment guide just for you!
Here are our favorite wearables we recommend for those looking to experience neurofeedback for themselves.
The BrainLink or BrainLink Lite EEG headbands are the device we recommend most often to new Healium users.These soft leather headbands pair with both Healium AR and VR apps, providing users neurofeedback through gold-plated copper sensors that monitor brainwave activity.
Wearing BrainLink Lite across the forehead provides a comfortable fit, is lightweight and adjusts to fit any head shape.
Our favorite part? These devices are easy to use! There’s no crazy array of wires and sensors. Simply slip the band on your head, ensure it’s positioned properly and away you go. The fact that it’s USB rechargeable is another added bonus.
The Muse is a brain-sensing headband that can provide you with real-time biofeedback to help you refocus during the day and recover at night.
The Neurosity Crown was created to help your brain concentrate. This neurofeedback device comes with its own set of dashboards and the Neurosity App to make it easy to practice neurofeedback for focus.
More than likely, this is what you’re picturing when you first think of “neurofeedback device”.
EEG headcaps contain electrodes that are applied to the scalp. The cap itself assists in electrode placement, allowing the electrodes to be placed precisely and maintain sufficient contact with the scalp. An EEG headcap is used by professionals (oftentimes for qeeg brain mapping in clinical settings) and is not required to use Healium.
Neurofeedback works because it gives you control over your brain. By translating your brainwaves into actionable data, you have a way to measure your baseline and make conscious progress towards becoming more mentally fit.
Neurofeedback devices do this by analyzing specific types of brainwaves, depending on the desired outcome.
For example, alpha waves are associated with peacefulness, readiness, as well as being deeply relaxed, while beta waves are characterized by focus, sustained attention, tension, alertness, and excitement. Thus, alpha waves are typically aimed at reducing stress and anxiety, while beta waves are aimed at improving attention and focus, which are associated with conditions like ADHD.
Neurofeedback can be used for children, adolescents, or adults who wish to increase their level of mental fitness. Essentially, if you have an aspect of your mind you wish to train (like your ability to focus, empathize, or remain calm), neurofeedback is a perfect avenue in which to do so.
Neurofeedback also has specific use cases that have proven very effective.
Those with seizure disorders, behavioral problems, attention deficits, autism, developmental delays, traumatic birth injuries, anxiety disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorders, anxiety-related sleep disorders, insomnias, and age-related cognitive declines can all benefit from neurofeedback therapy.
In addition to using as standalone neurofeedback therapy, neurofeedback can also be used in conjunction with other forms of therapy to enhance their benefits and patient motivation.
Clinical neurofeedback therapy is not a cure for any of the following conditions, but certain patients with these conditions may benefit from it:
● Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
● Seizure conditions
● Behavior disorders
● Ongoing developmental delays
● Acquired brain injuries
● Birth trauma
● Post-traumatic stress disorder
● Stress-related problems
● Insomnia/interrupted sleep pattern
Neurofeedback therapy in a medical setting follows a similar structure to Healium.
For example, a therapy administrator who may want to measure your beta brain waves may have you watch something on a screen. Beta waves manifest as brightening waves on the screen; inhibiting beta waves results in the opposite.
To be rewarded with a brighter screen, you will have to repeat the behavior to receive the reinforcement you have received so far.
Neurofeedback can also be utilized from the comfort of your home to help you gain better control (and better understanding) of your own brainwaves.
Using neurofeedback wearables paired data tracking and proper guidance, users can use neurofeedback to achieve better focus, decrease anxious thoughts, improve the quality of their sleep, and achieve mental fitness.
With a meditation app like Healium that connects to neurofeedback wearables, you measure brainwave activity and view feedback immediately, both in the form of visual or auditory cues within the experience itself as well as through a brainwave graph we call the glowing firefly.
Inside the Healium VR app, you’ll see nature-based environments with the brainwave graph overlaid on the experience. As long as you keep your brainwaves in a focused calm state, the experience progresses. If you shift out of that state, you’ll see a red tint overlay on the visuals. This is your feedback signal to do something else to get back into that brainwave state.
Slow cortical potentials (also known as Infra-Low brainwaves) are thought to be the basic cortical rhythms underpinning higher psychological functions. Despite their existence, infra-low brainwaves are a little-known phenomenon.
Few studies have been conducted on them because of their slow speed, making it difficult to detect and accurately measure them. It is believed that they play an important role in timing and network functions in the brain.
The delta brainwaves are low frequency, deep penetrating, and slower than theta brainwaves (like a drum beat). Delta brainwaves occur during deep meditation and dreamlessness.
Delta waves are associated with empathy and a suspension of external awareness. Restorative sleep is a key component of the healing process because it promotes healing and regeneration.
Theta brainwaves are an important gateway to memory, learning, and intuition. With theta, all our senses are disconnected from the outside world and put into focus on internal signals. It represents that moment of twilight that we usually only experience fleetingly when we wake up or drift off to sleep.
We are in a dream state where we experience vivid imagery, intuition, and additional information beyond what our daily awareness can provide. This is where our fears, our nightmares, and troubled histories are stored.
Alpha brainwaves dominate when thoughts are silently flowing, and may also occur during meditation. Being in the present, in the present moment is what is meant by alpha.
In a nutshell, alpha is the brain’s resting state. Brain waves associated with the alpha phase assist with mental coordination, calmness, alertness, and integrative learning
Brainwaves associated with the beta band dominate our waking state of consciousness when we are concentrating on cognitive tasks and the external environment.
Beta is a fast activity that occurs when we are alert, attentive, solving problems, making judgments, making decisions, or otherwise focusing our minds.
Gamma waves are the fastest brain waves (like a flute, because of their high frequency), and they are a result of the simultaneous processing of information across different brain areas. Gamma waves transmit information quickly and quietly.
Gamma is the most subtle of the brainwave frequencies, which must be accessed in a quiet mind.
The benefits of neurofeedback may not become apparent for several months, and there is no consensus on how many sessions are required to exert control over your brainwaves.
However, during our clinical trials, reserachers published a study in Frontiers in Psychology showing a reduction in anxiety after a 4 minute Healium experience.
With Healium, specifically, we’ve found that the duration of the benefits can last upwards of 5 days, but to build mental resilience and overall mental health, our app works best when used consistently over time.
Any form of therapeutic intervention carries the potential for side effects, though for neurofeedback these are rather mild and short-lived. At Healium, we liken it to feeling fatigued after a good workout session, because in a neurofeedback session you’re literally exercising a muscle.
In most cases, no side effects are experienced. In rare cases, the following may occur: Headaches or dizziness, muscle tension, anxiety, or low energy or fatigue.
For certain conditions, neurofeedback is likely to be successful in 75%-80% of cases cited by clinicians and in published scientific research. However, efficacy rates still require more research.
We’ve made it a point at Healium to conduct clinical studies on our product whenever possible. In fact, we’ve been clinically proven to:
Operant conditioning can be used as a teaching tool for promoting healthy brain functioning. <br>
The goal of neurofeedback training is to connect information about your brain activity with desirable or undesirable outcomes, usually through a virtual context, like a video game or virtual reality experiences.
Brain-training games often reward us for producing desirable brain activity by awarding points; on the other hand, when we generate undesirable activity, we lose points. If brain activity is repeatedly exposed to such gains and losses, long-lasting changes may occur.
At Healium, we look at neurofeedback through the lens of mental fitness. If your brain is a muscle, then neurofeedback with Healium is your brain’s workout. By providing you with a baseline, visual cues, and a way to track your progress, you’re given a way to drive your progress and experience the benefits firsthand.
Many clinics use the following tools in conjunction with neurofeedback to establish a baseline and devise a training protocol that can be tailored to your particular needs:
● Measure the severity of your symptoms with standard behavioral questionnaires. With the Healium AR and VR apps, this is accomplished through your baseline brainwave measurements.
● An examination of your impulsivity, attention, and inhibition through continuous performance tasks (CPT) . Imagine a computer game that displays a specific image on the screen and asks you to simply press a button, but you have trouble keeping your attention for an extended period.
● Quantitative EEG (or qEEG) measures brain activity from multiple sites at the same time and compares that to the population in your age group. You can determine how far away your brain activity is from its normative range with the help of this test. This method is not used by all clinics, however.
● Tracking neurofeedback data over extended use. With Healium, your data dashboard is your report card for the change you want to see in your brain.
When you first look at neurofeedback, it seems expensive. A neurofeedback program is, however, an investment in terms of health and well-being compared to most other options, and the outcomes are documented as being life-changing for many people.
Most neurofeedback providers do not accept insurance, so an average neurofeedback session in the USA costs $125. Several neurofeedback providers require beginning with a 19-wire QEEG brain map plus another testing that can cost up to $1000.
However, there are more affordable ways to achieve the same results in the comfort of your own home!
Healium offers you a convenient and accessible way to accomplish the same result as traditional neurofeedback therapy. Whether you choose to pair your smartphone or a virtual reality headset with a neurofeedback device, you can conduct home neurofeedback for as little as $10.00 per month.
The benefits of neurofeedback training are already being felt by many, including improved sleep, human performance, and more.