At Nashville BrainCore, we use a type of EEG-biofeedback called neurofeedback. BrainCore neurofeedback is a guided learning exercise for the brain, based on the concept of neuroplasticity, or brain plasticity. Neuroplasticity, put simply, is the brain’s ability to create new neural pathways. Neural pathways determine basic and complex functions within the body, from smiling to learning Spanish.
Brainwaves also play a major role in neurofeedback training. There are five primary brainwaves: delta, beta, theta, alpha, and sensorimotor rhythm (SMR). These brainwaves all have specific functions, and each brainwave becomes dominant at particular times to perform certain tasks. Even when one brainwave is dominant, though, the others will still be present, but at lower levels.
When brainwaves become dysregulated, neurological conditions can develop, including anxiety, depression, and insomnia, among others. There are many causes of brainwave dysregulation, like environmental factors, chemical imbalances, or trauma of some kind. Neurofeedback corrects brainwave dysregulation through positive reinforcement feedback to the brain.
The theory of neurofeedback is based on a simple concept: when you have information on what your brainwaves are doing, your brain can use that information to change how it works.
BrainCore neurofeedback is guided exercise for the brain and is actually a learning modality designed to retrain dysregulated brainwave patterns. The goal of all neurofeedback is to transform an unhealthy, dysregulated brainwave pattern into a normal, healthy, organized pattern. By doing this, the brain becomes more stable and is able to operate optimally and efficiently.
The process of neurofeedback involves training programs that guide the brain through a series of tasks that help it better regulate its own brainwave activity. (We refer to the brain accomplishing these tasks rather than the person, because, with neurofeedback training, the changes become new neural pathways that happen automatically. All the patient does is sit comfortably and watch the screen.)
Watch the video titled “What is BrainCore?” to get a basic understanding of the science behind BrainCore neurofeedback, narrated by Dr. Guy Annunziata, founder of BrainCore Therapy.
BrainCore training begins with what’s known as a quantitative electroencephalogram, or QEEG. We also call it a brain map. The brain map is a comprehensive assessment that allows us to determine, scientifically, if a person’s brainwaves are indeed abnormal. Electrodes are placed on the client’s head to measure and record brainwave patterns. (These electrodes do not put any electrical currents into the brain; they simply receive signals from the brain.)
The data received during the QEEG are statistically compared to a database of more than 40,000 normal brainwave patterns, and a brain map is generated, which allows us to develop training protocols to be used during sessions in the clinic.
Following the initial brain map assessment, a typical neurofeedback training session involves the client seated comfortably and watching an activity on the screen. This activity is designed to respond to the person’s brainwave patterns, with thresholds determined by the neurofeedback clinician. For example, a movie might play, but the screen will dim if the person shows patterns of dysregulation and brighten when their brainwaves normalize.
Another example involves a puzzle, which will complete itself as the client’s brainwaves normalize. The person is actually controlling the puzzle with their mind! The brain naturally wants to complete the puzzle, so it automatically adjusts its brainwave levels based on the feedback it receives.