Millions of Americans struggle with difficulties of attention and concentration. Whether you are a college student struggling to maintain focus in the classroom, a CEO working to master organizational skills in the boardroom, or a mom juggling multiple demands of home and work, it’s clear that ADHD symptoms can impair your ability to function in many areas of your life. Neuroscience research has shown the manner in which neurofeedback can assist you in managing symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD).
What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is a form of biofeedback that uses real-time displays of brain activity to teach self-regulation of brain function. Typically, EEG sensors are placed on the individual’s scalp to measure brainwave patterns, with the measurements displayed using video or sound. Neurofeedback allows you to gain control over brainwave activity by providing you with information about the status of your brain. This information is used to help you regulate your brainwave patterns. Neurofeedback has been found to be a successful intervention in managing symptoms of ADHD as well as reducing symptoms of migraines, mood disorders, memory impairment and brain injury. Neurofeedback works by helping you to regulate your brainwaves.
What are Brainwaves?
Brainwave are the natural internal (biological, neurochemical) rhythms of the brain. Brainwave patterns change with activities such as relaxing, problem-solving, and sleeping. At any given time, one of these patterns will be dominant, although it is possible for different areas of your brain to be engaged in different levels of activity. If the amount and distribution of brainwaves are significantly reduced or increased in these five patterns of frequencies, they can contribute to increased symptoms of ADHD or ADD.
There are four primary brainwave patterns (Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta) and a fifth lesser known pattern (Gamma).
- Beta brainwaves are associated with a heightened state of alertness, and focused concentration. When you are engaged in work and mental activities, your dominant brainwave state will be Beta. It is common for individuals to spend the majority of the workday engaged in this state. Beta brainwave states correspond to frequencies ranging from 12 Hz to 40 Hz.
- Alpha brainwaves are slower in frequency than Beta brainwaves and take place during relaxation, contemplation, and visualization. The Alpha state is an intensely pleasurable and peaceful state of consciousness. Alpha brainwaves are associated with deep levels of creativity, insight, and inspiration. Artists, musicians, and athletes produce an abundance of alpha brainwaves, which are associated with peak performance. Alpha brainwaves are integral in reducing Cortisol levels, decreasing the negative effects of stress, and improving your immune system. Alpha brainwave states correspond to frequencies ranging between 8 Hz to 12 Hz.
- Theta brainwaves are even slower in frequency and are found during deep levels of relaxation, meditation, hypnosis, and enhanced creativity. They are also found during the transition from wakefulness to sleep and sometimes during dreaming. Spending increased amounts of time in a Theta state can significantly improve your well-being and overall health, and result in a reduced need for sleep. In the Theta state, your mind is in tune with the vibrational energy of the earth’s core. In the Theta state, you can easily access your inner power and achieve heightened levels of consciousness. Theta brainwave patterns range in frequencies from 4 Hz to 8Hz.
- Delta brainwaves are the slowest of the brainwave frequencies and are found during deep, dreamless sleep, although they may also be achieved in deep levels of meditation. Delta waves are associated with deep levels of relaxation, optimal physical healing, and a slowing of the aging process. Delta brainwaves correspond to frequencies ranging from 0 Hz to 4 Hz.
- Gamma brainwave patterns are the most rapid in frequency and receive the least attention in research. Gamma waves are associated with bursts of insight, high-level information processing, and the highest state of focus possible. They also clear mental fog and boost energy. Gamma waves have been known to aid in increasing hand-eye coordination, and are ideal for improving your golf game or other athletic performance. Gamma brainwaves correspond to frequencies of 40 Hz or higher.
The goal of cognitive and behavioral neurofeedback is to obtain an appropriate level of brainwave activity in each of the five frequencies.
Listening to Brainwave Technologies audios is another effective way to safely and naturally guide your brainwave activity into any of these states with simply the touch of a button. Brainwave Technologies audios utilize binaural beat frequencies coupled with relaxing music and sounds of nature.
About the Author: Dr. Susan Spicer is a licensed psychologist specializing in forensic neuropsychology. She is Founder and President of Brainwave Technologies.