FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What conditions is Neurofeedback / EEG Biofeedback successful in helping?
We are especially concerned with the more “intractable” brain-based problems of childhood whose needs are not currently being met.

These include:

* Seizures and sub-clinical seizure activity
* Severely disruptive behavior disorders such as Conduct Disorder and Bipolar Disorder.
* Autistic spectrum and pervasive developmental delay.
* Cerebral palsy
* Acquired brain injury
* Birth trauma

Many children have sleep problems that can be helped:

* Bed wetting
* Sleep walking, sleep talking
* Teeth grinding
* Nightmares
* Night terrors

We can also be helpful with many of the problems of adolescence:

* Drug abuse
* Suicidal behavior
* Anxiety and depression

We can also help to maintain good brain function as people get older. The good news is that almost any brain, regardless of its level of function, can be trained to function better.

What sleep problems can be helped by neurofeedback?
* Insomnia – Difficulty falling asleep and/or difficulty maintaining sleep throughout the night
* Disregulated sleep patterns/cycles (circadian rhythms off, sleeping during the day)
* Difficulty waking up
* Difficulty going to bed because of anxiety or fear
* Nightmares
* Sleep terrors – Abrupt arousal with intense fear, difficult awakening, no dream recall or memory of event
* Sleeping too long (over 10 hours)
* Physically restless sleep
* Restless leg syndrome – Leg discomfort or sleep causing movement and arousal
* Bedwetting
* Sleepwalking (somnambulism)
* Bruxism – teeth grinding during sleep
* Not feeling rested after sleep
* Narcolepsy


Do you shave my head to attach the electrodes?

No. Parting your hair does the job just fine.  Before I put the electrode on your scalp, I clean the spot to get a good contact. I place the electrode on your scalp using conductive EEG paste. The EEG paste is water soluble and easily washes out of your hair.

What is the success rate of Neurofeedback / EEG Biofeedback? Does everyone who does Neurofeedback improve?
Everyone can learn, so most people benefit from neurofeedback. Our brains are made for learning and skill-acquisition. (Cats can learn to regulate their brainwaves using neurofeedback.)  With an individual training plan, the amount of your success will increase.  A tremendous benefit of neurofeedback is that conditions we were not even working on will probably improve.

I can make no guarantees and neurofeedback does not work for everyone.  Nonetheless, for the vast majority of clients, the actual outcome exceeds expectations.  Since people appropriately do not expect tremendous changes, the changes they sometimes experience with neurofeedback may even appear miraculous.  One neurofeedback office has a sign on its front desk: “We expect miracles. If none occur, something has gone wrong.”  What appears miraculous in all of this is really nothing more than the incredible capacity of our brains to recover function when given a chance.

How do you know how to individualize treatment?
I base your treatment on the symptoms which you report and from records from your physician or therapist.

How many sessions will I need?
Neurofeedback is very individualized.  You will learn at your own rate.   The number of sessions you will need depends on your goal.  That being said, typically you will need at least 20 sessions to see lasting results.  ADD usually requires about 40-60 sessions.  Alcoholism generally takes between 30 and 40 sessions.  Head injury or stroke require many more sessions.  In progressive degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, you may consider ongoing neurofeedback to increase your quality of life.

How will I feel?
Neurofeedback is like taking your brain to the gym for a workout.  You may be tired at the end of the session from all the hard work your brain is doing.  You may feel a little foggy-headed or spacey. It is a good idea to schedule 10- 15 minutes after your session for a short walk.  This will bring you back to an alert state.

Do I need to stop taking my medications to do neurofeedback training?

No.  Continue to take your prescription medications while working with neurofeedback.  As your brain learns how to regulate itself, you may be able to decrease or discontinue medications with your doctor’s supervision.  Never decrease or discontinue your medication without your doctor’s supervision! Neurfeedback commonly helps those on blood pressure medications to decrease their dosage.  Be sure to speak with your doctor regarding neurofeedback and your medications. If you are on medication, with your permission, I will stay in contact with your doctor and we work together to provide you with a continuity of care.  If you are taking blood pressure medication, I will take your blood pressure regularly.

Do the effects of Neurofeedback / EEG Biofeedback training really last?
If the problem we are working on is a result of brain disregulation, then the answer is yes; and, that covers a lot of issues.  Neurofeedback involves your brain learning.  If this learning brings order out of disorder, your brain will continue to use its new capabilities.  With continued use, your new capabilities will be reinforced.

Matters are different when we are dealing with degenerative conditions like Parkinson’s or the dementias, or when we are working against continuing insults to the system, as may be the case in the autism spectrum.  In such cases, we need to continue training at some level over time.  Allergic susceptibilities and food intolerances make it more difficult to hold the gains.  Poor digestive function will pose a problem, as does poor nutrition.  A child living in a toxic environment (in either the physical or the psychological sense) will have more difficulty retaining good function.

Is Neurofeedback / EEG Biofeedback a reimbursable treatment under my insurance?
There is an insurance code for biofeedback, under which neurofeedback may be covered.  Codes exist for combining psychotherapy with biofeedback/neurofeedback.  However, coverage for chronic mental health concerns is rarely adequate in the United States, so you may have to advocate strongly with your insurance company to get reimbursed.

I want to know more. Where can I find more information about Neurofeedback / EEG Biofeedback?
More information can be found in the following books on the topic of Neurofeedback / EEG Biofeedback:

* Symphony in the Brain
* Getting Rid of Ritalin
* ADD the 20-Hour Solution


Sierra EEG
Neurofeedback Therapy
142 East McKnight Way
Grass Valley, CA  95949
(530) 263-1413