Myths about Neurofeedback (Part 2)

In Myths about Neurofeedback (Part 1), we addressed five misconceptions about neurofeedback and what it does (or doesn't do). Here are five more common myths about neurofeedback.

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Myth: Anyone can administer neurofeedback.

Fact: In order to achieve optimal results with neurofeedback, it's crucial that you work with a neurofeedback specialist who is properly educated and trained in administering neurofeedback. All of our neurofeedback specialists have advanced degrees in psychology and have spent thousands of hours working with clients in therapeutic settings. Neurofeedback specialists use their clinical judgment to develop comprehensive treatments plans, and their clinical judgment also enables them to make adjustments in frequency to maximize your comfort while training.

Myth: Neurofeedback can make symptoms worse.

Fact: Everyone trains at different frequencies, so what works for one person may not work for another person. Neurofeedback specialists will start training at the lowest frequency and increase the frequency as needed based on symptom tracking information provided by clients. If the frequency is too low, clients may experience a dull headache or feel groggy soon after a session. These symptoms disappear within 24 hours, and existing symptoms will not permanently worsen as a result of training at too low of a frequency. As long as there is open communication between clients and neurofeedback specialists, the right frequency can quickly be determined to maximize comfort while training.

Myth: Neurofeedback works the same way medications do.

Fact: Medications use various mechanisms to force your brain to work differently, whereas neurofeedback gradually trains your brain to work differently by utilizing operant conditioning. When your brain functions within an optimal range, it is rewarded with more engaging visual, auditory, and tactile feedback. For example, with our popular jet ski game, the jet ski will go faster, the jet ski rider will perform more tricks, and the music's volume will increase. When your brain does not function within an optimal range, it is not rewarded. The jet ski will continue to move slowly, the rider will not perform tricks, and the volume will remain low. Instead of forcing the brain to work differently, neurofeedback will encourage the brain to try other approaches in order to optimize performance, which in turn reduces physiological and emotional symptoms over time.

Myth: Since neurofeedback is treated as "experimental" or "investigational" by insurance companies, there must not be any research to support it.

Fact: As mentioned in Myths about Neurofeedback (Part 1), not all insurance companies are up-to-date on the latest neurofeedback research. As a result, some insurance companies will deny reimbursement for neurofeedback sessions depending on the diagnosis provided. Whenever possible, we submit appeals to insurance companies and educate them on the overwhelming amount of evidence indicating the effectiveness of neurofeedback! Our resources page contains links to many informative handouts, books, and research articles on neurofeedback and its use in treating dozens of physiological and emotional symptoms.

Myth: Once neurofeedback sessions end, the improvements in symptoms don't last.

Fact: The brain is incredibly powerful and capable of learning new ways of functioning. Once the brain has had ample time to practice a new way of functioning, it will remember what it needs to do once neurofeedback sessions end. To use a well-known proverb, "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." When medication is used to reduce symptoms, the underlying cause of the symptoms is just concealed, not resolved. This means that when medication is discontinued, the symptoms manifest once again. With neurofeedback, the brain is taught how to self-regulate, which can be sustained indefinitely. In some cases, people will experience traumatic events later on in life that dysregulate the brain. A small number of follow-up neurofeedback sessions can quickly direct the brain to self-regulate itself once again.