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Posted on September 28 2009
Dr. Corydon Hammond provides an excellent overview of neurofeedback, how it works, and research associated with various conditions. A great resource for those considering it as a treatment option.
Posted on September 1 2019
We are often presented with questions from our participants regarding how neurofeedback actually works. Specifically, what exactly about this intervention causes the brain to operate differently and how the positive changes can be permanent for some? This discussion is an in depth explanation of how neurofeedback promotes positive change and the science behind the intervention.
The brain is a remarkable organ that has the ability to self-regulate. By this we mean the brain automatically controls its own blood supply and can direct increased blood flow to more active areas of the brain as needed. As you may know, blood carries life sustaining oxygen as well as other nutrients such as glucose that provide cells what they need to function and grow. The concept of measuring blood flow in the brain is called “perfusion.” Perfusion can be clearly measured via SPECT and PET scans, and more recently it has been proven that the EEG patterns can actively correlate with perfusion.
Although the EEG has its origins in the early 20th century, it wasn’t until Dr. Barry Sterman’s work in the 1960’s that we learned EEG patterns can be identified as regulated or dysregulated, and these brain wave patterns can be controlled by the participant via the concept of operant conditioning. For example, the brain of an adult or child with ADHD may show a low activation type dysregulation, meaning the brain lacks activity in certain regions that is necessary for the person to maintain sustained focus and effort. The concept of operant conditioning is basically a method of “positive reinforcement,” whereby when we reward regulated brain wave patterns we tend to get more of that type of pattern and less dysregulated patterns. The brain then changes structurally and biologically at a cellular level. At microscopic levels small connections are made in the brain’s neurons and these neuronal connections are developed via perfusion. So, in the case of our ADHD child or adult, we are using the EEG to find areas of the brain that are under focused, increase activity in these regions via operant conditioning, and allowing the brain to do what it does naturally - namely grow and develop these new connections via perfusion.
Another issue to consider with neurofeedback is the effect chronic stress has on the brain. When stressed, the body automatically secrets a cortisol hormone to activate organs of the body to respond to the stressful event. When a person is chronically stressed this hormone is secreted excessively. Unfortunately, research shows that cortisol can have a negative impact on the brain, among other organs of the body. Specifically, we know cortisol can negatively impact the hippocampus and the temporal lobe regions of the brain. This impedes the brain’s ability to focus and learn, among other negative consequences. For this type of condition we use neurofeedback to help train a relaxation response to counter-act the release of cortisol and to provide a calming effect for the brain and the central nervous system.
The amount of training (i.e. operant conditioning) required for most participants is 20-40 sessions. At this point most participants (or their brains rather!) have received enough positive reinforcement and neuronal growth to make pronounced change possible. Research demonstrates that approximately 50-60% see significant reduction of symptoms at this point in the neurofeedback process and approximately 80% will report positive improvement at single or multiple levels. Some may require periodic maintenance sessions after completing the initial program if they find symptoms returning.
The place to start is a one-time consultation where we can measure you (or your child’s) brain wave patterns for evidence of dysregulation. At that appointment we will discuss how the type of dysregulation discovered can be causing certain problems and how neurofeedback training may help address those problems. A number of behavioral conditions can be associated with certain types of dysregulation, including ADHD, trauma issues and PTSD, anxiety, stress, depression, autism, migraine headaches, among others. A good assessment will help individualized your training plan (in neurofeedback “one size” training methods does not fit all) and help you achieve the results you desire.
A special thank-you to Dr. Jay Gunkelman, Dr. Seigried Othmer, and Dr. Lynda Thompson whose articles and publications were researched and utilized in putting together this information.
Posted on July 1 2015
Our newest office is now open at our partner location (Winning At Home - Zeeland, MI). Large monitors and comfortable chairs make for an excellent neurofeedback experience. At this location we accept Blue Cross/Blue Shield (for children ages 18 and younger with known ADHD diagnosis) and our self-pay rates are equal to the average insurance plan copay in case your insurance plan won’t cover services. For our Chicago area friends, check out our office locations in Plainfield IL and Naperville IL. Contact us at 1-800-850-0535 to schedule an assessment or to get further information.
Posted on November 6 2014
Wondering how neurofeedback works and the problem areas that it addresses? Check out this quick guide that answers questions! 5 Main Areas Neurofeedback Addresses
Posted on June 3 2014
A new study published in “Pediatrics: The Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics” shows that the positive effects of neurofeedback training on children with ADHD are long lasting. This controlled study of 104 children was conducted with 40 neurofeedback sessions and a 6 month follow up window. Here is a link to the abstract.
Ready To Focus also provides neurofeedback services for other conditions such as anxiety, depression, headaches, learning style issues, and peak performance training.
Posted on October 31 2013
In October 2013, Ready To Focus founder and clinical director Brad Oostindie traveled to Livno, Bosnia to train 3 education professionals to be neurofeedback providers. The 3 professionals work at the Educational Resource Center in Livno, an organization supported by World Hope International. Ready To Focus will continue to provide ongoing training and consultation to the clinic for the next 6 months, with the eventual goal that the clinic is self-supporting in all respects. With limited resources in the area, this service will provide hope and assistance to the residents of Livno and surrounding villages. A specific focus will be to provide this service to area children who are struggling with learning style issues, focus and attention span difficulties, and other developmental issues. Ready To Focus has a commitment to providing neurofeedback services and training around the world in addition to office and home based services in the U.S.A. In the near future, Ready To Focus will partner with Share Education in February 2014 providing a workshop, assessments, and home based training to expat home school parents and their children attending the annual conference near Budapest, Hungary.
Pictured below are two of the trainees in Bosnia practicing connecting the neurofeedback equipment to each other.
Posted on July 3 2013
By Dr. Brad Oostindie - Clinical Director
Over the past several months several parents of high school age children approached me about using neurofeedback to improve college entrance test scores such as the ACT and SAT. Over the past 10 years of practicing neurofeedback as a specialty I have run across several participants who reported a significant increase in ACT scores subsequent to neurofeedback training for another issue or concern. In many of these situations an ACT score increase of 3-7 points was observed. The most recent report I received was an increase of an ACT score from 23 to 29 upon completing a neurofeedback protocol of about 30 sessions. In fact, over the course of practicing neurofeedback I do not recall ever running across a situation where a decrease in ACT score was observed post neurofeedback.
Because of the interest in this area I thought it would be good to review the available research on this topic and offer opinions on the topic on our website blog. Unfortunately, there are very few documented studies of controlled research related to this subject. In a 2005 study in Hartford, Connecticut, repeat SAT scores improved by 233, 180, and 136 points for three individuals following 10 half-hour neurofeedback sessions. A typical test-retest improvement for SAT is reported to be only 14 points according to Educational Testing Service data. For those unfamiliar with how to evaluate an effective study, a sample size of 3 is hardly enough to be considered adequate size. However, the results are very encouraging and in combination with many neuro-therapists observed “results” with participants who report an increase in ACT/SAT scores, it serves as a starting point for identifying a possible usefulness in using neurofeedback as a tool to use in improving one’s performance on these type of tests.
Related to this topic are many controlled studies (with adequate sample size) that show increase in IQ scores post neurofeedback training. Typically these increases can be in the range of 10-12 points, an increase that exceeds what the test makers would suggest could occur by chance in a test-retest situation. Since IQ is typically seen as a measure of the brain’s overall intelligence and potential (among other things), an increase in IQ can result in improved test taking abilities and problem solving in responding to test questions.
At this point the neurofeedback community needs a well-defined, controlled, adequately sized study of participants who complete a standardized neurofeedback protocol in between SAT or ACT test completion to objectively measure whether or not significant score increases occur, and whether or not these increases can be reasonably connected with the neurofeedback experience. Personally, I believe a positive connection will be observed between neurofeedback and ACT/SAT score increase should this type of study be completed.
If you are interested in using neurofeedback for your son or daughter prior to them taking or retaking the ACT and/or SAT, please contact our office for a 12-16 session package. 1-800-850-0535.
Posted on February 19 2013
On February 19 Ready To Focus founder Brad Oostindie had the chance to join Heath Mulliken and Anthony Casey on the The “Tech-ology” Show - an online show featuring technology, theology, and “everything in between.” They completed a quick overview of neurofeedback and then discussed how Ready To Focus has been providing neurofeedback services to Global Partner’s missionaries and aid workers around the world. They also discussed integration of behavioral healthcare services in the Christian arena and the mission/values of Ready To Focus.
Posted on August 28 2012
Recent research published in the Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback journal (September 2012 Vol 37, No 3) shows the benefit of individualized neurofeedback training based on the assessment provided. The article titled “The Effects of QEEG-Informed Neurofeedback in ADHD: An Open-Label Pilot Study” reported four types of ADHD assessment results:
1. Theta/Beta dysregulation. This type of dysregulation indicates excessive under-focused brain wave activity and lack of beta (focused).
2. Alpha dysregulation. Alpha is a type of day dreaming brain wave activity. Excessive amounts lead to lack of focus due to day dreaming.
3. High Beta dysregulation. High beta is over-focused activity - leading to distraction, anxiousness, and obsessiveness.
4. SMR dysregulation (or Low Voltage). Lack of SMR leads to distraction and inability to sustain effort.
The article reviewed research on which groups above typically respond to stimulant medication (#1 and #4) and which do not (#2 and #3).
Depending on the dysregulation type (#1 through #4) and specific protocol can be developed to address the issue. This leads to higher success rates using neurofeedback. This research article reported a 76% success rate (defined as a 50% or more reduction in symptoms post training - in this case about 30 sessions total). At Ready To Focus, we have been following this type of protocol and have developed specific training screens for each issue. Our office and home based participants are individually assessed by a Doctoral or Master’s level psychologist and assigned to a specific protocol or protocols to increase success rates.
Posted on August 23 2012
By Brad Oostindie
This August I had the unique experience of traveling to Istanbul, Turkey to present our neurofeedback program to missionary and aid workers in the European and Turkic-Arabic regions. Our connection to this group is via Global Partners, the outreach and mission agency of the Wesleyan Church. The workers in this region are involved in a number of different projects including partnerships with relief and humanitarian agencies, outreach activities, community building, and mentoring. All of the individuals and families in this program have raised support from family and friends back home to be on the field and have committed to a long-term stay in the area in which they serve.
The Ready To Focus program and in particular our home based neurofeedback program has been able to provide substantial help to many of these individuals and families. For both the adults and their children on the field we are able to provide help in dealing with anxiety, stress, depression, focus/concentration issues, learning issues, and issues related to chronic pain/migraines. Since our home based program allows for remote use of the equipment no matter where a person or family is located, the use of the program overseas has not proved to be overly problematic in terms of logistical issues.
Ready To Focus has committed to a another year of providing services to this area via two home based units. This is a very good resource to the individuals and families, who otherwise would either not have access to it or would not be able to place the costs for it within their budgets. This is our second year of participating with Global Partners, and we look forward to developing a strategy with them to provide even more services as we move forward. Both this year and last year we provided over 50 assessments and will provide home based neurofeedback to nearly 16 families. We also provided 3 presentations on how neurofeedback works and how it can benefit the participant. All of these services were provided at no cost to the participants.
For all of you who have participated in the Ready To Focus program we thank you for your involvement as all of our activities in the U.S.A. help fund this type of outreach and service. In a way you get to be part of helping out for the greater good as well!
Posted on January 16 2012
By Dr. Brad Oostindie
I have had the opportunity to practice neurofeedback as a specialty since 2004, and since that time I have been able to assess and treat well over a thousand of participants using this “next generation of behavioral healthcare” treatment. A common question I receive from a potential participant at his or her assessment session is “Will neurofeedback really benefit me?” While it is impossible to predict the future, it is my opinion there are a few factors to consider in attempting to answer this question:
- Number of sessions completed: Those who complete 30-50 sessions tend increase their odds of better improvement. Less than that can work, but reduces the odds.
- Protocol followed: An experienced neurofeedback provider will be able to “prescribe” the best protocol for you. “One size” does not fit all.
- Medications: Depending on the type of medication you are taking that may play a role in how effective the training is for you.
- Condition: Some conditions are more difficult to address than others and may take more time to see results. For example, those with autism can take more time to respond than ADHD.
- Equipment Used: There is a wide variety of EEG equipment available for providers to use. Some equipment provides poor quality EEG connection and this can be a negative.
Overall, I tell our Ready To Focus participants the following based on my experience: Approximately a third of all participants may see very good results. By this I mean that neurofeedback will address the majority of issues you wanted it to. Another third of participants may see very solid results, but areas that could still use development and gain. By this I mean that neurofeedback will address many of the issues (but not all) and it is possible that occasional follow-up appointments every once and a while will be needed to keep you on track. The last third will struggle somewhat with neurofeedback and may require either additional therapies to reach their goal or longer term commitment to neurofeedback if the goal is to use it as a primary treatment. These statements coincide with neurofeedback literature and research that supports a 60% success rate with the treatment depending on the condition being treated (Gunkleman, 2005)
Posted on September 10 2011
Nice summary of how NF addresses ADHD issues
5 Main Areas Neurofeedback Addresses
Posted on June 16 2011
Are you a parent of a homeschooled child looking for a non-medication approach to your child’s focus and distraction issues? This program is specifically designed to provide help for the homeschooled student who is struggling with focus, distraction, learning issues, or test-taking anxiety. Ready To Focus will set up a neurofeedback program in your home and a psychologist will help you integrate it into your homeschooling activities to provide the help you are looking for. Most home-based participants in the Ready To Focus program run neurofeedback training sessions every day, which allows for clinical results to occur more quickly. We have been providing home-based neurofeedback services for years and know how to provide this type of service with quality, affordability, and with great results. Check out the research section of our website to learn about how neurofeedback can effective treat issues related to learning disorders, ADHD, among others. If your child is homeschooled and challenged by any of the areas listed above, the Ready To Focus homeschool program is designed to help you! Email us at Kristi@readytofocus.com or call 1-800-850-0535 for a free consultation with a psychologist to discuss your particular situation.
Posted on January 10 2011
This January 2011 study published in the Clinical EEG and Neuroscience Journal reports the effectiveness of using neurofeedback to treat migraines. In this study of 71 patients, 54% experienced complete remission of migraines and another 39% experienced a 50% reduction of migraines by using neurofeedback as a primary treatment method. Ready To Focus uses a similar protocol for migraines as was used in this study. Our participants have experienced similar results. Many thanks to this journal and to the authors of the study for their excellent work in reporting this.
Posted on March 12 2010
Written By Clinical Director Brad Oostindie, MA, LLP:
Over the past several years I have seen many people respond favorably to using biofeedback/neurofeedback in addressing their migraine headaches. This would include young children, adults, those with severe migraines, and those with mild or less intense migraines. There are a number of ways biofeedback/neurofeedback helps reduce the intensity and frequency of migraines. Biofeedback/Neurofeedback helps a person learn to control their breathing, relax muscle groups, reduce stress, and can reduce stressed brain wave activity that contributes to migraines occurring. The treatment can be done in your own home. Many people can reduce or eliminate medications they need to use to control migraines by utilizing this treatment method as well. Major treatment centers such as the University of Michigan use this as part of their migraine treatment care. Also, I have posted an article outlining how Mayo Clinic views the use of biofeedback/neurofeedback for treatment of certain medical conditions.
At Ready To Focus we have developed a specific protocol for addressing migraine headaches. This involves use of both biofeedback and neurofeedback programs for the individual that they can utilize in the home based program. If you would like more information about this please contact Clinical Director Brad Oostindie at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-800-850-0535. Lastly, check out the success stories on the readytofocus.com website for specific stories from people on how they used the biofeedback/neurofeedback program to stop their migraine headaches.
Posted on April 10 2009
Cost for 90 minute consultation utilizing diagnostic interview, comprehensive history review., and one channel EEG is $250. Initial consultation provided by a Fully or Master’s Level Clinical Psychologist. Payment due at time of service. Courtesy bill is provided utilizing a 90791 diagnostic code that you can submit to your insurance plan for reimbursement. Ready To Focus does not bill insurance plans directly for services. Flex plans and health savings accounts accepted. Mastercard, Visa, and American Express accepted.
Home Based Neurofeedback Training
Our home-based neurofeedback program is typically not covered by insurance plans. We will however provide you a courtesy bill with charges outlined in case you want to submit it for application to your deductible or for reimbursement. We do not provide direct billing of any insurance plan for our home-based program. Flex Plans and HSA plans have been widely used to pay for the program fees. Visa, and American Express accepted. In our home-based program, anyone in the home who has been assessed and who has had a training plan developed can run unlimited amount of sessions on the equipment for the same monthly fee during the 3-month training period, making this option the most cost effective for families considering neurofeedback for multiple members. Most of our home-based participants run 40-60 sessions over the course of 3 months per family member. Training fees include use of all equipment, weekly contacts with clinical psychologist to review training and to make adjustments for all participants, reassessments every 20 sessions at no additional cost, and weekly self-report inventory. Please contact our office for current pricing information.
Updated November 2021
A no-charge phone consultation is available prior to scheduling an initial consultation.
Discounts available for for certain non-profit, clergy, missionary, and aid workers.