U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Position towards Biofeedback
Biofeedback is used to treat a very wide variety of conditions and diseases:
– alcohol addiction
– food addictions and food-intake problemsd
– drug addictions
- Internal disorders:
– High blood pressure and its opposite, low blood pressure
– Cardiac arrhythmias (abnormalities, sometimes dangerous, in the rhythm of the heartbeat)
– Raynaud’s disease (a circulatory disorder that causes uncomfortably cold hands)
– Respiratory problems
– Disorders of the digestive system
– Fecal and Urinary Incontinence
– Muscle spasms
– Muscle dysfunction caused by injury
– Paralysis and other movement disorders
- Concentration problems, Learning difficulties & dysfunctions
– Lack of self-control
- Stress, Anxiety & Fatigue
– accompanying physical problems
– lack of performance
– lack of motivation
- Neurological conditions
– tic disorders
– sleeping disorders
– Tension Headaches
– many types of pain
– improved concentration
– strengthened willpower
– improvements in physical performance
– resistance against stress
– improved creativity
– support of meditation
More applications are being developed yearly.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: WHAT IS BIOFEEDBACK? DHHS Publication No. (ADM) 83-1273 (Printed 1983)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – National Center of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine: http://nccam.nih.gov
- Attention deficits, learning disorders and dysfunction
- Stress, Anxiety and Fatigue
- Neurological difficulties
1. Attention deficits, learning disorders and dysfunction
Attention deficit disorders are characterised by insufficient activation of parts of the brain. In the EEG, this disorder is characterized by an increased proportion of theta and delta brain waves, which are the waves we normally produce in fatigue and sleep. These brain waves are normal up to a certain age – up to 3.5 years for delta, and up to 6 years for theta. If they occur later in a child, it is an immature brain that is functioning at a slower frequency of brain activity than is normal for that age. Attention deficit disorders improve as the child ages and the brain continues to mature over time. In the meantime, however, he or she is at an uncomfortable disadvantage in school and anywhere else where attention is concerned, which can erode a child’s confidence well into later life. Often by adulthood these disorders have disappeared, but this is not always the case, and we do see adults with attention deficit disorder, but it is usually a milder form of the disorder.
There are two types of attention deficit disorder, namely ADD and ADHD. In the Czech Republic, in the past, they were also called LMD or mild brain dysfunction.
ADD is a common Attention Deficit Disorder, it is more of a hypofunction of functioning – a lack of activity. Children with this disorder tend to be more absent-minded, somewhat slow, absorbed in their own fantasy worlds, but rather docile in behavior. If they enjoy something, they are able to immerse themselves in it completely. Here it is primarily the functions of the left cerebral hemisphere, which is responsible for sufficient activation and concentration, that are inhibited. These children usually struggle to perform adequately in school, but do not have significant behavioural problems.
ADHD is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Children with this disorder tend to be inattentive, but also very dynamic and lively, they do not stay still for long, their attention is very easily diverted from what they are doing, they are impulsive in their behaviour, sometimes downright disobedient. Here we are dealing with a dampening of the function of both the left and right hemispheres – on the one hand they do not have sufficient activation in attention, which is the responsibility of the left, and on the other hand they do not have sufficiently active regulatory centers to calm them down and allow them to keep their attention on something for a longer period of time. The right hemisphere is responsible for that. Their behaviour tends to be accentuated at school, many teachers have trouble managing them and there can be clashes with their authority.
It is also worth mentioning that in about 30 per cent of cases, attention disorders are combined with various dysfunctions, mainly learning disorders such as dyslexia, dysortographia and dyscalculia, and less frequently speech disorders such as dysphasia, dyslalia, stuttering and so on. The mechanism of these disorders is identical to attention disorders, but parts of the brain are affected that are related to functions other than attention.
In EEG biofeedback training, we focus on suppressing the slow theta and delta waves in these children, and on the contrary, on strengthening the alpha waves, which are responsible for wakeful attention. As the training progresses, the proportion of slow waves decreases and, on the contrary, the faster alpha waves appear more and more. Typically, the first shifts begin to appear around the 13th session, with a larger shift occurring around the 20th session, when, in addition, research has found that on average the effect of EEG biofeedback becomes permanent.
Number of sessions needed – for children with ADD, it usually takes 30 sessions to see a significant improvement. For children with ADHD, 40 sessions are needed because both brain hemispheres need to be trained at the same time. For adults, there are usually milder forms of attention deficit disorder, and usually 20 sessions are enough. Of course, these are typical numbers and therefore approximate, it always depends very much on the extent of the disorder and whether it is only this disorder or if it is combined with another disorder. This is determined in the initial diagnostic EEG examination, which is carried out by Professor of Neurology Josef Faber.
2. Stress, Anxiety and Fatigue
Anxiety is an ancient defensive response that our human and animal ancestors needed to survive because it signalled danger and the need to fight or flee from it. Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. The problem arises when anxiety states are strong, do not correspond to the situation, and often return or persist beyond the unpleasant state, thus negatively interfering with normal functioning. In addition to the psychological manifestations of anxiety such as nervousness, tension, discomfort, worry, fear, there are also obvious physical manifestations, such as sweating, tachycardia, rapid breathing and bowel movements, and an increase in muscle tension.
Anxiety disorders include:
Panic disorder – Manifested by sudden bouts of intense anxiety with psychological and physical manifestations, often fear of death or collapse.
Social phobia – Excessive fear of social situations
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Obsessive thoughts are ideas, fantasies or impulses that intrude into the mind over and over again and almost always cause distress
Acute stress disorder – a reaction to a sudden unexpected severe stress, accident, assault, death of a loved one
post-traumatic stress disorder – experiences associated with a traumatic situation appear in waking and night dreams, the client avoids places where the situation happened or stimuli that may remind him/her of it. Sleep and work performance are disturbed, and the client experiences states of discomfort during the day.
EEG Biofeedback training is very suitable for all these difficulties described above. It reduces post-traumatic stress symptoms (fear, anxiety, tension), nightmares, flashbacks, reduces the need for psychopharmaceuticals, reduces stage fright, social anxiety, reduces the function of the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s immediate reactions to imminent danger – “fight or flight”. Increases concentration, meditation ability, working memory, relaxation, creativity.
The required number of sessions needed for anxiety and stress difficulties is 20. Often this number is enough to make a significant improvement. However, if the disorder is extensive, or is combined with depression, for example, the number of sessions required increases proportionately.
3. Neurological difficulties
Neurology is a medical discipline dealing with problems of the nervous system. It deals with the diagnosis and treatment of all problems of the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous system, as well as the muscular system. The nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord and nerves and together they control all processes in the human body. When the nervous system is disrupted, difficulties with movement, speaking, swallowing, breathing, and even learning can occur. Difficulties can disrupt memory, sensory perception or our mood. The causes of these disorders vary from injuries, inflammation, blood circulation disorders to cancer, birth defects, as well as complications during childbirth.
The most common neurological disorders include:
Stroke (formerly stroke)
Demyelinating disease – multiple sclerosis
Memory and thinking disorders – Alzheimer’s disease
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
EEG Biofeedback can also be used to strengthen willpower, perseverance, planning for the future, developing creative abilities or meditation. This is a really broad field of application and in this section we will gradually add the different forms of development we have experience with.