Neurofeedback- qEEG Brain Map
Every brain produces rhythmic electrical patterns which are referred to as “brain waves”. The human brain produces five frequencies of brain waves, which are shown in the image to the right and described in the chart below. Each frequency is responsible for different human functions.
Brain waves can be measured through EEG and qEEG brain mapping to determine if the electrical patterns fall within a normal range or if they are abnormal and need adjustment. The first step in Neurofeedback is obtaining a qEEG brain map.
qEEG Brain Map
Information about a person’s brain waves is gathered through a quantitative electroencephalogram (qEEG). A qEEG measures the eletrical activity of the brain. This is accomplished by the person wearing a cap, much like a swim cap, that has sensors attached to measure the electrical current in various parts of the brain. It is completely non-invasive and painless. The sensors solely measure the brain’s electrical output….nothing is ever sent into the brain.
This information is gathered by a computer and compared against a normative database, meaning it is compared to a very large sample of qEEGs that are considered to be “normal” to determine where there are differences in the person’s brain waves as compared to the normal sample. The results of this process give us a “brain map”- a very good picture of what is happening with the brain waves of the individual.
Gamma waves are the fastest brain waves. They are responsible for insight, peak focus, expanded consciousness, and for simultaneous processing of information from different areas of the brain. Gamma waves are important for learning, memory, and information processing.
People who have high Gamma may experience anxiety, high arousal, stress and possibly other symptoms.
People who have low Gamma may experience ADHD, depression, and learning disabilities among othe symptoms.
At an optimal level, gamma helps us to bind senses, helps with cognition, information processing, learning, perception, and REM sleep.
Beta waves are responsible for alertness, concentration, and cognition (thinking). Beta waves are at work when we have conscious thought and logical thinking.
People who are not producing enough beta waves may experience Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), daydreaming, depression, poor cognition, and other issues.
People who have too much beta may experience too much adrenaline, anxiety, high arousal, inability to relax, stress, amongst other issues.
At an optimal level, beta helps with conscious focus, memory, and problem solving.
Alpha waves are responsible for relaxation, visualization, and creativity.
People who have too much alpha may experience daydreaming, difficulty focusing, and may feel too relaxed and unengaged amongst other symptoms.
People who have too little alpha may experience anxiety, high stress, insomnia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and other symptoms.
At an optimal level, alpha helps with relaxation.
Theta waves help us with meditation, intuition, creativity, and memory. They are connected to us experiencing deep and raw emotions. Theta is involved with daydreaming and sleep.
People who have too much theta may experience ADHD, depression, hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattentiveness and other issues.
People who have too little theta may experience anxiety, poor emotional awareness, stress, and other issues.
At an optimal level, theta should promote creativity, emotional connection, intuition, and relaxation.
Delta waves are the slowest brain waves and are associated with the deepest levels of relaxation and restorative sleep. Babies and children produce more delta, while adults tend to produce less as we age, even during deep sleep.
Too much delta may indicate a brain injury, learning problems, difficulty thinking, severe ADHD, and other issues.
Too little delta leads to the brain's inability to rejuvinate the body, inability for the brain to revitalize, and poor sleep.
At an optimal level, delta waves help the body to have a strong immune system, produce natural healing, and restorative/ deep sleep.
Once the brain map has been created, the next step is to provide feedback to the brain to change the abnormal brain wave patterns into healthier and more efficient patterns.
Once we have a brain map, we can easily see which parts of the brain are functioning normally and which parts could benefit from Neurofeedback.
The picture to the right shows a small portion of the brain map of a 57 y/o male. This brain could benefit from lower delta and theta in the front of the brain, increased delta and theta in the back of the brain and increased beta in the front of the brain.
The brain map allows us to see which parts of the brain are functioning normally and which parts could benefit from Neurofeedback training.