The Pros and Cons of Neurofeedback Therapy – Biofeedback For the Brain

Much news coverage has been given lately to an amazing scientific breakthrough called neurofeedback that can treat many disorders related to brain function, including ADHD, depression, eating disorders, and several others. If you have been wondering if neurofeedback therapy can help you, there are a few factors you will want to weigh when considering this treatment.

First, it is a very safe procedure. Neurofeedback is completely non-invasive, and most people who have been through the therapy say that it is comfortable and even enjoyable. The therapist will attach electrodes to your scalp, which are held in place by a water-soluble gel. These electrodes conduct the current coming from your brain into an EEG device, which will transmit this information onto a computer screen. No input goes into the brain; the machine simply reads the electrical energy coming from your brain.

There are virtually no significant side effects to the procedure. Some patients have reported feeling a bit tired after a neurofeedback session. Body language expert and author of The Productivity Epiphany, Vincent Harris, reported that he was extremely tired after his first session, but that he was back to normal after taking a nap and a good night’s sleep. If you find that you are tired after a session, let your therapist know, and they can easily adjust the settings to avoid much of the temporary fatigue.

Although sensitivity to the gel used to attach the leads is very uncommon, some people have experienced this mild side effect. If you have sensitive skin, let your therapist know, and he or she can do a small patch test before proceeding.

Studies continue to be conducted to determine the efficacy of neurofeedback. While solid evidence is pending regarding the use of neurofeedback in the treatment of some conditions, several studies support the benefits of the intervention of neurofeedback. Positive results from neurofeedback therapy have been demonstrated in numerous case studies. These results are often long lasting because neurofeedback actually changes the way the brain works.

In the case of ADHD, or ‘attention deficit hyperactivity disorder’, for example, several studies have found that 8 out of 10 (80%) of those with ADD/ADHD who are treated with neurofeedback therapy are able to leave the aggravating symptoms behind for many years with just 30-40 sessions in most cases.

The results you experience from a neurofeedback procedure could depend somewhat on the environment in which you receive the treatment. It can be more effective if it is performed where the problem you’re trying to solve usually occurs. For instance, teenagers with ADHD may have better results when their neurofeedback sessions take place in the classrooms where they have difficulty concentrating.

Neurofeedback can be costly, however. This type of therapy is not always covered by insurance plans, and the cost for treatment can range from $90 – $150 for each session. Most practitioners offer payment plans for their clients. Some offer an interest free loan through In some instances, health insurance will reimburse a portion of the cost of the therapy.

Here is what one therapist asks patients to consider when he is talking to them about neurofeedback therapy. After he has explained how neurofeedback works, he tells them, “Before you decide to go ahead and begin the training, let me ask you to consider something. Pretend for a moment that we are six months into the future; you have completed six months of neurofeedback therapy and have experienced significant and deeply profound results. In fact, you feel so much different than you did six months ago, that you sometimes feel as if a miracle occurred.”

He continues, “Now, if after you have experienced all of these wonderful changes, the ones you are enjoying so fully and completely now, thinking back to how much you had struggled six months ago, and I offered you $4,000 cash–I want to buy back all of the results you have achieved with neurofeedback. I will give you back the money you spent and we’ll just take away all of the positive changes you experienced. Will you sell the results to me for $4,000?”

He said he has never had someone tell him yes, and that to most patients, having looked at it from this perspective, $4,000 seems like a trivial amount of money to invest in the happiness and increased quality of life that neurofeedback therapy can bring them.