Biofeedback vs Neurofeedback: What Is the Difference?

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Did you know that there are around 100 billion neurons in the body and that each one has thousands of connections? Keeping these body systems healthy is vital for optimal physical and mental performance. 

Our brain is a sophisticated machine capable of learning new tasks, storing memories, and transmitting information to every nerve cell, muscle, and gland. The brain controls and coordinates all the other systems of the body. 

One way to ensure that everything is functioning correctly and efficiently communicating is through biofeedback or neurofeedback. 

Below is a breakdown of biofeedback vs. neurofeedback and the differences between these two modalities.

Biofeedback 

Simply, biofeedback is used to understand how the body’s physiological systems are behaving. It’s a mind-body therapy that empowers people to improve their mental and physical health by changing the way their bodies function. 

Classified as an alternative medicine approach, it utilizes electronic tools to measure the body’s various functions like breathing, heart rate, muscle activity, and skin temperature. 

Biofeedback is the more expensive therapy and treats a broader spectrum of conditions. Some include:

  • Asthma and other respiratory problems
  • Digestive Issues
  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure

Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is a subset of biofeedback that focuses directly on a person’s brain – thought patterns, addictions, functionality. It acts as an intervention, treating a multitude of different conditions, helping to improve memory and overall cognitive efficiency. 

Neurofeedback therapy teaches the brain to identify atypical brainwave patterns then replace those irregular patterns with healthy brain activity. Advanced computer programs are used to assess brainwave activity immediately. Then a series of sound and visual signals are used to retrain the brain. This optimizing of the brainwaves, which create new brain pathways, is also referred to as neuroplasticity

These methods result in better functionality and can help treat mental health and cognitive disorders. Neurofeedback therapy is beneficial to individuals with addictions or disorders that result from delayed brain development

Some of the conditions treated include:

  • Autism 
  • ADD / ADHD 
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Psychiatric Disorders (i.e. schizophrenia)
  • Traumas

What Are These Treatments Like?

They are non-invasive, so there are no risks associated with these therapies. During a session, you are seated comfortably. The provider will place sensors on specific areas of your head, which monitor brain activity. Results are then sent to a computer, where a special kind of software processes the signals in the brain.

All you have to do is watch a video. The feedback from the computer causes the screen to dim when the brainwaves are not optimal. When your brain is functioning in the proper range, the screen becomes bright. This training is much like learning to ride a bike. The training is enjoyable.

Multiple sessions are often required for both biofeedback and neurofeedback. The specific number of appointments and length of time can vary, but it is not out of the norm to have weekly sessions. 

Considering Neurofeedback Therapy?

Now that you know the difference between biofeedback vs. neurofeedback, you can make an educated decision. If you’ve been thinking about improving your cognitive health, neurofeedback is a non-invasive therapy that could be perfect for you. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or to set up your first appointment.  

If you liked what you read here, check out our blog for more great content.

 

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