Does Neurofeedback Work?
When an ADHD child is given a task requiring attention, instead of increasing beta waves, sometimes he increases theta waves, the daydreaming brain wave. These children have what is known as a high theta/beta ratio. Using neurofeedback, a technique was developed to train ADHD children to increase the beta/theta ratio.
This is how it works: Over a series of 40 or more neurofeedback sessions, children are gradually taught to inhibit the brains production of theta waves and increase the brains use of beta waves. A large number of children can learn to make these changes. As the children learn to adjust their brain wave patterns, they show an improvement in cognition, and a reduction in ADHD symptoms and behavior. This symptomatic improvement is similar to what we see when the children take stimulant medication. There is one significant difference, however.
When children take stimulants, the effects last a few hours. As the medicine wears off, the ADHD symptoms return. When children learn to control their brain waves using neurofeedback, the improvement in ADHD symptoms does not disappear. The child is better.
I'll say it again differently. When a child completes his neurofeedback training and the treatment is successful, he now has a normal beta/theta ratio, and many or all of his ADHD symptoms disappear. This improvement is permanent. There have been follow-up studies over a decade. Any gains the child makes stays with him.
This means that when the treatment is successful, it probably works for life. This makes neurofeedback a very significant treatment. No other treatment makes a permanent change like this. All of this is extremely exciting, provided that it is true.