Around 60 years ago, one of neurofeedback’s pioneers, Dr. Joe Kamiya, found that by using a simple reward system, people could control their brainwaves. This marked the first time that real-time feedback was provided to humans based on EEG monitoring. And from that point on, the field grew and evolved extensively.
A significant body of research on the efficacy of neurofeedback training emerged, with many studies showing improvements in mental health symptoms among children and adults after neurofeedback therapy. Furthermore, technology has advanced in many ways, such that neurofeedback training is no longer limited to the clinic. Today, people can do therapist-guided neurofeedback from the comfort of their homes. But can they do it effectively?
In this article, we will present recent cutting-edge research findings that show how effective at-home neurofeedback could be. We will also explain how practitioners can utilize the advantages of at-home neurofeedback systems to keep their clients engaged, achieve optimal training results, improve their efforts, and get more referrals.
Real-World Evidence Supporting the Efficacy of an At-Home Neurofeedback System
A recent peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research showed that Myndlift, a therapist-guided app-based remote neurofeedback training system, can help improve mental health and cognitive performance.
The study included 560 participants, 13 years of age or older, whose brain health improvement was measured within the Myndlift's in-app assessments that included:
Validated symptom questionnaires
A cognitive test of attention and executive functioning
Resting electroencephalography (EEG) markers
Thirty to 180 days after the baseline assessment, when 20 or more neurofeedback sessions had been completed, an analysis of improvement was performed. The preliminary findings demonstrated the efficacy of remote neurofeedback in improving mental health, particularly for individuals with symptoms of ADHD and anxiety, mainly through reduced theta, enhanced high beta, and enhanced alpha neurofeedback protocols.
Results also surpassed those seen in other in-app mental health services (e.g., mobile-enabled text psychotherapy, app-based CBT), which was particularly impressive. Over the course of an average of three months, the majority (61%) of participants scoring in the abnormal ranges transitioned to the healthy results group.
"If any medication had demonstrated such a wide spectrum of efficacy, it would be universally accepted and widely used." - Harvard professor and pediatric neurologist Frank H. Duffy.
How Exactly Do Home Neurofeedback Systems Work?
While wearing an EEG headband containing four dry electrodes and one additional wet electrode that enables full training flexibility, the client trains with the Myndlift app linked to the headset by Bluetooth.
The Myndlift app delivers visual and auditory feedback during online videos or specialized games. When the client's brainwaves are in the desired range, positive feedback is delivered. That's how, over time, the brain learns to regulate itself and achieve an optimal state even in the absence of feedback.
Neurofeedback experts or the therapist/clinician can set or adjust the training protocol and monitor the client's progress. Before the client starts training, they complete an app-based assessment which takes approximately 40 minutes. This assessment consists of standardized questionnaires, auto-generated client reports, cognitive tests, and EEG tracking. Apart from baseline, the assessment is also completed periodically over the course of the neurofeedback training for optimal result tracking and improvement.
What Are the Benefits of At-Home Neurofeedback Systems?
At-home neurofeedback systems can help mental health professionals create a better connection with their clients and provide care to more people by:
Reducing the dropout rate: Given that clients can use the system from the comfort of their homes, commitment rates are likely higher. In comparison, the standard neurofeedback system requires patients to commit to coming to the clinic multiple times per week until they see the value, which might result in a high dropout rate.
Optimizing efforts: When using an at-home neurofeedback system, clinicians usually don't need to prepare clients for training or sit with them during the session. They can monitor clients' progress remotely at a time that suits them the most. Furthermore, neurofeedback experts could set recurring assessments for clients to complete on their own and easily keep track of their results.
Optimizing progress between sessions: Myndlift helps clinicians ensure that clients proactively manage their well-being outside of their sessions with digital CBT-based worksheets and exercises, in-app journaling, guided meditations, and psycho-education.
Being cost-effective: In-clinic neurofeedback costs approximately US $150 to $200 per session, with a minimum of 30 to 40 sessions typically recommended. In contrast to a cost-per-session model, remote neurofeedback could offer monthly charges ranging from $200 to $500.
How to Get Started With Remote Neurofeedback?
A licensed neurofeedback expert who is already offering in-clinic neurofeedback can seamlessly transition to a remote approach with Myndlift, a product that is easy to use for both clinicians and clients. Moreover, Myndlift offers technical support, as well as marketing resources that can help clinicians with retention and growth.
For other mental health practitioners, including therapists, mental health counselors, and life coaches, there's a possibility of onboarding clients directly by offering neurofeedback through Myndllift's applied learning program.
When a mental health professional enrolls in this program, they are paired with an experienced neurofeedback mentor through whom they get the assistance they need, while having the flexibility of using neurofeedback whenever they choose.
An at-home neurofeedback system is a powerful tool. It can help both clinicians and their clients get the most out of their neurofeedback journey. And, no matter how close to or far from their goals the clients are, reaching the desired destination can be smoother, more practical, and more effective!
Learn more about how Myndlift can help you get better outcomes with clients here, or schedule a demo right now to find out how you can get started with Myndlift for mental health practitioners. We can't wait to meet you!
About the author:
Dubravka Rebic puts a lot of time and energy into researching and writing in order to help create awareness and positive change in the mental health space. From poring over scientific studies to reading entire books in order to write a single content piece, she puts in the hard work to ensure her content is of the highest quality and provides maximum value.
About the reviewer:
Carola Tuerk is a cognitive neuroscientist and a scientific consultant for Myndlift. In her research, she is particularly interested in how early life experiences shape brain development and mental health with a particular focus on children. She has obtained a BSc in psychology, an MSc in neuroscience, and a PhD in cognitive neuroscience and is passionate about brain health.
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Marzbani H, Marateb HR, Mansourian M. Neurofeedback: A Comprehensive Review on System Design, Methodology and Clinical Applications. Basic Clin Neurosci. 2016 Apr;7(2):143-58. doi: 10.15412/J.BCN.03070208. PMID: 27303609; PMCID: PMC4892319.