EEG basics – why is it useful for therapists?

It is essential for biofeedback therapists to know the basics of EEG! During biofeedback therapies, neurofeedback therapies, sensors are placed at different points on the patient’s body, one type of these is EEG chips attached to specific points on the head. Essentially, this is an electrophysiological measuring device that can record the electrical activity of nerve cells, the brain waves, in real time. It is a widely used measurement in clinical practice to detect certain diseases and brain dysfunctions. Neurofeedback and biofeedback also use EEG to measure brain waves and to balance them in therapy.

What is an EEG?

Let’s take a closer look at what EEG is! In the brain, the functioning of nerve cells involves electrical voltage fluctuations. The voltage fluctuations of millions of neurons can be measured using EEG equipment.

You could say that EEG is the ECG of the brain. During an EEG scan, electrodes are attached to the scalp. The voltage variation between two electrodes forms the basis of the EEG curve, which is recorded on 16 channels by the latest equipment and displayed on a computer screen.

It is used in hospitals and clinics in everyday life for the diagnosis of suspected or follow-up epilepsy, headache pathology, cerebral oedema, sleep disorders.

The importance of EEG in therapy

The importance of EEG in biofeedback therapies is also prominent, as EEG sensors are placed on the head as part of the biofeedback therapy devices.

Neurofeedback, also known as EEG biofeedback, provides feedback on current brain function. As neurofeedback is an excellent alternative and risk-free therapy for many conditions, neurofeedback training can be used to learn how to balance and harmonise brain function and optimise performance.

It is mainly used in cases where a psychological or neurological problem is clearly visible in the brainwave abnormalities.

Brainwave activity is expressed in heart rate, which shows the number of wave periods a brainwave makes in one second. These are used to distinguish between the following in EEG applications:

  • Delta brainwave: mainly during sleep
  • Theta brainwave: during sleep and deep meditation
  • Alpha brainwave: at rest, in relaxation
  • Beta brain wave: during daytime, concentration, alertness
  • Gamma brainwave: focus, high learning, during periods of perfect cognition

EEG applications in clinical practice

The use of EEG in clinical practice is a routine, everyday procedure. Complaints arising from the nervous system are often difficult to diagnose, unexpected and not always detectable by imaging.

While, for example, a brain MRI or CT scan can show organic abnormalities in the brain, EEG looks for abnormalities in brain function.

The EEG scan is usually 30 minutes long and is often used in neurology, mainly for suspected epilepsy, but also for the suspicion and follow-up of many other brain disorders.

The EGG curve is analysed by an expert electrophysiologist, who looks for abnormalities and correlations, and compares them with clinical symptoms.

EEG and biofeedback

A special field of biofeedback is EEG biofeedback, also known as neurofeedback. During biofeedback therapy, a special biofeedback device (QUEX ED) is used to receive feedback on the functioning of the body, and with this feedback, the body can consciously influence the out-of-balance functioning during biofeedback therapy.

Neurofeedback is the feedback of brain activity. The method can be used for a variety of ailments and complaints, and is non-invasive, painless and has no side effects.

Chronic pains, migraines, headaches, anxiety, depression, addictions, ADHD, learning disabilities, behavioural disorders can be effectively treated in a natural way. Neurofeedback therapy can also help improve performance and concentration.

During EEG biofeedback therapy, electrodes are placed on the patient’s head to measure the electrical activity of the brain. The patient watches a video or animation on a monitor, which he or she controls with concentration and attention. Special software helps the patient learn to train his brain waves to work correctly through the animation.