Neurofeedback Shown to Benefit Mood
Dr Shelley Hyman
Neurofeedback provides a means by which individuals can learn to voluntarily control their brain activity. Individuals learnt to regulate and reproduce the desired brain activity with the different feedback configurations. A specific type of neurofeedback, the alpha/theta neurofeedback, allows individuals to gain control over low-frequency brain activity and remain in a state of deep relaxation. Previous research has shown that alpha/theta neurofeedback has a range of clinical benefits.
A study by Dr. Raymond and colleagues (2005) examined the effectiveness of alpha/theta neurofeedback on personality and mood. Over the course of 5 weeks, twelve students were given either nine 20 minute sessions of alpha/theta neurofeedback or mock feedback. Real alpha/theta neurofeedback group heard sounds relating to their own brain activity, whereas the mock neurofeedback group heard a variable demonstration which involved the same basic sounds but had no relationship with the students’ brain activity.
Dr. Raymond and colleagues found that students who received neurofeedback experienced significant improvements in mood and raised feelings of well-being, compared to those who were given the mock neurofeedback. Students who had received the real alpha/theta neurofeedback felt significantly more energetic, more composed, more agreeable, more elevated and more confident. In contrast, the mock group reported feeling more composed but less energised and more tired.
The results from this study provides strong evidence to indicate that alpha/theta neurofeedback is quite beneficial in enhancing mood and energising experience. This effect is not attributed to relaxation or pleasant sounds alone, as these were also heard in the mock condition, which did not show the same effects.
- Raymond, J., Varney C., Parkinson, L. A., & Gruzelier, J. H. (2005). The effects of alpha/theta neurofeedback on personality and mood. Cognitive Brain Research, 23, 287-292.