The origins of neurofeedback stem back to the 50’s and and early 60’s where Dr. Joe Kamiya from the University of Chicago and Dr. Barry Sterman from UCLA were busy at work studying the many functions of the brain.
Dr. Kamiya was studying consciousness, and discovered that you could use a reward system in order to alter brain activity known as EEG neurofeedback training. Simultaneously, Dr. Sterman discovered that cats can control their epileptic seizures through similar methods. What he discovered upon training humans with epileptic seizures was that 60% of the subjects were able to reduce their seizures by 20-100% and the results were long lasting.
In the 1960’s, these results and techniques caught the attention of NASA scientists. NASA wanted to utilize these methods with the astronauts as a form of prevention against seizures and hallucinations when exposed to lunar lander fuel and attention training.
Today, neurofeedback continues to be a part of the scientists protocol for astronauts. As neurofeedback became more popular in the 1970’s mediators used it as spiritual development which focuses on controlling brainwave patterns in hopes to reach a sense of brain balance and awareness. These practices were typically practiced by monks, yogis, and healers.
Neurofeedback became more holistic and less accepted by the medical population mostly due to timing. Some people termed it “spooky” medicine. However, professionals continue to shed light on empirical research showing that neurofeedback was more then “spooky medicine”. It was a method of change and hope for people. By the late 80’s neurofeedback started to become a method of practice for attention deficit disorder and through the 90’s other psychological conditions made the list.
Over the last 10 years the term neuroplasticity has become popular and universally accepted. Neuroscience has accepted that there is an interrelation between the central nervous system, the autoimmune system, emotions, physical, and mental health. We understand that new neurons are created throughout life and that the brain can change at any age.
Many professionals are currently utilizing EEG to monitor brainwaves in order to assess how the brain functions under different conditions of stress and illness. The EEG patterns are able to depict neural patterns that can concede with different mental health problems. Through the years the computer software and brainwave monitoring equipment has become more sophisticated so neurofeedback practitioners can properly diagnose and aide individuals.