The goal of neurofeedback is to train the brain to regulate itself, and to help the person training to understand when their brain is in the desired state. Eventually, the patient can control these processes without being monitored. The feedback is given based on sensors which are placed on the head using Electroencephalography (EEG) readings of brain wave activity in the form of games or videos.
For instance, someone with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) may not be aware of when their brain is in a focused state, or recognize when their mind is wandering. During the neurofeedback training, they can see exactly when their mind is wandering in real time, and learn how to return their focus to the activity at hand.
Using neurofeedback, the brain learns to regulate its activity by playing games or watching videos as part of a training program. Over time, the ability to control the brain waves can be applied in real world situations, for instance, by helping them relax in stressful situations, or concentrate during class.
Neurofeedback is a form of therapy, not a medication, and therefore is non-invasive and has little to no negative side effects. The electrodes simply monitor brain waves using EEG, and the client receives feedback instantly based on the EEG readings. Like every form of exercise, neurofeedback requires regular training. Most studies have found that patients start seeing improvements after 5-10 sessions, and a full course of treatment is usually between 30 and 40 sessions. Studies have shown that after completing a complete neurofeedback program, patients experienced improvements which lasted years.