Why have I not heard of Neurofeedback before, if it works for so many things?
Barry Sterman, a professor emeritus of departments of Neurobiology and Psychiatry had the opportunity to receive some funding back in the mid 80’s from the National Institute of Health (NIH) however after receiving the grant it was pulled. Why? Neurofeedback does not fit the normal model of medical procedures. Most medical applications involve something being done to the patient such as taking medications, surgery, or say getting an MRI. Neurofeedback actually involves the person taking responsibility for their own condition and participating in it actively. It is a form of self-regulation. The other element it has going against it is that neurofeedback arose under the psychology and not medicine. It has really been only within the last 10 years that medicine is starting to recognize how connected the psychological health of a patients is connected with their physical health. Even with that said the medicinal community still seems to struggle with accepting these facts.
Lets make this really clear though. Most forms of medicine assume that you can do nothing and are helpless to correct your health without some sort of medical intervention. Where as neurofeedback understands that you can have an affect on your health as an active, responsible participant. Unfortunately this seems to be a conflict of interest for conventional medicine and hence has not gained greater acceptance in the medicinal community.
Although it has not gained greater acceptance by the American Medical Association it has gained some notoriety. Neurofeedback has been showcased through the mainstream media such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, and 20/20. It has been written about in Time Magazine and called “the most effective solution for ADHD” by The Journal of Opinions in Pediatrics. Most recently The Journal, Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics in North America has devoted its entire issue to the use of neurofeedback in psychiatric disorders affecting children and adolescents.