The qEEG brain map

What is it and why is it so important?

Before starting neurofeedback training, it is important to first obtain a Quantitative Electroencephalogram (qEEG, also called a brain map). This allows the neurofeedback practitioner to measure and evaluate brain wave function across many areas of the brain.

When selecting a practitioner make sure you select one that is certified by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA) to ensure that they are properly trained and adhere to the highest ethical standards. It is also important to find out if the practitioner is providing full qEEGs and not "MiniQ" or single channel brainwave assessments prior to starting neurofeedback. "Brain mapping" is a commonly used term which not every practitioner defines the same. In the 16 years I've been a neurofeedback practitioner, I have tried many initial assessment methods out there and nothing compares to the full qEEG (produced by Neuroguide and LORETA database analysis software). The shorter methods may be more economical initially and the reports may be more visually stimulating to a beginner, but in the long run these methods can be costly in the number of ineffective sessions.

In a full qEEG, 19 sites are measured on the head using special sensors on a cap (as shown in the photo to the right). The computer program records and analyzes the electrical activity from the brain. The program creates over a hundred color maps to help identify brainwave imbalances which are interpreted by an experienced neurofeedback practitioner. For more information on neurofeedback, see our neurofeedback page.

Here are the brain waves before they are analyzed. This two second sample shows excessive alpha waves in the front part of the brain where beta waves should be dominant. This person has difficulty concentrating.

qEEG report

The brain map image below shows similar excessive slow waves in the theta (daydreaming) range (seen in red) in the same part of the brain, while the green indicates normal areas. Excessive theta waves in this area affects concentration.

theta brain wave map

This map below shows too much beta (concentration) in the back of the head where calming waves should be. This person has racing thoughts and has trouble falling asleep. The qEEG also revealed the effects of a recent head injury which elevated delta waves in the left frontal area of the brain.

Delta brain wave map

Many different brainwave patterns can create similar states, it is important to use the qEEG for pinpointing the source of brainwave imbalances. When this is done, the exact sensor locations can be determined, which maximizes the effectiveness of the neurofeedback training.

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Client During a Brain Map....

qEEg brain map

What are Brain Waves?....

Brain waves are electrical signals produced by the brain. They are measured by counting the peaks in one second. Slow brain waves are associated with less activity like drowsiness or sleep. Faster brain waves are produced with higher activity such as being alert or anxious. The following are brainwave frequency patterns and their associated states.

Delta 0-4 Hz (cycles per second) - sleep, dreamingdelta brain waves

Theta 4-8 Hz - visualizing, daydreaming, creativity, drowsiness theta brain waves

Alpha 8-12 Hz - relaxation, reflectionalpha brain waves

Beta 12-20 Hz - focused ...... 20-30 Hz - anxietybeta brain waves

EEG with all frequenciesall brain wave frequencies