A Week’s Neurofeedback Equivalent To Years Of Zen Meditation


Those who have suffered significant and protracted childhood trauma are more likely than average to experience mental health problems in later life, including anxiety.

We have also seen that one method that many find useful to reduce feelings of anxiety is meditation (for example, see my previously published article: The Brain, Neuroscience And Meditation).




Above: Individual undergoing a neurofeedback / EEG biofeedback session using a computer program and brain sensors.

According to Buzsaki,(2006. pp 216-217) Professor of Neuroscience at Rutgers University, Zen meditation needs to be undertaken for years until the person practising it can slow the frequency of the brain’s alpha waves and to spread the alpha oscillations more forward to the front of the brain; slowing these brain waves have many beneficial effects including :

  • reducing fear
  • reducing ‘mind chatter’
  • increasing feelings of calm
  • reduce anxiety
  • reduce feelings of panic

However, Buzaki states that (as alluded to above) while it takes years of Zen meditation to alter alpha wave brain activity optimally, the same results can be obtained after a mere week’s training with neurofeedback.    


Neurofeedback is sometimes also referred to as EEG biofeedback. It is a form of technology that helps the individual to learn how to alter his / her brain waves beneficially, and it works by operant conditioning.

It is based on the idea that dysregulation of the brain forms the basis of many emotional, cognitive and behavioural problems and, as such, this brain dysregulation needs to be corrected. Research has demonstrated that neurofeedback training leads to beneficial alterations in the neural substrates in the targeted area of the brain, alleviating associated pathological behaviour. Such beneficial changes in behaviour have been found to last for months, and it has also been found that such amelioration of behavioural pathology is correlated with structural alterations in the brain’s architecture (in relation to both white and grey neuronal matter).

However, further research is needed to establish more firmly neurofeedback’s potential benefits.

N.B. Neurofeedback should only be carried out under the supervision of an appropriately qualified and experienced person.


Childhood Trauma Leading To  An Over-dominant Brain Stem.


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Sitaram, R., Ros, T., Stoeckel, L. et al. Closed-loop brain training: the science of neurofeedback. Nat Rev Neurosci 18, 86–100 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn.2016.164

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).



About David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)

Psychologist, researcher and educationalist.

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