Brief History of Neurofeedback


Neurofeedback had its birth in the late 1960’s and into the 1970’s.  Elmer Green was one the leading pioneers in the field who used Biofeedback equipment to measure the brain waves of yogis from India. It was discovered that internal states could be controlled through mediation and thought. Another person who had a huge impact on the field was Joe Kamiya. His work was in training Alpha states as it was discovered that Alpha states were correlated with relaxation. Joel Lubar and his colleagues at the University of Tennessee were working with Attention Deficient/Hyperactivity Disorder.  There work also demonstrated as did Kamiya’s work that it was possible to retrain the brain.   Then there was Barry Sterman.  He happened to be working with cats and discovered that a certain Beta frequency would cause them to be still but alert.  He later worked with people who had epilepsy and seizures.  His work was instrumental in introducing a method that  operant conditioning increases the ability  to control seizures.   And finally it is worth mentioning about Eugiene Peniston.  While working at the Menninger’s Institute in Topeka, Kansas, he started doing a specific form of brain training called alpha-theta.  His work with alcoholics produced a landmark study about the effectiveness of neurofeedback with this population.  Even now researchers such as Sigfriend and Sue Othmer are is showing how effective brain training is for the Veterans coming back from war who are dealing with Post-Traumaic Stress Syndrome.   These were just a few of the people who helped put neurofeedback on the map.

For more detailed information on the full history of neurofeedback I would encourage you to read A Symphony in the Brain by Jim Robbins.