Is Brain Mapping A Safe Diagnostic Tool?

Brain mapping is an important diagnostic procedure that’s akin to using a thermometer to take a patient’s temperature. 

Indeed, during qEEG brain mapping, the brain is not stimulated in any way and drugs are not administered. Instead, brain mapping simply measures the patient’s current brainwave activity. This data is then used to create custom Neurofeedback and Neuromodulation treatment protocols to help patients reduce the symptoms of ADHD, Autism, PTSD, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and more. 

For 30 years, the Drake Institute has used brain mapping as a vital part of its non-drug treatment protocols, and in this article, we’ll discuss how brain mapping works and dive deeper into the safety and efficacy of this important technology. 

To learn more about how Drake uses brain mapping, call us at 1-800-700-4233 or fill out the free contact form. 

What Is Brain Mapping & How Does It Work?

Brain mapping is the first step in developing our non-drug, non-invasive treatment protocols. 

As the name suggests, qEEG brain mapping helps us create a “map” of the patient’s brainwave activity and patterns. This map acts as a guide for our clinicians to design a treatment protocol that directly addresses symptom-related dysregulation in the brain. 

During the procedure, 19 sensors are placed around the scalp in predetermined areas. This process is entirely painless and non-invasive. 

Once the brain map has been recorded, results are processed through an FDA-registered normative database to be compared to results of same-age, asymptomatic patients. Through this comparison, we can identify locations of any abnormal activity. 

Why Is Brain Mapping Important?

The human brain is an incredibly complex organ constructed of multiple networks of interconnected neurons. 

These networks are responsible for a whole host of important functions, like sustained focus, executive functioning, memory, mood regulation, language processing, and more. 

However, when communication between or within these networks becomes dysregulated, the patient may experience reduced cognitive functioning and other debilitating symptoms (e.g., emotional dysregulation, sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression, etc.). 

Brain mapping allows our experienced Medical Director to identify where this dysregulation is occurring. 

For example, suppose a child’s brain map reveals that their symptoms of ADHD arise from dysregulation of the part of the brain responsible for concentration and impulse control. In that case, our Medical Director will design a treatment program to improve that region of the brain. 

Much of this brain dysregulation happens when certain types of brainwaves occur either too often or not often enough. Here’s what we mean: 

  • Beta waves are very fast-frequency brainwaves that are essential for concentration and focus. They should be active when your brain is fully engaged in completing a task like homework or a job-related duty. Excessive beta waves can lead to anxiety and insomnia. Too few beta waves could mean problems with concentration and executive functioning.
  • Alpha waves are next in frequency. They indicate calm alertness and occur when we are resting. They occur at the highest amplitude in the posterior part of the brain when we close our eyes and relax. These wave are crucial for relaxation. They may be low in people who struggle with alcohol abuse. However, too many alpha waves, particularly in the frontal region of the brain, can cause problems with focus.
  • Theta waves are the second-slowest frequency brainwaves. They occur when we are relaxed, daydreaming, or drifting off to sleep. Excessive theta waves can lead to depression, ADHD, including impulsivity, as well as problems with executive functioning and memory.
  • Delta waves are the slowest-frequency brainwave. They happen consistently throughout infancy and during deep sleep. They allow our brains as well as our bodies to rest. An excess of delta waves may contribute to learning disabilities and severe ADHD. However, too few delta waves during sleep could lead to daytime fatigue. 

Too many or too few of each type of brainwave can negatively impact brain function and lead to symptoms, such as a reduced ability to follow through with tasks and/or perform proper executive functioning, and regulate emotions. 

Brain mapping helps to identify these areas of dysregulation. Then, neurofeedback treatment helps the patient modulate their brainwaves towards healthier, more effective patterns that reduce unwanted symptoms. 

Is Brain Mapping Safe?

Brain mapping is a non-invasive and non-drug diagnostic tool with a low risk of negligible side effects. The only potential side effect we have seen in 30 years of using the technology is infrequent, minor, and temporary skin irritation. 

During brain mapping, the tools and technology we use at the Drake Institute are painless and only measure your brain activity; nothing is done to the brain itself. 

Does Brain Mapping Really Work?

Brain mapping allows our Medical Director to get a clear report of your brain activity. Without this map to guide treatment, our clinician would not know what your brain needs to reach improved or optimal functioning. 

However, once the brain is mapped out, we can see which areas of your brain need to be better regulated to reduce symptoms. Indeed, brain mapping is safe, valuable, functional, and a very important part of the neurofeedback process

How The Drake Institute Uses Brain Mapping

We use brain mapping in conjunction with neurofeedback and neuromodulation to provide extensive and effective treatment protocols for a variety of disorders. 

After the brainwave data has been collected and analyzed, our Medical Director can design individually tailored treatment protocols to directly address brain dysregulation and associated symptoms. 


Also called EEG Biofeedback, neurofeedback is a non-invasive and non-pharmacological treatment that helps patients learn how to modulate healthier, more functional brainwave activity. 

During treatment, sensors are placed around the scalp to measure and display the patient’s brainwave activity in a form that’s easy for the patient to understand, like a video game. During treatment sessions, patients will be guided to shift their brainwaves towards healthier patterns to reduce the dysregulation and its accompanying symptoms. 

Neurofeedback therapy can provide a long-term reduction of symptoms from a number of neurologically-linked conditions, like ADHD, Autism, anxiety, depression, insomnia, certain types of seizures, and more. 


Neuromodulation is another non-drug, non-invasive treatment protocol offered at the Drake Institute.  

Neuromodulation stimulates the brain into a healthier pattern that the brain can then replicate, like learning to balance on a bicycle using training wheels. Neuromodulation helps create new neural pathways. 

At the Drake Institute, we use NeuroField technology to gently stimulate the brain into a more desirable, efficient, and functional pattern. In a sense, it’s almost like muscle memory, where learning to hit a forehand in tennis you would hold the racket and your coach would hold your wrist to swing the racket for you into a perfect motion 100 times so it becomes wired into your nervous system. 

We’ve seen significant improvement in brain mapping after undergoing neuromodulation treatment. 

Contact The Drake Institute Today!

For decades the Drake Institute has been perfecting the use of various neurofeedback technologies to help thousands of patients reduce symptoms and achieve a better quality of life. 

If you’d like more information about how our brain mapping technology can help you or a loved one, give us a call at 1-800-700-4233 or fill out the free consultation form.

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To get the help you or a loved one needs, call now to schedule your no-cost screening consultation.

dr david velkoff headshot

“David F. Velkoff, M.D., our Medical Director and co-founder, supervises all evaluation procedures and treatment programs. He is recognized as a physician pioneer in using biofeedback, qEEG brain mapping, neurofeedback, and neuromodulation in the treatment of ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and stress related illnesses including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure. Dr. David Velkoff earned his Master’s degree in Psychology from the California State University at Los Angeles in 1975, and his Doctor of Medicine degree from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta in 1976. This was followed by Dr. Velkoff completing his internship in Obstetrics and Gynecology with an elective in Neurology at the University of California Medical Center in Irvine. He then shifted his specialty to Neurophysical Medicine and received his initial training in biofeedback/neurofeedback in Neurophysical Medicine from the leading doctors in the world in biofeedback at the renown Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. In 1980, he co-founded the Drake Institute of Neurophysical Medicine. Seeking to better understand the link between illness and the mind, Dr. Velkoff served as the clinical director of an international research study on psychoneuroimmunology with the UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and the Pasteur Institute in Paris. This was a follow-up study to an earlier clinical collaborative effort with UCLA School of Medicine demonstrating how the Drake Institute's stress treatment resulted in improved immune functioning of natural killer cell activity. Dr. Velkoff served as one of the founding associate editors of the scientific publication, Journal of Neurotherapy. He has been an invited guest lecturer at Los Angeles Children's Hospital, UCLA, Cedars Sinai Medical Center-Thalians Mental Health Center, St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, and CHADD. He has been a medical consultant in Neurophysical Medicine to CNN, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, Univision, and PBS.”

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