What Is Brain Mapping?

Quantitative Electroencephalogram (qEEG) brain mapping is a non-invasive evaluative test used to measure brainwave activity.

At the Drake Institute, our clinicians use data gathered from brain mapping to develop non-drug treatment protocols using Neurofeedback (EEG-Biofeedback) and Neuromodulation technologies for disorders such as ADHD, Autism, Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, Insomnia, and others.

These treatment protocols help patients leverage the mind-body connection to reduce symptoms and train the brain to adopt healthier functioning patterns.

Furthermore, because protocols address the underlying cause of the problem, patients can experience long-term symptom relief and a better quality of life, often without the use of prescription medications.

For more information regarding brain mapping therapy and our non-drug treatment options, please don’t hesitate to fill out our contact form or call us at 800-700-4233 for a free consultation.

Understanding Brainwaves

The brain is composed of many “functional networks” composed of neurons working together to perform specialized tasks, including:

  • Attention & Concentration
  • Working Memory
  • Self-monitoring
  • Learning
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Mood
  • Behavioral Control
  • Problem Solving
  • Executive Functioning
  • Spatial Perception
  • Social Awareness
  • Language Processing
  • Sleep & Wake Cycles

And even though the brain only weighs about 2 lbs., it still uses almost half of the body’s blood glucose to create electrochemical energy to carry out its functions.

When using qEEG brain mapping, this energy is recorded as brainwaves, and these brainwaves can be categorized as either “fast” (i.e., Beta waves) or “slow” (i.e., Alpha, Theta, and Delta waves).

However, just because the brain is in a “fast” state doesn’t mean that the brain is only producing 1 type of brainwave.

Instead, all 4 brainwave types occur simultaneously and it’s the balance or ratio of these different brainwaves that dictate whether the brain is operating too “fast” or “slow” in a particular area.

Beta Waves

Beta waves are the fastest of the four primary types of brainwaves, and they become more prevalent in the brain when it is fully engaged and processing information.

In short, Beta waves become dominant when the brain needs to perform at its highest level, like when a student has to focus in the classroom or complete homework, when a lawyer needs to argue a difficult case, or when an engineer needs to confer with a colleague to work through a complex problem involving a large number of variables.

Alpha Waves

Alpha waves are the next type of brainwave. They are slightly slower than Beta waves and they occur in greater numbers when an individual relaxes or meditates with their eyes closed and they are more internally focused rather than externally focused. Reduced alpha waves are seen in anxiety disorders.

Theta Waves

Theta waves are slower brainwaves that occur when a person takes an extended rest from an external activity and is associated with increased daydreaming and sleep. Being in excessive theta during the day with eyes open can make task completion more difficult and it is also associated with the presence of ADHD.

However, when in a deeply relaxed theta state (i.e., “non-arousal”) with eyes closed, it can actually result in a more creative state.

Delta Waves

Delta waves are the slowest type of brainwave and occur when an individual has reached the deepest state of relaxation, like when we’re in deep sleep.

Why Functional Networks Are Important

What’s so important about the brain’s functional networks? As we mentioned earlier, the brain’s functional networks need to be capable of communicating with each other to perform certain tasks, especially complex tasks that require attention and concentration.

For example, to be a proficient reader with good comprehension, an individual’s attention, auditory processing, and visual processing networks must be properly communicating and sharing information, and that requires that an appropriate ratio of Beta waves must be present.  

However, if slower Delta and Theta waves are dominant, the communication between these required functional networks can be dysregulated and the individual may struggle to retain or process the information he or she is reading.

Indeed, brain dysregulation can cause a whole host of problems, including reduced cognitive ability, missed homework assignments, poor performance at work, relationship struggles, or other similar issues.

This is why the brain mapping test is at the core of everything we do at the Drake Institute.

By identifying areas of the brain where the dysregulation is occurring, we can create customized treatment protocols that target the regions of the brain that are under- or over-activated—leading to clinical improvements for patients while avoiding prescription medications or invasive procedures.

Furthermore, since these procedures result in structural changes within the brain, these improvements can be long-lasting.

What Does Brain Mapping Show? How Does It Work?

Unlike a SPECT scan or a PET scan, qEEG brain mapping is a non-invasive procedure that only records the electrical activity of the brain for analysis—brain mapping doesn’t do anything to the brain itself.

To start, our clinicians place 19 sensors on the surface of the head, and brain wave activity is recorded over those 19 areas.

This data is then processed through the FDA-approved normative database and compared to “normal” results, which allows us to identify areas of the brain that are working at sub-optimal levels.

Once identified, we can then create customized treatment protocols using neurofeedback and neuromodulation to target these areas on a patient-by-patient basis, which has shown to be far more effective than the traditional “one size fits all approach.”

Is Brain Mapping Safe?

Brain mapping is akin to using a thermometer to take a patient’s temperature, and as such, it is completely safe and painless.

During qEEG brain mapping, nothing is being done to the patient: drugs are not administrated, and the brain is not stimulated.

Is Brain Mapping Necessary?

For optimal improvement, brain mapping is absolutely necessary for treating disorders like ADHD, Autism, PTSD, etc. It is our experience that custom-tailored protocols guided by qEEG brain mapping provide patients with the best opportunity for experiencing long-term symptom reduction.

With the help of qEEG brain mapping, our clinicians can pinpoint which brainwave patterns and functional networks are operating abnormally, as well as the brain regions where the dysregulation is occurring, letting us create much more specific and precise treatment procedures.

This data allows our clinicians to create a customized treatment strategy for each individual patient, and we use this information to guide our neurofeedback and neuromodulation treatment protocols.

Without a qEEG brain map, it is difficult to tell whether a patient’s symptoms are neurophysically based.  

Indeed, a qEEG brain map is analogous to using an x-ray to determine whether or not a patient experiencing wrist pain has any fractures to their carpal bones.

Without the x-ray, it can be difficult to know for certain what the best course of treatment should be, and the doctor will have to make an educated guess as to how to treat the patient’s symptoms.

In short, qEEG brain mapping is an invaluable diagnostic tool when used in conjunction with clinical findings. It should be used whenever possible, as brain mapping helps clinicians understand where dysregulation is occurring in the brain, allowing them to more efficiently and effectively treat the source of the patient’s symptoms.

How The Drake Institute Uses Brain Mapping

Brain mapping is an important clinical procedure that can be used in the evaluation of patients suffering from a variety of disorders, including:

Over the last 30 years, the Drake Institute has developed one of the largest clinical databases utilizing brain mapping in the U.S., and our clinicians use this information to establish non-drug treatment protocols using neurofeedback and neuromodulation to help patients improve their quality of life.   

For more information regarding our non-drug treatment protocols, please continue reading below:

Neurofeedback (EEG Biofeedback)

Neurofeedback, or EEG Biofeedback, is a non-drug treatment approach used to help patients improve and strengthen their brainwave patterns.


First, it’s important to mention that, under normal circumstances, it’s impossible to know for sure what functioning pattern your brain is currently in. Indeed, even if you feel “focused” on a task, your brain may still be performing at sub-optimal levels.

With qEEG brainmap-guided neurofeedback, however, patients can see in real-time how their brain is functioning!

For example, one of our neurofeedback treatments converts a patient’s brainwaves into a computer game of a car driving down the highway.

When the patient shifts their brainwaves to a healthier frequency, the car moves into the correct lane and an auditory tone is triggered and repeated every half second—so long as the patient’s brain sustains the more optimal brainwave pattern.

This dynamic empowers patients and helps them leverage the mind-body connection to “push” the brain into a higher level of functioning, and over time, patients can achieve this level of functioning without real-time feedback.

With the help of neurofeedback, patients can reduce, or in some cases, eliminate their negative symptoms without having to resort to taking prescription medications.


Neuromodulation is another powerful treatment technology that can support, enhance, and accelerate therapeutic improvements gained through neurofeedback.

What is it?

In short, neuromodulation, like neurofeedback, trains the neurons of the brain to operate at a more optimal functioning pattern.

However, instead of leveraging the mind-body connection by using real-time feedback, we use NeuroField technology that utilizes low intensity pulsed electromagnetic field generator (pEMF), transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), and transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation (tACS) to help the brain “mimic” healthier brainwave patterns.

Neuromodulation has not only been shown to be an extremely safe procedure, but it is also demonstrated to be a very efficient and effective form of treatment that is currently being used in many world-renowned medical centers such as Harvard University School of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, and UCLA School of Medicine, just to name a few.

Contact The Drake Institute Today

If you or someone you know is suffering from ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, or Autism, please don’t hesitate to fill out our contact form or call us at 800-700-4233 for a free consultation.

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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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