What is Neurofeedback?

NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback Services

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100% non-invasive, safe method for restoring serenity, confidence, and wellness back into your life

What is NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback? 

NeurOptimal® neurofeedback, the latest generation of neurofeedback technology, is an information-based technology that reads the electrical activity in the scalp in real-time, through 5 sensors on the head and ears, and gives instant information/feedback to the brain when it detects that the activity is about to go out of balance.  Based on the information received, the brain decides, rather than the Trainer, what to change in order to re-balance itself. The software for this technology is run on a laptop or tablet so that the system is portable and easy to use. It has been time-tested over millions of hours with clients around the world and it is safe and effective.    

Is NeurOptimal® a treatment? 

NeurOptimal® neurofeedback is not a treatment because it doesn’t treat any specific condition and no changes are made to the running of the system based on what issues or diagnoses a client has.  This can seem confusing because other Neurofeedback systems are treatment based. The reason is that there are two generations and types of neurofeedback: linear or protocol, which is the first generation and treatment based, and non-linear or Dynamical neurofeedback (NeurOptimal®), which is the latest generation and training based, as explained under the question above, “What is NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback”.    

Linear or protocol-based neurofeedback systems start with a qEEG (Quantitative EEG) or “brain map” that provides information to the clinician about what areas of the brain and specific brainwaves are working sub-optimally.  Based on the results of the qEEG, the practitioner then sets protocols in order to increase/decrease those frequencies for more optimal function. For instance, theta waves are very active when we’re sleeping, however, the clinician wouldn’t want to see them so active in a person who is awake.  If this is the case, training would focus on theta wave suppression when awake.  The clinician is constantly monitoring the effects of training and seeking verbal reports from clients in order to ensure that side effects from too much training don’t occur. 

The results of training are primarily obtained by running another qEEG after a series of sessions, with less focus put on self-reported improvements from the client. 

How does NeurOptimal® work?

NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback is like taking your brain to the gym for a full-body workout.  When you go to the gym and complete regular workouts, over time that results in strengthened bones and muscles, reduced risk of heart disease and other illnesses, and improved mental health and mood.

With NeurOptimal®, you are connected to a laptop with five sensors and listening to music or watching a movie during the training.  The neurofeedback system is monitoring your brainwaves and providing information to your brain about what it has just done. It’s like holding up a mirror to the brain.  When the software detects that the brain and central nervous system are working inefficiently, a slight skip or static is heard in the audio you’re listening to and the brain then uses that information or feedback provided to reset itself.  Over time, the central nervous system becomes more resilient and flexible in its ability to respond to everyday events. You no longer get as “stuck” having the same thoughts over and over, you become less reactive and are able to respond to daily obstacles and issues that arise with more ease.

A Diagram of how NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback works
A schematic diagram illustrating how NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback works

How many neurofeedback sessions do I need?

I ask that clients commit to a minimum of 10 sessions.  This is because it takes time for the brain to retrain itself.  If you get a gym membership and go two or three times you may have sore muscles but you’re not going to develop much tone or additional muscle in that amount of time.  I’ve found over the past several years, most people who have completed at least 10 sessions have been able to see a noticeable change in either the frequency, intensity or duration of some or many of the concerns they had prior to starting sessions.  

When the nervous system has been over-activated for a long time, more than 10 sessions are usually required, however, many people move from regular sessions to tune-ups.  

How frequent should the training sessions be?

It really depends on how quickly you would like to see changes.  It does take time for the brain to reorganize itself, so it’s unlikely that you’ll see significant changes right away.  Many people find they can fit in one session per week so it will take a few weeks to notice changes. Others may come two or three times per week when starting NeurOptimal® brain training in order to see changes more quickly.  Consistency, more than frequency, is the key.  

How long does the Neurofeedback session take? 

In general, sessions take between 45 and 50 minutes.  This includes connecting and disconnecting the five sensors and the session itself, which is 33 minutes.  The first session can take up to an hour and a half as it includes an intake process that will let you monitor your progress over time.   

How long do results last? 

Results last as long as the nervous system continues to be less activated.  We don’t live in a static world, so most of us encounter situations that stress our nervous systems in small, or sometimes big ways on a daily basis.  The more you’re able to use techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, exercise, journaling or whatever other tools help to keep your nervous system running smoothly, the less you’ll need to come in for tune-up sessions.  The main thing is to observe when the nervous system is becoming activated again. When that happens one or two sessions will normally bring it back into balance again. More and more people are making NeurOptimal an ongoing part of their wellness regime.