Is neurofeedback training safe? Are there any side effects? Do I need a brain map before training? Learn how NeurOptimal neurofeedback works and how this dynamic neurofeedback system it's different from other traditional biofeedback EEG Systems.
Why NeurOptimal Neurofeedback?
The way global information based neurofeedback works is giving your brain intelligent information about itself so that it can optimize it’s functioning. That’s how it can be diagnostically agnostic. Basically, it's teaching the brain to be smarter, learning to come into the present to gather info before it makes a decision rather than doing what’s habitual— anxiety being a common brain habit. Why we use the NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback System for our rentals.
What's the difference between protocol and dynamical neurofeedback?
There are two generations of Neurofeedback. Out of the first we got protocol based where you are using an initial brain map and comparing it to the client's brain and then using entrain and migrate techniques to create state change. And out of the second generation came dynamical neurofeedback, which is the kind we use. Here the brain gets a brain map of itself shown to itself moment by moment through analysis of 16 targets up to 60 Hz. And with that information it reorganizes itself.
Do I need a brain map (QEEG test) to start?
No. A diagnosis or brain map is not needed when using NeurOptimal. Since NeurOptimal® is a ‘dynamical’ neurofeedback™ system, it is also very different from other systems. It is completely non-invasive and non-directive because it is based on both a very different understanding about how the brain works, as well as how it is best optimized.
It is estimated that the human brain has 15-33 billion neurons and each neuron may have as many as 10,000 synaptic connections. Neurons communicate with each other using chemical signals which results in all electrical ‘brain activity.’ This brain activity is measured in brainwaves with an electroencephalogram (EEG). The frequency of each brainwave tells us a lot about the state of the brain at any given moment.
How is NeurOptimal® is Different from Other Systems?
NeurOptimal® trainers do not diagnose; there are no long questionnaires or clinical discussions. Because trainers do not diagnose, they do not ‘treat’ specific symptoms, they train the whole brain at once. It is recognized that all neurofeedback (NF), regardless of system or approach, delivers value in the treatment and resolution of brain imbalances. However, there are inherent and significant differences in the underlying theories between these systems that result in the development of differing approaches to the software development.
Traditional Neurofeedback Systems approaches require licensed clinicians to make or use a diagnosis, often with the help of a quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG). These brief ‘slices of time’ are then used to create protocols over subsequent weeks or months. Needless to say, this evaluation process is time consuming, expensive, and unnecessary for NeurOptimal® clients. Using a diagnosis or QEEG for NeurOptimal® is like trying to use a road map to fly a jumbo jet— it’s just not relevant.
The NeurOptimal® Philosophy
NeurOptimal® is very different from other neurofeedback systems. It is completely non-directive because it is based on both a different understanding about how the brain works, as well as how it is best optimized. NeurOptimal® is designed to work with the brain as an information-detection system. By simply giving the brain feedback information about its own activity 256 times per second, NeurOptimal® helps the brain reorganize itself, thereby activating its own intrinsic healing capability. As a result of training (average of 20-40 sessions), central nervous system (CNS) activity stabilizes. As the brain increases cognitive flexibility and resilience due to an increase in the neural network, openness to change and motivation improve.
NeurOptimal does not tell the brain what or what not to do. It does not push or pull your brain in any particular direction. The system responds to the client brain wave information and the client responds to the system feedback.
What About Side Effects - Are There Any?
NeurOptimal® is 100% non-invasive and does not push the brain in any “direction” during training, it is highly unlikely you will feel any side effects following a session. Any noticeable shifts in your mood, awareness or energy level after brain training really depends on the individual and can vary from session to session. Very few clients report negative side effects, and if they do, it’s usually drowsiness during or immediately after a session.
Is Neurofeedback Training Safe?
Yes, it safe for anyone to use. Why? Because nothing is being added to your brain. The training works by alerting your automatic functioning part of the brain to its own actions (this part controls the fear response, flight/flight/freeze, sleep, attentiveness, executive functioning, etc.) so it can ‘see’ its own maladaptive patterns. Because the brain is designed to be responsive to new information, when the neurofeedback system alerts the brain to it’s own functioning the brain will naturally tweak itself to be the most efficient and effective response. It’s as if the brain, upon being alerted to it’s own behaviour says “hey, I’m about to produce a stress response when I’m sitting in a safe space. That’s not efficient or an appropriate response. I’m going to change what I’m doing.”
Everyone can! Or anyone under stress. Why? NeurOptimal improves the overall functioning of the brain and therapists know that the issue with mental health is that the brain gets habituated to maladaptive patterns. The most common being the stress response. Read more
What are my options and cost if I want to start training?
There are three options to start:
We have offices in NYC, Pasadena and Boulder. Come in for a session and see if it's for you. Price range from $95 and up and we provide neurofeedback packages.
The more cost-effective and convenient option would be to rent. We provide three different plans and pricing information can be found here.
One can also buy a neurofeedback system for home or professional use. The benefits of purchasing are that the price is less for training. It is particularly advantageous if you are training multiple family members or if you would like to train for more than a few months. Learn more about purchasing a system here.