1. What Happens During A Session? You will sit in a comfortable reclining chair in a quiet room. At the beginning of your session, your certified NeurOptimal® trainer will place two small sensors* on your scalp and a few on your ears. As the session starts, you will hear music play through headphones and you can watch relaxing geometric images gently morph across a computer screen or close your eyes and just relax. You will hear occasional "skips" or interruptions in the music - this is the feedback signal that alerts your brain whenever an anomaly is detected in any of the frequencies of brain activity that are being picked up by the sensors. The brain utilizes this information to "reset" and optimize itself. That's it! It is that simple.
A NeurOptimal® neurofeedback training session is relaxing, enjoyable, and typically lasts about 45 minutes.
At the end of a session, you will likely feel less stressed and more mentally clear. It is unlikely you will experience any negative after-effects as NeurOptimal® does not artificially "push" the brain in any specific direction. Many users experience deeper sleep after their very first session.
2. How is NeurOptimal® different from other types of neurofeedback?
There are a few key factors that distinguish NeurOptimal® from other neurofeedback systems:
a. NeurOptimal® is effective because it is designed to work best with your individual brain. It does not attempt to "fix" predetermined conditions or pin down specific problems. This was a limitation in many earlier neurofeedback systems where often solving a problem in one area could cause problems elsewhere. The heart of the NeurOptimal® system - Dynamical Neurofeedback® - is a proprietary technology based in neuroscience and specifically designed with the naturally non-linear function of the human brain in mind. NeurOptimal® is built to harness the incredibly dynamic nature of your brain in a way other systems simply cannot match. As a result, this neurofeedback system can be used effectively to address a wide array of complaints without specifically "targeting" them from the outset of the training. b. NeurOptimal® neurofeedback is extremely safe. Research shows your own brain "knows best" and therefore the NeurOptimal® brain training system does not force or "push" the brain in any one direction. Basically, Dynamical Neurofeedback® provides your brain with the information it needs to correct itself and function at its most optimal. NeurOptimal® simply enables your own brain's natural process of self-correction. c. NeurOptimal® requires no effort on the user's part. Some brain training systems require the user to "interact" by playing games or solving puzzles during sessions. This additional level of interaction is unnecessary with the NeurOptimal® neurofeedback system. During a training session, you can simply relax and enjoy! Neurofeedback training provides a multitude of benefits for the brain and body, including: reduced stress, improved sleep, heightened mental clarity and enhanced cognitive performance.
3. Who Should Do Neurofeedback Sessions?
If you have a brain, you can benefit from brain training with NeurOptimal®.
Trainers and clients – millions and growing- have used the NeurOptimal® system to address a number of physical, emotional and cognitive complaints with great success. These fall into a few general categories:
PHYSICAL, COGNITIVE AND EMOTIONAL CHALLENGES The FDA has approved neurofeedback for relaxation training. When stress is reduced, many other complaints have been noted to subside. Adults, as well as children that have used NeurOptimal® neurofeedback have reported reduced negative symptoms typically associated with conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, Alzheimer's, autism, sleep disorders, misophonia and other complaints. In November of 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) endorsed neurofeedback aka EEG biofeedback as a “Level 1/Best Support” treatment for children with ADHD. Furthermore, the AAP has equated neurofeedback with medication in terms of efficacy for resolving ADHD. GENERAL WELLNESS NeurOptimal® neurofeedback encourages an overall positive mental outlook and a deeper understanding of the mind/body connection. For those looking to enhance their daily health and wellness, neurofeedback training can be an excellent supplement to a healthy diet and exercise routine. BRAIN FITNESS/AGE REMEDIATION Along with healthy lifestyle choices, NeurOptimal® neurofeedback can be a powerful tool to mediate cognitive decline that naturally occurs as we age. Just as physical exercise benefits the body, NeurOptimal® keeps the brain fit an resilient. Neurofeedback may help improve memory recall and increase overall cognitive dexterity in older individuals. PEAK PHYSICAL/MENTAL PERFORMANCE A growing number of Olympic and professional athletes now use neurofeedback to provide that critical mental edge which often results in gold medals and championships. When competitors are separated by 100ths of a second, the improved mental focus and physical performance neurofeedback provides can mean the difference between winning and losing. But you don't have to be a pro athlete to enjoy the benefits of neurofeedback. Looking to improve your golf game? Want to be a better pitcher for your company softball team? NeurOptimal® can help. IMPROVED ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE Because neurofeedback training enhances concentration and mental focus, students use NeurOptimal® as a critical tool to improve their performance in school. Unlike so-called "smart drugs" or neuro enhancing pharmaceuticals, NeuOptimal® is 100% drug-free and has no known side effects (apart from improved sleep!).
4. Do the shifts last?
NeurOptimal® is a learning task, like learning to ride a bike or learning how to read: Once you know, you can’t “not know”, so the effects do remain with you. But your brain is also living tissue, and it can get “knocked off” by challenges, by hormonal changes, pollutants in the environment and the stresses of our everyday lives. When this happens, a session or two can help you get back on point, working at your optimal efficiency. Even if you come back many years later, the brain recognizes the NeurOptimal® process and is reminded of the earlier shifts. It can find its way back relatively rapidly -– much more quickly than the first time you did the training. So if you did a fairly complete initial training (say 20-30 sessions), and then have a major challenge like an illness, the loss of a job or a relationship, or even a head injury or anesthetic, your brain can quickly and efficiently use the information it receives from NeurOptimal® to reorganize itself and “find its way back”. As we like to say: “You’ve always got NeurOptimal® in your back pocket”!
5. How Many Sessions?
Because everyone’s central nervous system is different, it is not possible to predict exactly how your brain will respond to the information NeurOptimal® provides. But because we have over three million hours of experience with NeurOptimal® we can make some predictions. The good thing is you do not have to take it on faith and trust that it will help you — you will know pretty quickly when it is helping you. And we have progress tracking tools to help you document your training. Just as in how long it takes to learn to read, it is a process and everyone learns differently. How many sessions will it take to “complete” your training? This depends partly upon your goals. If you are training to feel better quickly, you might decide after 10-12 sessions that you have made enough gains and stop. On the other hand, if you are looking for lasting changes, 20-30 sessions is a better ballpark. The good thing is you can stop at any time and always pick it up again later if you so choose. Any training you have done in the past will always serve you well should you do more sessions in the future — no session is ever wasted. For some however, training their brain is like training the body. They want to function at their best throughout their lifetime, and they like to maintain that best even when life presents its inevitable day to day knocks and bruises. After a period of initial training they continue with maybe monthly sessions to give their brain a regular opportunity to “defrag”. Or, like many of us, they just do a session when they feel they need it. But in the end, it is always up to you, because it is YOUR brain that is doing the training and it knows what it needs. We also have an in-depth NeurOptimal® Survey that you can explore, which shows you (among other things) how many sessions it takes to get what percentage of improvement, for a wide variety of complaints people present with. In short, you can see statistically the amount of improvement you can expect over time, helping you to make an informed decision about number of sessions. Your trainer will also have their experiences to share with you as well!