Specialized EEG equipment and software is used to record an individual’s brainwaves and energy state. It then provides real-time feedback in the form of sound and visual cues, when desired frequencies are produced. A greatly simplified example would be this: we know that people who have higher beta levels in the left front of their brain are generally more content. So, a sensor can be applied to the scalp in the left frontal, the brainwaves are recorded, and special parameters are set. Each time a client produces more beta in that region, they hear a sound, or a spaceship on a screen may move. Once a client learns and practices producing the desired frequencies and state, there can be long-lasting change.
HEG, or Hemoencephalographic Neurofeedback
also measures brain physiology, but it's focus is on blood flow, rather than electrical activity. This is helpful for a variety of symptoms, from headaches to concentration to trauma, memory, behavioral (particularly impulsivity) as well as anger and mood issues. It is sometimes determined through the initial EEG map that some of a person's symptoms may be metabolic in nature, and so HEG protocols can be added to the treatment protocol. In this case, a small, infrared camera that measures thermal output is worn on the head. Special software is used to monitor output temperature, while a person watches a DVD. If the temperature drops during the session, the DVD will stop. A client can learn quickly to raise their brain blood flow levels by going into a state of relaxed focus. This can often lead to symptom reduction within the session, and over time, have a long-standing effect on reduction symptoms.
LENS (Low-Energy Neurofeedback System): This FDA-approved system developed by Len Ochs, PhD, also records brainwaves and gives feedback, but with no conscious effort from the client. It is non-invasive, and there are no shocks or needles involved. In fact, most people feel nothing The LENS uses a very low power electromagnetic field, like the ones that surround digital watches and wires in the wall, to carry feedback to the person receiving it. The feedback signal is determined by the client's brainwaves (which are sampled 256 times a second) and travels down the same wires carrying the brain waves to the amplifier and computer. Although the feedback signal is weak (thousands of times weaker than a cell phone signal), it produces a measurable change in the brainwaves without conscious effort from the individual receiving the feedback. The result is a changed brainwave state, and much greater ability for the brain to regulate itself. This process can help individuals whose central nervous systems have gotten stuck in certain rigid, dysfunctional patterns to “break loose” from their stuck-ness (be sure and read some of our clients' "Testimonials" on this site). The LENS is also excellent for those that have difficulty sitting still or focusing for long periods, and those who have multiple symptoms. The initial session involves an extensive interview regarding a client's symptoms, goals, and nervous system sensitivity. Follow-up sessions are typically one time a week for 20-30 minutes. Often, fewer sessions are needed than with traditional neurofeedback. For more information on LENS, click here! (OchsLabs Website)
The LENS has also been used for stress and behavioral issues in cats, dogs and horses, with excellent results!
NeuroField pEMF: the NeuroField technology incorporates very low intensity pulsed electromagnetic field (pEMF) with heart rate variability (HRV) and electroencephalography (EEG - brainwave monitoring) all in one biofeedback unit. It is the first pEMF device that measures physiological responses through HRV and EEG to help guide the brain and body towards a better regulated, normative state. For a lovely article about the development of Neurofield (by its inventor, Nicholas Dogris) and another article about the Neurofield and pain, click here!
NeuroField tDCS/ACS: tDCS: utilizes weak, direct electric current to modulate the activity and excitability of neurons which enhance brain plasticity, the ability of the brain to reorganize and transform itself. It can be helpful with stress, mood and cognitive issues.
NeuroField Q20: This is a 20-channel amplifier that allows us to record - and train - up to 20 sites on the brain, all at once! This helps us to record the QEEG brain map, or to do very comprehensive Neurofeedback training.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS!
QUESTION: "Will Neurofeedback change my personality?" No. Neurofeedback does not change your personality. However, it can make it alot less work to be you, and to be in your life, and you or others may notice changes as a result. You might be less reactive or irritable, you might be calmer and more patient, or you might be more present and focused. These aren't changes to your personality, but rather, your way of being in the world.
QUESTION: "Is Neurofeedback also talk therapy and will I get a diagnosis?" No. Neurofeedback helps you to learn to ease your cognitive, emotional, and physiological symptoms. You will be asked to report about increases/decreases in the symptoms you are having, and other things that you are noticing as result of the Neurofeedback process.
QUESTION: "Can Neurofeedback damage my brain?" We use specialized settings based on your individual brain and nervous system. We try the settings out with you to see how you respond. If it is not a favorable response, we move on and try something different. The only way there could be potential "damage" from the Neurofeedback process would be if a setting that was not helpful was used over and over and over again, many, many times, which is not our practice. It might be helpful here to compare Neurofeedback to Physical Therapy, and that training the brain is kind of like training a muscle: it is the repeated training that builds strength and increases function over time.
QUESTION: "How can I get the most of the Neurofeedback sessions?" Wonderful question! Several things will help you gain as much as you can from your sessions: 1) Keeping medicines/supplements and other treatments steady and stable 2) Reporting in (via email or phone) to the practitioner 3 days after session (or as directed). This helps us keep you in mind, and to think about your experience in order to make necessary adjustments at your next session. It also helps keeps your experience "fresh" for you; some people have difficulty remembering how their first 3 days went, after a week goes by. 3) Being mindful of any changes (positive or negative) in your daily experience and symptoms 4) Staying on track with appointments. 5) Remembering that this is a process that often takes time and patience. There are sometimes rapid changes, and sometimes there are periods of no change, and sometimes periods of increased symptoms. All of these can be part of the process, and seeing these pieces through - while dialoguing your experience with your clinician - are very important in getting the most gains during your experience of Neurofeedback, or any therapy that you pursue. Bottom line - being an active observer and participant in your own healing is just as important as anything the healer or the equipment can provide!