Frequently Asked Questions

How does it work?

NeurOptimal® neurofeedback isn’t doing anything to you. The sensors are placed on your head to read the electrical activity your brain is emitting. Much like a doctor’s stethoscope touches you to listen, but it isn’t doing anything to you.

 

The sensors feed the brain’s activity to the NeurOptimal® software and NeurOptimal® creates a feedback loop by disrupting audio output when it detects an instability or change in your brain activity.

 

Your auditory processing’s job is to detect change in the environment.

 

When it detects a change, it signals the Central Nervous System (CNS, our control center) to “pay attention.”

 

When you are listening to the music during your session and there are skips and scratches that aren’t supposed to be there (the feedback from your brain activity), your auditory processing interprets this as a change in the environment and signals the CNS to pay attention, which it does.

 

Since the skips and scratches are caused by our own brain, the brain is able to make a lot of optimizations when it pays attention to what it’s doing, enhancing self-awareness.

 

256 times per second for 33 minutes this cycle is happening.  Like training any muscle, the more repetitions of “paying attention” that happen, the stronger that focus muscle gets.  This is why with cumulative sessions, that muscle gets strong enough that it can stay focused all the time, building flexibility and resiliency in your brain.

 

How does this help?

 

When your brain is paying attention to what is happening right now in this moment, not only do we benefit from the focus and centeredness this creates, but it also means that we AREN’T focusing on things that aren’t happening right now in the moment – like past trauma, stressors out of this moment, pain that isn’t current but our brain has held onto, and the list goes on of things that melt away as your brain keeps its attention on the present.  It’s like meditation on steroids.

 

Why do you call it brain training?

This model of neurofeedback is training the brain to stay present and alert.  There is no push of any specific levels as there is with a treatment model that requires a diagnosis and licensed practitioner to make decisions about what your brain should be doing.

 

This dynamical neurofeedback model simply tells the brain what it is doing (256 times per second) and the brain is intelligent enough to use that information to make changes and learn from the feedback.

 

Like any other type of training, the sessions are cumulative and the biggest changes are seen after accumulated sessions. 

What is Dynamical Neurofeedback®?

Dynamical Neurofeedback® is a technology developed by Zengar Institute and used in its NeurOptimal® neurofeedback training systems.

Instead of providing specific “direction”, Dynamical Neurofeedback® is designed to take advantage of the brain’s natural learning processes by encouraging it to function as originally designed. NeurOptimal®’s neurofeedback trainers then simply promote and facilitate the brain’s natural tendency toward self-­‐regulation, resilience, and flexibility.

Read more at https://neuroptimal.com/learn/dynamical-neurofeedback/

How will I feel after brain training?

Everyone is unique! I’d compare it to starting a new exercise program where you might feel tired after your first few workouts and then you start to feel stronger and more energetic with each session.  Clients typically report feeling grounded, relaxed, and more alert. Many see improvement in their sleep immediately. 

Is NeurOptimal® safe?

Yes! There are many reasons why NeurOptimal® is so safe.

When you are listening to NeurOptimal® you will hear brief micro-pauses in the sound. Once you settle in to a session, you might hardly even notice them. If listening to pauses in music were risky, our founder Dr. Val Brown jokes that you would have to hold the record companies liable for damages from old scratchy records! Certainly playing records in their hey-day did not seem to adversely affect millions of music lovers.

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Who benefits from brain training?

Anyone with a brain benefits from brain training!  Young and old. Big and small. All brains love to train and be optimized to work at their peak performance.   

 

Many people use brain training for peak performance with mental and physical tasks.  Writers might see longer productive writing sessions, students might have better focus and creativity, athletes might see faster performance times and recovery.  

 

Many struggling with issues like poor focus/attention, poor sleep, overly sensitive to stress, dysregulation, and other less than optimal states, see improvement with brain training.

 

Here’s a list of issues that see great improvement with NeurOptimal Neurofeedback:

How many sessions are needed?

Every brain is unique and responds at a different pace. This is a training and your brain learns with each session.  How many training sessions would you need to learn to tango or to play a new card game?

NeurOptimal’s website says “within six sessions you should know if it is helping, and often it can be quicker than that.”

Depending on what you are working on here is a generalization:

  • After the first sessions, most users report better sleep.
  • Within 6 sessions you start to notice shifts.
  • 10-20 sessions can see big changes.
  • 20-30 sessions might feel like you’ve reached a goal.
  • Once at a place you are feeling great, tune-up sessions every 1-3 months seem to be craved by many brains.  You will know!
  • If you are working on un-doing deep, old trauma that you’ve had for a long time, 50-60 sessions might be good for you.
How long do the results last?

Once you know how to read, you can’t not know. So yes, it lasts. But if you don’t read for a very long time, you might get a little rusty. Then once you jump back in, you quickly catch up and you’re off!

NeurOptimal® is very like that. Once you have done say 20 sessions, we like to say “you have it in your back pocket”. But if you get thrown off by something happening in your life, a session or two or three can get you right back. You can also stop training any time you want, and pick back up again later. It’s really up to you.

How often should I brain train?

Everyone is unique and you will know if you are training too often.  There is no set rule so just see how you feel.

Think of it like starting any fitness routine.  Consistency is key, and rest days are good for integration too.

Is it covered by insurance?

NeurOptimal Neurofeedback is not a medical treatment so it isn’t covered by insurance. 

It is typically covered by HSA funds as a wellness or fitness training though.  The FDA designates it as a wellness product.  This is what enables anyone to rent a unit and use it at home, the intelligence in the neurofeedback is totally built into the system so no practitioner is needed to run it and this dynamical neurofeedback doesn’t push the brain into any states like the more medical model of linear neurofeedback.  This system simply tells the brain what it’s doing (256 times per second) and the brain makes all the changes based on that feedback.  It is a training not a treatment.

You may use your FSA/HSA at SuperBrain Neurofeedback.

How can I learn more about NeurOptimal?

There is a lot of information, research and videos about NeurOptimal at https://neuroptimal.com

 

I have a list of supplementary info gathered here: Learning More About NeurOptimal

 

I offer a free 15 minute consult to answer any specific questions you might have.  Inquire here

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