ASK US about Neurofeedback
Our experienced neurofeedback trainers are standing by to answer your questions about neurofeedback therapy (NeurOptimal® training): How does it work and what is the difference between NeurOptimal® and other protocol-neurofeedback systems? Where can I find a neurofeedback trainer near me? What is the cost of neurofeedback and what are my training options?
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Neurofeedback Training Co. Locations
The main headquarters is located in NYC. At this location, we offer NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback Therapy Sessions and Neurofeedback at Home System Rentals.
Location: 32 Union Square East, Suite 1017, New York, NY 10003
Phone Numbers to Trainers:
In-person sessions and equipment rentals at two separate locations. In-person sessions are by appointment with Advanced Certified NeurOptimal® Trainer, Sara St. John who also handles all home equipment rentals for the west-coast region (California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington State) and Canada.
Pasadena Location (In-Person Sessions): 28 N. Oak Ave. S. 204, Pasadena, CA 91107 (by appointment only)
COLORADO (DENVER & BOULDER)
We provide in-person sessions in both Denver and Boulder with affiliate NeurOptimal® trainers Jennifer Tierney and Joy Om. Colorado neurofeedback home equipment rentals are managed by NeurOptimal® Trainer Kim.
(In-Person Sessions only): 19647 Solar Cir B-101, Parker, CO 80134. (In-person session with our affiliate Denver Neurofeedback Trainer Jennifer Tierney, schedule here.)
(In-Person Sessions only): 4236 Piedra Pl. Boulder, Co. 80302 ( In-Person Session with affiliate Colorado Neurofeedback Trainer Joy Om)
Things to know about Neurofeedback Training
Neurofeedback is an advancement of biofeedback specifically targeted to give the brain feedback about its maladaptive patterns. Neurofeedback has existed since the 1950s but it is only in the last decade that "brain training" along with advancements in understanding the brain’s ability to improve its functioning because of its neuroplasticity, has helped neurofeedback gain widespread acceptance. Similar to physical exercise gaining a cultural foothold in the 1970s, training the brain to better cognitive and emotional health is now an accepted method to improve brain health.
How does neurofeedback work? Simply put, the brain communicates through electricity and chemicals to perform functions and to create state changes. Neurofeedback relies on electrical brainwaves to track the brain’s communications and provide feedback. This feedback is what allows the brain to shift from maladaptive habits that produce symptoms such as anxiety or impulsivity, to positive habits and more healthy routines built around increased calm, an ability to focus, and decreased impulsivity.
Neurofeedback therapy is just a synonym for neurofeedback. It’s also referred to as EEG biofeedback, Neurotherapy, and neuro biofeedback. Neurofeedback refers to the dynamical process of giving the brain feedback so that it can change its brainwaves from ones that are inappropriate for the present circumstances to appropriate ones. For example, the experience of worrying or anxiety is connected to higher-than-normal beta waves and not enough alpha brainwaves.
The word “therapy” has been added to the term when it is used as a treatment for a medical condition such as ADHD, anxiety, or PTSD. Some neurofeedback systems are registered with the FDA as medical devices, while others are registered as General Wellness equipment.
Watch this short and helpful video explanation about what neurofeedback is and how it works.
Multiple research studies conducted over the decades have established the positive, healthy life changes which can result from using neurofeedback. Depending on the reason someone is training and the neurofeedback device being used, neurofeedback works on both specific symptoms while improving overall brain performance. However, as recently as 2017, there were lingering questions about the value of neurofeedback beyond a placebo effect. But there is well-regarded, promising research on the benefits of neurofeedback improving conditions such as ADHD, PTSD, addictions, epilepsy, and head injuries. The most researched conditions to date are in the areas of ADHD and PTSD, both of which show healthy, gradual improvements when treated using neurofeedback.
The success rates using neurofeedback vary depending on several factors, including the number of sessions, type of neurofeedback equipment used, co-factors such as an underlying untreated health condition, and lifestyle. Lifestyle factors that will impact the success of neurofeedback include diet, ongoing stress, too little sleep, no or little exercise, and poor social life. None of these factors will nullify the benefits of neurofeedback, but they may slow or inhibit the positive growth curve. Ideally, neurofeedback is one of many supports that are being used to improve brain health.
The length of neurofeedback sessions varies depending on which system is being used. The microcurrent neurofeedback system called IASIS (formally called LENS) lasts only two to three minutes per session. NeurOptimal® neurofeedback sessions are 33 minutes long. Loreta neurofeedback sessions, which is a protocol neurofeedback system, are 2-8 minutes in length. Unlike many areas of self-improvement where the dictum “more is better”, since brain training acts as a non-linear processor of information, less training can sometimes be more effective.
The number of sessions needed or desired will vary depending on the system being used and the reason for training. In general, with protocol neurofeedback equipment, the number of sessions varies from 20-40. Protocol systems tend to have a set number of sessions for different conditions being addressed. When using Dynamical neurofeedback, which the NeurOptimal system is the only fully automated one, clients rent a home NeurOptimal system they commonly train for two-four months with multiple sessions per week.
With Dynamical® neurofeedback, the number of sessions is not determined by the client’s condition(s), but by the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional goals of the client. Given that, the number of sessions can have a much larger range from 10-100+ sessions over a lifetime. Dynamical® neurofeedback also operates under a different set of assumptions about brain health, namely that the brain is designed to use energy efficiently, which means it is designed to create habitual patterns, both adaptive and maladaptive. For that reason, ongoing neurofeedback sessions as occasional “tune-ups” help the brain see and change the maladaptive habits. These habits are most commonly associated with creating stress reactions.
Neurofeedback is covered by some health insurance (under the heading of EEG biofeedback) when done in a licensed healthcare provider’s office. However, many insurance companies do not cover the cost or do so for only a very limited number of conditions, such as migraines. It is still considered “experimental” by many insurance companies though it is gaining recognition and coverage. Reach out to your insurance to see if it is covered, for which conditions, and for how many sessions.
Neurofeedback pricing will vary depending on whether you are doing in-office sessions, a home rental, or purchasing a system. With protocol neurofeedback, you will need to first have a QEEG
brain map. The cost ranges from $500-3,000. The proceeding neurofeedback sessions range from $150-300 each.
When doing Dynamical neurofeedback, of which NeurOptimal® is the only system on the market, it does not require brain mapping. The mapping is integrated into the software, so the first session includes a full neurofeedback session. The cost ranges from $100-250 per session.
Renting a neurofeedback system for home use is the third option. The prices are lower per session ranging anywhere from $20-100 per session. Most rentals are structured on a monthly basis rather than per session, so the cost can range from $700 to the thousands.
Most systems are not available to purchase for home use, however; the NeurOptimal system is and the cost to purchase a neurofeedback system ranges from $7500-11,000.
The benefits of neurofeedback vary depending on the reason for training and the system being used. In general, neurofeedback can help support change in the areas of cognitive performance, emotional regulation, lower stress, sleep management, and overall improved brain performance.
In the areas of cognitive improvements most common benefits include increased ability to focus and sustain focus, less impulsivity, better memory, improved recall, and ability to plan.
Neurofeedback benefits clients with emotional issues most commonly to decrease the intensity and duration of negative emotions such as fear, anger, and hopelessness. Being able to make choices rather than react emotionally is another common benefit.
Neurofeedback can start working as early as the first session – even in the very beginning, the brain is going through a process of training to create resiliency and make more efficient and effective decisions. Most symptoms can be, in part, the result of less resilience and flexibility in brain performance.
And if not the first, it’s common for clients to report noticing changes within a few sessions. For example, with the NeurOptimal® system, within the first three sessions, clients often report feeling calmer, having more vivid sense perceptions, and being more embodied. And chronically sleep-deprived clients begin to notice how tired they feel overall. This is their bodies communicating through felt experience, the need for more sleep. For others who are less self-aware it can take up to 6 or 8 sessions to notice changes, and sometimes it is a family member who reports that they seem calmer and more at ease. Or it can be a teacher who notices greater focus, less fidgeting, or fewer outbursts in the classroom.
Neurofeedback itself does not change the brain. It provides feedback, in the form of audio or visual cues, that the brain can register as meaningful information signaling it needs to change itself. The exception is neurofeedback systems that add something, such as microcurrent, to the brain. These systems create change by directly altering the brain’s electrical frequencies or brainwaves.
Because neurofeedback is not directly adding anything to the brain, if you stop before meaningful change has occurred you will revert to the habitual patterns that were in place before training. For example, if you are trying to learn a new language but stop before the words are ingrained, you will revert to the language you normally speak. Like any new training, until we instill new habits, we’ll always default to the old, familiar ingrained ones. That’s why clients are encouraged to do enough sessions, spread out over an appropriate amount of time for the new changes to become learned and habitual.
The number of sessions varies depending on the reason for training and the system being used. In general, though, neurofeedback trainers recommend doing a series of sessions, usually 20-40 spread out over two to three months. The trainer will be looking for stability in the changes to ensure that the brain has shifted and now has adaptive habits in place before determining that no further sessions are needed. With protocol neurofeedback, a second QEEG brain map might be done to see if there are still maladaptive brainwaves once the standard number of sessions has been completed. In general, the client will notice the positive changes and experience them as relatively stable before deciding to stop altogether. Some clients will decide to do tune-up sessions periodically, especially if there are new stressors.
Yes, neurofeedback at home is possible with some devices. In general, a system you rent from a clinic and have a certified trainer supporting you with home neurofeedback is going to give better results than purchasing some of the low-cost direct-to-consumer devices on Amazon. Another tip for finding the best home neurofeedback is to look for devices that are fully automated so that you don’t have to set protocols.
There are basic components to any legitimate neurofeedback session and how it should look. Because neurofeedback measures brainwave activity there should be EEG sensors connected to the head either with paste or dry sensors in a headband. There will be a computer device that has the software to analyze the brainwave data and deliver visual or auditory feedback. Here is a video of protocol neurofeedback and here is what a Dynamical neurofeedback session looks like.
Anxiety is the fight/flight reaction of the stress response and when chronic, we call it anxiety. Neurofeedback helps with managing the stress response by showing the brain in real-time, its habitual patterns. The theory behind neurofeedback is that when the brain is cued to see those habits that are maladaptive, like stress, the brain will shift to more adaptive strategies, like calm/focus energy rather than fight/flight energy. When those strategies are engaged in regularly, they become a new habit replacing the stress reaction.