HOW TO SET-UP THE NEUROFEEDBACK AT HOME TRAINING DEVICE IN 5 EASY STEPS
NeurOptimal At Home Explained
Learn how to set up the neurofeedback machine at home, how to add the EEG sensors and get tips for best results.
Need extra help? Your rental manager will also be available via email or Skype if necessary to guide you through your first session. We do ask however that the renter tries to start a session with the help of the manual first.
Not a renter yet? View our plans and cost here.
EXCLUSIVE GUIDE FOR NEUROFEEDBACK TRAINING CO. RENTERS
Before Your First Session, You'll Need…
- Your own headphones (no bluetooth headphones please). Or play the sound through the tablet. Either option is just as effective. Scroll down to read a Q&A on how the feedback is provided. See also this video; What Happens in a Session?
- Your Wi-fi login information: The NeurOptimal 3.0 software requires a high-speed internet connection to work properly. It’s recommended to connect your system to wi-fi at your first session and every 7 days for automatic software updates. If the tablet is not connected to wi-fi and the software is not opened in a week it will not work. Please check your printed manual of a more detailed step-by-step guide on how to connect to your internet.
- Wet-wipes or paper towel. To clean the sensors afterwards.
- Time : Program itself is 33 minutes long. Allow one about one hour for your first session to read the printed manual and guidelines. (This PDF is only for Neurofeedback Training Co. renters).
FILL OUT A CHECKLIST TO TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
We strongly recommend all renters fill out our Checklist Form prior to starting and then again, after every 8 sessions. For example, when clients see their rate of 10 for "Feel Anxious" turn into a 4 (10 being worst), they know the training is doing something good for them.
SET UP THE EQUIPMENT AT HOME
Unpack your system and plug in the power cord and zAmp. If you had the system shipped, save all the packaging material and re-use upon return. Scroll down to watch a video on how to unpack and set up your home neurofeedback unit.
In this video, learn how to unpack your rental equipment.
In this video, learn how set up the home neurofeedback equipment.
(PS! Use your own headphones or stream sound from the built-in speakers)
ADD THE EEG SENSORS
NeurOptimal 3.0 targets 20 different sets of frequencies across the right and left brain, each target naturally balancing off the effects of others. There are a total of five EEG sensors to set up before starting a session.
HOW TO APPLY
- Connect the zAmp (with the 5 sensors) with the USB cable and into the tablet
- Place the zAmp where you will be working with it, clipped to the front or back of a shirt or back of a chair is common.
- Scoop the conductive paste onto sensors so the paste resembles an ice cream scoop on both sides, without touching the paste with your fingers
- Squeeze the BLUE SENSOR clip onto the top of the right ear (some paste should be forming a ring)
- Apply paste in the same way to the BLACK SENSOR clip (this is the only black sensor that located on right ear), and gently squeeze onto the ear lobe. No need to remove earrings, just make sure the paste is not touching them. It is ok to adjust clip positioning to work around them Please note: When scooping paste put your forefinger on the back of the cup for support, preventing bending and possible sensor damage.
- Pick up the YELLOW SENSOR, to cover the end-tip with the paste. If you slide your fingers over the scalp about halfway point between the top of the ear and the top of the head, you will feel a bump with a dip right above it. That dip is your spot! If you can't find it no worries, just as long as it is halfway it's a good spot.
- Part the hair as much as possible and apply the sensor – you'll feel the coolness of the paste. Repeat the YELLOW SENSOR and BLUE SENSOR on the left side (it's only the right ear that you'll have an extra sensor).
Now you're ready to start the session! Make sure the USB cord is fully plugged into the tablet and zAmp!
VIDEO INSTRUCTIONS: Watch a video below on how to add the EEG sensors
TIP! Find it hard to apply and take off the EEG sensors?
Clip the zAmp device to your shirt (or hold in in your hand) and go to the mirror to add and remove the sensors. Sometimes it helps to dab the area on the scalp with a wet-wipe before applying the two yellow sensors. It will make it easier to remove it afterwards. When you unplug the zAmp, just make sure to plug it back in before starting the session. Otherwise you'll get an error message and are unable to start a session.
Did you know? NeurOptimal use C3 and C4 - ie: the midpoints on each side of the head between the top of the ear and the top of the head. If you get them close to those points, then there is no “wrong place”. NeurOptimal is the only system that captures the highest brainwave frequencies, and has the largest range of frequencies that are measured. 95% of all electrical activity is picked up anywhere on the scalp so that's why one does not need to keep moving the sensors in order to capture all the brainwave frequencies.
START THE NEUROPTIMAL SESSION
Before you start please do this:
- Connect your tablet is to your wi-fi network. Follow the step-by-step guide
- Plug in the power cord
- Plug in your own headphones or earbuds (no wireless) or stream the sound from the built-in speakers)
After opening up the NeurOptimal program. Locate the Vault Window (or dashboard). This Vault is the hub of the software and where you will start your session from. Enter or locate your name. Double tap your name and the session will start.
You know a session is in progress because...
- The timer in the smaller Vault window is counting down from 33 minutes
- The green light on the side of the zAmp is turned on
- You'll hear music and also the skips/pauses in music randomly via your headphones (or the sound streaming from the tablet)
Time to relax! Close your eyes, (sleep is encouraged), or read a book. It's also ok to talk while in session. Please note, there is no need to watch the screen images. The primary feedback is via audio.
NEUROFEEDBACK TRAINING TIP!
Make sure to start up tablet and the NeurOptimal program before adding the sensors to make sure it’s working properly. If the program needs a software update (which always happens at start) it can take between 1 - 5 minutes and a reboot is recommended after an update.
CLOSE THE PROGRAM & CLEAN THE SENSORS
When it's over, the music will stop – you are done with the session!
Close the program then gently clean the sensors after each use to avoid corrosion. Use a wet wipe (or wet paper tower, if alot of paste on the sensors use running warm water (make sure to dry them afterwards)! The sensors are made of pure silver, any lingering paste can cause corrosion and will reduce the lifespan of your sensors.
- Please clean the EEG sensors after each use; use wet-wipes or use warm running water.
- Always have the tablet plugged in while using and shut down the tablet when not in use afterwards and store it safely away, preferably in the case it came with.
Please no drinks or food around the machine and keep the tablet and EEG sensors in pristine condition!
Your system must be connected to the Internet at least once every seven days to keep licensing up to date. The simplest way for you to ensure this is to connect your system to your wireless network.
There are two places to adjust the volume. Best option is to tap on the Volume control icon in the lower right corner (see volume icon in task bar). There are also two volume controls located at the top left of system but it is right next to Power Button which is easy to mistake.
Cannot located your name after entering it? In the Vault’s lower left corner, click on “All” to pull up all names entered in the system. Please note: You only need to add your name once!
All our system’s available for rent are professional-grade neurofeedback machines and have the newly updated software NeurOptimal 3.0. The user-interface may vary between a Personal Trainer and a Pro, but please know that it is the exact same training no matter what system you’ll rent.
Before your first neurofeedback session begins, fill in the Checklist Form! See step 1.
Add the sensors the tiny sensors near your scalp and three clips on your ears to pick up delicate electrical activity of your brain. Much like an EKG or ECG, the NeurOptimal® neurofeedback device is simply reading this signal. Nothing invasive is involved with the training process.
NeurOptimal® neurofeedback is naturopathic and does not “push” the brain in any particular direction. The system merely cues your central nervous system to do what is naturally best for YOUR brain.
Sit in a comfortable chair or on a couch. Put on the headphones (use your own if at home, headphones are not included in rental) and start the program and the brain training begins. You will listen to music and you may notice very brief pauses in the sound or image. The very precise timing of these interruptions gives the brain vital information it needs to reorganize itself to operate more optimally. You don’t have to do anything while all this is happening. It’s all right to close your eyes and "zone out" and just let your brain do its job. It's also OK to talk, read a book or play a game on a separate device. Length of the brain training can vary, but a NeurOptimal session is 33 minutes long.
How will you feel afterwards? Because NeurOptimal system is 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.
Transformation with neurofeedback happens according to the brain’s own intrinsic wisdom, with no conscious effort from the user.
NEUROFEEDBACK TRAINING Q&A
What if I apply the sensors to the wrong place?
NeurOptimal uses C3 and C4 - ie: the midpoints on each side of the head between the top of the ear and the top of the head. If you get them close to those points, then there is no “wrong place”.
What's the purpose of the music?
The primary feedback is via audio, as long as you have the sensors placed per the instructions, hear the skips/gaps in music and see that the timer in the small Vault window is counting down from 33 minutes -- it is working. If you don't see the screen saver images or charts-- don't worry! There is absolutely no need to watch the screen while in session. Instead, try to relax; close your eyes, sleep, read a book or magazine, talk, draw, play a game etc... The system and your brain/central nervous system will do all the work.
How neurofeedback works is actually not about the particular sound or sight but rather how the orienting or “pay attention to yourself” response of the brain gets triggered by stopping the music or visual display. We are “bio-hacking” by interrupting the habitual patterns through the use of the brain’s natural information gathering process, the orienting response. It’s triggered by interrupting the music which triggers the awareness response of the automatic functioning CNS to come into the present moment . This serves as an opportunity for the mal-adaptive habits, such as constantly being in a state of stress, to be revealed.
So while there is the necessity for sound it’s not the particulars of it, that make the neurofeedback work. It the interruption process at the exact millisecond the brain is about to change states (read by the electrical patterning) and perform an action that is key for the ‘feedback.’
Why do I hear the music skips/pauses even if the EEG Sensors are not attached?
The sensors are passive in that they pick up any electrical activity, which there is a lot of in our environments. It's not meaningful interruptions when the sensors are picking up environmental noise. In fact, NeurOptimal, unlike all other neurofeedback systems, is able to cancel out environmental EEG activity when you are training. The software knows the difference between the 60 Hz environmental noise and your brain's electrical activity.
Is it OK if I do other things while training such as read, talk or play games on iPad, etc.?
Yes! The NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback Trainer does not require you to place your attention on the training screen in order to run a successful session. The feedback comes primarily through interruptions in the music/audio. If you can hear the music, then the training session will be successful. You can read, sleep, meditate, whatever you feel inclined to do.
Why we recommend a checklist to keep track of progress
We ask all clients, regardless of whether they are renting or training in-office, to fill this checklist out every 8-10 sessions.
This checklist is key because it gives a numerical value to your goals and allows you to track your changes over time. Seeing the numbers change is a sign of progress! During the first 8-10 sessions, numbers typically drop by 3. For example, if "Difficulty concentrating" or "Often worry" starts at a value of 9, it is often reported to be a 6 after 10 sessions.
These reporting tools also improve self-awareness. One of our goals as neurofeedback coaches is to help clients notice how they are feeling. Noticing subtle changes helps you get ahead of your feelings, and maintain a sense of focus and calm. Self-awareness is the first step to success, because it key to identifying which tools will help re-regulate the mind, whether it is a neurofeedback session, going to be early, or getting to the gym.
Do You Get Better Neurofeedback In An Office?
With the NeurOptimal® system the answer is no. Given the design of the software, the expertise is in the software, not in the person administering the session. Read more about the difference between NeurOptimal vs. other neurofeedback systems here.
What is Dynamical Neurofeedback?
The NeurOptimal® software is Dynamical and designed to be responsive to each brain's millisecond by millisecond brain waves, which are measured as electrical voltages. Those brain waves are translated by an amplifier into numbers, which is what every EEG measurement device does. They translate the electricity into meaningful numbers called brain wave frequencies. The mathematics behind NeurOptimal is looking for changes in those frequencies. When it finds changes, the system sends a "pay attention" signal within a microsecond to alert the brain to its own changes.