NEUROFEEDBACK AT HOME - SET UP AND START TRAINING
If you rented a NeurOptimal system from Neurofeedback Training Co. and are ready to start training, the following is a detailed guide for how to get oriented, set up and start using your system.
Need extra help? Reach out to your rental manager or use the chat widget in lower right corner. Please identify yourself and let us know what state you are located in so we can better assist you
Table of Contents
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These documents are exclusively for Neurofeedback Training Co. Rental Clients.
Before Your First NeurOptimal Session, You'll Need…
Your own headphones or earbuds (please don't use any wireless headphones). Or play the sound through the tablet's speaker. Both options are equally effective.
Your Wi-fi login information. Please make sure to connect the system to wi-fi and use the system once per week. The NeurOptimal 3.0 software, requires a high-speed internet connection for it to work properly.
Wet-wipes or damp paper towel. To wipe off the paste and clean the sensors afterwards.
- Time and Patience. The neurofeedback training program itself is 33 minutes long. Before your first session, we recommend reading through the manual before starting and allow about one hour total time to complete a session.
STEP 1: Fill out a Checklist
The Personal Checklist is used to track your progress
We strongly recommend all renters fill out our Checklist Form prior to starting and then again, after every 8 sessions. By checking back regularly you create helpful feedback for your brain training process. For example, when clients see their 10 rating for "Feel Anxious" turn into a 4 after a few weeks of training, it is a like mirror that shows your progress.
STEP 2: Set Up The Equipment
Unpack your system and plug in the power cord and zAmp. If you had the system shipped make sure to save all the packaging material and re-use upon return.
In this short video learn how to plug in all the components of the system.
Step 3: Apply The Five EEG Sensors
There are a total of five EEG sensors to set up. NeurOptimal 3.0 targets 20 different sets of frequencies across the right and left brain, each target naturally balancing off the effects of others. Apply enough conductive paste to cover the end tips of the sensors. Have a wet-wipe or damp paper towel in handy!
Step-by-step Guide on How To Apply The Sensors
- 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. In the beginning it may help to watch yourself in the mirror when applying and removing the sensors (just remember to connect the USB cord to the tablet before starting a session).
- Scoop the conductive paste onto sensors so the paste is covering the tip on both sides, without touching the paste with your fingers. When scooping paste put your forefinger on the back of the cup for support, preventing bending and possible sensor damage.
- 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 is 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.
- Pick up the YELLOW SENSOR and cover just enough paste on the plate. 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. Please note: 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”.
- 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!
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STEP 4: Start a Session
Sit in a comfortable chair. 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. Length of the brain training is 33 minutes.
How to start a NeurOptimal Session at Home
Natalie Baker, founder of Neurofeedback Training Co. demonstrates to operate the NeurOptimal 3.0 software and how to start a session.
Neurofeedback Trainer Sara guides you in how to start the software and start a session.
How to open the program and start a session.
Tap with your finger or using the stylus pen on the NeurOptimal logo icon at the bottom of the Tablet to open the program. (Make sure the tablet is hooked up to internet first).
- After opening up the NeurOptimal program, a Vault Window (or dashboard) will appear. This Vault is the hub of the software and where you will start your session from.
- If it is your first session, enter your name. Double tap on the blue bar that says "Client." In the window that appears next please fill out your first and last name or your initials (no need to fill out anything else). Keyboard icon is located at the bottom right corner. Please note: only enter a name once and do not start a session under "Digit Al" (this is the default name which is used for quality control).
- Already entered your name but cannot find it? Tap on "All" at the bottom of the Vault Window (or on your first initial of your last name). .
- Next, tap on your name to highlight it first (name will appear with a blue background), then double tap your name and the session will start (or tap and hold on your name and choose "Start a Session" in the dropdown menu).
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 (if it is not, start the session again and/or reboot tablet)
- 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. Once the session is over the music will stop.
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Make sure to have the tablet connected to wi-fi, then 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.
STEP 5: Close The Program
Shut down the tablet and 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 carefully after each use with wet wipes or in running warm water (make sure to dry them afterwards)! Any lingering paste can cause corrosion and will reduce the lifespan of your sensors. Do not soak in water.
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 it clean!
Good To Know...
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 locate your name after entering it in The Vault (the main window of the program)? 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 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.
How do I know a session is in progress?
The primary feedback is via audio, as long as you have the sensors placed on scalp and ears, 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.
What does the EEG sensors do?
NeurOptimal 3.0 targets 20 different sets of frequencies across the right and left brain, each target naturally balancing off the effects of others.
During a session, the sensors will 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.
How will I feel after a session?
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. 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.
The main point is that transformation with neurofeedback happens according to the brain’s own intrinsic wisdom, with no conscious effort from the user.
Why is it important to have the system connected to wi-fi?
The software needs to be re-licensed and updated every 7 days. If it is not used within this time period or not connected to wi-fi the program will not open and a Tech Support call (remote connection with a NeurOptimal Technician) is then needed. To avoid this we ask the rental client to login to the wi-fi at start and leave it connected automaticallly. At times the program needs a software update (which always happens automatically at start). If there is an update, it's recommended to install and reboot tablet.
Commonly Asked Questions Setting Up A Session At Home
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?
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.’
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 do I hear the interruptions (feedback) even if the sensors are not placed on my scalp and ears?
Read our blog to get more brain training tips!
WATCH: HOW TO DO AN EXTENDED SESSION (44 minutes instead of 33 minutes)
When you rent, you have the option to do an extended session. Please note: There is no data that proves this extended session provides better results than the regular session, but if you fall asleep during a session, and want a longer nap, go ahead and do an extended version! The regular session is 33 minutes long and what is normally used in-office sessions.