compare neurofeedback equipment - WHAT IS THE BEST NEUROFEEDBACK SYSTEM?

NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback was created from a fundamentally different viewpoint than other systems. Understanding these differences will help you know whether NeurOptimal® is the choice for you.

See below to learn the different between protocol neurofeedback and dynamical neurofeedback (NeurOptimal) systems and why no brain mapping (EEG scan) is needed when training with NeurOptimal and why it is so safe. 


There are two broad categories of neurofeedback systems:

  • Protocol based, or linear neurofeedback
  • Dynamical® neurofeedback (NeurOptimal)



Traditional linear neurofeedback devices require you to diagnose ahead, sometimes via what is called a QEEG or brain map, which is a decision on which direction the practitioner feels the brain needs to be pushed as a result of a single static picture taken days or weeks earlier. These are called protocols. Diagnosing and then treating in this way is actually a VERY awkward and slow feedback loop. Rather than moment-to-moment feedback it is setting goals based on a single snapshot of brain functioning.

The brain or client is diagnosed as having a particular disorder which is then “treated”, relying heavily upon the knowledge and experience of the clinician to direct that treatment. Treatment is usually done by training up or down a minimal selection of frequencies in different locations. The feedback provided is used by the client to learn to produce more or less of these frequencies in the particular locations. Typically, the focus of training will be on one symptom cluster for a period of weeks or months until, hopefully, there is resolution, at which point the training will be adjusted to address another symptom cluster and so on. It is a linear, stepped process, and sometimes the frequencies needed for one set of symptoms in exactly wrong for another, leading to confusion and trial and error training.

With other systems, the practitioner needs to know a great deal about the brain to be able to work skillfully, and even then, in each case it can take weeks to know if what one is doing is actually the "right” thing that a particular brain needs.

The practitioner must be skilled in watching for side effects, which are typically recognized when the client complains about them, at which point training is adjusted in some way. Again, trial and error. 

Why is No Brain Mapping Needed With NeurOptimal?

The way most systems work is that first the practitioner needs to make a diagnosis. (For this reason, with most systems the practitioner needs to be a licensed healthcare practitioner). The diagnosis will then determine what your brain will be told to do. The diagnosis can be made by interview, evaluation of behavior and/or extensive review of past history and medical records. A one-moment in time picture of your brain may also be conducted, that shows the dominant frequencies it is producing in what location. This one brief "slice of time" is then used to direct training over subsequent weeks or months. Needless to say, this evaluation process is time consuming and expensive, and the client gains no direct benefit from this cost. Watch also our Q&A video: "Do I need a Brain Map Before Starting?"


What is Neurofeedback (also called neurobiofeedback, neurotherapy, and EEG biofeedback)?


NeurOptimal®: Dynamical Neurofeedback™ Brain Training System (Non-Linear)

Dynamical Neurofeeback Key Differences to Protocol Neurofeedback

NeurOptimal® is the only Dynamical Neurofeedback™ system on the market and has been used by wellness professionals for over 15 years.  The software works on the premise that the individual brain is its own expert, which has been confirmed in neuroscience with discoveries surrounding neuroplasticity and neurogenesis.  Give the brain good data and it will use it to optimize because the brain is always trying to use its energy to make the most efficient and effective decisions. 

The neurofeedback software uses mathematical calculations that translate the brain's main communication, electrical currents, into brain waves frequencies.  The data is collected through EEG sensors pasted to the sides of the head and clipped to the ears.  These sensors only collect information, nothing goes back to the brain through the wires.  The neurofeedback software collects 256 data points per second and at the exact millisecond that the brain's electrical patterns change, feedback is given.

The feedback is given through micro-interruptions in music that plays during the brain training session.  The brain's natural way to keep track of changes in the environment is through listening.  This is not the listening we do when we're concentrating on sound, it's the passive listening that's always happening. For example, the listening that wakes us up when a child whispers "Mom" when we're sound asleep. 

The alerting process that happens throughout the training session is a precisely timed back-and-forth dynamic process that happens between the brain and the software.  When alerted, the brain can pay attention to what is habitual in itself.  The brain is an information processing center designed to optimize its use of energy and make the best decisions. The key to optimizing its functioning is having good, real-time information. 

What does optimization look and feel like?  Because the brain is involved in a lot of different areas of functioning (sleep, cognitive skills, memory, mood, our reactions to stressors, language, and the list goes on....), we can create shifts in a number of areas when we train our brains. 

Clients often focus on just one or two goals but because NeurOptimal® is designed to target overall functioning, you can see changes even in areas where you weren't expecting them.  

NeurOptimal® targets 20 different sets of frequencies across the right and left brain, each target naturally balancing off the effects of others.


What To Consider When Trying Neurofeedback Training - Tips for Consumers

How NeurOptimal® Works - What happens in a Session?

woman resting during neuroptimal neurofeedback session

NeurOptimal® is state-of-the-art technology designed to give you milisecond-by-millisecond feedback to optimize wellness.

During a session, the client listens to music. The music plays continuously when the brain is running “on course” (whatever that course is for that particular brain) but as soon as the neurofeedback system detects critical changes in electrical patterns that the brain has “veered off” its path or has become less stable than what it just was, feedback is provided via a very micro pauses in the music. By offering this information, the neurofeedback software gives you the opportunity to shift in response to the information.

When you have done a series of neurofeedback sessions you notice you are better able to focus, manage your sleep, experience calm, and plan and organize yourself.

A mind that is more flexible adapts and responds quicker and more appropriately to changes in your environment.  The more easily you adjust to changes encountered in a normal busy day, the better you feel. A lack of brain fitness, on the other hand, can leave you drained and stressed at the end of the day.

Read Also: How Many Neurofeedback Sessions Do I Need?



Yes. Nothing is added to your system. With NeurOptimal® you will not “overtrain” because the neurofeedback is just that, feedback, given by precisely timed interruptions in music.

While those kinds of changes may be observed, they occur as part of an intrinsic self-organizing principal rather than an artificially imposed constraint. This is a large part of both the inherent power and safety of NeurOptimal® and how it invites very seamless change.




In 2018, NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback System was Designated By the FDA as a Wellness Product

Learn more


Dave Asprey Podcast on Neurofeedback

“The most effective biohack I’ve experienced yet."

Click here to listen to a Bulletproof interview with the co-founder of NeurOptimal: Dr. Valdeane Brown

Neurofeedback Cost & Best Training Options


Price range from $40-$60 per session. Renting your own neurofeedback machine is the most cost-effective and convenient training option. The advanced NeurOptimal home system provides the same training as in-office sessions. Learn more >


Our headquarter is located in NYC. We also have offices available in Boulder, Colorado, Portland, Oregon and Pasadena, California. All Locations >


We are sales representatives for Zengar Institute, the maker of NeurOptimal® and are here to educate you and answer any questions. Buy a Neurofeedback Machine >