WHAT HAPPENS DURING A NEUROFEEDBACK SESSION?
NeurOptimal® neurofeedback is effortless and effective brain training method. It’s a non-invasive and safe neurofeedback training for kids and adults alike.
Learn what to expect in a NeurOptimal session, how many sessions you need and best practices and cost.
Learn how seamless a NeurOptimal® session is for clients, what happens during a neurofeedback session, and how neurofeedback works in this short video.
Table Of Contents
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- What to expect from your first NeurOptimal Neurofeedback Session
- Commonly Asked Questions About Neurofeedback
- Why Choose NeurOptimal and What is the Difference Between NeurOptimal and Linear Neurofeedback Systems?
- How Do You Feel After A NeurOptimal Neurofeedback Session?
- When Doesn't Neurofeedback Work
- How Long Does It Take For Neurofeedback To Work?
- Is NeurOptimal Safe?
- Where Can I Find Neurofeedback Therapy Near Me? - Know Your Training Options
When training your brain with the NeurOptimal system, sensors are placed on your scalp and ear which read electrical signals or brainwaves coming from your brain. Nothing goes back to your brain through the sensors. You are given headphones to listen to music during the brain training session. The music is the platform for the feedback. The design of the brain is that we use auditory sense perception 24/7 to note changes in our environment. NeurOptimal was designed to use our brain's natural way of noticing changes.
The NeurOptimal neurofeedback program reads the brain signals 256 times per second! That’s how fast your brain is communicating. When the NeurOptimal software detects changes in brainwaves it creates a micro-interruption in the music, which you may notice as a skipping record sound. Why interrupt the music? It signals to you to pay attention to what’s going on. Through the training you are learning to use better information-present moment information-rather than staying stuck in your habitual patterns.
A good analogue is like when you are daydreaming and in a daydream you (your brain) are not aware of what is happening, not until someone calls your name (this moment is each millisecond that the music stops during a session) and you simultaneously realize that you were lost in a daydream, and recognize the quality of that daydream, as well as take in information about the here-and-now.
Training with NeurOptimal® is actually learning a new, more effective, way of being.
You get results because your brain is actively learning, even if you are not doing the learning consciously. So much like reading, once your brain knows how to read, it can’t “not know”. Your brain doesn’t forget. It may get rusty, but the effects of learning remain throughout your lifetime.
Read the Most Commonly Asked Questions About Neurofeedback Brain Training with The NeurOptimal System
Clients report feeling calmer, relaxed, grounded, less stressed, and more focused. Some clients notice feeling tired. These clients are often chronically ignoring the body's need and request for more sleep. They come out of the session realizing they need a good night's sleep. Read a review by a clinical social worker what her experience with NeurOptimal training
2. How long is a neurofeedback session?
A regular neurofeedback session lasts 33 minutes and the in-office visit takes a total of 45-50 minutes. Learn more about cost of a neurofeedback at home system here or schedule an appointment at one of our locations here.
The number of sessions varies depending on the client's goals. There are two general categories of clients, those with short term goals and seeking specific changes and the second has long-term goals and are more interested in overall wellness. The first "symptom relief" group often rents for 2-3 months and when they feel their improvements are stable, return the rental and may re-rent for a tune-up six months or a year later if stressors return and they find themselves wobbling and either not using their wellness tools or those tools not being effective. For this group if the issue, whether, as example, is executive functioning or performance anxiety, is gone or much less so, they don't feel the need to train.
The second "on-going optimization" group often starts renting and see after a month or so that the NeurOptimal program does a lot more than just help them with the issue that led them to start training. They start experiencing how the system was designed: to help us re-regulate and keep ourselves in the best condition for optimal functioning all the time. This group may include people with stressful lifestyles, children with on-going stressors internally or at school, or professionals who want to keep their minds as sharp as possible, with the greatest mental clarity, keep their moods calm, minimize emotional reactivity and have the most access to creative flow This second group often will return the rental after one month and decide, instead, to purchase a system.
Knowing why you are brain training and your wellness goals can help you decide how long to train for and if you should consider purchasing versus in-office sessions or home neurofeedback renting.
4. How will I know if the neurofeedback training is working?
This is the sister question to how many NeurOptimal® sessions are needed because we teach clients that they can use their own self-assessment to decide how often to train and when to take a break from brain training. Because NeurOptimal is designed for optimization of your brain and mental wellness, and is safe to use regularly, once the client knows its working, the number of sessions they do is about their personal goals.
5. How To Track Your Changes
The most important tool we use is a self-reporting checklist reflecting a broad range of areas that may be positively impacted. Clients fill out the checklist before the start brain training and every 8-10 sessions. Filling out this checklist takes about five minutes. It is an important part of training because it gives a numerical value to areas of concern and they can track their changes over sessions and see the numbers improve over time. We don't let clients see their previous forms until the next set is filled out. For example, a common drop in value over the first 8-10 sessions is 3. For example, "Difficulty concentrating" or "Often worry" starts at a value of 9 is often reported to be a 6 after 10 sessions. Below is an example of a clients checklist after 2.5 months of weekly neurofeedback sessions. Two changes to notice: one is the dramatically fewer areas of concern and the second is the improvement in intensity.
6. What can I do during the neurofeedback session?
The short answer is that you can do anything during a session that does not require a lot of movement of the body or head. You can close your eyes, read, look at your phone. The success of the training comes from the commmunication between the software and your brain.
That said, there is something we do recommend you do to enhance your training and to facilitate noticing changes. It is the second tool we use for tracking progress with neurofeedback: building self-awareness. During the training session we encourage clients to pay attention to the felt experience in the body and how it may change over the course of the session. How does your breathing change? Any sensations such as pain become more or less intense during the session? Do you feel calmer or more relaxed? Are you muscles tense or relaxed? One of our goals for our clients is for them to be able to notice how their body sensations and emotions change during a session and over the course of their brain training series. Self-awareness is key to success because clients can then choose what tools to use to help re-regulate themselves, whether it's a neurofeedback session, going to bed early, or getting to the gym.
7. How do I get the best results from NeurOptimal?
When you start training, by either coming in for sessions or renting a neurofeedback device from us there are some key dos and don'ts that may have an impact on how quickly you'll notice changes which you can read more about in our blog article: What you must know for best results.
8. How is the feedback delivered?
How neurofeedback works is delivering feedback through alerting us when change is happening. This alerting process happens through the millisecond-by-millisecond interruptions in the music. The design of the software is to use our natural orienting sense-perception: hearing, to deliver the feedback precisely at the millisecond the brain needs it in order to see its brainwave activity.
We are neurohacking our brains by interrupting its 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 brain to see it’s habitual mal-adaptive choices and then to correct them, hence the resolving of symptoms such as heightened feelings of worry and fear, which is the body’s fight / flight response, which is only supposed to be used when here’s an immediate threat to the body’s safety. When the brain sees this habitual choice is inappropriate for the here-and-now it will change course.
So while there is the necessity for sound it’s not the particulars of it, that make the neurofeedback effective; it’s the interruption process at the exact millisecond the brain is about to change states (read by the EEG patterning of the brain) and perform an action that is key for the ‘feedback.’
The number of sessions of neurofeedback that you will need is personal to your goals and the life factors that influence your health and wellbeing. When NeurOptimal® doesn't work for someone is when they don't train. You may think this is an obvious answer but the most common reason clients don't have success is because they stop neurofeedback before they've given it an appropriate chance to help them with their goals.
The factors that may influence that decision are: having unrealistic expectation about how quickly they will see changes, major stressors happening unexpectedly and they get distracted or overwhelmed, or being too busy and not setting a schedule for their sessions. Clients need to allocate 45 minute blocks for their neurofeedback at home. That's why we have over the years designed and re-designed our step-by-step rental process so that we can adequately educate clients, give them tracking tools to keep them training and noticing the changes, and check-in calls to troubleshoot if they have concerns.
10. Why Choose NeurOptimal and What is the Difference Between NeurOptimal and Linear Neurofeedback Systems?
With NeurOptimal there’s absolutely NO diagnosis required. NeurOptimal® is a brain training technique without brain mapping (EEG Scan), protocols or an "expert trainer" telling your brain what to do. With NeurOptimal you don't have to worry of "over training" - every time you use NeurOptimal® your brain receives information about what it has just done, micro-second by microsecond. It works with you wherever you are in that instant. Learn The Difference
Yes! Nothing is added to your brain or central nervous system! NeurOptimal® is a training and not a treatment. Unlike other systems, NeurOptimal® does not train states of consciousness. Indeed, it does not do anything to influence any outcome. Instead it is up to your brain to use the mathematical information it receives, or not — as it will. For this reason NeurOptimal® is an extraordinarily safe tool for self-optimization. In November, 2018, "FDA found NeurOptimal® to be a General Wellness Product and present no risk to the safety of users and other persons".
Although NeurOptimal neurofeedback training does not treat specific conditions, specific symptoms are alleviated because you are improving the overall functioning of the central nervous system.