What Is NeurOptimal Neurofeedback and How Does it Work?
Neuroptimal neurofeedback is a type of brain training that uses real-time feedback to help individuals improve their brain function and overall well-being. Developed by psychologists Valdeane and Susan Brown in the late 1990s, Neuroptimal neurofeedback is based on the idea that the brain is constantly seeking balance and harmony, and that by providing feedback about its own activity, individuals can learn to self-regulate their brain function.
Neuroptimal neurofeedback is unique in that it does not target specific brain waves or areas of the brain, but instead provides the brain with information about its own activity and allows it to self-adjust. By providing the brain with feedback about its own activity, Neuroptimal neurofeedback helps correct patterns of dysfunction, leading to improved cognitive function, emotional regulation, and overall well-being.
The Neuroptimal neurofeedback system uses sensors attached to the scalp to detect electrical activity in the brain. This activity is then translated into real-time feedback in the form of auditory and visual cues, such as a change in sound or image. The feedback is designed to be non-invasive, allowing individuals to simply observe their own brain activity without the need for conscious effort or control.
The therapeutic process typically involves a series of sessions, during which the individual sits comfortably in a chair with sensors attached to their scalp. The session typically lasts about 30-40 minutes, during which time the individual may listen to music, read a book, or simply relax. The Neuroptimal system provides real-time feedback about the individual's brain activity, which allows them to adjust and regulate their brain function.
Neuroptimal neurofeedback has been found to be effective in improving a range of psychological and neurological conditions, including anxiety, depression, ADHD, and insomnia. In a study of college students with ADHD, Neuroptimal neurofeedback was found to significantly reduce symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, self-concept, depression, and anxiety (Harris, 2017). In another study of individuals recovering from chemotherapy with post-cancer cognitive impairment and fatigue were found to experience significant decreases in perceived cognitive deficits, fatigue, sleep, and psychological symptoms following NeurOptimal neurofeedback brain training (Luctkar-Flude, Marian, et al., 2022).
Neurofeedback has been shown to be an effective alternative for children who do not respond to medication or whose parents would prefer a non-pharmaceutical intervention. In a comparison study, both neurofeedback and methylphenidate (Ritalin) resulted in improvements in a variety of measures relevant to ADHD sufferers including intellectual ability and only neurofeedback resulted in better response inhibition (Nazari et al., 2011).
One of the unique aspects of Neuroptimal neurofeedback is its ability to adapt to the individual's own brain function. The system is designed to be highly responsive to the individual's own neural patterns, allowing it to adjust and optimize feedback in real-time. This adaptive approach allows individuals to receive highly personalized feedback that is tailored to their own unique brain function.
If you are interested in exploring Neuroptimal neurofeedback, it is important to find a licensed and trained practitioner who has experience with this approach. Your practitioner will work with you to understand your unique needs and goals and develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific situation.
Neuroptimal neurofeedback is a promising and unique approach to brain training that uses real-time feedback to help individuals improve their brain function and overall well-being. By providing the brain with information about its own activity, Neuroptimal neurofeedback allows individuals to learn to self-regulate their brain function and improve their cognitive and emotional functioning. If you are interested in exploring Neuroptimal neurofeedback, talk to your healthcare provider or mental health professional to learn more about whether it may be a good fit for you.
All therapists at Sojourn are trained to deliver NeurOptimal neurofeedback. Book an appointment today.
NeurOptimal Frequently Asked Questions:
What Are the Benefits of NeurOptimal Neurofeedback?
Neuroptimal neurofeedback promotes overall brain optimization, leading to improvements in various areas of life. It can enhance cognitive performance, including focus, attention, memory, and learning abilities. Many individuals also report reduced stress levels, improved emotional well-being, and enhanced resilience in the face of challenges. Neuroptimal neurofeedback can help alleviate symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health conditions. Additionally, it helps in addressing sleep disorders, enhancing creativity, and promoting peak performance in sports and other activities.
Is NeurOptimal Safe?
Neuroptimal neurofeedback is considered a safe and non-invasive therapy. It does not involve any direct manipulation of brain activity or the use of electrical currents. Instead, it relies on the detection and feedback of the brain's electrical activity patterns through sensors placed on the scalp. The neurofeedback system simply provides real-time information to the individual about their brainwave patterns, allowing their own brain to self-regulate and optimize its functioning. Since Neuroptimal neurofeedback is a gentle process and asses and gives feedback on the entire EEG spectrum, it carries minimal risk of adverse effects. It is suitable for individuals of various ages, including children and adults, and can be used alongside other treatments or therapies. However, it's always recommended to consult with a trained professional to ensure the appropriateness of Neuroptimal neurofeedback for individual circumstances.
How many Neuroptimal neurofeedback sessions are typically needed?
The number of Neuroptimal neurofeedback sessions required can vary depending on individual needs and goals. Typically, a course of Neuroptimal neurofeedback involves multiple sessions. Some individuals may start noticing improvements after just a few sessions, while others may require more sessions to achieve desired results. On average, a course of Neuroptimal neurofeedback may consist of 20 to 30 sessions, at a rate of once or twice per week. However, it's important to note that each person's response to neurofeedback is unique, and the duration and frequency of sessions can be tailored to meet specific needs. A trained professional will assess the progress and adjust the treatment plan accordingly to optimize the benefits of Neuroptimal neurofeedback for each individual.
What conditions can Neuroptimal neurofeedback help with?
Neuroptimal neurofeedback has shown promise in helping with a wide range of conditions. It can be beneficial for individuals experiencing anxiety, depression, stress, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as it helps promote relaxation, emotional stability, and resilience. Neuroptimal neurofeedback has also been utilized to address attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as it can enhance focus, attention, and self-regulation abilities. Furthermore, it has been found useful in managing sleep disorders by promoting better sleep quality and reducing insomnia. Additionally, Neuroptimal neurofeedback has been helpful in the improvement of cognitive function, including memory, learning, and executive functioning. While research is ongoing, Neuroptimal neurofeedback continues to demonstrate its potential as a valuable therapeutic tool for individuals seeking support in managing various neurological and psychological conditions.
Is Neuroptimal neurofeedback suitable for children?
Yes, Neuroptimal neurofeedback is generally considered suitable for children. Neuroptimal is a non-invasive and gentle therapy that does not involve any medications or invasive procedures. It relies on the brain's natural ability to self-regulate and optimize its functioning. Children can benefit from Neuroptimal neurofeedback in various ways. It can help improve focus, attention, and concentration, which can be particularly beneficial for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or learning difficulties. It can also support emotional well-being and help children manage stress, anxiety, and regulate their emotions. Additionally, Neuroptimal has been used to address sleep issues in children, promoting healthier sleep patterns. However, it's essential to consult with a trained professional who specializes in working with children to determine the appropriateness and optimal treatment plan for each child's specific needs.
Can Neuroptimal neurofeedback improve sleep quality?
Neuroptimal neurofeedback can have positive effects on sleep quality. By promoting self-regulation and optimizing brainwave patterns, Neuroptimal neurofeedback can help individuals achieve more restful and rejuvenating sleep. Many people who have undergone Neuroptimal neurofeedback sessions have reported improvements in falling asleep faster, staying asleep throughout the night, and waking up feeling more refreshed. Neuroptimal neurofeedback may help address common sleep issues such as insomnia, restless sleep, frequent waking, and overall sleep disturbances.
Are there any side effects of Neuroptimal neurofeedback?
Neuroptimal neurofeedback is generally considered safe and does not typically result in significant side effects. Since it does not involve any invasive procedures or the use of medications, the risk of adverse reactions is minimal. While side effects are very rare, some individuals may experience mild and temporary effects after the first or second session, such as a slight headache, mild agitation, difficulty falling asleep, and fatigue. Most however report a sense of relaxation, increased awareness, or improved mood. Occasionally, individuals may also report vivid dreams or increased dream recall. These effects are generally considered positive and reflect the brain's natural process of self-regulation. It is important to note that everyone's response to neurofeedback can vary, and individual experiences may differ. Consulting with a trained professional who can monitor and adjust the sessions according to individual needs is recommended to ensure a safe and optimal experience with Neuroptimal.
Can Neuroptimal neurofeedback be used alongside other therapies or treatments?
Neuroptimal neurofeedback can be used alongside other therapies or treatments, making it a versatile complementary approach. It is compatible with various treatment modalities, including psychotherapy, counselling, medication, and other holistic interventions. Neuroptimal neurofeedback works by promoting self-regulation and optimizing brainwave patterns, which can enhance the effectiveness of other therapeutic interventions. When used in conjunction with other treatments, Neuroptimal neurofeedback may help amplify the benefits and facilitate a more comprehensive and holistic approach to healing and well-being. Collaborating with a team of healthcare professionals, including neurofeedback specialists and other therapists, can help develop an integrated treatment plan that maximizes the potential synergistic effects of Neuroptimal neurofeedback with other therapeutic interventions.
How long do the effects of Neuroptimal neurofeedback last?
The effects of Neuroptimal neurofeedback can vary from individual to individual, and the duration of these effects can also differ. Some people may experience immediate improvements in certain areas, while others may notice more gradual changes over time. The benefits of Neuroptimal neurofeedback are often cumulative, meaning that consistent and regular sessions can lead to deeper and more sustained results. The brain learns and adapts through neurofeedback training, and as individuals continue their sessions, the positive effects can become increasingly integrated into their daily lives. The duration of the effects also depends on various factors, including the individual's specific condition, their commitment to the recommended treatment plan, and any additional factors that may influence their well-being. To maintain the benefits obtained from Neuroptimal neurofeedback, some individuals may choose to engage in occasional "tune-up" sessions as part of their ongoing self-care routine.
How is Neuroptimal neurofeedback different from traditional neurofeedback?
Neuroptimal neurofeedback differs from traditional neurofeedback in several ways. Unlike traditional neurofeedback, which often involves targeting specific brainwave frequencies or regions, Neuroptimal operates on a non-linear dynamical system approach. It does not rely on diagnoses or preconceived notions of "normal" brain activity. Instead, Neuroptimal provides real-time feedback to the individual's brain, allowing it to self-regulate and optimize its own functioning. This approach is known as "neurofeedback training," where the individual's brain is encouraged to recognize and adjust its own patterns in response to the feedback received. Neuroptimal's unique design allows it to detect and provide feedback on subtle shifts in the brain's electrical activity, promoting self-correction and improved overall brain functioning. By working directly with the brain's natural tendencies, Neuroptimal neurofeedback offers a personalized and adaptable approach that can benefit a wide range of individuals seeking to enhance their well-being and cognitive performance.
Can Neuroptimal neurofeedback help with anxiety and stress?
Yes, Neuroptimal neurofeedback has been found to be effective in helping individuals with anxiety and stress. Neuroptimal neurofeedback works by providing real-time feedback on the brain's electrical activity, allowing it to self-regulate and optimize its functioning. By promoting self-awareness and self-regulation, Neuroptimal neurofeedback can help individuals better manage their anxiety and stress responses. It can assist in reducing the frequency and intensity of anxiety symptoms, promoting a sense of calm and relaxation. Many individuals who have undergone Neuroptimal neurofeedback sessions report feeling more grounded, resilient, and better equipped to cope with daily stressors. It can also contribute to improved sleep quality and emotional well-being, both of which play significant roles in managing anxiety and stress. Neuroptimal neurofeedback provides a non-invasive and drug-free approach to addressing anxiety and stress, allowing individuals to regain control and achieve a greater sense of balance and calm in their lives.
Is Neuroptimal neurofeedback effective for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?
Neuroptimal neurofeedback has shown promise in helping individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). By promoting self-regulation and optimizing brainwave patterns, Neuroptimal neurofeedback can help improve focus, attention, and self-control, which are key areas of challenge for individuals with ADHD. This training can help individuals with ADHD become more aware of their attentional states and learn to regulate them more effectively. Many individuals who have undergone Neuroptimal neurofeedback sessions report improvements in their ability to sustain attention, reduce impulsivity, and enhance self-management skills. While individual responses may vary, Neuroptimal neurofeedback offers a non-invasive and drug-free approach to addressing ADHD symptoms and supporting individuals in their daily functioning and overall well-being. It is important to consult with a trained professional who specializes in neurofeedback to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for individuals with ADHD.
Can Neuroptimal neurofeedback help with improving cognitive function?
Neuroptimal neurofeedback has shown potential in improving cognitive function. By promoting self-regulation and optimizing brainwave patterns, Neuroptimal neurofeedback can enhance cognitive abilities such as focus, attention, memory, and mental clarity. Many individuals who have undergone Neuroptimal neurofeedback sessions report improvements in their ability to concentrate, retain information, and process complex tasks more efficiently. The training can also contribute to increased mental flexibility, creativity, and problem-solving skills. While individual results may vary, Neuroptimal neurofeedback offers a non-invasive and drug-free approach to supporting and enhancing cognitive function.
Can Neuroptimal neurofeedback help with migraines or chronic pain?
Neuroptimal neurofeedback has been reported to offer relief for individuals experiencing migraines or chronic pain. While research specifically focused on Neuroptimal neurofeedback for migraines or chronic pain is limited, neurofeedback training in general has shown potential in helping manage these conditions. Neuroptimal neurofeedback works by promoting self-regulation and optimizing brainwave patterns, which can contribute to overall relaxation, stress reduction, and improved brain functioning. By training the brain to recognize and adjust its own patterns, Neuroptimal neurofeedback may help individuals with migraines or chronic pain experience a reduction in frequency, intensity, or duration of their symptoms. It is important to note that individual responses to Neuroptimal neurofeedback may vary, and it should be used as part of a comprehensive approach to managing migraines or chronic pain, in collaboration with healthcare professionals. Consulting with a trained practitioner who specializes in neurofeedback can provide more personalized guidance and support for addressing these specific conditions.
What is the success rate of Neuroptimal neurofeedback?
The success rate of Neuroptimal neurofeedback can vary depending on several factors, including the individual's specific condition, their level of engagement and commitment to the sessions, and their overall health and well-being. Neuroptimal neurofeedback has been reported to have positive outcomes for many individuals, with significant improvements in various areas of their lives. However, it's important to note that the success rate is not a one-size-fits-all measure and can vary from person to person. The effectiveness of Neuroptimal neurofeedback is often influenced by factors such as consistency in attending sessions, adherence to the recommended treatment plan, and individual responsiveness to the training. Consulting with a trained professional who specializes in neurofeedback can provide a better understanding of the expected outcomes and success rate based on an individual's specific needs and circumstances.
How much does Neuroptimal neurofeedback cost?
The cost of Neuroptimal neurofeedback can vary depending on several factors, including the location, the specific practitioner or clinic, the number of sessions included in a package, and any additional services or assessments offered alongside the neurofeedback training. At Sojourn Counselling and Neurofeedback, Neuroptimal neurofeedback sessions range in price from $110 to $155 per session, depending on the practitioner chosen. Additionally, it's worth checking if Neuroptimal neurofeedback is covered by insurance or if there are any reimbursement options available. Many third party insurance companies will cover neurofeedback if delivered by a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) or if the clinician is supervised by an RCC. It's important to check with your insurance provider to determine whether neurofeedback or RCC services are included.
Is Neuroptimal neurofeedback covered by insurance?
Insurance coverage for Neuroptimal neurofeedback can vary depending on the specific insurance plan, provider, and region. Some extended health insurance plans or employee benefits packages may offer coverage for alternative therapies, including neurofeedback, but it is important to review the specific policy details or contact the insurance provider directly to determine if Neuroptimal neurofeedback is eligible for coverage. It is also worth noting that coverage may vary between different provinces and territories in Canada. To obtain accurate and up-to-date information regarding insurance coverage for Neuroptimal neurofeedback, it is advisable to consult with the insurance provider directly.
How long has Neuroptimal neurofeedback been in use?
Neuroptimal neurofeedback has been in use for over two decades. The development of Neuroptimal neurofeedback technology began in the late 1990s by Dr. Valdeane Brown and his team at the Zengar Institute Inc. Since then, Neuroptimal neurofeedback has been continuously refined and evolved, incorporating advancements in technology and research findings in the field of neurofeedback. Over the years, Neuroptimal neurofeedback has gained recognition and popularity as a non-invasive and effective approach for promoting self-regulation and optimizing brain functioning. Its use has expanded globally, with trained professionals incorporating Neuroptimal neurofeedback into their practices. We at Sojourn have been using NeurOptimal since 2007 to help individuals improve their well-being, cognitive function, and overall quality of life.
Are there any age restrictions for receiving Neuroptimal neurofeedback?
There are no specific age restrictions for receiving Neuroptimal neurofeedback. Neuroptimal neurofeedback can be used across a wide range of ages, from children to adults and older adults. The training is considered safe and non-invasive, making it suitable for individuals of different age groups. Children, adolescents, and adults can all benefit from Neuroptimal neurofeedback to address various concerns, such as improving focus, attention, emotional regulation, sleep quality, and overall well-being. However, it's important to note that the treatment approach and session durations may be adjusted based on the individual's age and developmental stage. It is recommended to consult with a trained professional who specializes in neurofeedback to determine the appropriateness of Neuroptimal neurofeedback for specific age groups and to tailor the treatment plan accordingly.
- Harris, Shaywanna (2017). An Investigation of the Effects of Neurofeedback Training on Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Symptoms, Depression, Anxiety, and Academic Self-Efficacy in College Students. Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5378. https://stars.library.ucf.edu/...
- Luctkar-Flude, Marian, et al. (2022). Exploring the effect of neurofeedback on postcancer cognitive impairment and fatigue: A pilot feasibility study. Canadian Oncology Nursing Journal. 32(2).
- Markovitz, C. D., Calhoun, V. D., & Larson, C. L. (2015). Temporally dynamic brain networks supporting working memory and attentional control. Neuroimage, 117, 4-16.
- Nazari, Mohammed Ali, et al. (2011). Effectiveness of EEG Biofeedback as Compared with Methylphenidate in the Treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyerpactivity Disorder: A Clinical Outcome Study. Neuroscience & Medicine, 2, 78-86.