What to Consider when Trying Neurofeedback training
As neurofeedback, or brain training as some call it, is recognized and growing in popularity, consumers need help to understand what is the best way to train with neurofeedback and what is the best neurofeedback equipment. There are a number of different systems on the market but before learning about the different brands it's helpful to first understand that there are two basic types of neurofeedback.
Dynamical Feedback vs. protocol-based neurofeedback – What's the difference?
There are two broad categories of neurofeedback systems: traditional, protocol-based or linear neurofeedback. Linear neurofeedback is the first generation of brain training. There are a number on the market, such as EEGer, Cygnet, Brainasium, LoReta and BrainPaint, most of which require a brain map assessment before training can begin. (Cygnet does not.) That map is used to create a protocol for training by a clinician.
The second type, dynamical feedback, of which there is only one on the market and is called NeurOptimal. It is the second generation in neurofeedback technology. Conceived of by Dr. Valdeane Brown back in the early 1970s the technology wasn't perfected until a decade ago after the speed of computing power was fast enough to match the speed of the human brain. It is marketed as the most advanced iteration of brain training technology based on the non-linear electrical patterns of the brain. Dynamical neurofeedback is a true feedback device in that the technology only feeds back the real-time information based on the electrical patterning, and therefore, does not need a map before training can begin. It is also 100% safe.
What is actually neurofeedback technology versus cheap gimmicks?
Here are some tips to consider when researching units:
- Clinician: Do I need to train in an office with a clinician in order to get effective training? If you are looking at protocol-based neurofeedback therapy, then yes, you want a qualified clinician with many years of experience, administering the neurofeedback training. Why? Because with protocol-based systems, the trainer is creating brain state changes by comparing your electrical brain patterns to "normal" brain patterns. If you are using the dynamical neurofeedback, the technology works by giving each brain immediate feedback about itself and triggers the brain's natural self-correcting functioning. With this non-invasive technique, there is no state changes created by the trainer. With these types of neurofeedback, a home system is safe, and often the best choice, especially with a family training.
- The Cost: If you're looking at a braining training in the $200 range, such as NeuroSky, you're probably looking at a digital signaling processor not a neurofeedback trainer. There is no feedback of your brain patterning through monitoring. They force a state change rather than providing real-time feedback. While many enjoy these devices, to use an analogue, if you were choosing a stereo system for your home these are the equivalent of picking an AM/FM radio. The highest quality neurofeedback systems range from mid-thousands for a home system to over ten thousand for a professional system.
- Nothing Added: A true neurofeedback device is not adding any electrical voltage to the brain. Any device that are stimulating the brain through micro-currents are not technically feedback devices. These systems are introducing electrical currents to the scalp to effect a change.
- Sensors: Neurofeedback requires EEG sensors placed directly on the scalp to collect the real-time electrical information from the brain that is sent to the software system for translation. Once translated, the information is fed back either through visual and/or auditory cues. (More info...) One sign you're looking at professional-grade neurofeedback is that there is "goop" involved, which we call conductive paste. It is key for the electrical information to be passed from the scalp to the sensors at the speed of micro-seconds. In order for the training to be effective, that electrical information has to be delivered at the speed the brain communicates in, which is micro-seconds.
What happens in a NeurOptimal Session?
The Dynamic Feedback Home System from NeurOptimal is the most advanced Neurofeedback System available. This video describes what will happen during your first NeurOptimal session, including how this kind of neurofeedback technology works, what you might feel and the best way to train. View all training options here
Here's another brief video describing how NeurOptimal works.
Best Training Option – Rent Neurofeedback Home System
Why Renting A NeurOptimal Neurofeedback Home System?
- Same training as in office visits. All our rentals feature NeurOptimal 3.0 software
- Save in overall cost of neurofeedback sessions (Cost can be as low as $40 per session)
- Easy to use, long lasting and effective
Pick up the equipment at one of our locations for free or have it shipped directly to your home for a small shipping cost. .
Not sure what Neurofeedback Option is best for you? We're here to help!
Schedule a free consultation with one of our expert Neurofeedback Trainer Coaches.