Is neurofeedback different from biofeedback? - Our FAQs explained about neurofeedback therapy

Posted by Sara St. John

We've put together the most frequently asked questions to help you learn more about neurofeedback. In this article we answer questions such as: length of a session, if it's covered by insurance and who benefits from neurofeedback therapy. We also explain what sets NeurOptimal apart from other more traditional protocol or linear neurotherapy systems, and why an expensive brain map or QEEG Map is not necessary when training with the NeurOptimal.


What is Neurofeedback and what is the difference between Neurofeedback Therapy and EEG Biofeedback?

They are interchangeable terms- neurofeedback training, neurofeedback therapy and EEG biofeedback, however, some products call themselves 'neurofeedback' but does not collect any EEG (the electrical currents of the brain) data!  It is an advancement in biofeedback that measures brain waves to produce a signal that can be used as feedback to teach self-regulation of brain function [Learn more from Wikipedia].  EEG Biofeedback has been around for almost 40 years, but its practical use was inhibited by the scarcity of the computing technology to deliver real-time feedback to the brain, which requires measuring microseconds.  With the advancement of the speed of computers it has been developed into a powerful technology that can greatly enhance your well-being and generally help you get the most out of life. 

How Neurofeedback Works

Dr. Diane Roberts in an article in Psychology Today describes Neurofeedback to be a "Cutting Edge Technology"  that can help people with neurological symptomsView the research here

The system we use for sessions and rentals at Neurofeedback Training Co.. is called NeurOptimal®  and developed by Zengar Institute. Their proprietary neurofeedback system is a highly personalized brain training software that prompts the central nervous system to optimize it's use of energy and only perform functions that are needed for present-moment needs.  For example reactive yelling at work, which is the stress response, is not an efficient use of brain energy when speaking calmly will do the task.  The brain needs feedback that here-and-now is not a threatening and that it's about to use a huge amount of energy to solve a simple issue: your employee sent out the wrong information to a client just address calmly.  This is the automatic brain that reactively, habitually uses the 'yell response' in communication.  NeurOptimal training allows that brain to register that inefficiency and re-wire itself to use energy more effectively.  

How Does NeurOptimal Work?

How Long is A Session and How many electrodes ?

The actual running time is 33 minutes but overall it's 45-50 minutes if you include the time to put sensors on and remove them. There are a total of five electrodes, to their ears and scalp picking up brainwave activity. Watch how a NeurOptimal neurofeedback session works > 

Can neurofeedback "fix OCD and Social Anxiety"?

Neurofeedback training with NeurOptimal is not considered a treatment.  It's an advanced brain training method to improve overall brain function and the process is very individual and gradual. With consistent training it can reduce many symptoms for conditions such as anxiety, depression as well as OCD. (Remember that yell response from above, OCD is part of the same stress-response brain that automatically overworks and it is also part of the brain that we don't consciously control.  Training the brain to see it's reactive patterns, such as the hyper-arousal response of hypervigilence- checking the stove to make sure it's off multiple times an hour-is a huge brain inefficiency!  If having any kind of diagnosis it's best to train consistently for two months or more (if renting) or commit to in-office sessions over a period of time. Talk to your neurofeedback coach what would work for you or see this blog post and video: How many neurofeedback sessions are recommended when renting a home system?


what happens at the first appointment and how much does it cost?

Watch this video here what happens in a session. The cost per session varies between locations but the range is usually $125 and up with some discount for the first session. Our headquarter is located on Manhattan in NYC and we also have offices in Los Angeles/Pasadena and Boulder, Colorado and Portland. See our page Neurofeedback Sessions & Cost . Alternatively, you can also visit NeurOptimal's website to find a neurofeedback trainer near you for sessions. Another more convenient option is to rent a neurofeedback system for home use. Renting a home system is by far the most cost-effective option and is most suitable for families/couples who want to train together or individuals who want results quickly. The rentals are month-to-month base  - you decide how long you want to keep it for! Cost on Neurofeedback Training for Home Use

Is neurofeedback covered by insurance?

In our NYC clinic we offer an out-of-network receipt for those who have insurance but don't take insurance directly.  Call your insurance company and ask: "Does my insurance cover EEG biofeedback in my behavioral (or mental health) benefits?  The CPT code is 90901 if they ask for it. We do offer rentals as a lower price alternative to office sessions. The home system rentals are the same technology as at any clinic that provides NeurOptimal, but at a much lower price! Learn more about renting a home system

How is your system different from LoRETA, BrainPaint, Brain State or EEGinfo? 

Many of our customers want to know what sets NeurOptimal apart from the first generation, linear neurofeedback systems. Besides cost, there are three main differences between the Dynamical NeurOptimal® Neurofeeedback and other Biofeedback EEG systems:

1. No diagnosis is needed (no expensive brain mapping, or QEEG Map required)

NeurOptimal does not need a diagnosis to improve brain performance (ie get rid of symptoms). The heart of the NeurOptimal® system -Dynamical Neurofeedback® - is a proprietary technology based in neuroscience and specifically designed with the naturally non-linear function of the human brain in mind.  Dr. Valdeane Brown, co-creator started with traditional linear neurofeedback but as early as 1973 saw that there was a better way to train the brain using it's own dynamical, non-linear design, but the technology wasn't there to support what he wanted to create.  It wasn't until 2011 that the computing power was fast enough for the system to become fully automated.   As a result of Dr. Brown's unique design, this neurofeedback system can be used effectively to address a wide array of complaints without specifically “targeting” them from the outset of the training. Who Can Benefit From Neurofeedback? 
2. It's extremely safe 
Nothing is added to your brain, nor does it "push" the brain in any one direction, the dynamical neurofeedback provides the information your brain needs to correct itself and, as a result re-wire itself for optimal performance on-going. Just like you have developed the most efficient way to walk given YOUR particular shape, weight and size, your brain is designed to find its own, unique, most efficient response to various situations, IF given the right feedback at the right time. Read what our clients say about the training:  Neurofeedback reviews >

3. No effort is required on the user’s part while in session

During a training session, you can simply relax and enjoy! Other neurofeedback systems require the user to “interact” by playing games or solve puzzles during sessions. This additional level of interaction is unnecessary with the NeurOptimal® system. Read in more detail: NeurOptimal vs. other neurofeedback systems
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neurofeedback-trainer-coach-saraTalk to a Neurofeedback Trainer!

If you still have many questions about neurofeedback, and about your training options, we're here to help! Schedule a 15 minute phone consultation with one of our experienced neurofeedback trainers, Alison, Kate, Natalie or Sara

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