Where I Learned to Manage Stress: Los Angeles Neurofeedback Review

Posted by Sara St. John on Jan 8, 2018

I am still surprised when a neurofeedback client asks me, "Have you ever done neurofeedback on yourself?" It is an integral part of my ongoing wellness regime, particularly for stress management, and has been for years. I forget that people don't know that the reason I am professionally offering neurofeedback is because it has changed my life for the better. 

Los Angeles Neurofeedback Sara St. JohnIt is an understandable question, given how new neurofeedback systems are to the health and wellness industry.  Even for those who have heard of it, many of them misunderstand neurofeedback to just offer superficial relief. They are not aware that it has a more profound role in promoting wellness and optimal performance throughout life.

There is also a regional aspect to public perception.  When I lived in New York, preventative health was limited to getting yourself to the gym regularly.  Here in Los Angeles, the community takes wellness to a whole new level, and everyone is more aware of cutting-edge wellness products.   When I moved to LA a few years ago, I told people I was a neurofeedback trainer and they actually nodded in acknowledgment. Some had even tried it!  I knew I was not in New York anymore.  Below is my story of how NeurOptimal® neurofeedback changed how I manage my stress.

A Neurofeedback Review – My Experience with NeurOptimal®

neurofeedback trainer setting up a neuroptimal session

The most effective tool for helping me manage my day-to-day 
stress has been training my brain with the NeurOptimal® neurofeedback system.  It made such a huge difference in my life that I decided to switch careers and become a trainer myself!

I first started neurofeedback in New York City. Here is my experience:

"When I first started with neurofeedback training, it was hard to pin-point if it was the training or just me being ultra-relaxed – crowds in the New York subway and work deadlines didn't bother me as much. But after completing around 8 sessions, I left to visit my home country in Sweden and noticed a big shift.  I was feeling relaxed, feeling alert and awake in spite of suffering from jet lag. The most noticeable change was switching from Swedish to English was seamless. I knew then that the training was working.  I continued the training consistently for a year (training twice per month) - this was before I knew you could rent a home system. During this time, my overall mood improved.  It was much harder to get me upset!  I noticed I became more aware in the moment and felt more calm and rested, even if I did not get much sleep. I also didn't get sick as frequently. Now, I train about once per month."


Our Habitual Brain and the Stress Response: Who Benefits From Neurofeedback Training?

Neuroptimal Neurofeedback LA

Why Train Your Brain with NeurOptimal®?

The NeurOptimal® neurofeedback system is just feedback, and that was important to me when I started training.  I liked that my own brain was the expert and that the system was interacting with my brain to give it the information it needed to organize itself.   

I found that I was much better able to release myself from patterns I was stuck in.  As I trained, I learned more about how the neurofeedback system works. I learned that our bad habits get stuck in our minds and emotional selves, and that those habits are reflected on a brain level, as well. 

That made sense to me as I continued my brain training.  I found it so much easier to let go of frustrations, and to not worry about problems to the degree I had before.  I found my mind better able to let go of ruminating and sometimes even spontaneously laugh at how absurd it was to worry about what I was fretting over. 

I was ready to change and become a calmer person.  I used to be a stressed-out New Yorker working in the tech industry.  Here's an analogy I came up with to explain the changes to my friends and colleagues (if you're a techie, you'll appreciate it): using NeurOptimal® is like having a “defrag” of your hard drive.

What makes NeurOptimal® Different?

There are 7 fundamental differences between NeurOptimal®, which is the only neurofeedback system using non-linear design, and linear neurofeedback systems:

  1. No diagnosis. The training is for every brain.  The design is based on how the brain naturally processes information to improve functioning.  NeurOptimal® uses the mathematics that are closest to the brain's decision-making process, called dynamical non-linear chaos theory!  (With linear systems you need a diagnosis in order to set protocols for training.)
  2. It is a training, not treatment; absolutely no protocols (brain mapping, EEG map). It is the same effective training for everyone but it responds to each individual's unique brain patterns.  (For linear neurofeedback systems, your diagnoses may require contradictory protocols; your practitioner must make the right choice.)neuroptimal-sensor-hook-up
  3. No need to create a perfect hook-up of the sensors to your head.  NeurOptimal® recognizes and automatically removes unwanted signals.  It is the only neurofeedback system that has this feature. (Linear neurofeedback traning requires an expert to carefully hookup of sensors.) 
  4. No monitoring needed during neurofeedback sessions. As a fully automated system, AutoNavigation takes care of everything. It is so easy to use that the system works for both professional and personal use.  The latter includes the option for at-home training. (Linear neurofeedback systems require careful monitoring of sessions; a professional may need to move the sensors or change parameters.) 
  5. Does not tell the brain what to do with the feedback. (With linear neurofeedback systems, use of augment frequencies and suppress frequencies instruct the brain what to do. If the practitioner makes a wrong decision, effects can be very unpleasant.)
  6. Offers feedback on 20 different “targets” at once, which naturally balance each other. (Linear neurofeedback systems work with limited frequency bands.)
  7. No brain states are trained (Linear neurofeedback systems focus on state-based training. Excess training in any state can lead to unwanted side effects.)

NeurOptimal® – Affordable, Effortless, Non-invasive Brain Training

Not only is the neurofeedback training with the NeurOptimal system affordable, but it’s also more organic because your brain is effectively communicating with itself and making its own changes

The training also doesn't require any conscious effort from the trainee – one can sleep, read, talk, "zone-out"  and it still works!  It is effortless training. This is particularly helpful for children and teens. Watch this explanatory video to see how a NeurOptimal session works. 

In Fall 2018, the NeurOptimal® Dynamical neurofeedback was designated by the FDA as a General Wellness Product. It is 100% non-invasive.  This portable neurofeeback device was designed to be available to everyone, not bound to a medical facility. It is so easy to use that it can also be used at home. This is  especially helpful for families who are training together

5 Tips For Coping With Stress 

Besides healthy eating and keeping a good sleep hygiene, here are some tips that can help with managing stress. Please feel free to comment below with what tools you find helpful in your wellness routine!

Change your focus. If you have a flare-up in bodily discomfort and pain, or have excessive thoughts of worry or fear, place your attention on any specific non-painful part of the body (foot, hand, etc.).For example, if you have a headache, vividly imagine your hand warming up. The change in sensation in that partcartoon-by-randy-glasbergen-eat-sleep-eat-sleep-stress-management of the body will distract the mind from fixating on the source of your pain and worrying thoughts. Read more about pain management tools here

Stay active. If going to the gym is not possible or triggers more pain, go for nature walks in a nearby park or in your neighborhood. Try 20 minutes in the morning or before bed. Walking not only keeps your muscles active but it also relieves stress and can improve sleep. Read our ebook on how change your sleep habits.

Do a body scanThe body scan shifts from a wide to a narrow focus of attention. By focusing on your little toe all the way through the entire body, the body scan trains your mind to be able to move from detailed attention to a wider and more spacious awareness from one moment to the next. By getting into a habit of checking in with your body, you remind yourself not to push on those triggers that cause stress. Gradually, you'll know when you need to take a break, whether that is on the bus or while watching TV. 

Learn to meditate. By training your mind in mindfulness-awareness, you become more aware of how you feel before pain flares up. The great Buddhist meditation master, Chögyam Trungpa, wrote that meditation is “a means of working with oneself and the phenomenal world.” It is an essential tool to achieve liberation from all suffering but it also helps with the specific suffering of physical pain.  If sitting in a cushion is not possible, try sitting in a chair. Click here for a basic meditation technique.

Last but not least, try neurofeedback training. Help your brain optimize its functioning around stress and pain responses, including easing the fear surrounding it. Here are your training options

Talk to a Trainer!

Los Angeles certified neurofeedback trainer, Sara provides NeurOptimal sessions in Pasadena, California. She's also the Rental Manager for the California and Northwest Region and helps clients get the training at home from San Diego, Portland to Seattle and British Columbia, Canada. Want to learn your best training options or have specific questions about NeurOptimal? A 15 minute free phone consultation is available.



Sara St. John, started with neurofeedback training in 2011 as a customer. She loved it so much that she switched careers and became a certified NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback Trainer in 2015. She came to Neurofeedback Training Co with expert operations and communication skills from her previous 20-year career as a graphic designer. She is the rental manager and coach for the West-coast region- California, Washington and Oregon.

Expertise: NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback, wellness coaching 

Location: Pasadena, 28 N. Oak Ave., S. 204, CA 91107
Email: Sara@neurofeedbacktraining.com
Phone: 323-686-2717