NeurOptimal Neurofeedback

NeurOptimal Neurofeedback

Reference: http://www.neurotribe.com/neurofeedback-explained

 

WHAT IS NEUROFEEDBACK?

Neurofeedback is a specialized and advanced form of biofeedback that gives information back to you about your brainwave activity as it is occurring. Neurofeedback can also be called Neurotherapy, EEG Biofeedback or Neurobiofeedback

The electricity generated by Central Nervous System (CNS) processing can be detected by sensors placed on the scalp and displayed on a monitor in real time. This is called the Electroencephalograph or EEG. With specially designed computer software, information about the performance and behaviour of the Brain and the CNS as a whole is then presented back to the individual via visual and auditory perception. The additional information enables the Brain to improve its information processing capacity, efficiency, resiliency, and learning such that long-term outcomes can be achieved.

People using Neurofeedback have experienced relief from a vast array of psychological, emotional & medical conditions along with considerable personal and spiritual growth. Neurofeedback is also widely used by people whom want to increase physical and mental performance, such as athletes, sportspeople, businesspeople, musicians, performers, and students.

 

  1. NEUROPTIMAL® NEUROFEEDBACK

NeurOptimal® neurofeedback is a unique, leading edge, state-of-the-art, Neurofeedback system that works directly with the psychological healing and transformational capacity of the Brain and the Central Nervous System (CNS).

After many years’ experience with multiple Neurofeedback systems and realising the limitations of a classical approach, Dr Valdeane Brown from the ZENGAR institute in Canada utilised his comprehensive knowledge to generate a remarkable breakthrough in Neurofeedback technology. Most importantly, Dr Brown recognised the CNS as a Nonlinear Dynamical System and understood its complexity, interactivity with other body and environmental systems, its dynamic operation, self-organising ability, and profound transformational capacity. Appreciating the brain could not be understood adequately via existing approaches, he designed a Neurofeedback system from the ground up to engage the incredible natural capacity of the CNS for healing, improved performance, and transformation; so as to bring about profound change with ease and simplicity.

NeurOptimal® monitors a broad EEG spectrum from both hemispheres of the brain simultaneously, rather than focusing on content or any particular EEG frequency as do other systems. The specially designed computer software and EEG hardware is designed to detect a particular type of turbulence that is characteristic of a transformational system operating less than optimally, this system, namely your brain is unable to utilise its processing and transformational capacity optimally. Such sub-optimal processing is generally caused by stress and lifestyle factors inherent in living in the modern world. This turbulence detection, is unique to NeurOptimal®, and the information is fed back into the Brain in real time via auditory and visual perception, which enables a natural fluid improvement: Particularly in terms of processing efficiency, stability, adaptability, resiliency, and increased transformational ability. Qualities that are essential for healing, performance and improved behavioural outcomes.

Since the late 1990’s, NeurOptimal® has been utilised internationally in the fields of Psychological Health, Optimal Performance, and Spiritual Growth and Development, with consistently beneficial wide-ranging and highly effective long-lasting outcomes. The rapidly growing international community of NeurOptimal® trainers support the Zengar Institute in its commitment to ongoing research and development for ever increasing beneficial outcomes and ease of use. Advances in the design of NeurOptimal® are such that the system is now available outside of the clinical setting for widespread use.

4.    THE DYNAMICAL BRAIN

To understand how NeurOptimal® works it is useful to first understand how complex the brain is and a little about how it functions.

The Brain is part of the Central Nervous System (CNS) and is the core information processing network of the body. It has 100 billion neurons with each connected to as many as 20,000 to 30,000 other neurons, totalling 1 quadrillion connections – about 300 million per cubic millimetre of cortex. If the pathways making these connections were placed end to end, it would total between 150,000 and 180,000 Kilometres: Over six times the distance around the earth. The brain is the most complex dynamical structure known within the universe.

This provides for a very complex and highly dynamic organ that receives information about functioning of the body and the external environment. It simultaneously coordinates all parts and systems of the body, including motor activity, whilst enabling higher cognitive functions such as, memory, emotional processing, language, creativity, and executive functioning – amongst many others. That is, brain is able to process massive amounts of information, develop responses, and learn them for increasing efficiency and mastery.

If we were aware of all the information processing going on, our conscious mind would be catastrophically overloaded. Fortunately consciousness is self-regulated, such that processing not requiring our immediate attention (which is most of the information processing going on) takes place outside of our awareness, within the unconscious. This leaves our conscious mind free to deal with important immediate activity that requires awareness, and focused attention.

In learning behaviour the brain self-organises such that a network of supporting neural interconnectivity is established. With repetition the neural connections are strengthened and more easily activated. Eventually the behaviour can become a primary and unconscious response – such as braking when you see a red light. If a learnt behaviour is discontinued, over time the supporting neural network begins to weaken, is less readily available and will lose primacy. The brains on-going ability to create new pathways and interconnections is known as Neuroplasticity and is essential for learning and adaptability.

Another very important feature of brain functioning is conscious and unconscious processing. If we were aware of all the information processing going on, our conscious mind would be catastrophically overloaded. Fortunately consciousness is self-regulated, such that processing not requiring our immediate attention (which is most of the information processing going on) takes place outside of our awareness, within the unconscious. This leaves our conscious mind free to deal with important immediate activity that requires awareness, and focused attention.

With conscious processing we practice selective awareness, work with chunks of information, build logical bridges, make decisions, and determine responses. Consciously generated behaviour, when repeated, becomes largely unconscious. This ensures conscious processing is not overloaded as new situations are encountered that require considered responses.

The Unconscious, in addition to holding patterned behaviour, processes our broader experience beyond selective conscious awareness. To process such massive amounts of information the Unconscious utilises fluid, global, and deep processing from which comes forward insight, wisdom, intuition, dreams, and understanding, alongside emotional and psychological healing.

 

If we consider these features of the dynamical brain it has profound implications for day to day living. For example:

  • If we repeat behaviour often enough, it develops a self-organising dynamic that then drives the behaviour. Self-sustaining problematic behaviours are largely unconscious and may be as simple as obsolete coping strategies or as extreme as serious psychological and emotional conditions. Once established they influence the way we perceive the world, our relationship with it, and our sense of self.
  • Behavioural dynamics are like a car rolling down a hill. If you jump in front just as it starts to move, it is a lot easier to stop than if it has developed momentum. When behaviour has an unconscious component, we are unaware of the activation and the build-up of the dynamical intensity. By the time it reaches awareness the behaviour is usually difficult to control because it is supported by powerful unconscious forces and has gained considerable momentum.
  • When conscious or unconscious processing efficiency becomes compromised through the stress of modern living, information overload, trauma, or other influences, loss of performance and suffering arises. The body systems it regulates are affected, processing and integration of life experience becomes inefficient, and the additional burden placed on the conscious mind results in loss of awareness and performance in the world. Consequently problematic behaviours, ill health, and dependencies arise. These include, but are not limited to:

 

Difficulty concentrating  Emotional difficulty Reduced awareness
Fatigue  Poor coping strategies  Diminishing sense of personal power
Impared mind body coordination  Cognitive noise  Loss of sense of self
Impared eye hand coordination  Cognitive instability  Poor impulse controll
Learning difficulty  Personality instability  Reactivity
Difficulty maintaining focus  Reduced physical health  Lack of adaptability
Poor response times  Rigid beliefs  Loss of clarity
Difficulty with decision making  Cognitive decline  Sleep disturbance
Reduced problem solving capacity  Impared immune system  Reduced coping strategies

 

That is, any of the body, emotional, or cognitive processes influenced by the Central Nervous System can be affected. The brains entire conscious and unconscious ability for optimal complex processing is determined by how efficiently it functions as a self-organising dynamical and transformational system.

Fortunately, Dr Valdeane Brown of the Zengar institute with his vast experience within neurofeedback recognised this some years ago, and realised existing approaches did not directly address the underlying processes that support healthy and optimal existence in the world. Drawing on his experience across several disciplines, including the new dynamical sciences, Dr Brown developed a unique, leading edge, state-of-the-art Neurofeedback system.

Called NeurOptimal®, it was designed from the ground up to work directly with the dynamical self-organising conscious and unconscious processes, to facilitate optimal functioning. The result is dynamical flexibility, adaptability, efficiency, and resiliency of processing with significantly increased resources and awareness. Qualities essential for optimal processing and integration of life experience for improved performance, increased success, better endurance, psychological and physical healing, greater life enjoyment, additional creativity, and enhanced personal growth with fluid transformational outcomes.

Remarkably, these far reaching outcomes are achieved effortlessly and safely when training with NeurOptimal®. There is no intervention, no manipulation, no effortful concentration, no decisions being made about what your brain should be doing, and no need to analyse the past or future. How, because it is recognised the brain is the most complex structure known in the universe with capacity beyond our conscious knowing, and that by providing a mirror of important aspects of its own dynamical functioning, it can use this information for self-correction, self-healing, learning, and optimisation of information processing and the transformational process.

 

5.    HOW NEUROPTIMAL® WORKS

It is very important to understand that NeurOptimal® is not an invasive or directive therapy as other Neurofeedback systems are. There is no diagnosis necessary as no treatment is taking place. Decisions are not being made about what your brain should look like, and it is not being pushed or pulled in any pre-determined direction. Nor is there any stimulus being used for entrainment or any other form of intervention. Rather, NeurOptimal® is peaceful non-directive training assisting the natural capacity of the brain and body for healing, personal growth, learning, performance improvement, and transformational evolution.

NeurOptimal® recognises that the behaviour of the EEG represents the dynamical activity of conscious and unconscious information processing within its entirety. When processing is compromised, with resultant loss of efficiency and impaired functioning, a particular type of turbulence develops within the EEG. NeurOptimal® is designed to detect this emerging turbulence at its earliest preconscious origins and alert the CNS so that it can maintain stability and efficient processing. The on-going return to stability and renormalisation interrupts the dynamic driving the problematic behaviour, before it gains momentum, and trains the CNS to maintain stability and efficiency of processing.

The sensitivity of the software is initially set so that only the peaks of turbulence are detected. Each detection of turbulence triggers a very brief (microseconds) interruption in music you are listening to. It is the interruption in the music that is the feedback and not the music within itself. The CNS very quickly connects these interruptions with the turbulence events that trigger them. Fundamentally NeurOptimal® is saying to your Brain – you just did that, …………. you just did it again, ………………. you just did it again, …….. etc. Your brain will use this additional information to reduce the turbulence events and thus begin to stabilise.

Each time the Brain stabilises in a NeurOptimal® training session it is learning how to do that, and gets better and better at returning to stability and developing its capacity to maintain it for increasing periods of time. Whilst the increasing periods of stability are occurring, NeurOptimal® plays an even more profound role via activation of the orienting response of the CNS. This is a fundamental survival function designed for detection of change in environment, and return to present time for appropriate response. For example, you can be driving your car talking to you passenger about what you will be doing next week. Unusual movement is detected peripherally, your CNS orients to that, and immediately returns your awareness to the present time requiring a release of the previous behaviour.

Utilisation of the dynamical inherent properties of the CNS in this way results in three very important outcomes. Firstly, during the increasing