Frequently Asked Question

  

Will it hurt?

No. NeurOptimal Neurofeedback is 100% non-invasive. Nothing is being put into the brain at any time. Sensors are placed on the scalp to monitor electrical activity of the brain. Sensors are clipped to the ears to provide a ground and control. The information gathered by the sensors is transmitted through wires to an amplifier box, and then through a USB cord to a computer or tablet which analyzes the information. Information travels thru the cords and amp on one direction only, away from the body. Feedback is provided thru the audio you are listening to during the training session. It is impossible for electricity to be transmitted to your brain with this equipment. Think of the sensors, amp, and wires like a stethoscope that a Dr uses to listen to what is going on in your heart. The stethoscope is simply a tool for listening to the heart. The sensors, wires, and amp are simply tools used for listening to the brain. Most clients leave a training session feeling profoundly relaxed.   


  

Is it safe for children? While pregnant?

Yes. Neurofeedback is FDA approved for stress reduction. When you are listening to NeurOptimal® you will hear brief micro-pauses in the sound. Once you settle in to a session, you might hardly even notice them.  Unlike other systems, NeurOptimal® does not train states of consciousness. Indeed, it does not do anything to influence any outcome. Instead it is up to your brain to use the mathematical information it receives, or not — as it will. For this reason NeurOptimal® is an extraordinarily safe tool for self-optimization. In fact, history of its use world-wide as revealed in two extensive surveys of our users indicate that we have now well over three million hours of safe usage under all our belts. And that number is growing exponentially. Neurofeedback has been safely used extensively with children. Pregnancy can be a time of great joy and excitement, and also a time of high anxiety and stress. Neurofeedback is a safe and non-invasive way to de-stress during pregnancy. 


How many sessions does it take?
Optimize Neurofeedback utilizes the NeurOptimal® system which is training, not treatment. Because every brain is unique, and we are simply training the brain to work more efficiently there is no way to predict when clients will see change in any specific area. That said, many clients report seeing some shifts within 5 sessions. It’s not uncommon for clients to report improved sleep after the first session. Similar to training your body to work more efficiently at the gym, multiple session is going to have a greater effect than one.


Will it cure my.…..?

 NeurOptimal neurofeedback is training, not treatment. Optimize Neurofeedback does not diagnose or treat any medical condition.  There is no diagnosis required because the focus is on improving brain resilience and flexibility, which naturally leads to a reduction in problems/issues. Because every individual is unique, there is no way to predict the order or timeframe in which individual clients will see change.   

 

How often should I train?.

We all have a unique brain, and a unique schedule.   The brain does need time to process the information presented (through the auditory feedback) in the training sessions, so no more than 2 sessions per day is recommended. At least weekly is ideal to be able to see, feel, and track progress. Some people only train once every 2 weeks. Some people have the desire and ability to train daily. Similar to training at the gym, you’re not likely to continue if you don’t experience some noticeable benefit within say ten visits or so. At the same time it would be unrealistic to expect to see major transformation in negative patterns that have accumulated over years, with just a handful of sessions.             


Do the effects last?

 Research consistently indicates that clients maintain their improvements from neurofeedback training. Several research studies looking at the effects of neurofeedback at the end of treatment and a year later, have demonstrated that additional gains are made over that year as the individual continues to practice what they learned during neurofeedback treatment. Once you know how to walk, you never fully loose that skill. So yes, it lasts. But if you don’t walk for a very long time (astronauts, bed bound for an excessive time), your muscles get weak and your balance might be off.  But once you jump back in, you quickly catch up and you’re off! NeurOptimal® is very like that. Once you have done say 20 sessions, we like to say “you have it in your back pocket”. But if you get thrown off by something happening in your life, a session or two or three can get you right back. You can also stop training any time you want, and pick back up again later. It’s really up to you. Many of us who own NeurOptimal® frequently consider it part of our own self-care, much like exercise. We are living tissue after all, and daily life stressors, lack of sleep and pollution all take their toll. You might want to run yourself weekly or monthly to stay tuned — it’s really up to you. It’s your brain doing the training after all. It will let you know when it wants a session! At Optimize Neurofeedback we have found ways to easily keep it in our lives. We will run a session while we are working at our desk. As long as we are not moving wildly (such as running on a treadmill) it’s fine because NeurOptimal® automatically ignores the noisy signal that prevents other systems from working.  Kids can do a session while doing their homework or playing a quiet game. So yes, the benefits of NeurOptimal® do remains with you, and when life throws you an unexpected curve a few sessions can quickly help you get back on track. 


Long term effects of neurofeedback treatment in autism:  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1750946708001335

Sustained effects of  neurofeedback in ADHD:

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00787-018-1121-4

 

So many different types of people can work with NeurOptimal® for many different reasons and purposes. How can one program do that with something as complex as the brain, especially when there are no settings to change? How can “one size fit all”?

When initially researching the difference between linear and non-linear neurofeedback, we here at Optimize Neurofeedback had a difficult time with believing non-linear would perform as well as claimed. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is. The answer makes sense, and is actually quite simple. Let’s go back to the analogy of the mirror. No matter who looks into it, the mirror can always be exactly the same mirror. But every image is going to be different, and even the image of one person is going to be subtly changing, never the same one minute (or second) to the next. NeurOptimal® is like that mirror, giving information micro-second by micro-second. Not only will two people never have the same session, no person will ever have the same session twice. It’s impossible because as the brain shifts in response to the information it is getting, the image being reflected back also changes. It’s a unique dance between the person and their own brain, or, described another way, of the brain dynamically dancing with itself. So NeurOptimal® can never be described as a “one size fits all”. We here at Optimize Neurofeedback took an educated leap of faith in “trying out” NeurOptimal Non-linear Dynamical ™ Neurofeedback, after trying traditional linear neurofeedback at a local hospital with mixed results. The results were so impressive, that a professional system was purchase for unlimited home use.  2 years later Optimize Neurofeedback was created to help others "Be Your Optimal."    



What’s the deal with Training vs Treatment?   Linear vs Non-Linear?   What’s the difference?   Does it matter?

Linear is 2D.  NeurOptimal non-linear is 4D.

Linear Neurofeedback has been around since the 60’s. It looks at 2 dimensions of brain activity; frequency and amplitude.  Most practitioners require QEEG brain mapping prior to initating sessions.  The QEEG brain map results, along with reported symptoms are compared with other “typical” brains, to determine a medical diagnosis. Based on the diagnosis the practitioner will choose a protocol attempting to manipulate (push or pull) the clients brain activity in a specify direction to get it within the “normal” parameters. Remember the brain map is what was happening in the client’s brain at one single portion of one day. It can be very representative of typical brain activity, but it will be affected by the patient’s quality of sleep the night before, currently blood sugar level, level of anxiety with 18 sensors and a rubber cap on their head, etc. With a skilled practitioner and a single diagnosis, linear neurofeedback often works amazingly but can be costly and time consuming. With a less experienced practitioner, or more than one diagnosis problems with side effects can arise. A good practitioner is constantly using their experience and adjusting the current protocol during each session in an effort to increase positive effects and minimize negative effects. With the linear neurofeedback process, the focus is on treatment.

NeurOptimal® Non-Linear Dynamical Neurofeedback™ has been around for 19 years.  NeurOptimal ® looks at 4 dimensions of brain activity; Duration, Intensity (amplitude), Frequency, and Shift. It is measuring these 4 dimensions 256 times per second, and providing feedback in real time. The brain is a dynamic organ which is constantly changing, and learning based on what is happening in the present moment. When the system detects a shift in the duration, intensity or frequency of the brain activity, it provides feedback. This feedback allows the brain to self-regulate, as well as it can, depending on it’s needs, and within it’s limitations. As the feedback continues, the brain gains in resilience and flexibility. NeurOptimal® utilizes complex mathematical algorithms to analyze changes or inconsistencies in the brain’s electrical activity as it is occurring, rather than based on a brain map produced in the past. Because the expertise is built into the system, no practitioner skill is necessary (although knowledge of how the system works is valuable). Because NeurOptimal® is analyzing brain activity microsecond by microsecond, no diagnosis is required. With NeurOptimal’s Non-linear Dynamical feedback process, the focus is on improving brain resilience, and flexibility which naturally leads to a reduction in concerns/issues.  

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If NeurOptimal® is so simple that anyone can safely operate it with a rental unit, why are you an Advanced Certified Trainer? 

Unlike traditional linear neurofeedback, it is incredibly simple and safe for the average person to run NeurOptimal® sessions without extensive training. Knowing that with our specific situation my family would benefit from unlimited sessions, I bought a professional unit and used it with family and friends for over a year before I attended and completed the Basic Certification Course. I felt comfortable that I understood the basics of how NeurOptimal works and was living with the proof that it works.  No certification necessary. When started contemplating creating a business so I could bring this amazing technology to others, I wanted to be sure I fully understood the science behind it and know that I could answer with certainty any questions that were brought to me. Remember, I am a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor of Science in in Community Health Education. I prefer to err on the side of giving too much information, rather than not enough. Plus, I’m kind of a math and science nerd and find this stuff fascinating. Basic Certification requires completion of a 16 hour course covering neurofeedback basics, the philosophy, the theory, the history, an introduction to how NeurOptimal® works. A minimum score of 90% is required on the exam at the end of the course for Basic Certification. The Advanced Certification requires participants to have completed the Basic Certification, as well as full attendance throughout the 16 hour course, and a minimum score of 90% on the final exit exam. The Advanced Certification course includes a much more in-depth explanation of the math and science behind NeurOptimal®, a more comprehensive look at the differences between linear and non-linear systems, current approaches in Dynamical Neurofeedback, basic concepts of dynamical systems, strategies for supporting clients thru their journey, tracking changes in duration, intensity, frequency and shifts.


Is Neurofeedback covered by insurance?  Coverage varies state by state, and based on the provider but typically is not covered. Optimize Neurofeedback does not direct bill insurance. Some clients have had success submitting reciepts for reimbursement thru Flexabile Spending Accounts.


What’s the average price of a session?  Rates vary substantially based on location within the US, and the number of sessions you commit to. At Optimize Neurofeedback prices start at $100 per session with an Advanced Certified Trainer and can drop to less than $10 per session with a rental unit in your home. ($10 per session assumes over 100 sessions ran on a one month rental unit.) 


Could individual results be due to placebo effect?  The field on neurofeedback was developed based on work with cats. Animals do not respond to placebos. Individual results might be enhanced by placebo effect. 


Where do I find a NeurOptimal Trainer?  If you are in the Kansas City metropolitan area, contact Optimize Neurofeedback at 913-890-3339 to schedule a session with a NeurOptimal Advanced Certified Trained in your home or office. If you live anywhere in the United States, Optimize Neurofeedback also utilizes a variety of training tools (in addition to phone, text, video conference or email),  which allow us to teach clients how to do sessions on their own with one of our rental units. If you are not in the Kansas City metro area, and prefer to visit with a local trainer in person, click on the blue "Find a Local NeurOptimal Trainer"  button.



This is Your Brain on NeurOptimal 

from October 2012