What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is a non invasive brain training technique which is intended to improve health and wellbeing. It reads the electrical activity of the brain via EEG (electroencephalography) and then relays information back to the brain, usually visual or auditory, so that the activity of the brain is changed in some way. There are different approaches to neurofeedback some which require conscious effort in the change process and some which do not.
The Two Types of Neurofeedback
Most neurofeedback systems attempt to encourage the brain to move towards specific states or brain waves. This process it referred to as linear or traditional neurofeedback.
Linear neurofeedback works by having a neurofeedback trainer first take a map of the brain’s electrical patterns. This map allows the trainer to analyse brain activity, e.g., looking to see if your Theta brainwaves are low or Alpha too high in comparison with the patterns of an average brain. This mapping is called a qEEG- a Qualititative Electroencephalography. The map is then used as a reference point for the trainer to set protocols to help the brain migrate towards statistically average brain wave patterns, in order to diminish unhelpful patterns. A clinical diagnosis such as ADHD or anxiety can also be used to set the protocols.
The skills of the clinician are very important with this approach because errors in adjusting frequencies, i.e. over or under training of different frequencies can create side effects. It is the clinician that will be making many adjustments to counterbalance side effects and keep the brain migrating towards the desired end state..
Non-Linear / Dynamical
Non-linear neurofeedback is different to the linear approach because it is the brain that will choose to make its own changes, they will not be directed by a clinician. As a result, this approach is safe and side effect free. This approach is about about optimising brain activity across the whole brain, every single frequency, rather than specific targeted ones as in the linear approach. This type of Neurofeedback is based on the understanding that each brain is already programmed to be efficient and constantly make adjustments away from discomfort, so we are just helping it do that job as effectively as possible.
The inherent nature of our body and brain is to help us survive and adapt and effectively as possible and that, as with all natural systems, change doesn’t always happen in a linear, predictable way. So with this approach, we give the brain feedback about its own activity and know that brain will learn to autocorrect its inefficiency in its own time. No brain map or diagnosis is needed with this approach because it is a training for the brain to change itself, no clinician is driving a desired outcome.
With Dynamical Neurofeedback the software uses its advanced algorithm to present feedback matched with millisecond to millisecond changes in brain activity. The feedback effectively holds up a mirror to the brain prompting it to reassess and adjust its own activity. Ultimately this training helps the brain to reclaim its natural ability to be flexible, adaptive and resilient.
The Type of Neurofeedback we use at BodyMindBrain
At BodyMindBrain we use Dynamical Neurofeedback. The system called is NeurOptimal and we absolutely love the results that we see. Please read on to find out more about the NeurOptimal approach we provided – click here.