Everything You Need to Know for Your First Neurofeedback Session
Updated: Nov 23, 2022
Balancing Your Mind, Body and Brain with Neurofeedback is easy and fun.
What is Neurofeedback Brain Balancing?
Brain Balancing is training your brain & body to improve overall function and leads to improvements in how you feel and perform in your everyday life. Learning to balance your brainwave dynamics allows you more effective day to day functioning, providing a foundation for growth and stability. Exercising your brain allows it to process information more efficiently and therefore, you are less likely to become overwhelmed by stress, or become stuck in unhealthy behavioural patterns. One of the easiest ways to balance your brain is to learn meditation. Neurofeedback is an evidence-based therapy that can allow you to regulate your emotions and underlying biological changes.
How Does My Brain Get Stuck?
The brain's initial response to doing anything unknown is fear. You can lose sight of the big picture and become fixated on smaller details. Sleep issues, fatigue, brain fog, gut issues, mood swings, chronic pain, chemical sensitivities, obsessive traits and attention issues are all related to your brain getting stuck in unhealthier patterns. Balancing your brain can improve the flexibility and resilience of your nervous system so that your brain does not get stuck in the fight, flight or freeze response. Chronic & environmental stress and any form of trauma, where the initial response or injury was stressful, can cause the brain to create a feedback loop that disrupts the brain's ability to seek out new information. As a result, our brain can repeat the same familiar experience.
How Do I Get My Brain Unstuck
It is an evidence -based process that can encourage healthier brainwave activity by exercising your brain. Your body has both an emotional and physiological response to being stuck in unhealthy patterns, such as a racing mind and releasing chemical like cortisol and adrenaline. Racing thoughts can elicit maladaptive coping mechanisms, which can perpetuate themselves until the cycle is broken. That is where brain training comes in, helping you create healthier, more adaptive coping mechanisms and healthier habits. Neurofeedback Brain Training is a simple, non-invasive technique that allows you to re-calibrate your brain, re-setting the fight-or-flight response and circadian rhythm.
What is Neurofeedback Brain Training?
Simply put, Neurofeedback Brain Training is exercise for your brain that allows you to regulate your body and your emotions. It allows you to change your mental processes to reduce overwhelm and promote better sleep regulation and relaxation.
What is Neurofeedback Used For?
Neurofeedback Brain Training has been used since the late 1960’s to help people recover from addiction, mental health, trauma, attention issues and co-occurring disorders. While it is exercise and is not a treatment, brain training can help you train your brain to manage your mental health better. Most of the research has focused on epilepsy, autism, insomnia, ADD/ADHD, PTSD, anxiety, depression, and addiction. Clients with trauma have reported improvements when they feel they have exhausted talk-therapy. In his book "The Body Keeps Score", Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk, describes neurofeedback as a way to calm & re-calibrate the brain. Performance enhancement is another area that is creating interest. Athletes and performers report success in enhancing their brain function for optimal performance and functioning. Both NFL and NHL as well as Olympic athletes have engaged in brain training to maximize their performance.
How to Prepare for Neurofeedback?
Do your research! Neurofeedback is a rapidly evolving profession. While neurofeedback brain training is very safe, there are several different types of neurofeedback systems on the market. Some systems require an expert to run the system and others are simple to learn and operate. What is critical to the process, is finding a brain trainer who you trust and feel comfortable with. Choosing a brain trainer who has both the professional expertise and experience is crucial to facilitating your transformation process. Having an expert neurofeedback brain trainer who can teach your mindfulness techniques to help you embody the process is extremely beneficial. You want someone who can hold the ship steady as you evolve and create a new healthier lifestyle.
Know the Different Types of Neurofeedback Therapy
Before starting Neurofeedback brain Training Process, it is essential to understand what it is and the types available. It is also important when choosing your Brain Training Program that you choose an expert that has the education and training to support your needs.
Although research doesn't suggest that one type of neurofeedback is better than any other, many trained clinicians will often choose one type of neurofeedback system to use, while others will use multiple types of neurofeedback. Traditional neurofeedback is brainwave biofeedback and is a learning technique and, it does not put any stimulus into the brain. Neurotherapy techniques include biofeedback technologies as well as neurostimulation.
Neurofeedback exercises your brainwaves and strengthens your nervous system for more flexibility and resilience. This is accomplished by using computer software that senses disturbances in the electrical signaling
Linear systems use the premises of frequency training which seeks to discourage specific brain wave frequencies while reinforcing others. The person's brainwaves are measured during a session to gain audio and visual feedback. The computers reward and inhibits are set by the brain trainer, who ultimately directs the outcome of the session.
Dynamical Non-linear Neurofeedback
A Dynamical non-linear neurofeedback system uses the premise of frequency training but utilizes unique auto-navigation algorithms that allow you to interact with the training software and recalibrate your brain on the fly. It is very holistic and has no concerns of over training or undertraining. It allows you to speak directly with your brain and serves as a natural subconscious learning technique that re-educates your brain and body on how to get out of unhealthy patterns. The end result is that your brain learns more adaptive patterns without any side effects of over exercising.
Low-energy neurofeedback systems (LENS) is a type of neurotherapy in which the clinician measures the brainwaves of a client before sending tiny electromagnetic pulses to the location where the brainwaves were measures. The electromagnetic pulses stimulate the brain to break up area of "stuckness". This requires precise education and training because an impulse is directed into the brain. While impeccable it can come with potential side effects of being over stimulating such as a headache.
Having used several different neurofeedback systems, both linear and nonlinear and stimulus driven, I prefer to use dynamical neurofeedback as there is an eloquence to the training process that produces seamless shifts as your brain becomes more flexible and resilient. Dynamical Neurofeedback is a more holistic approach.
What Happens During My First Visit?
Expect an initial consultation to occur before beginning your brain training program. The consultation usually occurs in person during your first visit. The consultation may occur over the phone or online. Your neurofeedback expert will review your health history, and your goals of the training. This is an excellent time to clarify any questions. Typically, your neurofeedback expert will use these goals to help create your personalized training. Depending on your goals of training, your neurofeedback expert should have training in the area that you are seeking assistance with. For example, if you have a history or trauma, your neurofeedback expert should be trained in trauma and use a trauma informed approach.
During the first visit and subsequent visits your brain wave activity is monitored by placing sensors on your head and ears using a water-soluble paste. The neurofeedback computer monitors your brainwave patterns. In the case of dynamical neurofeedback, the computer uses unique algorithms to monitor your brainwaves and is providing accurate update information throughout the training process and a brain mapping is not required. If using a linear neurofeedback training system, a brain mapping is completed during your initial visit and at the discretion of your neurofeedback trainer.
Train Your Brain
To complete the brain training process sensors are placed on your head and ears. You will be given a headset and you sit back and watch a video display, listening to relaxing music. The images and music produced respond to your brain activity. When the Neurofeedback software senses that your brain is in a calmer, more relaxed state, the images flow, and the music plays. When the Neurofeedback software senses that your brain is in a less relaxed state, the images and music are interrupted. The interruptions in the visual and audio act as signals for your brain to “re set” itself, allowing your brain to reorganize itself into a more natural, relaxed, and effective pattern.
Neurofeedback brain training is exercise for you brain and the training will consolidate with subsequent sessions. Each training regime is specific to each person and their goals. As a general rule you will attend 1-3 sessions a week for a 2-3 month period.
How will I feel during and after a Neurofeedback Brain Training session.
In general, you will feel calm and relaxed during your brain training session. Sleeping during training does not decrease the effectiveness of dynamical brain training sessions due to the unique algorithms. However, if you work with a linear neurofeedback expert, they may request that you do not sleep during your session. Some clients will experience somatic sensations such as warmth, tingling, or even sense the chair is floating. Some clients may experience racing thoughts, memories or dream like activity. Some clients may experience a combination of the above. No two people are alike, and the results are individual to each person. After a session, you will emerge from the training feeling refreshed, relaxed and in a higher state of mental alertness.
How long does it take to see results?
Brain training is exercising your brain and it is not a treatment. Most people will usually see results within 1-3 training sessions. Lasting results are often achieved with a series of 10-20 Neurofeedback sessions. Children with attention and focus issues and those seeking symptom resolution from chronic health conditions may require 40 + sessions. Many people choose to engage in 40+ sessions as they explore their personal evolution. Your results may vary according to your goals and individual response to training.
Are there any side effects?
No. Typically, dynamical neurofeedback brain training doesn’t have adverse side effects. When using traditional linear neurofeedback brain training, it is suggested you can trigger a seizure or headache if over training occurs. However, the likely hood of this occurring is minimized when you use a neurofeedback expert experience & education. Using a dynamical neurofeedback system does not cause over training and hence there are no side effects. However, in some occurrences people can experience a profound relaxation effect where they have somatic symptoms or muscle twitches.
How do I get the best results form a neurofeedback session?
There is no specific preparation for brain training. However, if you wanted to optimize your training you would want to be as well rested as you can, hydrated and avoid caffeine and recreational drugs 24 hours before. While it is not a specific requirement, it will optimize your brain training program. Do not stop any prescribed medication before discussing with your neurofeedback expert.
Does Neurofeedback really work?
Yes, neuro biofeedback works by training the brain to change how it functions. Brain training directly taps into the body’s fight or flight response and the brain re-calibrates itself. The body’s circadian rhythm is also directly tapped into and re-set, so you fall asleep quicker, stay asleep longer and wake feeling refreshed. Neurofeedback training provides you with information, both at a conscious and subconscious level, and over time more healthful patterns become firmly established. While the process is very seamless in that it sometime is difficult to pin point exactly when the shifts will occur, it is very transformative.
Why Choose UR Wellness Neurofeedback?
UR Wellness Brain Balancing programs provide individuals with high-quality expert neurofeedback brain training. Our neurofeedback sessions are provided by nurses and our Founder has 20+ years Neurofeedback experience.
We believe in a whole-person approach. The UR Wellness’ Method of Intuitive Brain Balancing combines holistic western approaches, biofeedback technology, somatic psychology, and eastern healing practices to access the mind and the body at its full capacity. We teach you both at a conscious & subconscious level, how to decipher the subtle cues your body gives you, so you can be more present, healthier and connect with your body at a soul level, to make heart-centered, embodied decisions to stress less and sleep better.