What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback that measures brain waves to produce a signal that can be used to teach self-regulation of brain function. To understand neurofeedback, it’s important to have a base understanding of brain waves.
Brainwaves are the electrical impulses produced by your brain in various activities and states. Brainwaves can give us clues about how you feel and function, your habits and tendencies, your mood, your stress levels, and your overall brain function.
Neurofeedback at Open Minds is not a treatment for any psychological/medical diagnosis or condition, but rather a training tool for the brain to become flexible, nimble, and efficient. As your brain begins to run more effectively, undesirable symptoms decrease, and resilience and cognition increase. Neurofeedback detects problematic areas as presented by your brain’s neurological patterns, signals this, and invites an opportunity for your brain to carve out new, more efficient paths that support well-being.
How Does Neurofeedback Work?
Using sensors on the scalp, Open Minds’ dynamic system takes a continuous, real-time scan of your brainwaves, and can identify specific cortical disregulations and ‘stuck states’. During a neurofeedback session, you listen to an audio track that functions as a backdrop while the brain analysis software mirrors back what your brain is doing. When your brain veers out of regulated and efficient states, there is a subtle pause in the audio for a fraction of a second (most of the time, the pause is not perceivable by the conscious mind). With this signal, your brain learns to recognize that its own activities is triggering these interruptions, and it can then shift out of ineffective states and can self-organize to form new neurological patterns.
What’s unique about dynamic neurofeedback is that the training isn’t so much about reaching for desired brain states as it’s about strengthening your brain’s ability to make shifts in and out of any state at will with flexibility and ease.
Linear and Dynamic Neurofeedback
Unlike linear neurofeedback technologies where an external bias (a clinician) is manipulating your brain waves and is focused on maintaining certain brain states, the neurofeedback system used at Open Minds is dynamic (non-linear). This means the technology we use is set up to support the individual brain to self-regulate at your own pace, readiness, and will. Another way to describe this is that linear neurofeedback tends to be brain state oriented, and dynamic neurofeedback is resilience oriented.
Neurofeedback is Brain Training
Much like physical exercises, the more your brain trains itself into more flexibility and adaptability (rather than in constant over or under-arousal states, or unable to shift out of brain states inappropriate for the task at hand). With time and practise, the brain will gain the ability to self-regulate and be nimble. Lasting shifts in cortical response and intracortical function, and hence, neuroplastic changes, are enhanced after neurofeedback. As dynamic neurofeedback has gained greater adoption, research shows that the technology is effective for addressing several attention span related concerns, anxiety, sleep disorders, and limiting beliefs around self and life. Neurofeedback can also enrich cognition, peak performance, and heightened states of consciousness.