Product Review: NeurOptimal Neurofeedback made by Zengar

Product Review:

Zengar’s neurofeedback system called NeurOptimal has been on the market for the past several years.  At Cognitive Connections we use it as we prepare the body’s system to be functionally calm while reinforcing the mental state of focused and alert.  Most individuals use this this as a standalone process to create a homeostasis within the CNS (Central Nervous System).

I have been a Neurofeedback practitioner for 26 years.  Beginning with systems within our field that promote that the practitioner set up and define the amount of ‘feedback’ an individual was going to get during their therapy depending on their diagnosis.  This required us to set the software program and thresholds for the individual to attain their goals.  These instruments leave a great deal of responsibility and authority to the therapist.  Sadly, many times the therapist went to a weekend course before they put up a shingle stating they were a Professional in Neurofeedback.

Let’s look at how Neurofeedback traditionally works:  a computer runs a software program that indicates how much strength (microvolts) of a signal or cortical activity (electro-magnetic information) that individual is displaying.  Some Neurofeedback technicians believe that depending on where these little sensors are placed on the head they can directly influence the ‘brain-wave’ activity directly below that sensor.  After working with a group of Neurologists in Indiana, I have come to understand that this little electrode is only reading a ‘summation’ of all the cortical activity that is being generated in the brain so the changes that occur with Neurofeedback is global, through-out the brain.  Due to this concept it also stands to reason the brain being dynamic is always changing and it would be impossible to change one very small area of activity without it affecting the rest of the brain.  It would be the same as if you went to the gym to work out and decided to only work your left bicep, no matter what exercise you did to increase muscle mass in the left bicep it would also affect the surrounding muscles (and make you look funny).

So, in the traditional model we measure the amount of microvolts (strength) of electromagnetic activity and the practitioner then sets up ‘thresholds’ or boundaries to ‘inhibit’ and ‘augment’ specific frequency levels dependent upon what they call a qEEG.  The q’ is a 24 channel unit that takes a picture of the cortical activity under different brain circumstances and then produces a standard protocol driven on that 12-15 minutes of recorded activity.  The individual is usually asked to sit still with eyes open then eyes closed, and asked to do a task under pressure such as counting backwards from 335 by 7’s.   This measurement is recorded and depending on what the tech sees that day the next several months of brain training is focused on that static moment.  The cons to this program from my perspective are that our brain is not static, and the individual’s cortical activity in that moment is probably not indicative of what they are like when they are not in a stranger’s office being pasted up with wires and fearful of what the results may say.  The Pro’s are they are a pretty picture J

This static picture, traditionally then drives the protocols of sessions this person will take with that technician meaning the next 25-30 sessions will be set up to assume this person is ‘anxious’ due to the 23-38 hz activity displayed or they have ‘attention’ concerns due to the excess slow activity in the brain, with eyes open.  This could be a somewhat accurate picture of that individual but very likely the qEEG has taken pictures of a brain that is influenced by the concerns of the process (lack of sleep the night before, full/empty stomach, dialogue with spouse/parent, work related issues or school related issues that day).

After using these traditional systems for several years I discovered a different method of recording and mirroring back the ‘brain  events’ sometimes referred to as ‘turbulence’ within the cortical activity and achieving a neuronal balance; NeurOptimal.   Dr. Val Brown created a system that works along with a dynamic (ever-changing) brain.  His program has ‘targets’ within the software that actually encompasses the entire range of frequencies from 0.5 hz to 128 hz and allows the brain to self-organize by using ‘auto-dynamical’ settings.  The result of this type of a global system is constantly mirroring the cortical activity to the individual this ‘information’ is received and results in a dance between the computer and the individual.

When we have a frequency or two that is too loud in the brain it is like having a trumpet blaring in an orchestra.  We want the trumpets in the orchestra however, if you cannot hear any of the violins, then there is a problem.  All of the cortical activity we have is good activity, however, when we get too much of certain frequencies then they become too loud and jeopardize the ‘jobs’ of other frequencies (like being able to sleep because your anxiety frequencies are too loud).  This sounds simplistic however, suffice it to say, with NeurOptimal the brain is able to be dynamic and the system will respond in the moment and give information that allows that person to ‘retrain’ their brain.

The Pros of this innovative system are:

  • It is able to give information to all frequencies at one time, this program is global mirroring back information from 0.5 hz to 128 hz. This creates a relationship with the program rather than the technician picking and choosing specific frequencies to augment or inhibit. (In traditional systems, if you can take away ADHD, but depending on your experience and knowledge you can also create it by augmenting and inhibiting the wrong frequencies)
  • NeurOptimal is perfect for all people working on all conditions including Peak-Performance, not because it is a ‘one size fits all’ but because it is using the auto-dynamical thresholds and ‘meeting the person where their cortical activity is on that given day’, using whatever brain events that person has and detecting ANY turbulence in that cortical activity. The instrument will detect this activity within milliseconds and give information to the trainee that they had an interruption upon which time the system then will respond in kind. (256 times per second!  Faster than any trainer could physically respond to the individual!)
  • The music is beautiful; using music created just for this program, Jeff Bova, wrote a seamless rendition that encompasses the individual.
  • The system is so self-regulated it is now able to be purchased as a home system for anyone to use and gain benefit from.
  • Therapists that do adjunctive processing, like we use at Cognitive Connections are able to do Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy at the same time as they are doing Neurofeedback. We use this system for many concerns, strokes, TBI’s, Auditory Processing, ADHD, FASD, Autism and Sleep/Pain concerns.  Programs like Bulletproof Executive are using the system to promote Peak Performance due to its ease and robust abilities.  Other mental health therapists use it in their office for trauma, depression, PTSD, and bessel van der Kolk’s recommendations. .

The Cons

  • The visual graphics that the system uses right now is Windows media player, and although, this is beautiful, I personally would appreciate a different more visually appealing program. ( I understand Zengar is looking at changing that in its newest rendition)
  • The paste is still a concern with all systems, traditional and NeurOptimal, for now that is a concern we all just have to live with!
  • The program is so easy to use it is putting therapists out of business! No seriously reducing the number of months sometimes years a therapist is working with a client!

*It is of note that although I do not work for Zengar or gain monetary gain from writing this, I am a teacher and trainer of this method to other therapists and potential users of NeurOptimal.  Should you have any additional questions about either traditional or Dynamic Neurofeedback systems do not hesitate to contact me at 317-258-7444 or http://www.cognitive-connections.com    

Dr. Lise’ DeLong, PhD, CPCRT   ~Developmental NeuroCognitive Specialist

When Do YOU Run a Session?

Many readers are avid runners of NeurOptimal ®(NO) Neurofeedback.  Most know this system for use with physiological ‘issues or symptoms’ such as anxiety, sleep, or attention concerns.  But did you know it is used for many other reasons?

NO is a wildly popular Peak Performance instrument and is being used with corporate offices, business executives, College students and even those that are trying to keep up in their home life maintaining their children’s schedules!   We are lucky to have Samantha Diavatis describe her journey with NO.

Thanks Samantha for sharing your thoughts!

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Samantha Diavatis

 

When do I run a NeurOptimal® session?

NeurOptimal® is my cornerstone.  I use it regularly, and prefer when the people around me do too.  I could never picture my life without it, and when asked what I’d want with me on a deserted island, my first response is my NeurOptimal® unit.

When I first began working for Zengar (doing admin), I had zero interest in neurofeedback.  It was 2002, before anything related to the brain was “cool”.   I thought neurofeedback was weird and not for me.  Boy, was I living under a rock!   One day, I was in the NeurOptimal® (then, NeuroCARE) booth at an event and they needed a head to do a demo on.  I volunteered mine, having no idea this was going to be a life changing moment, and it rocked my world.  Within 5 minutes, I felt a fog that I had been living in (that I was not aware of at the time) part, like clouds after a storm.  I was hooked after that….and have never looked back.

I began understanding that NeurOptimal® isn’t only for “sick” people as I had previously thought.  It’s a tool that anyone can use to function at THEIR best, whatever that best is.  “Best” means something different for everyone, and you won’t know what that means for you until you try it for yourself.

I often get asked “How often should I run a session?”.  My response?  As often as you can.  I personally do one when I feel like I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, knowing it’ll make me feel better, which in turn means my family will have a better day.  I run a session when I have a presentation to make, knowing it’ll help me own the room as my words come freely to me and I approach the event with a sense of calm, creating a more enjoyable experience for my audience.  I’ll run a session at my desk while going through emails, knowing it’ll help me get through them more quickly, providing me with the ability to answer them in a more efficient way.  I also know that on days I do that, my work day will be more organized as my focus is through the roof, resulting in a bunch of to dos being checked off my list by the time I go home that evening.  I’ll run a session if I know I have a house full of kids coming up, knowing it’ll help keep me relaxed, more fun and more easygoing.  Feeling sad?  A session will help.  Big decision or business strategy to work out?  Session!  An a-ha moment may happen during the session, but minimally, my thoughts will make a lot more sense to me afterwards.  A session also helps if I need to process something like a disagreement or a large life event.  If, for some reason I’m not sleeping well, I know that doing a session or two will get me the shut eye I need.  And of course, I’ll also just run myself for the hell of it.  After all, there is never any harm in taking care of yourself, is there?

I find that the more organized my brain is, the easier it is for me to lead a happy life, making better decisions for myself, and approaching what can otherwise be thought of as difficult situations with common sense, less emotion and the ability to see the bigger picture rather than focussing on ego.  It feels so good knowing that I have this tool that so easily helps keep me level headed.  It also feels good knowing I’ve got this tool in my back pocket for my son and his friends around him— to help them all live their best life. He’s 10 now, but I have full intention of selfishly running his closest friends as they enter their pre-teen years, so his group can hopefully be more anchored and make better decisions for themselves in their teen years than if they wouldn’t have had sessions under their belt.  After all, what parent doesn’t want that for their child?   I could never picture my life without NeurOptimal®.  As a matter of fact, I’m doing a session right now:) ________________________________________________________________

To reach Samantha please email sam@neurOptimal.com to let her know you read her journey or for additional questions.

For more information on how you can get started on your own journey with your NeurOptimal ® System give me a text or call:  317-258-7444 or email drldelong@cognitive-connections.com   

Dr. Lise’

 

Touched By An Angel

As most of my you know, I love sharing clients, friends and colleagues experiences in my blogs!  Today I want to introduce you to Hannie Ruinen, a NeurOptimal trainer and friend from the Netherlands.   Hannie had an experience not foreign to many of us that are trainers with Neurofeedback but I was honored to hear no matter where you live, what language you speak or  what difficulties you are experiencing, people are able to get significant results with NeurOptimal!  If you are interested in more information and want to be touched by your own angel…give me a call 317-258-7444 in the Unites States, or call Hannie if you live ‘over that pond’.

Touched by an Angel During a Neuroptimal Session by Hannie Ruinen

(This is a genuine story that happened in my private practice Neuro-Insight only last April 2016).

How does the story go? Well, let me start the story where it began….

In December 2015 I received a call for help with NeurOptimal Neurofeedback (what else…?) from a 51 year old lady who hadn’t been able to sleep well since 2007, without any significant reason. Let me tell you, as an experienced coach and NeurOptimal trainer, I was sure that something must have happened in that year, and, I also knew that the lady would tell me within 10 sessions.

She appeared to be a very hard working person with lots of interests in doing things, and in other people. She is the kind of person who would take everyones’ crap on her shoulders including her own, trying to solve and help in the same order. She also told me she was hypersensitive to smell, sounds and so on…..

During the next four weeks she received four sessions, and after the fourth session she reported she noticed she could sleep 5 hours straight without waking. For her, that was a major breakthrough.

After the 7th session, she walked in happily because she had been able to stand up for herself and say ‘no’ to additional responsibilities that came from work. She felt confident saying no to working late for a colleague who was ill.

During her 8th NeurOptimal session she started to cry, it just happened. She couldn’t stop. I handed her tissues, without asking or saying anything, just allowing this to happen. You see, as a NeurOptimal trainer I just know that things will be emerging and this was definitely happening at that particular moment….

After the session she asked me if she could share what had happened. So here’s what she said….”You see, Hannie, today, exactly at this hour, it has been 7 years ago since my brother passed away in an accident. And, I never realized it, but now I see that I have been feeling that I was robbed from my brother that day. I never had the chance to say goodbye to him, and I miss him immensely…During the session I could smell his presence, I could feel his touch and I heard him saying that he is alright, and that this is the time for me to let go of my feelings of guilt and go on with my life, and start exploring my gift of being a sensitive person. ‘I was touched by an angel, who is my brother’. Thank you for that, because if I hadn’t had these NeurOptimal sessions with you, I am sure this would never, ever have happened.”

 

I want to thank Hannie, for sharing her experiences with her client and the Angel!  It is always such a treat to witness self-healing and be a part of such a powerful process.  If you are interested in participating in a NeurOptimal program please do not hesitate to call and we can set you up with a trainer in your area.  If you are interested in becoming a NeurOptimal trainer give me a call and we can get you into our training program and teach you the skills needed to be a part of this program.  Lastly, if you would like to rent or purchase a system for home use, again, give me a call!  317-258-7444.

Just another thought by Dr. Lise’

Hannie Ruinen  * hannie.ruinen@neuroptimal.com  *  info@neuro-insight.eu

http://www.neuro-insight.eu  * The Netherlands  +31 6 38 0138 68

The Brain that Trains Itself

What?  Brains can train themselves?  YES!

We have known for years about Neuroplasticity  which is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by creating new neural connections.  Neurons or nerve cells in the brain will learn a new pathway to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or even changes in their daily environment.

For the first time a system has discovered a method of recording the brain’s cortical activity and ‘mirroring back’ to itself (256 times per second) what it just did so it can learn from it’s own actions or brain events.  As the brain is presented this information it reorganizes and learns from itself!

As this balance occurs the person will first be able to sleep better; falling asleep within 5-20 minutes, staying asleep all night (without too much tossing or turning) and waking feeling refreshed.  This first change helps to generate an environment that allows a reduction in many of the symptoms people have such as; anxiety,  depression, reactions to stress, rumination (repeating certain thoughts over and over) and learning new skills or learning to compensate for lost skills.

This tool has been specially designed to allow for ease of use in the office for therapists or technicians and for families in their home.  It is a simple product that is robust and consistent.  People use this system for attention, memory, sleep, stress, mood concerns, peak performance, brain injuries such as traumatic brain disorders, strokes, concussive syndromes and trauma.

If you are interested in learning more about how to retrain your brain and take advantage of the process of neuroplasticity using the NeurOptimal system call us at 317-258-7444 and we will share more information with you!

A thought from Dr. Lise’

 

 

 

 

 

Neurofeedback and Small Children

Stuffed Dog & Electrodes

Ahhh…a good night’s sleep, do you remember the last time your child slept through the night?

Neurofeedback helps retrain cortical activity so that sleep is re-regulated. I know little people may look as if they just have excess energy, (some are even medicated for it!) but what if I told you that that extra energy may be due to trying to stay awake…The child may be trying to ‘not’ fall asleep during the day and wiggles and squirms to stay awake! This is probably because they are not rotating through their sleep cycles. If Neurofeedback could help them retrain this brainwave activity and they could wake up feeling more in control and less impulsive, wouldn’t that make life a little easier for you?

Many parents approach me with questions such as ‘how can I get my child to sit long enough for Neurofeedback’, ‘What if they pull off the leads’, or they will say things like; ‘my child is hypersensitive and won’t tolerate anything on their ears’. I have some parents of Autistic children that say their child ‘can’t pay attention to their parents voices how will they pay attention to this music’?

I have been using Neurofeedback in my office for 18+ years and had lots of different experiences with small children. I learned techniques of working with these wee-ones that now are second nature. I now teach other therapists, educators and parents how to help their children stay connected with the process in a way that allows an entire 33 min session to be completed without any struggle.

Neurofeedback has been one of the only process’ that will calm a baby in the womb. Our lives are so hectic and most Mama’s are so stressed to be a Professional, a Mother, a Wife and a Woman of her own accord. It is imperative that if you have stress through-out your pregnancy, that you drank throughout your pregnancy (or even at all), you have any traumatic event or your baby was born with any particular condition then you may want to look into this non-evasive method of anxiety/chronic stress reduction.

Do you have a child that won’t sleep? High-strung children have a tendency to not sleep, not focus, not listen, and not learn. Neurofeedback can retrain the brain to sleep and if all it takes is to help that child learn how to relax in a fun way, then you have helped your child for life!

BTW…Neurofeedback isn’t JUST for children you know! Mom’s and Dad’s have stress too! Let’s do a family package 🙂 Visit our site and leave us a message saying you want your FREE Children’s Relaxation CD and let’s get our kids sleeping well!!!! http://www.cognitive-connections.com

“Batter Up…Player Down”

Awww… so cute and soft and cuddly! At what point is it we look at this sweet innocent little face and ask this little man or sweet little girl, to entertain us by running as fast as they can bumping, banging, pushing or falling into another person, and then encouraging them to chase a ball.

Here’s a game…a game of risk, a game of challenge. How about 10,000 children run all over a field and it is promised that each of you at some point (and you never know when) will get your head clobbered…could be hard enough to ‘ring your bell’, maybe hard enough to be carried out on a stretcher but either way it will happen and probably many times. But the reward is that 6 out of the 10,000 on the field will have a shot at playing with other Pro’s; 7 figure income, huge homes, and nice clothes. Oh, and more than likely it will leave lasting behavioral changes; inappropriate responses to people, easily angered, more likely to take risks, can’t think things through, depressed, and possibly can’t keep a job because you may not be able to think ahead or remember details.

The clincher is, as a society we are encouraging our babies to grow to be aggressive, competitive sports players on the .06% chance that they may succeed into a Pro athlete. The other 9,994 people that tried as hard as they could now are failing school, because they are inattentive (that happens with ‘head bonks’) and are acting out in class, even being mean (they just saw their Mom fighting with another parent at their game last night! Oh by the way, the practice for these games, for an 11 year old is from 6:30-9:00 pm every Tuesday & Thursday night, meaning interrupted sleep which leads to less Prefrontal Cortex access. Every weekend games and very little down time to relax much less do their homework. So they are growing up in a very fast paced, anxiety-driven, competitive life. It is no wonder our children are the most medicated group of Americans, for anxiety and focus.

Did you know 1.3 million children sustained injuries bad enough to land them in the hospital last year and all under the guise of playing a ‘game’. It was also documented that 1 child every 3 minutes was seen for a sports-related concussion! The group ‘Safe Kids Worldwide’ reported that 1 in 5 kids that go to ER are going for a Sports related injury. *http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/06/injuries-athletes-kids-sports/2612429/

This report also stated
* Football resulted in both the highest number of all pediatric injuries (394,350) and the highest concussion rate (40 per 10,000 athletes). Wrestling and cheer-leading had the second- and third-highest concussion rates (15 per 10,000 athletes and 12 per 10,000 athletes, respectively).

* Ice hockey had the highest percentage (31%) of concussion injuries; its rate was 10 per 10,000 athletes.

* The most common injuries were to the ankle (15%), followed by head (14%) finger (12%), knee (9%) and face (7%).

I can understand the ‘draw’ to competition and the need to ‘live on’ through your child, I have two children myself, and got caught up in the social aspect of travel soccer. But now we are in an age of knowledge, it seems parents might reconsider ‘forfeiting’ their child’s school performance and future for a chance at playing a Sport now. It is well known exercise in important and vital to growth, however, competitive, aggressive contact sports are unnecessary for any human development. As Beth Silverberg states in this video, we are creating new gladiators, and all for our entertainment. http://youtu.be/TYhvWmyUrts

What gift do you really want to give your child to live with as an adult?

Ringing…Buzzing in the Ears

Ringing...Buzzing in the Ears

Tinnitus (TIN-i-tus) is noise or ringing in the ears. A common problem, tinnitus affects about 1 in 5 people. Tinnitus isn’t a condition itself — it’s a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder.

Tinnitus involves the annoying sensation of hearing sound when no external sound is present. Tinnitus symptoms include these types of phantom noises in your ears:

Ringing
Buzzing
Roaring
Clicking
Whistling
Hissing

The phantom noise may vary in pitch from a low roar to a high squeal, and you may hear it in one or both ears. In some cases, the sound can be so loud it can interfere with your ability to concentrate or hear actual sound. Tinnitus may be present all the time, or it may come and go.

A number of health conditions can cause or worsen tinnitus. In many cases, an exact cause is never found.

A common cause of tinnitus is inner ear cell damage. Tiny, delicate hairs in your inner ear move in relation to the pressure of sound waves. This triggers ear cells to release an electrical signal through a nerve from your ear (auditory nerve) to your brain. Your brain interprets these signals as sound. If the hairs inside your inner ear are bent or broken, they can “leak” random electrical impulses to your brain, causing tinnitus.

Other causes of tinnitus include other ear problems, chronic health conditions, and injuries or conditions that affect your auditory nerves or the hearing center in your brain.

Common causes of tinnitus:

* Age-related hearing loss.
* Exposure to loud noise.
* Earwax blockage.
* Ear bone changes.

Other causes of tinnitus:

* Meniere’s disease.
* Stress and depression.
* TMJ disorders.
* Head injuries or neck injuries.

Causes include:

* Head and neck tumors.
* Atherosclerosis.
* High blood pressure.
* Turbulent blood flow.
* Malformation of capillaries.
* A number of medications may cause or worsen tinnitus. Generally, the higher the dose of medication, the worse tinnitus becomes. Often the unwanted noise disappears when you stop using these drugs

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Anatomy-In-Motion/147107135344108

COGNITIVE CONNECTIONS uses an individualized NeuroCognitive Training and Cognitive Rehabilitation protocol to address the specific needs of each client.

The symptoms of Tinnitus can be drastically reduced or eliminated through our unique process of calming the central nervous system. Sleep and Anxiety issues (if present) are always addressed as well.

“My tinnitus has improved so dramatically over the past two months. I am sleeping so much better and my wife tells me how much nicer I am!!” C.H. 67

A Thought from Dr. Lise’