In recent years, there has been an explosion of new brain technologies – all designed in some way to enhance brain function.
Before using them, it is important to understand more about how they work, potential side effects and what you can hope they will do for you.
For example, there are a lot of products that are using brain entrainment – this is often done using binaural beats. This might be delivered a by a CD or a device of some kind (the latter are often called mind machines and will deliver entrainment via light and sound – they usually cost in the region of £400 to £600. Brain entrainment will change brain waves and may produce some really nice feelings. But it will be short lived, and there is also the danger of unbalancing the overall system of brain waves – given that the brain is a complex and dynamical system.
There are also a range of low cost machines available on Amazon that are really little more than toys but which claim to bring about powerful meditation states. They too are forms of brain entrainment and could easily produce side effects such as insomnia, irritation etc.
Then there are “cranial electro stimulation” devices which deliver a small electric current to the brain and essentially push it into a relaxed state. These have proven to be quite useful for depression, anxiety, PTSD etc. However, they tend to stop working when you stop using them. They are not really changing the brain. They are more like electronic sticky plasters.
Neurofeedback is a much more sophisticated approach to optimising the brain. Traditional linear neurofeedback maps brainwave activity across different brain regions and then on the basis of normative databases, up or down trains frequencies in different regions of the brain. Without a doubt this has been hugely beneficial and there is a large body of research to back this up now.
NeurOptimal Neurofeedback, a next generation approach to neurofeedback, goes one step further: Using complex mathematical algorithms based on non-linear dynamical mathematics, previous knowledge of neurofeedback, and an automated approach, this technology simply gives information to the brain, delivered via pauses in music, which enables the self-regulating intelligence of the brain to optimise itself.
The outcome is at times amazing. Not only are there therapeutic outcomes, but also performance improvements and often physical benefits – people recovering from stroke, TBI etc.
Given the extraordinary results attained by NeurOptimal, anyone working with the brain, therapy, personal transformation or even physio-therapy would be well advised to inform themselves more.
Steven Lane, www.neurofeedbackireland.ie