The neurofeedback system that is used at Psysol is called NeurOptimal. It is a dynamic neurofeedback which causes the brain to self-regulate and optimize its operation. It is based on recordings of the electrical activity of the brain during the training sessions. The “feedback” sound output, via headphones at strategic moments, allows the brain to optimize its operation.
When the brain activity becomes turbulent, the music coming from the NeurOptimal device is momentarily interrupted and a discrete sound is emitted. This subtle indicator alerts the brain to the fact that it is functioning inefficiently. Naturally and spontaneously, the brain makes the ajustments necessary to return to a more suitable functioning. From one session to the next, the brain learns how to “reset” itself and function more smoothly and fluidly. All this learning takes place subconsciously and non-invasively. As brain functioning improves aver time, NeurOptimal automatically adjusts to the new levels of brain activity millisecond by millsecond, allowing optimal growth of brain training.
You should view the neurofeedback as training for the brain that increases its flexibility and resilience. The difficulty of the training automatically increases as performance progresses. By improving, your brain becomes healthier and more flexible and resilient. The user will naturally function more effectively and smoothly in their personal and professional life. Users report an improvement in their sleep, the clarity of their thinking, their attention, their energy, and their ability to shed their morbid preoccupations more easily.
Dynamic neurofeedback is not invasive, doesn’t send any current to the brain, and doesn’t alter brain activity in any way. It simply allows your brain to become aware of its functioning and to correct itself if necessary. There are no known significant side effects to neurofeedback.
The use of neurofeedback as a therapeutic method is controversial in medical literature. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the United States approves it as a stress reducer, and the American Academy of Pediatrics approves it as a treatment for attention deficit disorder (with or without hyperactivity) on the same basis and on the same level of proof as medication (level 1). The American Psychological Association also considers it very effective at treating attention deficit disorder (with or without hyperactivity) with the highest level of proof. In Canada, and to our knowledge, no medical authority considers it a therapeutic tool. However, several studies have shown its effectiveness in treating several psychological and even physical disorders. Some clinics specializing in this type of treatment even make it the only therapeutic modality for a whole spectrum of illnesses, with intriguing results.
Neurofeedback has existed for decades, it’s difficult to completely ignore its effectiveness.
Our own experience with dynamic neurofeedback has led us to think that it is an interesting alternatives and complementary treatment. In our opinion, the dynamic neurofeedback is less effective than some conventional treatments in the short term but in the medium and long term, it brings an undeniable benefits in several conditions. For instance, psychostimulants (Ritalin, Concerta, Vyvanse etc) are more effective in the short term, in the treatment of attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity (ADHD), but have no curative effect. As soon as they are ceased all the symptoms reappear immediately. In the long-team, training by neurofeedback provides longer lasting results. The combination of pharmacological treatment and neurofeedback provides fast and lasting results. Some of our patients who did not respond to medication or who could not tolerate it, have responded favourably to neurofeedback training. Others have been able to significantly decrease their medication after being helped by dynamic neurofeedback.
We believe that it has its place when it comes to relieving anxiety, depression, certain psychosomatic disorders, ADHD, and perhaps many other conditions as well.
Used correctly, it could reduce anxiety, decrease the doses of medication, hence reduce its side effects, and provide relief to people who, for one reason or another, can’t take medications (contraindication, ineffectiveness, etc.). In many cases, it can be advantageously combined with drug or psychotherapy treatments.
We believe, neurofeedback should be incorporated at least as a complementary treatment to conventional approches in psychiatry, especially since it’s completely harmless.
Because of its mechanism of action, neurofeedback is a tool that can help improve people’s quality of life, much like meditation, yoga, relaxation or personal development techniques, even in the absence of any condition to treat.