How does brain training work?

During a session, the client is listening to music or watching a movie while connected to the system via 2 scalp sensors, and 3 ear clips. The software is tracking the brain’s movement 256 times a second! It is gathering mountains of data on how and when the brain is moving. When it detects that the brain is about to shift states in an unstable way, it delivers a brief stop in the music or movie. This break in the sound track triggers a brain reflex called the orienting response, which is the primary way humans “orient” themselves in their environment. When this reflex is triggered, the brain is brought to the present moment. It’s like holding up a mirror to the brain.

But what is the brain “seeing?”

NeurOptimal® is unique in the neurofeedback world in that it capitalizes on the two things our Central Nervous System already does extremely well: 1) detect “difference” and 2) minimize discomfort. When you get a scrape on the knee, the CNS immediately flies into action. It has detected a “difference,” and it sends the appropriate information to the body to begin the healing process. When the software calculates that the brain is about to change states, and then triggers the orienting response, the CNS sees this “difference” or change and then decides if it needs to act or not act. Is there discomfort that needs alleviating? Is there a better path to take in this millisecond or is the one I’m heading towards the most efficient and/or stable?

With NeurOptimal®, the brain corrects itself! No outside expert to say what you need more or less of! It is truly a non-invasive, natural form of brain training.

Will neurofeedback work for me and my issues?

Neurofeedback was discovered in the late 1960’s, quite accidentally, by UCLA researcher, Barry Sterman. (Listen to our short webinar below to hear the story.) Ever since, NASA has required their astronauts go through the training to improve their resilience. Scientists knew it worked but didn’t understand why. It didn’t match with the current understanding of the brain, so it became associated with voodoo.

Neuroscience is finally starting to catch up, and technology has made at home brain training a reality. This isn’t your grandmother’s neurofeedback! 😊

Not your grandmother's brain training

It’s not a gimmick or the next placebo. Brain optimization is the most powerful bio-hack on the planet!

While NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback is not a treatment or therapy for any particular illness, our clients who suffer from a range of mental, emotional, and physical problems experience the relief they were looking for. When the command center is optimized, we see a cascade of improvements in many different areas. Our clients report that they see improvement in the following areas:

  • Focus and mental acuity
  • Mental and emotional resilience
  • Energy and stamina
  • Stress Management
  • Sports performance anxiety
  • Peak performance with athletics and the arts
  • Physical resilience
  • Sleep management
  • Greater ability to live with conditions
  • Greater flexibility in how they see (and solve) their problems

Don’t see your what you’re looking for here? Let us know and we’ll see what other trainers have experienced!

If you’d like to know more, listen to the webinar mentioned above to understand more of the history of neurofeedback, what issues it can help with, and how you can get started. We can also send you a survey that NeurOptimal® conducted in 2014 that reflects number of sessions and degree of improvement. Just email us, and we’ll get it to you right away.

If it’s so amazing, why haven’t I heard about it until now?

This is an excellent question and a sad one to answer. It has to do with egos and greed unfortunately. Because the neuroscience is still catching up, most of us still don’t really know WHY neurofeedback works so well. We have yet to really understand what the governing mechanisms are behind it. So, there ends up being a lot of in-fighting and rigidity and claiming territory which gets in the way of funding for larger research studies and acceptance in the broader scientific community.

Oops, should've done my brain training today

And then there is the push back from main stream medicine. This includes physicians, researchers, and Big Pharma. They demand a standard of research that many believe to be too stringent. There are literally millions of hours of outcome studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of neurofeedback, but these are discounted a little too quickly, ostensibly because of various complaints about sample size and a lack of double blind, controlled research designs. Much of this criticism has more to do with economics and egos than genuine dedication to “science,” let alone patients’ needs.

But awareness of neurofeedback is growing! As the democratization of health care pushes forward—that is people taking their health into their own hands—neurofeedback is quickly becoming recognized as a powerful tool for mental, physical and emotional healing.

What does the equipment look like?

The system consists of a Microsoft Pro tablet, a small “box” called a zAmp with sensors attached, all the appropriate cords, and conductive paste.

Click HERE to watch a short video of what a session looks like.

How long are sessions?

33.5 minutes.

Plus a little time to connect the sensors and then to clean them off after each session.

We plan for about 45 minutes for each complete session.

How many can I do? How frequently can I train my brain?


NeurOptimal® says you can train as much as you’d like, but less is more in brain training. There is no need to rush your training. The system is powerful and will do its job. Most of our clients train once a day or every other day. Neurofeedback is a work out for the brain, and sometimes a little rest is required in between sessions. It’s all up to you, your goals, your schedule, and your budget. With one of our monthly rentals, most clients are able to get in 20-30 sessions.

 It sounds too good to be true. Is it?

Here’s the beginning of a recent blog post I wrote in answer to this question. Click on ‘read more’ below to access the full posting.

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for 21 years, I have prided myself on helping clients develop realistic expectations of themselves, their marriages, and their families. A more realistic view of the human condition can be extraordinarily freeing.  Hype can be just as binding as the difficult mental and emotional problems people are already facing. So, it is important to me that my neurofeedback clients also have realistic expectations.

From the permanent disappearance of seizures in some clients to freedom from panic attacks in others, the neurofeedback industry has seen some truly miraculous things for the past 50 years. But the industry has received a lot of criticism for making claims that are too far reaching. We just don’t know the answers to a lot of questions because the neuroscience hasn’t caught up to why neurofeedback works so well, and why, sometimes, it doesn’t…read more.

Do you have clients who are unhappy?

As described in the previous question, yes, we sometimes have clients who do not feel they got what they wanted from their neurofeedback rental. This happens about 15% of the time.

How is NeurOptimal® different?

NeurOptimal® is different in many ways. It was started with a vision to make neurofeedback more affordable and more accessible to more people. So, instead of the $8000 price tag many people find for neurofeedback, you can rent systems for unlimited sessions, and can train AT HOME, on multiple family members, for $900! With NeurOptimal® there is no need for an expensive expert because the program’s mathematical complexity does the work—and does it more precisely. Each session is unique to each brain and each moment. In addition, NeurOptimal® is not based on a qEEG brain map, which is a snap shot in time…crude in comparison to our Dynamic Thresholding—which is millisecond by millisecond assessment of what’s happening in the brain. Our systems “map” the brain’s functioning an amazing 256 times a second!

Finally, and I think this is most important, NeurOptimal® approaches the brain as a total system rather than as a combination of unique parts. It elegantly avoids the great problem of western medicine: side effects. When one looks at the body as separate parts, rather than as a whole system that works together in reciprocal balance, one runs into helping one part while stressing others. NeurOptimal® is the only approach that I know of that speaks to the whole brain—to the brain as a complex system. And it capitalizes on what that complex system already does really well: turns chaos into stability, flexibility, and order.

Is that story really true about your daughter?

The most beautiful brain training I've seen

If you haven’t read it, click here.

I could not be prouder of this girl!

Yes! We couldn’t be more pleased with the improvements we have seen in our daughter who struggled terribly with school and other things. And her progress continues as we carry on with training a little in the Fall, the Spring, and Summer. It has been so deeply satisfying to experience the improvements along with her, to be beside her as she develops greater focus, mental acuity, social maturity, and calm. And you should see just the transformation of her handwriting! Conversations are more engaged, more mature, more interesting, and her writing has become more coherent. I could go on! If you have a child who struggles, you know just how profound this kind of change can be.

But it’s important to know that our own brain training, as her parents, has been key to her progress. Feeling like you’re the “problem child” can be a MAJOR hindrance to getting better. But if all of us have the problem, and all of us are part of the problem, and all of us are going to work on our own part in it, the chances of improvement go up tenfold. This is precisely why we are “Whole Family Neurofeedback.” As families, our brains are so interconnected, it just makes sense to train each one to get better results.