What is Neurofeedback?

Though based in technology, neurofeedback is a 100% non-invasive, drug-free, brain training system that helps the central nervous system (CNS) make the best use of your brain’s natural resources. NeurOptimal® is extremely powerful and effective. The U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration has approved neurofeedback for relaxation training.


If you are new to neurofeedback, you probably have questions. This website is a great place to start your information search, but you can also contact me directly at aferrara1@cogeco.ca  As a NeurOptimal® user and trainer myself, I will be happy to share my personal and professional experience with you.


NeurOptimal®’s EEG biofeedback or neurofeedback system is a powerful technology that can greatly enhance your well-being and generally help you get the most out of life.Brain training can unlock untapped cognitive potential and help you achieve long-held goals and dreams.Biofeedback has been around for almost 40 years, but its practical use was inhibited by the scarcity of a practical delivery system. In the past, a neurofeedback interface would require a room full of computers and technicians. Today, Zengar Institute, Inc. has created a simple, interactive software that harnesses this powerful technology in an easy to-use program called NeurOptimal® that loads onto a laptop computer.Because neurofeedback has been time-tested, it is also very safe. Respected institutions such as the U.S. FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics have endorsed neurofeedback.(Zengar Institute Inc.,2017)


How is NeurOptimal® different from other systems?

​​There are a few key factors that distinguish NeurOptimal® from other neurofeedback systems:

1. NeurOptimal® is effective because it is designed to work best with your individual brain. It does not attempt to “fix” predetermined conditions or pin down specific problems. This was a limitation in many earlier neurofeedback systems. Often, resolving one problem in one area could cause problems elsewhere. The heart of the NeurOptimal® system -Dynamical Neurofeedback®- is a proprietary technology based in neuroscience and specifically designed with the naturally non-linear function of the human brain in mind. NeurOptimal® is built to harness the incredibly dynamic nature of your brain in a way other systems simply cannot match. As a result, this neurofeedback system can be used effectively to address a wide array of complaints without specifically “targeting” them from the outset of the training.

2. NeurOptimal® neurofeedback is extremely safe.It is 100% natural and non-invasive, nothing goes into the brain. Research shows your own brain “knows best” and therefore the NeurOptimal® brain training system does not force or “push” the brain in any one direction. Basically, Dynamical Neurofeedback® provides your brain with the information it needs to correct itself and function at its most optimal. NeurOptimal® simply enables your own brain’s natural process of self-correction. 

3. NeurOptimal® requires no effort on the user’s part. Some brain training systems require the user to “interact” by playing games or solve puzzles during sessions. This additional level of interaction is unnecessary with the NeurOptimal® neurofeedback system. During a training session, you can simply relax and enjoy! 
​(Zengar Institute Inc.,2017)

Why should I use neurofeedback?​

Neurofeedback training provides a multitude of benefits for the brain and body, including: improved sleep, heightened mental clarity and enhanced cognitive performance. Trainers and clients –millions and growing- have used the NeurOptimal® system to address a number of physical, emotional and cognitive complaints with great success. These fall into a few general categories:


1. PHYSICAL, COGNITIVE AND EMOTIONAL CHALLENGES. Adults, as well as children, have used NeurOptimal® neurofeedback to address the negative effects arising from depression, anxiety, PTSD, Alzheimer’s, autism, sleep disorders, misophonia and other complaints. The FDA has even approved neurofeedback as effective for stress reduction.

As of November of 2012, the American Pediatric Academy has endorsed neurofeedback aka EEG biofeedback as a “Level 1/Best Support” treatment for children with ADHD. Furthermore, the APA has equated neurofeedback with medication in terms of efficacy for resolving ADHD.


2. GENERAL WELLNESS NeurOptimal® neurofeedback encourages an overall positive mental outlook and a deeper understanding of the mind/body connection. For those looking to enhance their daily health and wellness, neurofeedback training can be an excellent supplement to a healthy diet and exercise routine.


3. BRAIN FITNESS/AGE REMEDIATION: Along with healthy lifestyle choices, NeurOptimal® neurofeedback can be a powerful tool to mediate cognitive decline that naturally occurs as we age. Just as physical exercise benefits the body, NeurOptimal® keeps the brain fit and resilient. Neurofeedback can help improve memory, recall and increase overall cognitive dexterity in older individuals.


4. PEAK PHYSICAL/MENTAL PERFORMANCE: A growing number of Olympic and professional athletes now use neurofeedback to provide that critical mental edge which often results in gold medals and championships. When competitors are separated by 100ths of a second, the improved mental focus and physical performance neurofeedback provides can mean the difference between winning and losing. But you don’t have to be a pro athlete to enjoy the benefits of neurofeedback. Looking to improve your golf game? Want to be a better pitcher for your company softball team? NeurOptimal® can help.


5. IMPROVED ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE Because neurofeedback training enhances concentration and mental focus, students use NeurOptimal® as a critical tool to improve their performance in school. Unlike so-called 6 “smart drugs” or neuro enhancing pharmaceuticals, NeurOptimal® is 100% drug-free and has no known side effects (apart from improved sleep!).(Zengar Institute Inc.,2017)

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Frequently Asked Questions

What happens during training?

​​A certified NeurOptimal® trainer may have you fill out a survey listing the complaints and/or challenges that have brought you into his/her office. You will next be placed in a quiet space and in a comfortable position. The trainer will attach special sensors to your head that will feed your brain wave patterns into the NeurOptimal® program’s software. A neurofeedback training session is relaxing, enjoyable and typically lasts about 30 minutes. As the session starts, you will hear music play through headphones and perhaps watch relaxing geometric images gently morph across a computer screen. You will hear occasional “skips” or interruptions in the music – this is the signal that prompts your brain to “reset” and optimize itself. At the end of a session, you will most likely feel less stressed and more mentally clear. It is unlikely you will experience any negative after-effects as NeurOptimal® does not artificially “push” the brain in any specific direction. Many users experience deeper sleep and vivid dreams after their very first session. ​(Zengar Institute Inc.,2017)

- What is neurofeedback?

- How is NeurOptimal® different from other systems?

- What happens during a training session?

- Why should I use neurofeedback?

- How many NeurOptimal® sessions will I need?

How many NeurOptimal® sessions will I need?

“How long will it take?” is a question many clients ask (second only to “What results can I expect”?).  There is no standard answer to this question because everyone’s central nervous system is unique. While we cannot predict what your brain will do with the information it receives from our neurofeedback training, we can offer a few guidelines.

The Six Session “Rule” 
We often tell clients that they will likely notice SOMETHING shift within six sessions. Early on, clients commonly report shifts in their sleep patterns, feeling well rested, having an improved outlook and engaging more effectively with colleagues or loved ones. Changes you experience may or may not be related to the goals you came in with, but generally speaking, any kind of shift is a positive indication that the NeurOptimal® brain training is working as designed.

Specifically, clients describe feeling clearer, calmer, lighter or brighter for a few hours after the session – a feeling that typically will last through the week, from one neurofeedback training session to the next (weekly sessions being the most common). Eventually, this new centered way of being becomes their “new normal”. Only if they get thrown off by a negative event  -a bad day at work, chemicals, a knock on the head - might they drop into the way they felt before. But generally, they will not dip as deeply into emotional discomfort and will more than likely bounce back from challenging situations much more quickly and easily.

The “New Normal” Threshold 
How much neurofeedback training does it take to get to your “new normal”? As NeurOptimal® has improved and evolved, reaching a new, improved baseline for users has become quicker and quicker. It is possible you could be feeling much better in fewer than 10 neurofeedback training sessions to help with issues bothering you in the "here and now"; For "deeper" problems that originated earlier in life we find these areas take longer for your brain to re-train. Training is then up to the individual circumstance, how long you have had your problem and how severe it is, but in the end training is determined by you and how you are advancing and feeling. The more brain training you do, the more the positive effects will stay with you. Much like learning a language or a physical skill like rollerblading,  “practice makes perfect”. The more sessions you undergo, the better your brain fitness. 

You can stop whenever you feel ready and return for booster sessions to tune up and strengthen what your brain has already learned. You will never lose what you have, even if it your brain’s optimal operation becomes a little rusty. In fact, many clients continue brain training on a monthly or bi-monthly basis to maintain their brain fitness for a lifetime. NeurOptimal® is non-invasive and naturopathic, so it may be used as long as you like. Similar to the benefits of exercise for the body, neurofeedback can be an important tool for brain health, as it keeps the central nervous system in tip-top shape. You can make NeurOptimal® neurofeedback training central to your personal brain fitness program as you age. (Zengar Institute Inc.,2017)