Features of NeurOptimal®

NeurOptimal® Dynamical Neurofeedback is believed to be the most advanced brain-training system available in the world today.

Why are we comfortable in making such a bold claim? It’s because of the many ground-breaking features it possesses, which are unique to NeurOptimal®. Describing these features and why they are important can be a daunting task– there are a lot of them and it can get very technical. But here we present an overview of some of the most major. Click on the topic on the left, and the related text will appear to the right.

From the ground up NeurOptimal® has been designed to provide information about the non-linear dynamical activity of the brain as it shifts from moment to moment. Because it tracks the brain so precisely and so rapidly micro-second by micro-second, there is no need for evaluation or diagnosis ahead of time. In fact, it is completely irrelevant! This is one of the reasons we are so clear that NeurOptimal® is a training and not a treatment. The role of trainer becomes one of sharing a journey with a client while the information, and the client’s experience, evolve. And because it is not a treatment it is safe enough to be used at home, opening up new possibilities for professionals and home-users alike. NeurOptimal® elegantly and simply offers the brain the information it needs to organize and re-organize itself. As it does, client complaints drop away and new competencies emerge, resulting in greater flexibility and resilience. Which translates into — a better quality of life! Easily. Simply. Naturally.

Although non-linear dynamical theory and its application can be complex and involved, NeurOptimal® is incredibly simple to use. All you do is place the sensors and start your session. NeurOptimal® provides the information the brain needs moment by moment, automatically adjusting the level of difficulty and challenge through its exclusive auto-navigation (“auto-nav”) feature. There is no guesswork for the trainer or user, and no need to worry about making mistakes. The expertise is built in. You can be quickly up and running rather than spending time learning how to use the system. And individual sessions require no up-front assessment or planning.

NeurOptimal® works with functional brain instabilities, not amplitudes (amounts) or other linear measures used in linear systems. As the brain starts to move into a functional instability, which we target in “time-frequency envelopes”, the sound you hear pauses very briefly. The brain immediately pulls itself back from these functional instabilities. Over time, the brain learns to maneuver around such instabilities instead of falling into them, resulting in fewer issues and improved functioning — which we call increased flexibility and resilience.

NeurOptimal® is respectful of your brain’s own process and does not push it by telling it what to achieve in a session. The brain does its own reorganizing, inherently a natural and gentle process. While it is true you can sometimes get dramatic effects by pushing the brain in a particular direction as do linear neurofeedback systems, it is also very possible to push the brain into a de-stabilized state. And destabilization means unpleasant side effects.

Related to the idea of pushing the brain into particular states, is the idea of training states of consciousness (such as beta for focused, alpha for relaxed and so on). NeurOptimal® has long since moved on from state training, allowing the brain access to multiple states of consciousness in rapid succession. This gives the brain an unprecedented ability to shift fluidly and effortlessly through states of awareness that are appropriate for what is happening in your life, without any effort from you. You are not “parked” in any one state (which is what is happening if you can’t focus, or can’t fall asleep for example), but are able to shift flexibly and easily– without triggering functional instabilities. This results in powerful transformations achieved naturally, gently and easily.

Linear systems require conscious effort on the part of the person having a session, to achieve goals set by the operator. With NeurOptimal®, there is absolutely no effort required at all! You can listen to music, watch a movie, relax and close your eyes, or even, for some kids that find it hard to sit still and do nothing, play a game, read or do homework. It doesn’t matter.

You can also decide on the audio-visual components of a session. Music? Movie? Many users run NeurOptimal® in its default mode, which shows beautiful never-repeating fractal images and plays music especially composed music by Grammy award-winning musician Jeff Bova. But some like to create a multi-media experience to provide a unique experience. It’s up to you.

One of the benefits of working with instabilities is that muscle movement and other sources of unwanted signal are far less of an issue for NeurOptimal® than they are on linear systems. NeurOptimal® continuously eliminates this signal noise, making effective training MUCH easier and more reliable. This unique, in-line Adaptive De-noising algorhythm makes worrying about signal quality a thing of the past. No need to spend onerous time checking hookups or connections!! As long as there is contact with the scalp, NeurOptimal® will actively remove electrical noise from the signal providing a superior quality of feedback. It also means that NeurOptimal® can run under high electrical noise conditions (such as in many hotel rooms or in older buildings) that would be impossible for other systems.

NeurOptimal® works with real-time Joint Time-Frequency Analysis or JTFA in a special non-linear way that accurately and precisely captures the “event-structure” of the electrical activity of our brain. This is a state-of-the-art approach to analysis that is unique to Zengar®, with no other brain training system offering this capability– even if they claim to be “non-linear”. Further contributing to NeurOptimal®‘s superior precision is an extremely high rate of sampling coupled with extraordinary precision of filtering, targeting and triggering of feedback. The data of other systems (you can import their data and look at it in NeurOptimal® Professional) looks incredibly “smeary” in comparison, when viewed through the sharp eye of NeurOptimal®. Furthermore, because of NeurOptimal®‘s Adaptive De-Noising Technology, feedback is provided up to 64Hz and includes time-frequency envelopes invented by Zengar® and unique to the industry.

While this may be challenging to understand, be assured every detail has been carefully thought of, designed, optimized, and then tested over hundreds of thousands of hours. And still we won’t stop there. To take you assuredly into the future, Zengar® consistently invests a considerable portion of its resources in Research and Development as part of its commitment to enduring excellence.

Dynamical thresholding (which is where we get the name “Dynamical Neurofeedback” to describe how we work), is the way information is actually provided to the brain. But far more than that, it also actively interacts with the brain encouraging a powerful release of a brain’s “points of stuckness”, assuring superior possibilities for change. This is not the usual thresholding of other systems!

There are two other important implications arising from our use of Dynamical Thresholding. The first is that NeurOptimal® adaptively works with “where you are”, moment by moment. This is why you do not need a diagnosis or assessment of symptoms ahead of time. In fact, a diagnosis that is minutes, hours, days or months ahead is very crude by NeurOptimal® standards. The second important implication is that when your brain gets fatigued (even though you won’t be aware of this), NeurOptimal® responsively and adaptively works with your brain at its new (“tired”) levels. This means over-training is not an issue (although for the very keen we do recommend not training more than twice in a day!).

In a nutshell, NeurOptimal®’s special Dynamical Thresholding and Targeting procedures powerfully and actively support the brain’s own re-organization, allowing unprecedented yet safe, client transformation.

In version 3.0 NeurOptimal® works across the range from 0.001- 64 Hertz, utilizing a staggering twenty different targets, all of which are always “in play”. This means broad-based transformation possibilities, no matter what your issues and goals are. No chipping away at challenges with a limited toolbox, as with more traditional systems. The high-precision technology under NeurOptimal®’s hood gives you flexible options today while taking you assuredly towards even broader possibilities tomorrow.