I believe Neurofeedback to be one of the most valuable modalities out there to improve health, increase performance and maximise life fulfilment. For the German listeners out there : You should check out the very first Episode of “Order and Kaos of Human Potential”. This episode is with my good friend and neuroscientist Joshua Heyl. In this episode we discuss the basic ideas and principles of neurofeedback.
I also wrote a short article on the difference between MindSET and MindFLUID. Neurofeedback can be our access to the functional states of the mind we desire. Check that out here.
For this new episode of “Order and Kaos of Human Potential” I got something very special for you. I met with Brian Wong of Immersion Neurofeedback and Immersion Neurotechnologies. He is a neuroscientist with a lot of experience in clinical Neurofeedback. He came up with a solution to the biggest problem of neurofeedback : He made it fun!
The barriers to start traditional neurofeedback for patients and people who need it the most are quite high. Even though the benefits are great, the first sessions can be frustrating and even boring.
Brian combined his passion for virtual realities and his experience in neuroscience and neurofeedback to create Virtual Reality Neurofeedback.
I flew to California to meet Brian, test out his system, and discuss with him the idea, the technology, and the future of Virtual Reality Neurofeedback.
About Brian Wong
Brian Wong received a dual degree in the majors of Neuroscience and Biochemistry at UC San Diego. His background in research led him to explore the field of Neurofeedback. As clinician, he has been able to help many individuals and families improve the quality of their lives. Regularly taking the unbiased analytical approach, Brian was impressed with the effectiveness of traditional Neurofeedback. However, he quickly recognized aspects that could be modified and improved, but it would take much more computing power than a standard laptop.
When high-quality virtual reality (VR) headsets started becoming consumer-ready, Brian immediately recognized that the synergy between VR and Neurofeedback was going to profoundly improve the effectiveness of training programs. Brian dedicated himself to developing the highest-quality Neurofeedback Program possible that would integrate Neurofeedback, High-Quality Virtual Reality and Machine Learning.
- The Foundational Principles of Neurofeedback
- The neurological representation of “state of mind”
- Developing a Virtual Reality Neurofeedback Environment
- Slow Cortical Potentials in Neurofeedback – What traditional Neurofeedback is missing
- Future Directions of Neurofeedback and Extended Realities
What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is a brain exercise that helps brain regulation and self-awareness. By observing your brain activity from a moment to moment basis, we can help you make beneficial changes by rewarding shifts towards more functional and stable brain states. It is a gradual learning process; therefore, consistency of training is crucial to obtain the best results.
Neurofeedback is also referred to as EEG Biofeedback or Neurotherapy. The electroencephalogram (EEG) is another name for the brain recordings and, in this context, biofeedback refers to the process by which you learn to change your brainwaves and hence change your control of brain states.
How can Neurofeedback help?
Neurofeedback is often used to improve attention, stress management, sleep quality and for peak performance in school, athletics and performing arts. Neurofeedback is training in self-regulation. Good self-regulation is necessary for optimal brain function. Self-regulation training enhances the function of the central nervous system and thereby improves mental performance, emotional control and physiological stability.
How is Neurofeedback done?
Non-invasive sensors are attached to the scalp with conductive paste to measure your brainwaves. It is painless and does not involve the application of any voltage or current to your brain.
A computer processes the brain waves and extracts certain information from them. The ebb and flow of your brain waves and the specific information obtained from them, are shown back to your brain waves and the specific information obtained from them, are shown back to you in the form of visual, auditory and tactile stimulus. The specific brain wave frequencies we reinforce and the sensor locations on the scalp are unique to each individual.
What are the benefits of virtual reality with neurofeeedback?
From it’s inception, Neurofeedback has been seeking an optimal platform for training. To date, Clinicians have seen great results by training with visual feedback using a computer monitor or television. However, with the recent development of high-quality virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays, Neurofeedback now has the opportunity to be more effective than ever before.
This method of brain-regulation fundamentally relies on our brain’s ability to recognize patterns. Therefore, by increasing our field of view of incoming visual stimulus, we could significantly improve the effectiveness of each training session. Using a computer monitor or television typically offers 30-40 degrees field of view. By implementing high-quality VR, we increase our active field of view to absorb feedback to over 100 degrees.
More importantly, this type of training gives us a sense of “presence”, a phenomenon in which we truly feel we are physically somewhere else. Integrating these technologies gives an individual the ability to manipulate a 360 degree environment exclusively with his or her own brain activity, meanwhile gaining the benefits of improved brain regulation.
This new element has the potential to profoundly improve the effectiveness of training. In the majority of cases, clients feel their daily stresses begin to dissolve away as soon as they start training. In doing so, they are able to dedicate their full and undivided attention to every session, which ultimately improves results.
Gerrit Keferstein is a Medical Doctor specialised in Performance & Functional Medicine. He is most known for his work on the optimisation of recovery and adaptation in elite athletes.