Peak Performance

Neurofeedback training for Calm Mental Focus and Creativity

Neurofeedback training promotes a calm mental focus – the foundation of faster, efficient performance, and limitless creative energy.

A calm, well-regulated brain is able to get in ‘the zone’ quicker, in any performance-oriented scenario.  Neurofeedback works on improving self-control of energy and emotions, regulating sleep and recovery, mental calming, enhancing sensory processing and improving fine motor skills and timing.  Emotional stability is rooted in healthy brain self-regulation, as is physical calm – the basis for drive and speed, and to unlocking creative energy and potential, and to sustain this.

Neurofeedback starts by laying the foundations – improved physical and emotional calm.  Once the training frequency is found that works, typically within the first few sessions, specific goals or issues can be addressed.  These can include physical regulation i.e. improved sleep rhythms for better rest and recovery; regulating energy and emotions to find the ‘zone’ quicker between success and setbacks; improving mental focus; and fine-tuning motor skills and timing.

Alpha Theta training, aims to resolve underlying, unprocessed issues.  These can include writer’s block or creative inhibitions; setbacks or even successes; recurring, obsessive thought or distractions, which are often rooted in previous events or experiences.  Letting the brain resolve deeper issues helps free up energy that is better used in our conscious, productive life, and when it comes to peak performance, efficiency is key.  Alpha Theta training feels similar to meditation, or a power nap; the subconscious mind does most of the work while you listen to comforting music in a relaxed setting, eyes closed for twenty minutes to half an hour.  When ready for Alpha Theta training, this can result in profound calming, self-assurance and sustained confidence.

Finally, neurofeedback can improve attention and focus with Synchrony training.  Whether Alpha, Gamma or Infra-Low are the optimal frequency for this training will evolve from the initial training work, and this powerful protocol and contribute substantially to maintaining a calm mental focus under pressure.  It can also be very helpful in establishing a foundation for concentrated, creative work and increase endurance in both.

Going from pitching to putting, the process of resetting ones emotions, taking a deep breath and focusing on a well-rehearsed task under pressure is the same as for an athlete recuperating during breaks.  Neurofeedback trains the brain to recognise and adapt to the change in gear, and to mobilise a detached yet attentive, focused and alert yet sensitive and intuitive state of mind easily.

Football teams have been using the method for the last decade.

A study by Imperial College showed that neurofeedback helped musicians improve their musical performances by an average of 17 per cent, equivalent to an improvement of one grade or class of honours.

NBA star Chris Kaman (Clippers, centre), attributes some of his success and improvements to Neurofeedback.

Here’s a short video on neurofeedback and golf – amateur Alan Alda beats a pro at putting:

Neurofeedback training can help anyone with a stressful routine to adopt a confident and positive mindset, in order to deal with situations as they occur.

Neurofeedback is a form of complementary therapy and should not be seen as a replacement for conventional medicine.  qEEG brain map-based neurofeedback training takes a more holistic approach to brain functioning, rather than just focusing on medical symptoms.  It is not intended as a form of diagnosis nor medical intervention nor medical advice per the disclaimer.

Music and Creativity

A study by Imperial College, London, and the Royal College of Music showed that students advanced effectively one or two years in musical maturity with a mere ten sessions of Alpha Theta Neurofeedback Training. 

Alpha Theta Neurofeedback Training Study at Imperial College London Musicians improve Creativity
Alpha Theta Neurofeedback Training Study at Imperial College London Musicians improve Creativity

In this 1999 study at Imperial College, London, Alpha Theta Neurofeedback Training was compared to other standard supportive services and relaxation training techniques and exercises.  Students of the Royal College of Music, London, were evaluated on their musical performance, having received ten sessions of Alpha Theta Neurofeedback Training.  Only the Alpha Theta Neurofeedback Training subset demonstrated gains in musical performance, and these gains were substantial and systematic:  

Overall Quality

14%

Musical Understanding

16%

Stylistic Accuracy

14%

Interpretive Imagination

17%

Total Average Musical Improvement

15%

These impressive gains as judged by blind evaluators represent a substantial improvement.  All aspects of musicianship were positively, and greatly affected, including physical ability as well as creativity and insight. 

Source:  Othmer / Gruzelier

J Gruzelier also finds in a 2014 study that Alpha Theta training benefits both advanced instrumental and novice singing abilities, including improvisation – beyond the outcome of the previous study with elite conservatoire musicians. 

Brain Maps and Personalised Brain Training

Personalised Brain Training is a neurofeedback training method devised by one of the founders of the field.  We take a holistic approach to healthy brain self-regulation, rather than categorisation or diagnosis.  In our view, and experience, symptoms resolve when our system is balanced.

Guided by a Brain Map, this method targets specific brain areas, neural hubs and networks

This improves integration of the  brain area we are training, as well as its network and sub-cortical connections.

Developed by a founder of the field of neurofeedback, and with a wealth of over 3,000 brain maps and thirty years’ of experience, Personalised Brain Training uses advanced neurofeedback protocols.

A qEEG-brainmap takes under an hour to obtain and is a non-invasive process.  A nineteen-sensor cap is comfortably fitted and we record about twenty minutes of brain activity.  Using specialised software, we obtain a visual analysis which we will communicate verbally.  This also forms the basis of our training plan.  Note that we do not provide diagnosis.

This brain map approach is unique in that it analyses the connectivity of a functional brain area, rather than simply geographic areas of the brain.  

Connectivity is a measure of regional integration of specific brain areas with other areas and key networks.  This is a relative measure – to be meaningful, it has to be referenced to a baseline.  Rather than use an average as a reference, we compare results to a set of hand-picked individuals who are both high-performing professionals and well-balanced individuals.  Our ability to engage with others, form friends and alliances, and make consensual decisions is deemed as important for success as professional specialisation and technical performance.

A functional brain area, as first delineated by Korbinian Brodmann in 1909, was first defined by variations in the number of layers in its grey matter.  This difference in physical property still holds as a valid way to separate brain regions, and each has its own function while being connected to other areas of the cortex via white matter, as well as to the brainstem, in particular, the thalamus.  With a brain map, we gain insights into both cortical integration (how well the area connects with its surrounding areas), as well as its thalamo-cortical integration. 

 

Neurofeedback Training Sessions

Personalised Brain Training aims to optimise the cortical connectivity, as well as promoting improved thalamo-cortical connection.  Neuroplasticity, the ability of neural networks in the brain to make new connections, is an essential and continuous process that underpins our ability to learn.  With brain training, we can promote this process.  

Protocols are generally around 30-45 minutes per brain area that we train; as such, training sessions are ideally around 90-120 minutes.  This corresponds to the average length of a movie.  This is also the length of our ultradian rhythms – attention cycles that govern our day, letting us perform at more than 100% at peak, and less than this at trough – think of the lull we experience around lunchtime.  By training the brain throughout a complete cycle, we are more likely to provide the brain with a challenge at different points in its attention cycle for a more comprehensive training. 

The primary feedback mechanism in Personalised Brain Training is auditory, that is, a subtle change in volume.  The brain recognises this, preconsciously, while our conscious mind is focused on the movie, and corrects its behaviour to preserve the continuity of the watching (or listening) experience.  A secondary, visual feedback mechanism can be activated, whereby the picture size changes too, though this is optional in cases of high visual sensitivity (e.g. migraines).   

We can track progress by remapping the brain at intervals, usually after every 20 hours of training.  Ten sessions will give a good indication of responsiveness, which besides subjective feedback we can ascertain with a further remap.  With neurofeedback training, we are showing the brain a more efficient state during a session.  Upon repetition, the brain learns to adopt this new state.  The person has to then implement this new learning in their life.  Internal changes have to be externalised.  Training success depends on this ability thus results can vary.  

Neurofeedback training begins with two to three sessions per week and the frequency of training can then be adjusted to need and symptom improvements.  Intensive courses involving two or more sessions per day can also be accommodated.

Contact Daniel on +44 (0)7966 699430 or daniel@neurofeedback.io to arrange sessions.