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.
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:
Total Average Musical Improvement
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
The functional connectivity between various brain areas allows us to see vulnerabilities to character traits or behaviour patterns.
A brain map is an analysis of brain wave behaviour as measured by a qEEG recording. We record 20 minutes of the brain activities with a 19-sensor qEEG recorder. There is no stimulation, and contact between the sensors and the head is via an easily removable gel applied to specific points. From this recording, we can generate a brain map using Kaiser Neuromap software.
Neurofeedback training is a process where we give the brain feedback about its own activity at a particular cortical site in real time, via visual, auditory or tactile means. There is no direct stimulus to the brain and the sensors attached are for measurement of cortical EEG, or tiny electrical currents detectable on the surface of our head. This signal is then amplified and analysed by software in real-time, and this information is used to provide auditory and visual feedback to our brain.
With neurofeedback training, we can reduce stress, calm the mind and restore cortical functionality.
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.
We use a movie of choice as the feedback mechanism – our conscious mind engages with the film, and feedback is delivered by small changes in volume or picture size. Our pre-conscious mind adapts its behaviour to preserve the more comfortable volume and picture size, and learning occurs.
Neurofeedback is evidence-based.
Neurofeedback training is safe, effective and non-invasive.
A qEEG recording takes about 45minutes for a 20 minute recording. We analyse the data with Kaiser Neuromap software which gives us a unique view into character traits and vulnerabilities. Findings are presented in a separate conversation. Note this is not diagnosis – issues found are necessary, but not sufficient conditions for a particular attribute and represent vulnerabilities.
We use a movie of choice as the feedback mechanism – our conscious mind engages with the film, and feedback is delivered by small changes in volume or picture size.
Our pre-conscious mind adapts its behaviour to preserve the more comfortable volume and picture size, and learning occurs.
Volume changes are slight, not stop-start, and the process is enjoyable.
A two hour training sessions allows us to do 90 minutes of neurofeedback. This captures an entire ultradian rhythm cycle and corresponds to the approximate duration of feature film movies. We can start with shorter sessions as appropriate, mainly with children.
Ideally, we do three or more sessions per week to start with. We would expect to see responsiveness within the first few sessions and remap after twenty hours or ten sessions. Generally, we would expect to doing forty hours or twenty sessions over two months, though this can vary.
We can also accommodate intensives, where we do two sessions per day over a number of days, and have had good results with these.