NEUROFEEDBACK TRAINING FOR PEAK PERFORMANCE
In all aspects of our life to have an optimal performance it is necessary to have good concentration, attention, memory – the ability to keep the mind focused, clear and sharp, flexibility of mind – ramping up to peak performance at the key moments but then relaxing again afterwards, not getting trapped in a state of over-arousal, creativity, the ability to achieve inner calm in the face of stressors – stress management skills. Today Neurofeedback training for peak performance is one of the best effective tools that provide all these features, necessary for our successful life and high achievements in various spheres of activity – sport, education, professional activity, business, etc.
Neurofeedback training/therapy can do more than help people cope with various conditions. They also enhance performance where creativity and mental processing are important. It helps athletes, musicians, artists, schoolchildren, and students in their academic performance and diverse business professionals. There are many examples of individuals and groups using EEG neurofeedback and biofeedback to enhance their performance in the business world and on competitive athletic fields.
Optimal performance includes many components including our intellect, cognitive abilities, sense of emotional harmony, prevailing attitude and personal motivation. The amazing thing is each of us can enhance our performance regardless of our starting point. Neurofeedback is appropriate for anyone at any age.
Neurofeedback has been used to help individuals function at their very best. The system works through brain optimization, which is how it can help a variety of brains and purposes. The various complaints you may suffer can be considered signs that your brain is not functioning as efficiently or optimally as it can. Brain training helps with stress management, heightened focus, faster reaction times, and more. Artists, athletes, and executives have all found increased performance using the Neurofeedback.
Who benefits from biofeedback neurofeedback training for peak performance in non-clinical healthy populations?
Athletes and other sportsmen
- Enhance athletic potential,
- Improve mental balance,
- Improve concentration,
- Improve brain/body harmony,
- Increase reaction speed,
- Perform better while under pressure.
Schoolchildren and students at any level of academics can benefit from:
- Perform Multi-task better;
- Improved abilities to study;
- Improve attention;
- Replenish creativity;
- Fortify memory while at the workplace or in the classroom;
- Absorb more of what is learned;
- Better prepare for major exams;
- Calm test-taking or academic exam anxiety
Elite business or performing professionals in any profession who want to:
- Maximize their high-level skills (for example musicians improve their musical memory, sharpen focus, and enhance intuitive engagement with music for overall optimum performance skills);
- Perform Multi-task better;
- Improve relative weaknesses so as to “polish” their abilities;
- Quite a “busy” mind;
- Be more resilient;
- Better function at their peak;
- Pursue a competitive edge
Adults of all ages who want to:
- Increase their energy,
- Sharpen their focus,
- Improve their memory,
- Maximize their health quotient,
- Improve their memory,
- Balance their nervous system,
- Improve their heart and lung function,
- Improve their health as they age
Biofeedback and neurofeedback has been successfully used by people of all ages, by executive and managerial-level business personnel, physicians, surgeons, pilots, airport control tower personnel, musicians, dancers, military personnel, elite athletes such as golfers, baseball players, football players, marksmen, speed skaters, volleyball players, soccer, track and field, gymnast, etc.
WHY OLYMPIC MEDALISTS, NASA, NAVY SEALS, AND PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES USE PEAK PERFORMANCE TRAINING
Neurofeedback training for peak performance makes it possible for athletes to gain a competitive edge on the sports field without having to spend more hours practicing. By identifying areas of the brain pertinent for performance enhancement and improving their functioning, behaviors can be altered; athletic deficits, areas of weakness, and even extraneous distractions can be eliminated from the game. “Different sports place different demands on the brain“. Training/treatment has been found to be effective in many different sports.
In addition to alleviating psychological symptoms (e.g., anxiety, depression) and sports-related injuries (e.g., concussions, migraines, muscle tension) that can interfere with sports performance, Neurofeedback training can improve various areas necessary for peak performance: Relaxation, Focus, Agility and Timing, as well as maintaining and/or enhancing Motivation (Wilson, Peper, & Moss, 2006).
Many sports teams around the world are beginning to turn to neurofeedback in order to become more successful on the playing field. In 2006, the Italian soccer team received neurofeedback training and when they won the World Cup, they attributed their win to that very training (Wilson et al., 2006). The Canadian free ski team and Canadian speed skating men team also used neurofeedback to reach peak performance levels in the 2010 winter Olympics (Starkman, 2009), while the Vancouver Canucks turned to the same training in their race for the Stanley Cup in 2011. The Canadian freestyle skiing team in 2008 signed on for the bio/neurofeedback training program to become the N1 medal winner in 2010, provided the money two years ago. The program is designed to help them develop the skills to reach the optimal mental and physical state to perform at their best – and they are convinced it’s paying dividends. The training has two aspects: the neurofeedback part (how the brain reacts) and the biofeedback part (how the body reacts).
The electrodes and sensors are hooked up to five modalities physiologically – muscle, skin conductance, respiration, body temperature, and heart rhythm – as well as neurologically to different spots on the head depending on what is being worked on, focus or recovery. Brightly colored charts on the computer screen show the athletes their real-time responses and they learn what brainwaves are optimal for recovery and performance. The athletes learn the breathing and focusing techniques to better control these things and are given a greater awareness of where they are holding tension in their bodies and how to relax. Most of the athletes had more than 15 sessions totaling 30-plus hours leading up to the Olympics.
In addition to the successful Italian soccer team and Canadian skiers and hockey players, Canadian speed skating men team, the tennis champion, Mary Pierce, and Olympic gold medalist skier, Hermann Maier have spoken in support of neurofeedback training. Neurofeedback also extensively used in elite sports; by professional golfers, Olympic athletes, and football clubs such as AC Milan, Real Madrid, and Chelsea. AC Milan football club has been using neurofeedback training since 2006, and based on their World Cup win it was adopted by Real Madrid. Chelsea began using it in 2009.
Neurofeedback training for peak performance is used by
- The Pro golf circuit
- Formula 1 teams
- NASA astronaut training center
- United States Olympic Training Center
- English Institute of Sport (Olympic Training Center)
- Canadian National Olympic Sports Centers
- Norwegian Olympic Training Center
- Taiwanese Olympic Team
- Singapore Olympic Sports Council
- US Special Forces and Navy Seals training
- United States Army’s Centers for Enhanced Performance
- Wingate Institute of Sports & Physical Education, Israel
- Human Performance Institute, Australian Special Forces
- West Point Military Academy
- many others…
You can read articles regarding neurofeedback use in different sports on the “Articles” page of this website, which will be constantly updating.
Video – Neurofeedback & Biofeedback for Peak Performance in Sports
NEUROFEEDBACK IN HIGH ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE
Focus and emotional balance is the key to peak performance in all areas. Neurofeedback trains the brain to function more efficiently, improving mental functioning and emotional stability, enhance concentration and mental focus.
Much like physical training, brainwave training is used to strengthen specific brainwave patterns. The more is practice activating a specific area the stronger and more capable that area becomes. The brain is like any other organ in the body. If exercise it, it performs better. An efficient brain can accomplish more, with greater accuracy, in less time.
Neurofeedback provides high performers with the tools to train and exercise neural-nets in the same way as one exercise and builds muscles. The personalized program makes more efficient use of brain resources by strengthening specific neural connections. Brainwaves in proper function run like an orchestra. Nothing too loud, nothing too quiet, with a harmonic beat. Restoring this natural symphony is what Neurofeedback do.
One of the major reasons for academic underperformance in school children and students is problems in attention and concentration. Academic stress plays a major role in determining their mental health. Academic stress involves mental distress regarding anticipated academic challenges or failure or even an awareness of the possibility of academic failure. During the academic years, academic stressors may show in any aspect of the child’s environment: home, school, neighborhood, or friendship. School-related situations – such as tests, grades, studying, self-imposed need to succeed, as well as that induced by others – are the main sources of stress for high school students.
While innovative teaching methods and remedial teaching can bring change in academic performance, the basic problem of attention and concentration needs to be addressed. Neurofeedback is a device that indicates on the computer screen desirable changes in the Electroencephalogram (EEG) in a manner that can be easily comprehended by the participant. Training the neural activities in children by using neurofeedback is found effective on both clinical and non-clinical cases.
Every parent wants to see their child succeeding in school and in university. In order for a child to be set up for academic success in the future, positive skills and habits must be built from a young age, which relies heavily upon optimal functioning of the brain. Neurofeedback is perfect for young children as well as for student as it is an easy and effective method of training the brain to function optimally without the use of medications. Training a child’s brain to function at its very best from a young age will help set them up for long term success.
The three main areas of brain function that are positively impacted by neurofeedback include the following:
Working Memory. For a person to properly complete a task, they must have the ability to hold information in their brain to properly apply the information when needed. For example, if a child is taking an English exam, the child must be able to recall information from the passages provided on the exam to properly answer the questions pertaining to the readings. Working memory will, in turn, affect overall academic performance. Neurofeedback works to strengthen the brain in areas that control working memory so the child can recall information stored in the brain with greater ease and consequently increase their self-esteem.
Cognitive Flexibility. In school, students are made to think about various subjects in more ways than one. Being able to build associations between different concepts or relate different information together depends heavily on flexible thinking. For example, a child must utilize various strategies of thinking to answer certain math questions. Being able to think in a flexible way is critical to academic success. If the brain is functioning at an optimal level due to neurofeedback, this type of thinking becomes more accessible to a student and will positively impact performance.
Behavioral Control. Sitting in a classroom for long hours every day can be a major challenge for students. The distractions and temptations to stop paying attention and stop concentrating in a classroom could negatively impact how well a student absorbs information day to day in addition to how well they perform on exams. Additionally, a child can be disruptive to the class by exhibiting behaviors such as yelling out answers in class without being called upon or talking out of turn. Neurofeedback works to calm the brain in addition to helping it function at its highest ability. The brain is then able to more easily regulate emotional reactions, helping the child from acting impulsively. The child is then able to focus attention and be concentrated in the classroom for longer periods, speak in turn, and follow rules with greater ease which allows the child to learn and perform well on academic exams.
Today a lot of neurofeedback devices had been developed and tested in neurofeedback training for peak performance. All neurofeedback systems involve electrodes being attached to the scalp. However, there are variations on volume and location of electrodes required and the format of the feedback itself. A simple system may require the person being monitored to relax, thus generating more alpha waves, and if they succeed a bar representing the amplitude of one brainwave may increase, and another one decrease – or the graphics could be more calming, so if they maintain alpha as the dominant brainwave they may make an onscreen flower blossom. If successful the person may hear a tone as well as see it represented visually and possibly score a point. Medical and research systems often have more electrodes with greater emphasis on their location although the feedback tends to be restricted to more simplistic visual and audio representations.
Video – NFB for optimal academic performance
More detailed information regarding different home use headset neurofeedback devices to improve attention and focus in order to optimize a learner’s engagement and achievement you can find in the page “Home use devices” of this website. The cognitive skills combined with emotional interest and active engagement produces effective learners who achieve at higher levels.
NEUROFEEDBACK IN PEAK PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE
Outstanding performers in all fields are taking advantage of neurofeedback technologies to reach their peak performance. Surgeons use it to improve concentration; corporate executives use it to increase emotional intelligence for improved leadership skills and better time management; others use it as a mental guide to reach mindful, meditative or other spiritual states. Many people use neurofeedback brain training for release from stress, to improve sleep, and to be at their best no matter what circumstances they face.
For attorneys, business leaders and the financial community, greater efficiency means that less mental energy is wasted keeping composure, second-guessing, over-analyzing, and maintaining emotional control.
Many high performers have issues related to long term stress, and use neurofeedback simply to promote stress recovery and improve sleep quality; both essential elements to long term brain performance, endurance, and resilience.
Executives are frequently exposed to high levels of stress and pressure because they need to perform on a daily basis. Their reality resembles that of elite athletes. But there is a difference. Executives need to perform every day and have no time to rehearse. They operate on a rational/cerebral mode rather than on an emotional/physical mode.
Performance optimization can be defined as follows: helping executives to enhance their ability to focus and achieve a complete day of work while remaining highly energetic to get on with their evening activities.
Who can benefit from neurofeedback for peak performance in business?
• The iron man/woman whom nothing seems to bother, who maintains a resistance stage most of his or her life. These individuals are able to handle anything that life throws at them yet often think there could still be room for being more balanced and fulfilled (they are often referred by human resources and/or superior).
• The high achiever who starts to feel that he or she needs to do something to stop his or her ‘‘busy brain’’ or deal with the fact that he or she has become increasingly impatient.
• The executive who begins to feel burnt out but wants to find a scientific yet natural way to help himself or herself, rather than use prescription drugs.
• The individual hoping to build better self-awareness to become more focused and work more effectively with colleagues.
Video – Neurofeedback for peak performance in business
Neurofeedback training protocol for peak performance commonly referred to as Peak Performance NFB Protocol (see detailed description on NFB Protocol page of this website). According to the report of Steven D. Cochran, who performed neurofeedback training program for sixteen partners at financial services firm, a post-training questionnaire showed significant positive results for a majority of the participating executives on several variables, including improved focus, reduced impulsiveness, reduced anxious thinking, improved sleep, and improved productivity. To learn more regarding the technique and details for Peak Performance NFB Protocol visit “NFB Protocols” page of this website.
Neurofeedback helps to build the ability to be ‘in the zone’; tuning out distractions during key situations, increasing processing speed and focusing all their energies on the task at hand. Smoother function equals greater poise under pressure, improved recovery speed after an error, and less ‘over-thinking’ in crucial moments. What distinguishes the best is motivation, concentration, and how emotions are handled in high-pressure situations. This is why neurofeedback is fast becoming a training standard in Olympic and professional sports, and increasingly in the business community. Neurofeedback helps clear negative inner dialogue and widens perspective, allowing our intrinsic personality to emerge. Smooth brain communication promotes focus and emotional balance, helping us reach our full personal potential.
The most common benefits people report after training with neurofeedback is of a new vitality; a familiar but forgotten sense of being more their natural self. Most note that though they came in for help with emotional, artistic and creative abilities, they have also found positive changes in many other areas of their lives.
With neurofeedback, you can experience improvements in productivity and performance, concentration, general confidence and overall personal development and so much more. So do neurofeedback and let your brain do all the work for and improve your performance today.
Streamlining your mind is simple mental hygiene; an essential component of reaching optimal health.
Wilson, V., Peper, E., & Moss, D. (2006). “The Mind Room: in Italian Soccer Training: The Use of Biofeedback and Neurofeedback for Optimum Performance”: Biofeedback, 34 (3), 79-81.
Starkman, R. (2009). Athletes Wired for Success. Retrieved on September 19, 2011
Steven D. Cochran, (2011). Corporate Peak Performance Project: Biofeedback, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp. 123–126. DOI: 10.5298/1081-5937-39.3.09
NEUROFEEDBACK HOME USE DEVICE
Neurofeedback devices and systems are used for both medical and non-medical uses, and the dividing line between them may be thin. Non-medical application of neurofeedback can be considered primarily as personal improvement and conditioning for the brain and mind: to improve relaxation, attention, focus, concentration, and self-awareness, or as an adjunct to meditation, counseling, hypnosis, or achieving altered states of consciousness. It can be done without professional intervention. In cases where it is desired to relieve the conditions of a medical problem, professional help should be sought.
It is a fact that Neurofeedback systems are designed to allow the user to control a computer for recreational, educational, or entertainment purposes are not a medical instrument. You can find detailed information regarding indications, methods, and descriptions of different neurofeedback devices for home use here. However, if direct benefits are claimed for relaxation or relief from the symptoms of disorders, then the device is considered medical.
In the nonclinical embodiment, most of the same functions and capabilities are present, but they are presented in the context of an educational and recreational device. It is nonetheless true that the actual benefits may be essentially the same in both embodiments depending on how the user configures and applies the device, although the labeling and claims are different. The same instrument is being provided in both cases, but with different intent.
Clearly, the difference between the medical and non-medical embodiment of NFB devices lies primarily in the claims, in the expectations and applications of the user.
For example, although neurofeedback can be used to improve attention and concentration, and this can be considered as a personal improvement application, in cases of suspected or diagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders the use of this procedure might be regarded as a medical procedure.
It may thus be argued that neurofeedback treatment intended to reduce the symptoms of ADHD, especially when the removal from stimulants (Ritalin, etc) is desired, that neurofeedback is being used in a medical context. However, if a parent, teacher, or counselor uses neurofeedback in a home or educational setting to educate a child on how to reach a state of relaxed attentiveness and improve academic success, that the treatment may be considered education, not treatment.
Neurofeedback takes advantage of the brain’s ability to change itself through a process known as Neuroplasticity. It utilizes the same learning process that occurs whenever we acquire a new skill. The brain learns by forming connections between nerve cells and utilizing important pathways that connect different locations in the brain.
The more frequently you utilize these pathways the better the brain becomes at performing the associated task.
This type of leaning is a type in which responses come to be controlled by their consequences. Quite simply, Neurofeedback offers the perfect learning conditions, since it facilitates awareness of when the brain is producing healthier brainwave patterns, provides reinforcement for the positive change and multiple opportunities to provide practice during a training session.
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