The Dynamical Brain
To understand how NeurOptimal® works it is useful to first understand how complex the brain is and a little about how it functions.
The Brain is part of the Central Nervous System (CNS) and is the core information processing network of the body. It has 100 billion neurons with each connected to as many as 20,000 to 30,000 other neurons, totalling 1 quadrillion connections - about 300 million per cubic millimetre of cortex.
If the pathways making these connections were placed end to end, it would total between 150,000 and 180,000 Kilometres: Over six times the distance around the earth. The brain is the most complex dynamical structure known within the universe.
This provides for a very complex and highly dynamic organ that receives information about functioning of the body and the external environment.
It simultaneously coordinates all parts and systems of the body, including motor activity, whilst enabling higher cognitive functions such as, memory, emotional processing, language, creativity, and executive functioning – amongst many others. That is, brain is able to process massive amounts of information, develop responses, and learn them for increasing efficiency and mastery.
If we were aware of all the information processing going on, our conscious mind would be catastrophically overloaded. Fortunately consciousness is self-regulated, such that processing not requiring our immediate attention (which is most of the information processing going on) takes place outside of our awareness, within the unconscious. This leaves our conscious mind free to deal with important immediate activity that requires awareness, and focused attention.
In learning behaviour the brain self-organises such that a network of supporting neural interconnectivity is established. With repetition the neural connections are strengthened and more easily activated. Eventually the behaviour can become a primary and unconscious response – such as braking when you see a red light. If a learnt behaviour is discontinued, over time the supporting neural network begins to weaken, is less readily available and will lose primacy. The brains on-going ability to create new pathways and interconnections is known as Neuroplasticity and is essential for learning and adaptability.
Another very important feature of brain functioning is conscious and unconscious processing. If we were aware of all the information processing going on, our conscious mind would be catastrophically overloaded. Fortunately consciousness is self-regulated, such that processing not requiring our immediate attention (which is most of the information processing going on) takes place outside of our awareness, within the unconscious. This leaves our conscious mind free to deal with important immediate activity that requires awareness, and focused attention.
With conscious processing we practice selective awareness, work with chunks of information, build logical bridges, make decisions, and determine responses. Consciously generated behaviour, when repeated, becomes largely unconscious. This ensures conscious processing is not overloaded as new situations are encountered that require considered responses.
The Unconscious, in addition to holding patterned behaviour, processes our broader experience beyond selective conscious awareness. To process such massive amounts of information the Unconscious utilises fluid, global, and deep processing from which comes forward insight, wisdom, intuition, dreams, and understanding, alongside emotional and psychological healing.
If we consider these features of the dynamical brain it has profound implications for day to day living. For example:
• If we repeat behaviour often enough, it develops a self-organising dynamic that then drives the behaviour. Self-sustaining problematic behaviours are largely unconscious and may be as simple as obsolete coping strategies or as extreme as serious psychological and emotional conditions. Once established they influence the way we perceive the world, our relationship with it, and our sense of self.
• Behavioural dynamics are like a car rolling down a hill. If you jump in front just as it starts to move, it is a lot easier to stop than if it has developed momentum. When behaviour has an unconscious component, we are unaware of the activation and the build-up of the dynamical intensity. By the time it reaches awareness the behaviour is usually difficult to control because it is supported by powerful unconscious forces and has gained considerable momentum.
• When conscious or unconscious processing efficiency becomes compromised through the stress of modern living, information overload, trauma, or other influences, loss of performance and suffering arises. The body systems it regulates are affected, processing and integration of life experience becomes inefficient, and the additional burden placed on the conscious mind results in loss of awareness and performance in the world. Consequently problematic behaviours, ill health, and dependencies arise. These include, but are not limited to:
• Difficulty concentrating • Emotional difficulty • Reduced awareness
• Fatigue • Poor coping strategies • Diminishing sense of personal power
• Impared mind body coordination • Cognitive noise • Loss of sense of self
• Impared eye hand coordination • Cognitive instability • Poor impulse control • Learning difficulty • Personality instability • Reactivity
• Difficulty maintaining focus • Reduced physical health • Lack of adaptability • Poor response times • Rigid beliefs • Loss of clarity
• Difficulty with decision making • Cognitive decline • Sleep disturbance
• Reduced problem solving capacity • Impared immune system
• Reduced coping strategies
That is, any of the body, emotional, or cognitive processes influenced
by the Central Nervous System can be affected. The brains entire conscious and unconscious ability for optimal complex processing is determined by how efficiently it functions as a self-organising dynamical and transformational system.
Fortunately, Dr Valdeane Brown of the Zengar institute with his vast experience within neurofeedback recognised this some years ago, and realised existing approaches did not directly address the underlying processes that support healthy and optimal existence in the world. Drawing on his experience across several disciplines, including the new dynamical sciences, Dr Brown developed a unique, leading edge, state-of-the-art Neurofeedback system.
Called NeurOptimal®, it was designed from the ground up to work directly with the dynamical self-organising conscious and unconscious processes, to facilitate optimal functioning. The result is dynamical flexibility, adaptability, efficiency, and resiliency of processing with significantly increased resources and awareness. Qualities essential for optimal processing and integration of life experience for improved performance, increased success, better endurance, psychological and physical healing, greater life enjoyment, additional creativity, and enhanced personal growth with fluid transformational outcomes.
Remarkably, these far reaching outcomes are achieved effortlessly and safely when training with NeurOptimal®. There is no intervention, no manipulation, no effortful concentration, no decisions being made about what your brain should be doing, and no need to analyse the past or future. How, because it is recognised the brain is the most complex structure known in the universe with capacity beyond our conscious knowing, and that by providing a mirror of important aspects of its own dynamical functioning, it can use this information for self-correction, self-healing, learning, and optimisation of information processing and the transformational process.
NeurOptimal® does not utilise any form of frequency manipulation or intervention. It recognises the dynamical complexity of the Central Nervous System as a whole and simply feeds back information to the brain in its own language, moment by moment, about what it has just done. This enables the Central Nervous System to utilise its inherent capacity for healing, self-organisation, learning, and transformation.
Other types of Neurofeedback:
Whist some of the aspects that separate NeurOptimal® from other types of neurofeedback training are evident from the detail provided on 'What Happens in a Session' page, there is additional important information.
Most other types of Neurofeedback are involved in direct intervention
or manipulation of the frequencies the brain produces. Whilst they can
be effective, compared to NeurOptimal® there are inadequacies with
• Because the brain is being pushed or pulled in this manner there is an increased likelihood of side effects.
• There is less opportunity for the brain to find its own balanced optimal processing as it is being forced to comply to a preconceived notion of what is right for it.
• There is less opportunity for the brain to develop the flexibility, adaptability and resilience that comes from NeurOptimal® training.
• It is an external intervention that reinforces the thinking the brain
cannot do it and needs something else over and beyond its inherent capacity and potential.
• There is very little opportunity for the brain to develop the learning that
is necessary for smooth transformation and ongoing development independently of the neurofeedback device.
Whilst some manufacturers claim so, they are not neurofeedback devices. There are different types of entrainment and many different types of entrainment devices. Fundamentally, with aural beets and/or flashing LED lights, it is possible to force the brain to produce any desired frequency or frequency combination. Compared to NeurOptimal®, entrainment devices are powerfully controlling and interventionist, with someone else determining what your brain should look like and defining what states are good for you. In short – Sledgehammer approaches to health, performance, and transformation that mostly do not work with your natural ability to achieve these outcomes. Similar inadequacies as those for interventionist types of neurofeedback apply including increased risk of side effects.