What Is Brain Training?
Your brain is where mind and body come together. Just as you can train your body to build stamina, strength or flexibility, so you can train your brain.
For thousands of years, people have used meditation and prayer to change the brain by training the mind. For the past 50 years, though, biofeedback technology has made a much faster and easier option possible: Change the mind by training the brain directly!
When you give your brain real-time information about its energy levels, you can teach it to calm down or speed up, to shift more smoothly and become more efficient. These changes carry over into your daily life. A neurofeedback home training program or biofeedback therapy can make this happen.
What Happens during Brain Training?
Brain training equipment picks up information from sensors (HEG headset or electrodes) placed on your scalp or forehead about how your brain is performing and sends this information to a computer.
Brain training software is told what specific changes you want to make in your brain’s behavior. It sets targets and provides you with biofeedback, such as music or video or games, that start and stop depending on whether or not your brain is hitting its targets.
Brain Training doesn’t teach tricks or techniques. Your brain changes itself. You don’t have to “think about” it or “try”. Your brain gets the feedback when you pay attention to it and moves in the desired direction. Here at The Learning Curve, we offer you the biofeedback equipment, software, and training to get the neurofeedback results you want.
What Can I Change?
Different types of neurofeedback training in different areas of the brain can help you:
- Strengthen attention, focus, learning, memory, creativity and intuition;
- Gain greater control of behavior, emotions, and racing thoughts;
- Brighten and stabilize mood and deal with past traumatic experience;
- Improve sleep, appetite and other physical functions;
- Overcome chronic pain and fatigue conditions;
- Rehabilitate head injuries, seizure activity, migraines and irritable bowel;
- Improve your ability to stay in “the zone” and perform at your peak.
There are two main brain training technologies we recommend, HEG and EEG. Either can be used alone, but training plans can also incorporate both methods.
The PFC (prefrontal cortex), the brain’s executive center lying behind the forehead, controls attention and blocks distractions. It integrates a constant flow of sensory, emotional and memory material and decides what it means and what to do about it. It screens outgoing physical, verbal and emotional impulses. It regulates mood. It’s a key to working memory. It’s the center for motivation, planning and organizing.
HEG measures changes in levels of metabolic activity in the PFC. As HEG readings rise during a session, the PFC is activating, increasing blood supply and blood oxygen levels.
The busiest neurons in the brain have more of what they need to work (oxygen and glucose). As the distribution system improves, the trainee is better able to control executive functions for longer periods.
We know that if you work out and improve aerobic function in your cardiopulmonary system, that doesn't mean you HAVE to race around all the time. Similarly with HEG training. You improve PFC function for longer periods, but you can still sit quietly and relax when you want.
HEG requires no assessment. There is no measuring, cleaning or pasting. Training time is an hour or two a week. It’s fast and easy to learn.
Like your heart, your brain operates with rhythmic pulses of electricity. Each level of energy has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Slow pulses (Creative/Intuitive)—you are thinking or dreaming inside your head, out of contact with your environment, using images rather than words, and tending to leap to answers rather than going through steps. Being stuck here, you may have attention or learning problems or be depressed.
Fast pulses (Logical/Rational)—processing with words and using steps and sequences, you may be internally or externally focused. Being stuck here, you may be obsessive, compulsive, addictive or anxious.
Middle speeds (Zone states)—these are pure awareness states. They include peak states in sports or performance, the ability to do things in auto-pilot, mental stillness, physical relaxation and presence in the moment. Being stuck here, you may tend to drift through tasks and appear unmotivated.
Ideally we want our brains to be able to shift from slow to fast states smoothly and easily and stay in each as long as desired.
Most of us develop energy “habits” and get stuck at one particular speed. We live with its strengths and limitations.
EEG measures electrical patterns in the brain and can guide it into more functional patterns. By changing patterns and connectivity, EEG can calm an overly excited brain, activate a lazy one, improve communication within it and release subconscious material. It can train over the entire head and can train multiple locations at the same time.
The TLC System is based on the belief that the most effective EEG training adjusts what the brain is already doing. Training blind, with no information on the brain’s existing state, can have negative effects or waste training sessions. TLC offers a brain-based assessment tool, the TLC Assessment, which can be used to identify patterns in a trainee’s brain that may relate to problems with attention, mood, learning, control, performance, etc.
EEG offers the broadest range of training options and sites, but skills must be developed. With the TLC training videos and (ideally) a partner, it takes several hours practice to record and recognize clean EEG. Gathering assessment data and participating in producing the plan requires several more hours practice. Then the training can begin.
Learn more about brain patterns.