Subscribe to Our Blog
Like what you see? Subscribe to our weekly blog and stay connected!
Can you do neurofeedback at home?

Neurofeedback at home is possible with the right tools. Many are already finding improvements with their sleep, human performance, and more with neurofeedback training.

Written by Bethany Schoengarth
August 31st, 2021

What is neurofeedback?

Neurofeedback works with your brain’s electricity by measuring brain waves in real time through EEG and providing a feedback signal, typically in a visual form. 

 

Neurofeedback has been used to self-manage anxiety, ADHD, improve focus, and more, essentially increasing mental wellness. Because these conditions can occur when one band of brainwaves are more active than another, neurofeedback training allows you to gain awareness of your brain’s electrical activity and learn what influences them to shift into a more focused flow state. For example, too many fast-moving waves can trigger anxious feelings. Learning more about your own unique brainwave patterns and what types of thoughts impact them can help you better manage those feeling states. Neurofeedback works with your biometric data.

 

What is biometric data?

Brainwave data is considered biometric data because it comes from your body. Other types of biometric data include heart rate, fingerprint scans, voice recognition, or facial scans. If you use a smartwatch to monitor your heart rate, you’re using tech with biometric data! 

 

How to do neurofeedback at home

First, you’ll need a wearable device to gather your brainwave data. Luckily, you won’t need a full EEG cap with wires and glue! A consumer-grade, dry sensor EEG headband can give you just the right amount of information you need without overwhelming yourself. We recommend the BrainLink Lite EEG headband. It’s  adjustable, lightweight, and rechargeable. 

 

Next, you’ll need software or an app that translates your brainwave data so you can understand the meaning. There are many neurofeedback training programs available, however, Healium is the only neurofeedback tool that allows you to see your brainwave data in near real time in virtual and augmented reality.  

 

 

You’ll see your brainwave states represented as a glowing firefly. The firefly moves higher or lower depending on your performance in the focused calm protocol. Additionally, you’re using your brainwaves to modify the content. In one experience, more butterflies hatch from the chrysalis when you’re successful in your training. 

 

Before you begin any training, Healium measures your baseline brainwaves. This baseline is unique to you. Think of it as your “before picture”. Your baseline is a snapshot of your brain’s electrical activity without trying to change it. You’ll always see it in every experience while using neurofeedback with Healium. The firefly flows along the baseline. If you want to challenge yourself and learn how to improve your feeling of focused calm, you’ll simply adjust your baseline higher and keep your firefly above the baseline. As you progress through the training, you’ll know you’re improving when you can maintain a high score even after you’ve moved your baseline higher. 

 

 

Healium helps you understand your brainwave data by providing a baseline, a glowing firefly of your real-time brainwaves, a score after each session, and even specific brainwave band measurements in your data dashboard. 

 

Benefits of neurofeedback

Just like any tool you invest in, you want to make sure it’s going to have desired outcomes. Healium strives to create a product that’s not only enjoyable, but backed by science. Users from our published studies in peer-reviewed journals reported the following improvements:

 

— increase in positive mood states

— high levels of engagement with the tools

— reduced subjective reports of anxiety

— increase in feelings of calm

— reduced tension and fatigue

— reduced confusion

 

More studies are underway so the research on our app doesn’t stop there. Additional benefits of neurofeedback also include:

 

— increased memory

— better sleep

— improved focus

— improved emotional self-regulation

 

How does virtual reality improve the effectiveness of neurofeedback?

Neurofeedback at home might sound like a complicated process but it’s made enjoyable by the engaging content in virtual reality. VR headsets are relatively affordable and accessible to anyone. Most headsets on the market are portable and standalone which means they don’t require powerful computers or cords to operate.

 

Virtual reality is a unique tool because it is immersive. According to this published study on VR impacting mood states in the Journal of Neuroregulation, “The apparent success of VR in reducing anxiety may be, in part, due to the strong feeling of “presence” achieved in these environments. “Presence,” is defined as the subjective feeling of being in another place. Rather than simply removing a potentially stressful environment, VR can replace these stressful cues with an environment designed to be soothing, comforting, and mood enhancing. VR research for pain management has shown that this strategy works quite well. For example, VR experiences designed to assist burn victims often utilize visual scenes that include cold weather and snow, taking advantage of the brain’s tendency to respond physiologically to environmental cues.”

 

Healium’s own virtual reality content is nature-based and most have guided meditations informed by our Chief Scientist, Dr. Jeff Tarrant and founder, Sarah Hill who also self-manages her anxiety with neurofeedback. 

 

You can do neurofeedback at home

If you can measure it, you can begin to influence it. Through neurofeedback, you can sense, interact with, and self-manage your mental states. With an EEG headband and a program to help you understand your brainwave data, you can make the changes you’d like to see in your life. 

 

While you have the option to select any neurofeedback training program that appeals to you, remember that virtual reality immerses your brain in the content–the brain believes what it sees which makes it a highly effective therapeutic tool. Our app is backed by four peer-reviewed studies published in scientific journals and continues to be researched for future use cases. See what kind of benefits you can discover from integrating neurofeedback training into your daily life.

 

Note: BrainLink and Healium are not diagnostic or treatment tools.  Think of the EEG feedback as self-awareness that displays a representation of your feeling state. It will not tell you if you have anxiety or depression. If you have questions about your mental health state, please consult a medical or neurofeedback professional who can give you a brain map with a full 19 sensor EEG cap.

 

Written by Bethany Schoengarth
August 31st, 2021