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Neurofeedback experiences, let's share

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I bought a home kit, so my experiences won't reflect what you might get going to a qualified therapist or clinical psychologist working with this tool or something similar. There are a few of these on the market, most of them are between $150 and $300, I just chose the cheapest one I could get, I don't want to give them free advertising but if you do want to know the name send me a message :) (edit: Or if crazyboards wants to put an affiliate link up and earn commission)

So how does it work. With my particular one how it works is, you put on this plastic headset, then they tell you to think about whatever you want while the set gets used to your brainwaves, then there's a short introduction telling you how to meditate, then there is a soundscape and a timer for you to meditate. Every time your brainwaves get more active the sound gets louder or more intense (e.g. heavy rain), every time they get less active they get quieter (e.g. light rain), and if you are really calm you are rewarded with the sound of birds.

I have ADHD and all that goes with it, I'm not great at self care, partly because typical ADHD style I have a very small range of intense interests that aren't particularly relaxing. So yeah, if this can help my concentration, reduce my anxiety, stave off depression, and help me relax and recharge then it will be worth 1000 times what i paid for it. Neurofeedback (not necessarily cheap home kits) is supposed to be excellent for trauma and PTSD, I don't have PTSD but I have some traumatic grief and what goes with it.

I'm on Day 3 now.


- I'm meditating much more often and it's way easier to meditate for longer periods of time, I never did more than maybe 6 minutes before, now I can do 20, 30 and I haven't felt bored yet!
- I think it would work fantastically for people who think in pictures, because it always notices immediately when i start visualizing something, the rain pours down, the waves roar etc.
- It's fun. I tried meditating with it, tried sleeping with it, tried watching tv with it, and it was fun looking at the different brainwaves.
- the premise is it will teach me how to be calm, and how to bring on that feeling of calm in other situations away from the headset (after all, how could i calm myself down when I'm completely unfamiliar with the feeling of calm?). That seems pretty plausible considering how it's going so far
- it's cheaper than therapy
- if all it ends up doing is motivating me to have a solid meditation practice until it breaks, that will be fantastic in and of itself... but maybe it can do more? I hope?


- like I said, it notices if I start visualizing but if my mind wanders off in words it often thinks I'm still calm and focused on the breath, it knows I'm not super calm though, when you are super calm little birds tweet
- It's a specific type of meditation I'm practising, even though they do all different guided meditations at the start of the session, the system itself encourages you to relax and stay calm, an important side of mindful meditation is when you feel bored and you stay with that feeling and explore what being bored is like, or you want the session to be over, and you explore what it feels like to "want" or "crave" something, or whatever other feeling comes up, this one rewards you for staying calm calm calm. 

- The brain waves are always relative to the configuration at the beginning, which you redo each time, I'd love to see some numbers, so i can compare between days or times rather than comparing different moments within one session

Update day... 5? 6? It hasn't cured my ADHD i guess :D

- Enjoying it, meditating every day and looking forward to meditating
- yeah, I feel calm generally, but is that related to this or am I having a good week? I guess actually I'm having an ok week, lots of little inconveniences, but i've ridden the waves pretty well. Let this be the start of some new calm me! it takes time, but i'm feeling pretty motivated recently, so if that's from this it means I get a huge net gain, because i waste so much time through lack of motivation

Edited by Antecedent
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Update: I had a long day today. Usually at the end of a long day I feel really fluy, and during the day I think about self harm a lot, I tried to calm myself using what i've been learning, tried to bring myself into a more relaxed state instead of doing that, and it seemed to work somewhat? I feel less sick than usual, and less tired, coincidence? Could be a coincidence. Will keep at it :)

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Ok I think this is day 12

I'm meditating more, I still can't reliably create calm on demand according to the app. I see other people who have been doing it for months on the facebook page, and you see how their minds start off active, then drop immediately into calm when they start meditating adn stay like that until the end when they decide they want to stop. Mine still goes up and down a lot more than that

So what about my life in general?

No huge dramatic changes, but I am definitely getting more done. I'd say I'm tidying/cleaning about 3% more, but it's enough to be noticeable, and I feel noticeably calmer and a bit happier too. Now maybe I'm just having a good 2 weeks by coincidence, or maybe it's all this meditation, or maybe it's all this meditation with the app and headset helping (and not just motivating me to meditate more, which would be cool in itself)

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  • 2 weeks later...

DMed you!

Well it seems the n00b gain period is over and now I'm in a lull. Still feel a better than before. Still glad I got it. Still helping me meditate longer. This is unrelated, not a side effect: I've been reading a lot about Buddhism, DamnitJanet got me into it through the recommendation of "The Cow in the Parking Lot". Miss her ❤️ ... so yeah, meditation is becoming a bit part of my life

Edited by Antecedent
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  • 2 weeks later...

I took a break for Christmas. I didn't know that bluetooth can only connect to one thing at a time, so my tablet trying to connect to everything in the room was the reason why it often didn't connect to the headset. I've tried to tell it to forget all the other things exist, let's see if it works. I tried the headset with my parents, they both really liked it, i didn't expect it with my dad. I might get them one.. but would they use it? It's expensive if they don't use it, if they use it it will be totally worth it. Dad has terrible anxiety, absolutely chronic, and it's just getting worse, I'd love to get him meditating

I'm really determined to make this a part of my life. I really need the skills that mindfulness promises.

Edit: two days later

Last night I started with a loving kindness meditation and then went into a normal one where i just tried to focus on my breath. The difference in the graph was amazing. It was basically like this (lower is better):

So all that underscore is the loving kindness meditation and the up and down is me trying to focus on the breath. at the very end of teh graph it gets very high, as the adhd restlessness was kicking in and i felt really uncomfortable, I tried to practice sitting with that, tried to see what it felt like to desperately want to move around and not move around, i just got more and more and more antsy, antsy is the wrong word, it's a very very very very uncomfortable feeling. I tried to sit with it

then when i looked at the graph i felt some hope
. Those are two mental states, the first one i put myself into, the second one just happened to me, maybe I can learn to control this


Next day... The scan for my session was really active last night, I think because I was tired. Even if the meditation isn't going worse than usual it will show up very active if you are tired because... is it delta waves? I forget, they get very loud when you are tired( like when you are in REM) and so it shows up as mental activity. I just sat with it, accepted it, tried to focus on recognising and being, sitting with being "the one who knows", tried to take a step back and not identify so much with my thoughts and sensations. "The mind secretes thoughts like the pancreas secretes insulin" as Jack Kornfield says

Next day:

Last night I was just bored. I tried to sit with that feeling of boredom again, and explore, and that feeling of wanting it to be over, of desire, and seeing what is that like, again taking a step back from it. At the end I said "I will sit with whatever comes" and then after that the audio started playing birds, which means i had the relaxed/calm brainwaves, so I'll start with that next time. I don't think the first half was necessarily a waste of time.

It is important to know and recognise the feeling of boredom, so I will be more aware of that feeling and not suddenly find myself on facebook with no explanation. It is important to recognise that feeling of wanting and desire so I don't end up with 10 dresses in my amazon cart that I don't need. I always say a key feature of ADHD is having this absolutely terrible autopilot that never works when you need it to, does everything wrong anyway, and then randomly takes over when you don't want it to. I suppose that's part of why they sometimes misdiagnose trauma as ADHD, because that sounds a little like dissociating, but it's not, it's very different

Edited by Antecedent
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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh it's hard. They have changed the app a bit so the connecting via blue tooth is a bit less of a pain, you can let the app do it while you go off and meditate and then come back and put on the headset. Meditating is hard. I have that main goal of being able to calm myself on demand.. you know what I am kind of getting there? Sometimes I notice myself, when I'm anxious, I'm taking these deep exhales, and it seems to be working, and I don't ever remember doing that or that working before. So that's new and good. And trying to learn to sit with discomfort, physical pain or psychological restlessness or boredom.. trying to learn to sit with them and not try to move or solve them and feel calm and centred in spite of them, I'm still working on that, but I can see it being possible, I know exactly how to make the birds sing in the neurofeedback, what's hard is keeping them singing, but I know what it feels like when they are singing, so at least now I know what it is like to be calm and focused

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