What is the difference between active neurofeedback (like nctNeurofeedback) and LENS neurofeedback?
Active training Neurofeedback
Electroencephalograph (EEG) biofeedback involves placing electrical leads on the scalp and then measuring and analysing the person's brain wave patterns.
The information is "fed back" to the ADHD sufferer via a computer screen to let them know when they are producing the desired patterns, ones associated with concentration and calmness and when they are not.
Many children and adolescents are reported to have dramatic academic and behavioral improvements.
There are reportedly no physical side effects to EEG Biofeedback.
LENS Neurofeedback (passive)
LENS (Low Energy Neurofeedback System): LENS also uses an EEG and electrical sensors to acquire brain wave information.
However, the goal of this system is to “disentrain” the brain.
The developer of this system, Dr. Len Ochs, claims that one does not need to tell the brain what to do. The LENS program feeds back the same brainwaves and adds an extremely small radio frequency, called an offset, resulting in the brain self-adjusting and minimizing its dysfunction.
Compared with traditional Neurofeedback, the LENS process requires no work by the client.
However, when using PASSIVE brain-entrainment methods (such as this), problems arise for many in transferring the learning from the training sessions to daily situations.
Points to keep in mind
The difference between training the brain ACTIVELY as opposed to PASSIVELY is that, with active neurofeedback, the brain makes the changes itself, actually adjusting its own stable patterns, where passive training pushes it into a new place.
The former is likely, if the results are good, to become stable fairly quickly. The latter, like taking a drug, can give the client/brain an experience of being in a different place, but it doesn’t teach it how to get there on its own.
Types of Neurofeedback, further reading and research
There are 7 types of Neurofeedback:
The most frequently used neurofeedback is frequency/power neurofeedback. This technique typically includes the use of 2 to 4 surface electrodes, sometimes called “surface neurofeedback”. It has been shown to change the amplitude or speed of specific brain waves in particular brain locations to treat ADHD, anxiety, and insomnia, among other conditions.
Slow cortical potential neurofeedback (SCP-NF) improves the direction of slow cortical potentials shown to treat ADHD, epilepsy, and migraines (Christiansen, Reh, Schmidt, & Rief, 2014) and other conditions.
Low-energy neurofeedback system (LENS) delivers a weak electromagnetic signal to change the patient’s brain waves while they are motionless with their eyes closed (Zandi-Mehran, Firoozabadi, & Rostami, 2014). This type of neurofeedback has been shown to positively effect traumatic brain injury, ADHD, insomnia, fibromyalgia, restless legs syndrome, anxiety, depression, and anger.
Hemoencephalographic (HEG) neurofeedback provides feedback on cerebral blood flow to treat migraine (Dias, Van Deusen, Oda, & Bonfim, 2012) and other conditions.
Live Z-score neurofeedback has been shown to treat insomnia. It introduces the continuous comparison of variables of brain electrical activity to a systematic database to provide continuous feedback (Collura, Guan, Tarrant, Bailey, & Starr, 2010).
Low-resolution electromagnetic tomography (LORE-TA) involves the use of 19 electrodes to monitor phase, power, and coherence (Pascual-Marqui, Michel, & Lehmann, 1994). This neurofeedback technique is used to treat addictions, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is the most recent type of neurofeedback to regulate brain activity based on the activity feedback from deep subcortical areas of the brain (Hurt, Arnold, & Lofthouse, 2014; Lévesque, Beauregard, & Mensour, 2006a).