Research and publications

Neurofeedback for peak performance

Neurofeedback training for peak performance

Marek Graczyk

Ann Agric Environ Med​

. 2014;21(4):871-5.

Aim: One of the applications of the Neurofeedback methodology is peak performance in sport. The protocols of the neurofeedback are usually based on an assessment of the spectral parameters of spontaneous EEG in resting state conditions. The aim of the paper was to study whether the intensive neurofeedback training of a well-functioning Olympic athlete who has lost his performance confidence after injury in sport, could change the brain functioning reflected in changes in spontaneous EEG and event related potentials (ERPs).

Case study: The case is presented of an Olympic athlete who has lost his performance confidence after injury in sport. He wanted to resume his activities by means of neurofeedback training. His QEEG/ERP parameters were assessed before and after 4 intensive sessions of neurotherapy. Dramatic and statistically significant changes that could not be explained by error measurement were observed in the patient.

Conclusion: Neurofeedback training in the subject under study increased the amplitude of the monitoring component of ERPs generated in the anterior cingulate cortex, accompanied by an increase in beta activity over the medial prefrontal cortex. Taking these changes together, it can be concluded that that even a few sessions of neurofeedback in a high performance brain can significantly activate the prefrontal cortical areas associated with increasing confidence in sport performance.

Neurofeedback for Peak Performance Training

Nicole C. Pacheco

Journal of Mental Health Counseling (2016) 38 (2): 116–123.

Neurofeedback has been found to be effective in the treatment of a number of clinical disorders, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD/ADD) (Lubar, 2003), obsessive-compulsive disorder (Hammond, 2003), seizures (Sterman, 2000), and substance abuse (Burkett, Cummins, Dickson, & Skolnick, 2005Saxby & Peniston, 1995). The benefits of neurofeedback have also been found useful in peak performance training.

 

These benefits include improving attention/concentration, imagery, arousal level, and decreasing worry and rumination (Williams, 2006). The combination of cognitive, emotional, and psychophysiological benefits from neurofeedback results in improved performance. Due to individual differences in brain activity, as well as the large diversity of skills required in different sports, neurofeedback for performance training is not a “one size fits all” approach (Wilson, Thompson, Thompson, & Peper, 2011).

 

In order to obtain optimal results, neurofeedback for peak performance training begins with appropriate assessment and evaluation of an individual's brain wave (electroencephalographic) activity. Individualized training plans are based upon the assessment findings and the specific needs of the targeted sport or activity (Wilson et al., 2011).

 

This article will discuss the benefits and applications of neurofeedback for peak performance training and the importance of assessment to create effective training programs.

Performance Enhancement Training through Neurofeedback

S. LouiseNorris

Introduction to Quantitative EEG and Neurofeedback
1999, Pages 223-240

This chapter explains the performance enhancement training through neurofeedback. As EEG neurofeedback has shown, thought or cognition can be a function of our brain electrophysiology. Some creative minds decided to apply neurofeedback (EEG biofeedback) to the realm of performance enhancement training (PET) as a means of optimizing personal growth.

 

EEG neurofeedback is a form of operant conditioning, where visual stimuli, sounds, or scores are employed to reinforce voluntary control over EEG patterns. The crux of neurofeedback is that it permits to employ the computer screen to deliver reinforcement of desired brain waves. It serves as a mirror reflecting one's states of consciousness, thus permitting them to control those states voluntarily.

 

The goal of PET is to increase the occurrence and duration of peak performances in normal people under normal circumstances. The objective is to help in optimizing the human potential. It is believed that neurofeedback has exciting possibilities as a tool to promote peak performance.

Validating the efficacy of neurofeedback for optimising performance

John Gruzelier

Prog Brain Res​

. 2006;159:421-31.

The field of neurofeedback training has largely proceeded without validation. Here we review our studies directed at validating SMR, beta and alpha-theta protocols for improving attention, memory, mood and music and dance performance in healthy participants. Important benefits were demonstrable with cognitive and neurophysiological measures which were predicted on the basis of regression models of learning. These are initial steps in providing a much needed scientific basis to neurofeedback, but much remains to be done.

Peak Performance Training Using Prefrontal EEG Biofeedback

Estate “Tato” Sokhadze, PhD

Biofeedback (2012) 40 (1): 7–15.

The use of biofeedback training to self-regulate EEG patterns with the aim of recovering or optimizing function and behavioral performance is becoming increasingly established. The most reasonable approach is to learn to generate and maintain optimal brain wave patterns and produce associated peak performance states on demand. We report two studies where 12 sessions of prefrontal EEG feedback were used to improve performance in both clinical and nonclinical populations. Neurofeedback using Focus, Alertness, and 40 Hz (Neureka!) measures resulted in improved selective attention and other cognitive functions. We discuss other potential applications of neurofeedback in the areas of “under-pressure” activity, where peak performance state is an essential part of the job, such as in sports or the performing arts, as well as for human operators, such as air traffic dispatchers and military personnel on duty.

Neurofeedback and Mindfulness in Peak Performance Training Among Athletes

Noel L. Ford, MA;

Sarah N. Wyckoff, PhD;

Leslie H. Sherlin, PhD

Biofeedback (2016) 44 (3): 152–159.

Years of research have demonstrated that biofeedback, neurofeedback, and mindfulness, individually and in various combinations, have been employed to effectively improve sport performance. The present article discusses the literature supporting the combination of these techniques, the neurophysiologic measures that support the use of these techniques for performance enhancement, and practical methods for implementing a combination of biofeedback and mindfulness with athletes. Finally, a case study is presented to offer practical steps on implementing mindfulness and biofeedback for the purpose of performance enhancement.

Ecological validity of neurofeedback: modulation of slow wave EEG enhances musical performance

Tobias Egner

Neuroreport​

. 2003 Jul 1;14(9):1221-4.

Biofeedback-assisted modulation of electrocortical activity has been established to have intrinsic clinical benefits and has been shown to improve cognitive performance in healthy humans.

In order to further investigate the pedagogic relevance of electroencephalograph (EEG) biofeedback (neurofeedback) for enhancing normal function, a series of investigations assessed the training's impact on an ecologically valid real-life behavioural performance measure: music performance under stressful conditions in conservatoire students.

 

In a pilot study, single-blind expert ratings documented improvements in musical performance in a student group that received training on attention and relaxation related neurofeedback protocols, and improvements were highly correlated with learning to progressively raise theta (5-8 Hz) over alpha (8-11 Hz) band amplitudes.

 

These findings were replicated in a second experiment where an alpha/theta training group displayed significant performance enhancement not found with other neurofeedback training protocols or in alternative interventions, including the widely applied Alexander technique.

Golf Performance Enhancement and Real-Life Neurofeedback Training Using Personalized Event-Locked EEG Profiles

Martijn Arns

Journal of Neurotherapy 
Investigations in Neuromodulation, Neurofeedback and Applied Neuroscience
Volume 11, 2008 - Issue 4

Background. This study reports on a new method for golf performance enhancement employing personalized real-life neurofeedback during golf putting.

Method. Participants (n = 6) received an assessment and three real-life neurofeedback training sessions. In the assessment, a personal event-locked electroencephalographic (EEG) profile at FPz was determined for successful versus unsuccessful putts. Target frequency bands and amplitudes marking optimal prefrontal brain state were derived from the profile by two raters. The training sessions consisted of four series of 80 putts in an ABAB design. The feedback in the second and fourth series was administered in the form of a continuous NoGo tone, whereas in the first and third series no feedback was provided. This tone was terminated only when the participants EEG met the assessment-defined criteria. In the feedback series, participants were instructed to perform the putt only after the NoGo tone had ceased.

Results. From the personalized event-locked EEG profiles, individual training protocols were established. The interrater reliability was 91%. The overall percentage of successful putts was significantly larger in the second and fourth series (feedback) of training compared to the first and third series (no feedback). Furthermore, most participants improved their performance with feedback on their personalized EEG profile, with 25% on average.

Conclusions. This study demonstrates that the “zone” or the optimal mental state for golf putting shows clear recognizable personalized patterns. The learning effects suggest that this real-life approach to neurofeedback improves learning speed, probably by tapping into learning associated with contextual conditioning rather than operant conditioning, indicating perspectives for clinical applications.

Increasing Performance of Professional Soccer Players and Elite Track and Field Athletes with Peak Performance Training and Biofeedback: A Pilot Study

The aim of this pilot study was to investigate the effects of an intervention consisting of mental coaching combined with either electro encephalogram (EEG) alpha power feedback or heart rate variability (HRV) feedback on HRV, EEG outcomes and self-reported factors related to stress, performance, recovery and sleep quality in elite athletes.

 

A prospective pilot study was performed with two distinct cohorts. Soccer players were provided with four sessions of mental coaching combined with daily HRV biofeedback (Group A); track and field athletes were provided with four sessions of mental coaching in combination with daily neurofeedback (Group B). Measurements were performed at baseline, post intervention and at 5 weeks follow-up.

 

Objective measures: EEG and ECG. Subjective measures: Numeric Rating Scale for performance, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Rest and Stress Questionnaire and Sports Improvement-60. Group characteristics were too distinct to compare the interventions. Linear mixed models were used to analyze differences within groups over time.

 

In Group A, significant changes over time were present in alpha power at 5 of 7 EEG locations (p < 0.01–0.03). LF/HF ratio significantly increased (p = 0.02) and the concentration (p = 0.02) and emotional scale (p = 0.03) of the SIM-60 increased significantly (p = 0.04). In Group B, the HRV low frequency power and recovery scale of the REST-Q significantly increased (p = 0.02 and <0.01 resp.). Other measures remained stable or improved non-significantly.

 

A mental coaching program combined with either HRV or EEG alpha power feedback may increase HRV and alpha power and may lead to better performance-related outcomes and stress reduction. Further research is needed to elucidate the effects of either type of feedback and to compare effects with a control group.