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Brain Tales: Starting HEG neurofeedback

Posted Sep 13 2008 12:41am
There you are....wearing a tiny infrared camera on your head, intently watching a screen with a readout of the temperature of your brain, trying to make it go up.

You're hoping it will help your migraines melt, your panic attacks retreat, your attention focus, or your mood stabilize in a good place.

But what does it actually Feel Like?

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you'll know that one of the techniques I like to use is HEG - hemoencephalography - training blood flow in the brain.

I've never had anyone try to learn the technique that couldn't do it, but people always have questions about what it "feels like".

I read an interesting post on one of my on-line groups exactly about the topic of about getting started with HEG neurofeedback and the author gave me permission to share it with you...

I thought I'd give everybody my impressions of HEG training now that
I've been doing it on myself for two weeks (I'm ADHD, primarily
inattentive type). I'm using Toomim's nirHEG system.

I saw a discussion between Hershel and Jeff regarding their
observations of people just beginning. Where Hershel sees gradual
improvement in symptoms over time, Jeff sees a big, short-lived
improvement in the beginning with an eventual stabilizing of symptom
improvement over time. My initial experience correlates with Jeff's
even though I'm using nirHEG. After my first two sessions (on a Sunday
and Monday) I was able to tune out auditory distractions like never
before (on Tuesday and Wednesday) while working. There was a gradual
decline in the improvement across Thursday and Friday so that I was
increasingly distractable. I did a training session on Friday which
resulted in the most heightened sense of clarity on Saturday I think
I've ever had. All the mental fog I usually experience was gone that
day. This was accompanied by a fantastic mood (I often feel down or
depressed). This lasted almost the whole day. Then, a decline on
Sunday and Monday, etc...

I'm assuming that the clarity I experienced on Saturday will
someday soon become the norm? (I am currently training myself 3 days a
week). Hopefully! It felt great.

Sean was using a different system than I do. I use the pirHEG (passive infrared), which he refers to as "Jeff's system" (for Jeff Carmen, the developer of the pirHEG system). The nirHEG (near infrared), developed by Hershel Toomin, works in a slightly different way, but you can see that they do similar things in similar ways.

Sean is using nirHEG more often that I usually recommend when people have to come into my office. Nevertheless, his idea of doing a new session when he feels the effects of the last session wearing off is spot-on.

And, yes Sean (if you're reading this), if this is the impact HEG is having on should gradually feel this way for longer and longer periods of time and eventually only need booster sessions. Nice, eh? (Of course,as you get used to a new way of feeling, it won't be so noticeable any more...but that's another post !)
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