What does NFL champion Kirk Cousins, Olympic beach-volleyball player Kerri Walsh-Jennings, the US Olympic Ski Team, and the Italian World Cup Soccer Team all have in common?
They’ve gone beyond traditional physical training methods to tone up the most important muscle in the human body: the brain – and their new weapon of choice is called neurofeedback therapy.
For those who don’t know, neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback training which helps you measure your brainwave patterns and trains you to self-regulate your state of mind. For many, this means lowering stress levels while simultaneously increasing focus and flow.
Brain clinics and labs have used EEG for decades to measure brain activity, cognitive functioning, and even help retrain the brain. It has been shown to help treat an array of psychological conditions such as ADD, anxiety, depression, seizures, etc.
In recent years, however, the tides have turned and neurofeedback has taken off as a performance tool of choice for pro athletes around the world.
The question is: What does brain training actually have to do with physical performance?
Get in the game by getting out of your head
It’s no secret in the sports world that multiple professional athletes have incorporated neurofeedback technology into their regular training routine. Take Italy’s soccer team for example.
After they won the World Cup in 2006, multiple members of their team credited neurofeedback as the secret weapon behind their epic performance. This is simple because it can help athletes tackle the ever-present problem of pre-performance anxiety and get in the zone.
A study done by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health found that sport-related anxiety can have a negative impact on performance in practice and in competitions. It can also lead to an increased risk of injury, muscle fatigue, and delayed recovery times.
In interviews, multiple members of the Boston Red Sox and the Dallas Mavericks have noted that neurofeedback has helped them quiet oppressive mental chatter before a game to tap into flow states easily and bounce back when a match doesn’t go their way.
Several pro and semi-pro athletes also reported decreased fatigue, faster execution, increased accuracy, improved muscle healing abilities, and a higher level of focus through physical pain.
However, you don’t have to be a professional athlete or have access to a state-of-the-art training center to up-level your mental game for hyper performance.
Who is neurofeedback for?
To put it simply, if you’d like to focus more, lower stress less, and elevate your performance in the gym or out on the field then it’s definitely worth a try.
As more people discover the psychological and physical benefits of neurofeedback, training centers are popping up in cities everywhere. However, given the time it takes to visit one of these centers regularly and the hefty price tag, it just isn’t a viable option for most of us.
If you’re looking for a more convenient option, there are online programs that you can do right at home. Many of the systems on the market, however, offer little guidance and insights from a professional. Right now, an Israely startup Myndlift is changing the neurofeedback game by making it convenient, reliable, and easily accessible to anyone from around the world.
Their software allows users to conduct neurofeedback home sessions completely online with a use of an affordable EEG headband. This solution saves thousands of dollars and still offers access to a licensed clinical professional to guide you through the entire process.
How is it done?
Over the last 50 years, brain clinics and labs have used EEG to measure cognitive functioning and even retrain the brain, but if you want to give it a shot at home, here’s how Myndlift does it.
Step 1: After connecting EEG Electrodes to precise areas of your scalp, specific brain signals are measured to reflect your current mental state in real time.
Step 2: Myndlift software categorizes distinct brainwaves by their associated mental state. (Ex. Alpha brainwaves typically indicate a relaxed and receptive state)
Step 3: Based on your current mental state and which one you want to tap into, they will create a customized training plan to help you reach your goals. (Ex. If you suffer from anxiety you might up-train alpha waves and down-train high beta)
Step 4: You’ll train your brain to reach optimal states of mind by playing specialized videos or games. When you reach the optimal states, the game will move forward or the quality will be enhanced as a psychological reward system calling operant conditioning. Until then, the visuals will appear quite dull or move at a slower pace.
Step 5: Myndlift’s assessment from their clinical caliber system gives a detailed run-down of your brainwave patterns and a neurofeedback expert will give you a personal training plan and keep track of your progress to help you achieve optimal results.
By consistently training over an extended period of time, this system can retrain how your brain operates under stressful situations, leading to reduced anxiety, heightened focus, and increased athletic performance.
Does it actually work?
Beyond the testimonies of multiple pro athletes and thousands of people around the world using neurofeedback in their daily lives, the science is there to back it up.
Over the last 50+ years, there have been over 700 peer-reviewed scientific studies published using neurofeedback that have shown clear efficacy in the treatment of anxiety, addiction, ADHD, and a lot more.
A case study conducted by Researchgate also showed notable technical, tactical, physical psychological, and behavioral improvements in four out of five of the soccer players undergoing neurofeedback therapy.
In another study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, neurofeedback therapy resulted in the increase of alpha and beta brainwaves and a subsequent reduction in reaction times and showed improvement in speed, effectiveness and accuracy.
Since 2014, Myndlift has conducted over 1,200,000 personal neurofeedback sessions and researched a multitude of scientific studies that show links between the treatment of ADHD, anxiety, PTSD, and also cognitive enhancement to neurofeedback therapy.
If you want to learn more about how this system works or try it out for yourself, check out www.myndlift.com for more information.
Natasha Zolotareva is a former journalist from Siberia turned international media relations specialist. She runs a remote PR agency for personal growth leaders and wellness coaches. She is on a mission to bring messages of wellness and mental health into mainstream media. Her team has launched a number of Amazon bestsellers, booked national TV and over 400 podcast interviews. Leading up to this she lived on three different continents, volunteered in Central America, managed a high performing marketing team in Asia and worked with refugees, dragging her slightly overweight suitcase around the world. She is an aspiring freelance writer, motivated by telling the stories of inspiring people she meets on her journey. natashazo.com