Our Brain’s Resting State Networks and Autonomic Nervous system need to be well-regulated to help us function optimally. A wide variety of mental health conditions are associated with dysregulation of these systems and since this imbalance seems to be at the core of many problems, we usually start training the brain to self-regulate using the Infra-low approach.
What is Infralow?
Infra-Low Neurofeedback training targets infra-slow oscillations (or frequencies) in the brain. This means frequencies of less than 0.1Hertz. We call these foundational frequencies.
Because Infra-Low frequencies are cross-coupled with traditional band frequencies, (especially Delta, Theta and Gamma), when we work with foundational frequencies, we stabilise the entire nervous system.
The Origins of Infralow
Infra-Low Neurofeedback has evolved from the original Neurofeedback approach of traditional frequency band oscillations (1 to 30 Hz).
The approach was initiated in 2006 by the Othmer’s of the EEG Institute in Los Angeles, USA, world leaders in this field. The Othmer’s are continually developing and evolving this powerful and effective technology working closely with Bee Medic in Germany.
The Science Behind Infralow
Our autonomic nervous system automatically co-ordinates mind and body. Technically, this is the interaction between the peripheral nervous system (body) and the central nervous system (brain).
Infralow frequencies help regulate the arousal level of the Autonomic Nervous System. Our ‘automatic’ physiological functions include the states of fight, flight, freeze or rest & digest. These states are explained in the Nervous System chart below:
The optimal place for us to be is the state of ‘rest and digest’ which is characterised by calm, focused attention, social interaction, and safety. Automatic Self-Regulation is explained in the arousal-performance chart below:
Infra-slow oscillations are critical for the optimal functioning of core regulatory networks, our Resting State Networks. These are explained in the Resting- State Network chart below:
How does it Work?
The electrodes provide immediate feedback to the brain about small shifts in infra-slow frequencies. The feedback is visual, auditory, and tactile.
The brain is an experiencing entity and is fascinated by the signals it has generated.
In this very natural process, once the brain identifies the signal and makes the connection, it takes responsibility for the signal and tries to steer it – a little like controlling the steering wheel of a car even while the driver’s thoughts are directed elsewhere. The brain optimises its own ability to self-regulate to facilitate normal function.
A comparable analogy is that of having an eye test – the optician presents a range of different lenses (filters) before finding the one which allows the eyes to read clearly – but without strain – a relaxed, focused state.
With ILF training, we present different frequency filters to the brain and are similarly looking forward to the same zen place of feeling physically and emotionally calm and relaxed, but also alert, present, and focused.
The approach is extremely specific for each individual with the process of identifying the optimal Infra-Slow frequency to reward during the initial work.
This fine-tuning of the reinforcement frequency is guided by the client’s response.
Infralow Training pic
You sit comfortably in a chair watching something of your own choosing on a screen while feedback is given to your brain by means of electrodes. The process is sub-conscious.
The creation of optimal protocols requires an effective working relationship between client and clinician to ensure accurate reporting.
In case of younger children or adults, reports from parents or close family members are crucial for the process to succeed. Our clients feedback to us shifts in alertness and emotions during the training session and over the next two days.