HPN, High-Performance Neurofeedback, is a type of brainwave based biofeedback that has shown clinical efficacy in addressing the symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Post-Concussive Syndrome, Anxiety, Depression, and Attention Deficit issues (AD/HD). Although it may seem contradictory, it can be calming, energizing and mood-lifting simultaneously. Head pain often dissipates quickly. Foggy thinking and confusion typically give way to clear thinking and a more even, more elevated, and less emotionally reactive, mood.
While it may take 12-24 sessions, sometimes more, for effects to become lasting, the client frequently begins to notice the improvement with the first session, often before getting out of the chair. Sometimes this improvement is dramatic. At first, improvement is typically short-lived, often measured in days. By the completion of the appropriate set of training sessions, improvement is expected not only to last, but to continue increasing slightly on its own over time.
During a session, the system tracks the brainwaves (EEG, or electroencephalograph), and sends directly back to the brain tiny, imperceptible, ultra-low power signals that result in changes toward a more highly functioning brainwave pattern. In this way, the brain seems to learn new patterns of behavior and becomes de-habituated from “stuck” patterns that represent suboptimal processing, reorganizing itself naturally into a healthier and more flexible way of being. As the brain learns to function in this more efficient manner, it becomes accustomed to this higher-functioning way of being, and the effects last longer and longer. It’s as though the brain recognizes the reflection of itself, in its own language, and makes the appropriate adjustments, forming new habits in the process. Sessions require no conscious effort on the part of the client.
These effects occur, independent of age, comprehension, or physical or mental capacity, although younger ages tend to respond more rapidly. The practitioner will frequently notice immediate changes in the brainwave patterns, and the client often notices the shift that occurs during the session. A typical client perception is first relaxed (and/or sleepy), then, by the end of the session, energized. Family and friends will likely begin noticing the shift in mood and behavior in the first 1-4 sessions, often on the ride home from the first session. Behavioral changes are frequently noticed first by family, then by the client. Headache and emotional volatility are frequently first to respond.
While improved patterns of functioning can be tracked and documented via EEG, the operation of the system is not dependent upon EEG mapping of any kind.
The HPN system is implemented using specific EEG hardware. It utilizes HPN protocols (software, hardware & procedural sequences) and runs on a PC under Windows. The method is patented.
HPN generally seems to work much faster, and often more effectively, than most other systems that are based on providing signals to the brain. Four separate signals are developed simultaneously, sending minute current pulses through four unique, but overlapping paths through both the cortex and deeper structures of the brain. These signals contain information related to, but different from, the client's dominant EEG frequency. The effect is to re-distribute the energy in the unhealthy EEG patterns and promote more optimal brain functioning.
A Comprehensive Neurofeedback Bibliography, by D. Corydon Hammond, PhD, Professor, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, University of Utah School of Medicine
The photonic stimulator derives its name from using photonic, or light, emission to trigger, or stimulate, a biological response. Photonic Stimulation utilizes diffuse infrared light for the stimulation of certain biological responses, some of which may be fairly deep (several centimeters) into tissue. t turns out that certain wavelengths of light pass more readily through human and animal tissue than others. Hemoglobin, water and lipids each absorb and scatter light to different degrees at different frequencies, where each light frequency is typically expressed by the corresponding wavelength. Because of this, there is a "sweet spot" in the spectrum which provides more optimum penetration of the light, or photonic, energy. The DavaRay NanoBeam 940 infrared therapy device, or photonic stimulator, is designed to take advantage of this sweet spot in the Near Infrared, or NIR, portion of the spectrum. This region is below the frequency (longer wavelength) of light to which our eyes are sensitive, so we can see very little of the energy emitted at these wavelengths. Therefore, just like ultraviolet light, infrared is an "invisible light". Unlike ultraviolet, which is largely blocked by the top layers of skin, NIR penetrates deep into the tissue to reach nerve endings and the endothelial linings of the capillaries.
Similar light therapies (low intensity laser, LLLT) have been in use since the 1960s, especially throughout Europe, and there are now well over 100 published studies available in the literature. The FDA has now approved the NanoBeam 940 for use by healthcare professionals in the United States for the temporary relief of pain in muscles and joints, for muscle spasms and arthritis pain, for relieving stiffness, to promote the relaxation of muscle tissue and to temporarily increase local blood circulation where heat may be indicated. It is among the most effective devices available.
We have come to believe through observation that the infrared light has a balancing effect on the autonomic nervous system, whose nerve fibers are especially rich in the walls of blood vessels and micro-capillaries. Studies have shown that Nitric Oxide is released into the blood stream, causing the walls of the micro-capillaries to relax and expand, permitting increased blood flow, or perfusion. The resultant temporary reduction in inflammation can be observed, and certainly felt. It is now recognized that Nitric Oxide is a key parasympathetic cytokine, that is, it reduces inflammation.
Sympathetic nerves are also connected via the spinal column to the brain. As anyone who has experienced a cold can attest, inflammation impacts brain function and mood. Hyperactivation of the sympathetic nerves, as well as hyperproduction of proinflammatory cytokines (inflammation), has been observed by clinicians to have deleterious effects on brain function. We know that Myofascial pain and RSD pain are transmitted through the body by the sympathetic nervous system. Of course, if we are experiencing less pain on a conscious level, we tend to be much less irritable and more energetic. We can naturally think more clearly and concentrate better. Better mobility also naturally gives rise to better mood. The unconscious effects are less well understood, but have an undeniable, and often immediate, impact.
As with many devices and modalities recently put into practice (as well as some much older ones), more research is needed to more completely understand the mechanisms of action by which the photonic stimulator accomplishes what it does. We can certainly benefit by more fully understanding the often complex mechanisms by which the human body regulates itself, and the many roles of both the central and autonomic nervous systems in that process. In the meantime, the photonic stimulator, or infrared therapy device, particularly the DavaRay NanoBeam 940, has been used extensively in Sports Medicine Clinics and by the United States Olympic Teams for tissue injuries in it's athletes, as well by Physical Therapy Clinics and Neurofeedback offices.