What is Infra-low neurofeedback?
Infra-Low (ILF) Neurofeedback is the latest generation of neurofeedback, and has only been commercially available since 2012. There are two types of phenomenon in EEG: (a) spontaneous fluctuations in 0.5-30Hz band (ie. the conventional EEG) and (b) infra slow fluctuations (ISFs) with frequencies below 0.1 Hz. The ISFs demonstrate large amplitude fluctuations (around 100uv) within a period of around 10 seconds. ISF NF uses either the amplitude or phase (increase/decrease) in training. It can be done through (a) discrete form- when one is required to voluntarily increase or decrease recorded potentials in separate trials or (b) continuous form- when one is simply watching a computer game controlled by NF parameters. The brain is supposed to recognise its activity with respect to the NF parameters and then naturally incorporate the signal into its feedback loop.
ILF training encourages logical processes towards establishing a person’s ‘Optimal Reward Frequency’ (ORF) and starting sites. By listening to the client’s experiences, the practitioner then develops an individualised training protocol. ILF training is, thus, symptom-based and results-driven (focusing on what is best for the client), rather than being based on preconceived notions of what brainwaves should look like.
How does it work?
ILF training is a modality of neurofeedback in the category of ‘endogenous neuro-modulation’, meaning that changes are solely due to information being provided to the brain on its own state.
Usually, ILF training involves training the very slowest brainwaves (i.e., less than .5Hz), and rewarding frequencies below 0.1Hz, which is below traditional neurofeedback reward frequencies.
These slower frequencies of the brain underlie our higher brain functions, and are linked to the faster frequencies via harmonics. Thus, the argument is that by training the lower frequencies, you can affect the higher ones.
Things to consider:
ILF is still in it’s infancy, and thus, a range of limitations impact the efficacy of this form of training. The main issue is to do with the difficulty in giving accurate and timely feedback. This is because a slower wave means a lower resolution, resulting in slower, less accurate feedback.