infraslow neurofeedback

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Welcome to ISF Associates!

ISF Associates is led by ISF developer Mark Smith. The group is dedicated to providing exceptional education, resources, and research in the field of neurofeedback training.

ISF Associates is a central educational site developed for clinicians seeking unique neurofeedback workshops, clinical tools, and the newest infraslow neurofeedback research in order to improve client responses and to refine practice outcomes. Our experienced team provides training and mentoring to help you develop the skills to better serve your particular population.

Please visit our blog to learn more about the infraslow rhythm and how our method differs from other kinds of neurofeedback training.

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ISF Training and Sleep

In September 2021, Melissa Bekker, Karlien Balt, PriyeshBipath, Joyce Jordaan, and Peet du Toit published The Effect of Infra-Slow Fluctuation Neurofeedback Training on a Cohort of Insomnia Participants in NeuroRegulation.  The study concluded that, following a series of 10 ISF training sessions, participants presented with an improved neurocognitive state with a decrease in depression, anxiety, and stress.  Associated physiological changes included improved core and finger temperature, lower heart rate, and measures of blood pressure. They concluded that ISF Training “should be considered as a viable alternative” to support insomnia symptom management.
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What we Do

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How is Infraslow Neurofeedback Different Than Other Neurofeedback?

The distinctive impact of ISF neurofeedback resides in the training of the “ISF band” which is below 1 Hertz. The physiological changes and regulation of the autonomic nervous system that we see in ISF training occur simply because those are the functions that are coordinated by that band. ISF is considered an ‘organizing’ rhythm; promoting fluid and timely brain function. In concept, when we train the ISF signal, we are supporting clients in their ability to globally regulate their systems.

This area of the very low frequencies was originally overlooked by early researchers and clinicians as they designated it as ‘noise.’ As interest in these frequencies grew, progress was further slowed because the special equipment necessary to render these low frequencies effectively was not available. 
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How Does Infraslow Neurofeedback Impact The Brain And Body?

Researchers have proposed that the ISF is generated from two possible sources:
  • Neuronal activity (electrical or mechanical stimulation, neurotransmitters, neuronal activity). Neuronal activity results in decreased oxygen. This stimulates calcium waves.
  • Spontaneous activity (astrocyte clock gene expression results in calcium waves).

The production of calcium waves induces oscillation in a type of glial cell called ‘astrocytes.’ This astrocytic oscillation triggers burst firing of the neurons, which causes frequencies to actively connect or synchronize and establish cross-frequency coupling.

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Why Does Infraslow Neurofeedback Training Need Special Equipment?

In conventional neurofeedback we reward the increasing or the inhibiting of a targeted metric or bandwidth. This can be done because of the nature of the signal and equipment we use to measure it. The regular cycling of the sinusoidal signal can be measured by an alternating current amplifier. Tin and gold sensors can hold that signal steady.

ISF, however, is very slow and it ‘meanders.’ It does not present with the steady rhythmic beat that we see in the faster ranges. As we drop lower in frequency, the amplifiers that measure information using alternating current (AC) are unable properly pick up the signal. For the signal to be effectively read, it must be measured with a combination of a direct current (DC) and alternating current.

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How Does Infraslow Neurofeedback Training Work?

There are two types of ISF training:Bipolar and sLORETA:
1. ISF Bipolar: In ISF bipolar training, the ‘frequency’ is reinforced differently from traditional neurofeedback. Because the ISF is slow, it doesn’t oscillate the same way that Delta to Gamma do. Training the ISF band by providing feedback as a ‘mirror’ of the ISF wave form – without augmenting or inhibiting amplitude – is the effective method. It is analogous to a room full of tuning forks simultaneously starting to vibrate when one tuning fork is struck. Similarly, the nervous system attempts to synchronize with the movement of the ISF range reflected in the audible tone the client hears from the speakers. By training that ‘organizing rhythm’ we support the client in regulating their autonomic responses which produce the physiological changes associated with ISF training.

2. ISF sLORETA: This form of infraslow neurofeedback training functions similarly to traditional neurofeedback. The protocols reward an increase or decrease in the amplitude of the ISF band, based on the therapy goal of activating or deactivating the given region of the brain. The focus of training are the nodes of autonomic control in the deeper cortex.

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Infraslow Neurofeedback Training & Sleep

In September 2021, Melissa Bekker, Karlien Balt, PriyeshBipath, Joyce Jordaan, and Peet du Toit published “The Effect of Infra-Slow Fluctuation Neurofeedback Training on a Cohort of Insomnia Participants” in NeuroRegulation. The study concluded that, following a series of 10 ISF training sessions, participants presented with an improved neurocognitive state with a decrease in depression, anxiety, and stress. Associated physiological changes included improved core and finger temperature, lower heart rate, and measures of blood pressure. They concluded that ISF Training “should be considered as a viable alternative” to support insomnia symptom management.
READ MORE →

We want to hear from you!

Our goal is to help you meet your educational needs.  Please reach out to let us know how we can best support you! Email us at info@isfassociates.com
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