The Center for Personal Growth
Director - Dr. Neal Blackstein
472 Kings Highway, Valley Cottage, Rockland County, NY 10989
THE LENS - Low Energy Neurofeedback System
(developed by Len Ochs, Ph.D.)
What is the LENS?
The LENS is a new form of brainwave biofeedback or neurofeedback that optimizes human functioning in the areas of mood, cognition and energy levels. It has consistently shown shorter clinical treatment times to ameliorate a variety of conditions characterized by Central Nervous System (CNS) problems. Rather than teaching voluntary skills to people, it works subliminally to optimize the capacities of the person to function effectively, learn new skills and to utilize skills already learned.
The LENS appears to offer a behavioral, non-pharmacological, non-surgical and non-psychotherapeutic way to produce relatively rapid resolution of difficult cognitive, mood, anxiety, mental clarity, energy and physical movement problems when compared with more traditional forms of therapy. Treatment effects seem to persist long after treatment has been discontinued (unless new trauma occurs). This information is based on observations over the past 15 years by physicians, therapists, and other scientists with over 10,000 patients in the USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, and Japan. Controlled studies have confirmed the results. Different people will need different intensities of treatment stimulation and require different lengths and frequencies of treatment to achieve optimal functioning.
Like the usual form of neurofeedback, the person's brainwaves are measured and translated into some type of stimulus that is fed back to the person involved. The stimulation pulsates at a slightly different frequency, more or less, as the strongest brainwave being generated at any given moment. The brainwaves influence the stimulation, and the stimulation influences the brainwaves. Unlike traditional biofeedback, LENS is a passive process and the person does not have to try and understand the feedback, or learn how to regulate his or her brainwaves. Without the need to take time to learn how to control one's own brainwaves, the process of change begins immediately; change seems to come much more rapidly than in conventional training and are often more noticeable to patients and their families.
The system consists of a brainwave-measuring device or EEG, a Pentium-based computer, software designed to analyze the brainwave signals and convert them into stimulation, and a color high-resolution monitor that shows a patient's brainwaves both during and after the session. The patient relaxes comfortably in a chair, eyes closed, engaged in no specific task. No needles, shocks, skin penetration or other invasive procedures are used. The sensor wire simply rests on the head and is held in place with a waxy paste. They are connected to the EEG, which is then connected to the computer for analysis. The process is well tolerated and generally thought to be very comfortable and relaxing.
The treatment itself is in the form of invisible radio frequency waves (in the 15-100 MHz band) and at an intensity several thousand times weaker than an ordinary cell phone or cordless handset: 10 to the -18th power watts/sq. cm. in the stim condition and 10 to the -21st power ( a thousand times weaker) in the no stim condition used for maps, offset and treatment of the most sensitive patients.
How is the LENS believed to work?
It has frequently been observed that dysfunctional thinking, moods, and energy levels are correlated with high amplitudes of slowed brainwave activity. The LENS appears to positively impact this situation by changing/reducing this slow brainwave activity. As reductions in slow brainwave activity are seen, a person's condition generally begins to improve.
We believe that the LENS also works to break up the rigid, self-protective way the brain has of responding after physical or psychological (stress) trauma. There is evidence that during any kind of trauma (physical, infectious, toxic, or emotional), the brain protects itself from seizures and overloads by releasing neurochemicals that protect it from these dangers. Unfortunately, this protective response also reduces the brain's overall functional capacity, not unlike the effect of swelling on a joint articulation following a physical injury. Long after the trauma is over and the danger is past, the "protection" may still remain. The person can, therefore, become stuck in various kinds of disabilities due to this reduced neurological flexibility. The LENS appears to have an effect in helping to restore the brain's natural flexibility. The results of this can be a significant reduction and/or elimination of some or all of the person's symptoms.
How might the LENS treatment proceed?
The intake session is used to conduct a clinical interview, explain the program and perform a topographic brain mapping procedure, which is used for the purpose of determining which areas of the brain are relatively functional or dysfunctional. Brainwave activity from 21 sites on the head is recorded. The map, along with the important data it generates, act as a kind of "road map" telling us which sites to target and which sites to avoid, at least partially. The next sessions involve a slightly different format or a mini-version of the treatment, at different offsets to see how the brain responds. Subsequent sessions are about one half-hour in length and are spent evaluating results of the previous treatment and treating from 1-7 sites on the head. Sessions are generally scheduled once or twice a week. Patients must be able to sit quietly with eyes closed to maintain electrode contact.
How many LENS sessions are required to achieve results?
Certain conditions, such as sudden onset problems in a basically robust person, can be remediated in 6-10 sessions. In other cases with problems of longer duration and with a family history, this number may be doubled. The average tends to be 20-30 sessions. Treatment effects, once achieved and stabilized have been observed to persist long after treatment has been discontinued unless some kind of new trauma occurs. Treatment results have been held for clients who finished treatment years ago. There have also been cases in which a patient would experience only modest results during the course of treatment, but later reported noticing significant improvements in their functioning, sometimes many months after treatment had been terminated.
The benefits of LENS can include:
Increased clarity (decreased mental “fog”)
Decreased feelings of irritability
Decreased feelings of anger
Decreased feelings of fatigue
Decreased feelings of anxiety
Decreased feelings of depression
Improved sleep at night
More energy during the day
Improved concentration and attention
Improved vision and speech (due to cortical problems)
Increased sense of ease due to the absence of the need to control intense feelings
The LENS has shown clinically positive results in cases of:
Traumatic physical head or spinal cord injury symptoms from mild to severs
Trauma from childhood sexual or physical abuse, work and war stress (PTSD)
Attention deficit disorders with and without hyperactivity
Autism/childhood schizophrenia (Asperger’s Syndrome)
Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Excessive anger and explosiveness
It has also been observed that the need for many medications often decreases and under the care of your physician, can sometimes even be eliminated. As the person’s neurological efficiency improves, medications remain in the body unused. People may experience side effects from them because the body is making less use of them, and they may no longer need the same level of medication. People in LENS treatment on the following medications are encouraged to ask their physicians to moderate dosages when appropriate. The following medications may show interactions with neurofeedback treatments:
Medicine for sugar problems (diabetes)
Medicine for thyroid problems
Medicine for migraines and other headaches
Medicine for seizure problems (anticonvulsants)
Medicine for emotional thinking or perceptual problems
Medicine for movement problems and spasticity
Medicine for hypnertension
Medicines for anxiety and mood disorders
What are the potential risks or side effects?
No person has reported that the LENS has harmed them or produced any new symptom. However, any symptom could be temporarily exacerbated. Such responses are generally transient, lasting 24-48 hours, at most. The most general “overdose” symptom is feeling tired or wired for a few hours, after which there may be a “rebound” in which the person feels an uncommon sense of well being. Overdose may be a good sign clinically, because it shows physiological response to treatment.
The LENS is a type of EEG biofeedback or neurofeedback that has shown promising clinical and experimental results over the 15 years of its evolution. It is gentle, non-invasive and does not put any alien substance or energy into the body. It functions best as a collaborative process between the client/patient and the therapist. At its best it is an awesome method of healing and growth.
This information was compiled by Jim Giorgi (1998).
Updated (2002) by Ann Brown and Christy Kriney
Further revised (2006) by Stephen Larsen of
Stone Mountain Center, New Paltz NY