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From the Townsend Letter
April 2008


Letter to the Editor:
Restoring Optimal Brain Function Helps Many Health Problems

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Restoring Optimal Brain Function Helps Many Health Problems:
ADD; Autism; Depression; Fibromyalgia; Anxiety; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; Learning Disorders; Strokes; Parkinson's Disease; Multiple Sclerosis

After reading the 2006 book, The Healing Power of Neurofeedback: The Revolutionary LENS Technique for Restoring Optimal Brain Function, by Stephen Larsen, PhD, I am very encouraged to believe that the originator of this technique, Dr. Len Ochs, has discovered one of the "missing links" in healing many types of health problems: central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction. Larsen's book is filled with actual research results as well as amazing case histories of real people. Some of the case histories document people with conditions that have been almost impossible to correct by any means, who have subsequently derived tremendous benefit from sessions with Ochs' neurofeedback technique. It is hard to convey how very excited I am about the potential of this system to provide a means of help -- that has not been available before -- to people with CNS dysfunction!

Over the last 16 years, Dr. Len Ochs has been working to perfect his unique non-invasive procedure presently called Low-Energy Neurofeedback System (LENS). His technique distinguishes itself from more well-known interactive neurofeedback techniques by the passive involvement of the participant and the extremely low electromagnetic signal, less than a trillionth of a watt that is used in the feedback signal.

To really appreciate the difference between the LENS passive system and the active neurofeedback system that is presently utilized by most neurofeedback practitioners, one only needs to picture the active system with someone sitting for hours in front of a computer monitor, hooked up with wires, and trying to get their brainwaves into a desired pattern. It is a very difficult task; I personally know two young people with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and depression who just gave up trying after a while; they found it too frustrating.

The LENS technique has a completely different goal, one of actually encouraging the brain to a state of disentrainment, where flexibility and elasticity are more pronounced. The LENS is a passive system, where the participant does not try to change any brain wave and does not feel or know when the incredibly short neurofeedback session is even being given. The patient does not feel anything at all, because as Dr. Larsen writes, the energy delivered in radio waves from the LENS system is "much tinier than what goes right through our heads when we use any cell phone." Yet, over the last ten years, this new system has been helping people with all types of difficult health issues.

Dr. Len Ochs has discovered something about the brain that is revolutionary. He has found that one does not need to tell the brain what to do as the active neurofeedback systems have been doing. He has found that by feeding back the very same brain waves that various areas of the brain are emitting and adding the slightest amount of change, called an offset, the brain takes that brainwave feedback and over several treatment sessions, self-adjusts, self-rectifies, self-regulates, balances, harmonizes, and minimizes its dysfunction by itself by creating a healthy homeostasis. It does so with an input that is so small and so short as to be almost unbelievable, but all the children, adults, and their families and friends who have witnessed their improved functioning, do believe it and are immensely grateful for it.

The feedback from the LENS technique is individually adjusted to each patient.
As the brain gradually adjusts itself with continued sessions and corrects its central nervous system dysfunction, all sorts of behavioral and physical symptoms change, too. In his fascinating book about the LENS, Dr. Stephen Larsen reports that the changes occur in three important dimensions: "Force (mental and physical energy), Focus (directing and sustaining attention), and Feeling (mood and affect)."

That translates in behavioral changes such as sleeping better, thinking better, feeling better, reacting better in relationships with others, and, overall, just being more flexible in living. Anxiety and panic feelings decrease; sleep problems such as restless leg syndrome decrease; depressive thoughts lighten up; foggy, cloudy thinking gets more clarity; fatigue eases up; even emotional issues may be brought to the surface and released, freeing the person in that dimension. Dr. Ochs and his trained practitioners have found that LENS neurofeedback can often accomplish what psychotherapy was not able to do.

Of course, these wonderful changes do not happen all at once, or even to every person. There is a gradual change and improvement, although every once in a while, someone experiences such a rapid relief of their symptoms that it is akin to a miracle. The average number of sessions to "brain homeostasis" is between 15 and 20, although significant improvement may be experienced in three to six sessions. Long-term, deep-seated, or chronic problems like autism, life-long depression, recovery from strokes, or staving off deterioration in serious neurological diseases may take many more sessions to resolve or show strong improvement.

In my excitement to tell you what is so important about this technique, I am sort of jumping ahead of myself. I jumped over the first part, where a LENS practitioner must make a "brain map" of the brainwaves coming from each of the 19-plus spots on the scalp that correlate to areas in the brain. These readings, which are charted on Dr. Ochs' special computer program, spell out for the practitioner where to place the EEG electrodes for each person and in what sequence. The results guide the treatment plan; the computer program figures it out for the practitioner. With the aid of the computer program, the practitioner is then able to know where to start the neurofeedback. Surprisingly, Dr. Ochs has found that it is better to start at the area of best function and, gradually, over several sessions, move to the area of poorest function. He has found this is the best way to minimize negative responses and provide the most "comfort" for the patient, which is one of his primary goals.

I have alluded to the brief nature of the neurofeedback session, but have failed to clarify the exact amount of time the input is given, because this is the factor that most people find hardest to believe. In the delivery of the LENS feedback, only one to seven sites are treated in each session, and each site is given feedback for only one second! Dr. Ochs reports that the weekly neurofeedback sessions average only four seconds of actual feedback. The more sensitive the participant is, the fewer sites will be addressed in one session.

The people who most benefit from the LENS technique have what is called EEG slowing, meaning they have a lot of Delta-Theta-Alpha predominating in their brainwaves. Beta waves correlate with a highly active brain state such as problem solving, alpha with a relaxed but still alert consciousness, theta and delta with sleep and deep sleep states. These excessive slow waves of theta or delta are found in people with learning disorders, ADD, autism, depression, chronic fatigue, PTSD, TBI/closed head injury, migraine, and other disorders. Falls, bumps on the head, accidents and other "hard" injuries may also disrupt the communication flow and result in areas of slow brainwave activity. In the same way, emotionally traumatic events, "soft injuries," leave their effect on the operational flexibility of the brain.

The LENS process is not a treatment for any specific condition or symptom. It is a general process that helps the brain recognize and respond to feedback signals. As this self-regulation occurs in the brain, many symptoms that have their basis in central nervous system dysfunction begin to improve. This improvement can manifest in less pain for people with chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It can manifest in better balance and coordination in other CNS disorders such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy or Parkinson's. It can manifest as improved mental clarity and memory in people with dementia or Alzheimer's. It can manifest as mood improvement in people with anxiety, depression, and explosiveness. It can manifest in improved sleep in people with sleeping disorders, restless leg syndrome, or night teeth grinding. This unique neurofeedback technique may also benefit people who are already healthy and are interested in peak functioning and improving their inner resilience to stress.

Presently, there are about 200 LENS practitioners in the world. Dr. Ochs' website ( offers a list of trained providers. With the publication of Dr. Larsen's book on LENS, I am sure that number will be rapidly increasing all across the United States.

SUMMARY: Points to Remember about the LENS Technique:

  • extremely low power used
  • participant is passive and awake - doesn't have to do anything
  • brain self-adjusts itself from feedback
  • improvements occur in mental and physical states, mood and emotional well-being, attention and focus, pain relief
  • helps brain restore elasticity and flexibility in cortical functioning


Christina White
Educational Coordinator
Brewer Science Library
325 N. Central Avenue
Richland Center, Wisconsin 53581

Schoenberger N, Shiflett S, Esty ML, et al. Flexyx neurotherapy system in the treatment of traumatic brain injury: an initial evaluation. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. June 2001; 16 (3): 260-274.

Larsen S. The low energy neurofeedback system (LENS). A study of 100 patient clinical outcomes, with a comparison to changes in the EEG. To be published in the Journal of Neurotherapy.

Mueller H, Donaldson CS, Nelson D, Layman M. Treatment of fibromyalgia incorporating EEG-Driven stimulation: A clinical outcomes study. Mueller, Journal of Clinical Psychology. 2001;57 (7):933-952.

Donaldson CS, Sella G, Mueller H. Fibromyalgia. A retrospective study of 252 consecutive referrals. Canadian Journal of Clinical Medicine. 1998; 5 (6).

Related Websites

1. Dr. Len Ochs, PhD: Available at:
Good information found under Articles (Background)
2. Stephen Larsen, PhD: Available at:
3. Mary Lee Esty, PhD, LCSW: Available at:


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