The Infra-slow fluctuation (ISF) training is focussed on the lowest frequencies in the brain (below 1Hz), and is performed on DC amplifiers which allow the lowest frequencies to pass through. Infra-slow fluctuation training focuses on emergent state shifts within a session.

These shifts require adjustments that optimise a client’s response to the training in real time. The infra slow fluctuation training, unlike the classical neurofeedback training, is merely a display of the IFS signal, and reflecting/monitoring of the client’s shift in state as a result of, and therefore no direction or quantity of the signal is desired, in other words, there is no goal to achieve.

It is the reflection of the ISF activity that causes the trainee to feel shifts in their autonomic state.

What happens during training?

The purpose is to find the client’s optimal frequency or the frequency where they feels most relaxed, comfortable and positively alert. The client responds with increased awareness of his or her physiological state as the state shifts. This type of training has to do with general cortical activation, shifts in parasympathetic response and achievement of a new mental state, and the main purpose is to reach a state of optimal homeostasis.

In the first session, we start at 0.0030 Hz. After a few minutes, the clinician asks targeted questions with regards to any emerging discomfort experienced by the client. If yes, the frequency is changed until no discomfort is felt, and when the optimal frequency is determined, it is then used in the following sessions.

The optimum frequency is reflected back to the client with 2 reward sounds. A higher tone is heard when amplitude increases more than 15 % and a lower tone is heard when the amplitude decreases more than 15% compared to a dampen average of the signal. Listening to a tone during the session tells you that when the “infra-slow” brainwaves shifted 15% above or below, a trainee can be led into another state.

How is ISF training conceptualised clinically?

The ISF-training is largely symptoms driven, although QEEG can be helpful to confirm the electrode placement on the scalp.

The trainer and trainee focus on the symptoms experienced. The symptoms are grouped in three broad categories: homeostatic deficits of the brain state, developmental disorders & trauma, arousal and activation disorders

Deficits of homeostasis

  • Migraine
  • Vertigo
  • Seizures
  • Mood swings
  • Asthma, which is also an affective disorder
  • Panic attacks
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Paranomnias – night terrors, sleep walking or talking

Developmental Disorders and Trauma

  • Autism
  • Attachment disorders (RAD)
  • Personality disorders
  • Addiction
  • PTSD

Arousal & Activation Disorders

  • ADHD
  • Depression
  • Learning disabilities
  • Tics and OCD, Tourette’s
  • Anxiety

ISF training has the purpose of reducing anxiety, promoting relaxation, regulating sleep architecture and maintenance, and reduces hyper vigilance or over arousal.

At the start of a session, the client is questioned to determine their current mental and physical state. Then the training commences, and frequency changes, typically in 0.005 Hz steps, are undertaken, while the trainee’s response to the auditory feedback (resulting from the frequency fluctuations) is checked every few minutes. In addition, autonomic regulation is monitored via body temperature, heart rate and galvanic skin response.

The shifts in autonomic nervous system state persist, and/or enfold in the 24 hours following the training session. It is therefore very important to get feedback from the client within 24 hours. They have to focus on any changes that occur with regards to sleep, pain, apetite, alertness or drowsiness, emotionality or mood, arousal or relaxation.

(Infra-Slow fluctuation training. On the down low neuromodulation. Mark L Smith 2017).

Infra-Slow Fluctuations Training – Bibliography can be found here