Biofeedback uses non-invasive therapeutic technology to train individuals to improve their health using signals from their own bodies. Different physiological responses that are monitored include muscle tension, hand temperature, skin sweat, breath rate and breathing mechanics, heart rate, and breath chemistry. As a biofeedback therapist, I act as a coach to help clients monitor their internal experiences, gain awareness of the changes in their bodies when they are stressed, and help the client learn new coping strategies for depleting emotions and sensations such as stress, anxiety, anger, and pain.
Biofeedback training helps the body and the nervous system become flexible enough to respond to stressors and threats appropriately and then return to a relaxed state once the threat has passed. Being able to remain calm during stressful events (such as examinations, important meetings or interviews, doctor's visits, migraine attacks, etc.) is a valuable skill because when the mind and body are relaxed we are more alert, more focused, and are better able to retrieve information and use it appropriately. Learning to reduce the impact of depleting emotions improves recovery time and builds resilience.
Biofeedback works by changing habitual reactions to stress that can cause pain, disease, and psychological distress. Each individual's pattern is different and is assessed using a Psychophysiological Stress Profile. We'll learn more about these in another post!
Applications for biofeedback include:
Decrease stress and anxiety
Activate the relaxation response as needed
Improve recovery and increase energy
Cope with life challenges and everyday stressors
Improve well-being and create a calm body and mind
Used for years with Olympic athletes, astronauts, test pilots, and marathon runners
Decrease level of stress and anxiety while performing tasks
Improve reaction times
Decreased blood pressure
Reductions in chronic pain including headaches and migraine, teeth grinding and pain, and fibromyalgia
Improve posture and computing health
Manage Raynaud's syndrome