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Biofeedback for Beginners

Listen to your body talk

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Biofeedback for Beginners

Biofeedback, also known as physiological feedback, is a treatment technique established through scientific experimentation that helps people improve their health by making use of signals from their own bodies. This noninvasive technique measures bodily functions such as breathing, blood pressure, skin temperature, and muscle tension.

Biofeedback, also known as physiological feedback, is a treatment technique established through scientific experimentation that helps people improve their health by making use of signals from their own bodies. This noninvasive technique measures bodily functions such as breathing, blood pressure, skin temperature, and muscle tension.

With the use of electronic instrumentation, unconscious physiological activities and habitual body patterns are monitored and then relayed back to the patient. When you are aware of what your body is doing, you can reduce or eliminate symptoms by changing those patterns.

Biofeedback can influence change through one or more of the following processes:

  • Changes in beliefs, attributions, and expectations lead to symptom changes.
  • Physiologic changes result in symptom changes.
  • Placebo or nonspecific effects account for symptom changes.
  • Performance and mastery experiences change beliefs and behaviour.
  • Therapist expectation of patient performance sets up an expectancy that can also lead to behaviour change.

Choosing a Therapist

Standards and guidelines that govern the practice of biofeedback have been developed by the Association of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. A biofeedback practitioner should have a strong knowledge base in the following areas:

  • anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology of the condition being treated
  • psychophysiologic principles and research
  • assessment of safety and accuracy of instrumentation and treatment
  • operation of instrumentation
  • protocols for a variety of psychophysiologic, neuromuscular, and psychological disorders

Biofeedback and Stress

Many patients who benefit from biofeedback are trained to relax and modify their behaviour. It’s important to deal effectively with stress, so it doesn’t negatively affect our physiology over time. There are basically three phases to stress:

  1. Stressors (environmental, interpersonal, familial, or job-related events) cause us to react.
  2. Our reaction to the stressor (perceived as positive or negative) affects our physiology.
  3. The change in our physiology over time, as our body reacts to stressors, can lead to chronic habits and, ultimately, pain.

If we don’t immediately notice symptoms of physiological tension when we encounter stress, our response remains undetected and can become a dysfunctional habit. For example, clenching or grinding teeth (bruxism) may be a normal reaction to stress. But if a stressor continues, the teeth-clenching can develop into a habit that persists even after the initial stress subsides, creating long-term problems.

Active Participation

Changing behaviour is a learning process that requires time, a motivated patient, and a well-trained and experienced therapist. With a biofeedback device, a therapist can help the patient become aware of chronic behaviours that may be the root of a health problem or circumstances that trigger symptoms. However, neither the device nor the therapist possesses magical qualities. Biofeedback alone does not make a person healthy and it does not cure disease.

Biofeedback Devices

Two of the simplest, most common biofeedback devices are the thermometer and the weight scale. More complicated devices are used by physical therapists, dentists, doctors, psychologists, and specialists in various other fields that help patients cope with pain.
One of the latest biofeedback devices, a trivector system, calculates and moderates the mind-body connection. It appears to utilize the electric charges from the body, and by rearranging its vibrational level, sends back frequencies more conducive to the body at that given moment.

There are no known side-effects to biofeedback, but it is advisable to speak to your primary care physician prior to undertaking any initial alternative health care treatment.

Biofeedback at Home

The Journey to Wild Divine, a game endorsed by Deepak Chopra, MD, is designed for players to practise breathing and meditation principles such as the yogic breathing technique, which helps reduce stress and improve physical and mental wellness. The game’s purpose is to raise players’ awareness of the correlation between emotional/mental and physical states.

Biofeedback Applications

Scientifically proven level 4 ratings (on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best) have been measured for

  • chronic tension headaches
  • migraine
  • hypertension
  • ADD/ADHD
  • anxiety
  • incontinence
  • bruxism
  • temporomandibular disorders (if due to problems in the muscles)

Level 3 Ratings Have Been Measured for

  • addictions (drug and alcohol)
  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • epilepsy/seizure disorders

For More Information on Biofeedback, Visit These Websites:

  • quantumknights.ca/index1.htm
  • wilddivine.com
  • aapb.org
  • mindmedia.nl/english/about.php
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