Biofeedback is a form of self-regulation where the aim is to enhance and bring awareness to the way in which the mind/thoughts may trigger or influence physiological processes within the body.
Biofeedback is the practice of making these physiological processes measurable and visible to the client. The client gains insight into how the body adjusts and responds to internal thought processes and its stress response to daily events.
Electrodes or sensors placed on the body measure physiological responses for example the tension in particular muscle groups, blood pressure or hand temperature. These real-time measurements are displayed on a monitor for the client to observe and learn from.
With assistance from a biofeedback therapist, the client learns techniques to regulate their breathing, heart rate or blood pressure, as an example. At first, the monitor is used to track progress. Eventually, the client will be able to achieve success without a monitor or electrodes.
DESCRIPTION OF MODALITIES:
During fight/flight response that gets triggered during high stress levels the peripheral nervous system will divert blood away from your extremities to more important organs like the brain, lungs and heart for survival and managing the acute stress optimally. This leads to cold clammy hands.
Warm peripheral skin temperature means better homeostasis in the body. Migraine and chronic headache sufferers, hypertension as well as Raynaud’s Disease sufferers benefit from this training.
This involves the measurement of conductance of moisture/ sweat on the skin surface of your hand. It is the accurate measure of eccrine sweat gland activity that gets triggered when we become anxious or aroused. The speed of small electrical currents are measured – it forms the common part of “lie-detector tests”. We also train lowering of skin conductance response for clients with depression, sleep disorders, anger control issues, overall stress reduction and mind-body awareness.
Monitoring of muscle tension in various muscle groups in the body during and after periods of tension has shown how posture can be effected and pain patterns develop. When muscles receive impulses from neurons to contract it will be from the brain or from a reflex response from an outside stimuli (move away) these contractions are intended to last only a minute and the muscle is then to return to baseline “ready position”. When fight/ flight or freeze response is triggered incorrect muscle firing patterns can develop, eg. SMA (sensory motor amnesia- muscle forget to relax). Contracted muscles that are responding to high neural firing rates for extended periods of time shows fatigue, cramping and pain patterns. EMG training is used for symptom reduction in cases with tension headaches, bruxism and TMJ problems, hypertension, stress reduction, chronic pain management, repetitive strain injuries, Carpal Tunnel syndrome and more effective mind-body / mindfulness.
HRV looks at coherence or synchrony between breath and heart. Higher HRV resonance has improved clients ability to mediate life’s stressors in a more healthy way. Efficacy of HRV in stress reduction, depression, PTSD, sleep disorders, hypertension and mind-body awareness.
Combination of all of the above sensors or measurements are used to compile a measured outcome of a client’s physiological response to simulated stress (Stress profile).
This provides the clinician with a clear path for training with their client. The aim is to establish a more regulated neuro-physiological response pattern of the nervous system, a feeling of internal balance.
Biofeedback is an effective training modality for developing self-awareness which promotes mindfulness of the moment-to-moment responses to life’s challenges (stress). Biofeedback is primarily used to treat high blood pressure and to lower anxiety responses. It is also used for tension headaches, migraine headaches, chronic pain and urinary incontinence. Further utilization includes Peak Performance Training with top athletes, artists and executives.