an introduction to: Biofeedback


BIOFEEDBACK is using our own mind to control our physical body. 


It is being able to monitor physiological signs of the body and “think” them into different states.

For Example; the ability to slow a racing heart rate or relax excessive muscle tone (tension).

Understanding how to use Biofeedback will have huge implications to overall health – whether it’s to reduce pain or increase physical performance. 

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There are various types of biofeedback therapy: 

  1. brainwave
    – this method uses an EEG to monitor brain wave activity.
  2. Respiratory
    – sensors around your rib cage and abdomen to assess rate of breathing.
  3. Heart rate
    – this type uses finger or earlobe sensors connected to an ECG on your chest, lower torso or wrists and monitors heart rate variability 
  4. Muscle
    – this method uses EMG sensors on skeletal muscle to assess muscle tone and force of contraction.
  5. Sweat glands
    – this method used and electronic Dermagram to assess perspiration on the skin alerting to anxiety.
  6. Temperature
    – a sensor at your hands or feet (extremities) measures a drop in temperature which is usually indicative of stress levels rising. 

Why?

Biofeedback, sometimes called biofeedback training, is used to help manage many physical and mental health issues, including:

  • Anxiety or stress
  • Asthma
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Chemotherapy side effects
  • Chronic pain
  • Constipation
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headache
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Motion sickness
  • Raynaud’s disease
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Stroke
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
  • Urinary incontinence

Biofeedback appeals to people for a variety of reasons:

  • It’s noninvasive.
  • It might reduce or eliminate the need for medications.
  • It might be a treatment alternative for those who can’t tolerate medications
  • It might be an option when medications haven’t worked well.
  • It might be an alternative to medications for some conditions during pregnancy.
  • It helps people take charge of their health.

How?

During a biofeedback session, there are electrical sensors attached to different parts of your body. These sensors monitor your body’s physiological state, such as brain waves, skin temperature, muscle tension, heart rate and breathing. This information is fed back to you via cues, such as a sound, vibration or flashing light.

Biofeedback teaches you to change or control your body’s physiological reactions by changing your thoughts, emotions and or behavior.

For instance, biofeedback can pinpoint tense muscles that are causing headaches. You then learn how to invoke positive physical changes in your body, such as relaxing those specific muscles – in order to reduce pain. 

The cool thing is that even without sensors, many of the bodies physiological states can be monitored by your own awareness!

If we take a second to just stop and feel our bodies we can usually discern if we have tense muscles, a fast heart rate, feel cold or hot, are breathing improperly or are sweating.

The Brain is where everything discussed above originates. Neural / Brain wave activity is just as receptive to biofeedback as muscle tone, respiration and all the rest form the list above.

Techniques such as mindfulness and meditation can alter our default brain wave patterns and allow us to become more restful and alert. This allows you to tap into our parasympathetic branch of our nervous system, reducing stress (cortisol) and increasing enjoyment (testosterone, flow).

Hope you enjoyed this intro to Biofeedback!

Let me know if you want to learn more about this subject – and as always – Stay Strong Folks <

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TYLER LEES-SCHMUT

Co-Owner / Instructor / Author @

Contact us Now for a Free Consultation*

 

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