What is Biofeedback?
Biofeedback is a type of non-invasive treatment that provides real-time information on brain or body functions. It uses computer technology to record physiological activity that is normally outside conscious awareness (e.g. heart rate, breathing rate, and muscle tension) and to display this activity to the person being recorded.
The goal of biofeedback is to teach people to build awareness of patterns of physiological stress and to voluntarily control their physiological activity.
Heart Rate Variability training
(For Stress, Emotional Reactivity and Cognitive Enhancement)
Research has shown that the degree of ‘speed-up’ and ‘slow-down’ of the heart – known as Heart Rate Variability (HRV) has profound implications for health and well being. It has been shown that HRV can be modified through Biofeedback training. A number of medical and psychological conditions are now being treated by HRV training, including anxiety, excessive anger, cardiac condition, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, and , chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).
Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Graphic Result
Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback is a new technique for training people to change the variability and dominant rhythms in their heart activity. The heart is a bio-electrical pump beating at an ever changing rate, and this change or variability, is adaptive and is necessary in order to maintain a healthy heart. If you suffer mental or emotional stress, or become depressed, this variability decreases and the heart does not function so well. On the other hand, high HRV is associated with better health and survival from illness.
Recent research has now shown it is possible to increase your own HRV using biofeedback. So, if you are frequently stressed and perhaps suffer from one or more of the stress-related illnesses, you can learn to increase your HRV and be on your way to a healthier mind and body. Initial case reports have shown success with HRV biofeedback in reducing anger and anxiety disorders, asthma, cardiovascular disorders, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, essential hypertension and irritable bowel syndrome -228600319405 (Lehrer et al, 2004; Lehrer et al, 2006; Hassett et al, 2007).
Thermal Biofeedback training
(For Stress Management, Headache Prevention, Insomnia and Attention Regulation)
BioFeedback Thermometer – Skin Temperature
Chronic stress is associated with hypertension (high blood pressure), migraines, tension headaches, digestive problems, anxiety, and mood disorders. Under stress, blood vessels in hands and feet constrict and core muscles constrict to keep organs tight and deactivated in preparation for a response to a stressor. As a result, there is less peripheral blood flow, which is typically associated with lower skin temperature. So, skin temperature is an index of stress-related arousal.
A feedback thermometer, usually attached to a finger, detects skin temperature in degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit. Awareness of this arousal can help reduce stress and facilitate relaxation practice.
Galvanic Stress Response training
(For emotional reactivity and stress management; GSR)
Electrodermograph (EDG) – Skin Conductance
Electrodermograph (EDG) provides one of the fastest and most sensitive measures of stress.
The activity of sweat glands in the palms of the hands precisely reflects a person’s level of emotional arousal. Mental agitation is expressed almost immediately (within .5 to 3 seconds) in the amount of sweat on the surface of the skin.
This can be detected by measuring the conductance of electricity across the hands hands or fingers (the electric current cannot be felt by the user). Skin Conductance Level (SCL) also known as Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) is measured in kΩ (thousands of ohms). This technology has been used for decades as the basis for the classic “Lie detector” test. SCL is also widely used to increase people’s awareness of their emotions and for the reduction of stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, and insomnia.
Surface Electromyography (sEMG) Biofeedback
Muscle tension is at the root of several stress-related problems including headaches, back and neck pain, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). It is also an important symptom of anxiety, worry, stress, and mood problems.
With EMG, electrodes on the skin pick up activity from underlying muscles (measured in microvolts) and provide feedback about the state of the muscles. You can uses this information to increase awareness and reduce tension in those muscles.