October 11, 2017
Biofeedback is a treatment technique in which people are trained to improve their health using signals from their bodies. By learning how to translate physiological signs into meaningful visual and auditory cues, you can gain greater control over your body, emotions and bodily processes.
So what is biofeedback?
Think of it like this… when you’re getting ready in the morning you look into a mirror to do your hair, makeup, shave… The mirror provides you important insight so you can make adjustments to look your best. Biofeedback does the same thing.
It allows you to identify what’s going on in your body and mind so that you can make changes to feel better, be healthier, have more energy, reduce pain and be more active.
Biofeedback is a mirror that allows you to see what’s going on inside you. Coupled with a trained practitioner to serve as a guide and help you interpret the information you’re getting, biofeedback can help you live a happier, healthier, more serene life.
Just about anyone can benefit from biofeedback. Physical therapists use biofeedback tools to help stroke victims regain movement in paralyzed muscles. Psychologists use it to help tense and anxious clients learn to relax. Specialists in many different fields use biofeedback to help their patients cope with pain and chronic conditions. Even doctors use it to help diagnose illness and create treatment plans.
Chances are you have used biofeedback yourself. If you’ve ever taken your temperature or stepped on a scale, you have used biofeedback. The thermometer tells you if you’re running a fever, while the scale shows if you’ve gained or lost weight. Both devices “feed back” information about your body’s condition.
Armed with this information, you can take steps to improve your overall health.
There are several tools that provide types of biofeedback. Determining the method that’s right for you depends on your health problems and goals. Biofeedback methods include:
- Brainwave. This type of method uses scalp sensors to monitor your brain waves using an electroencephalograph (EEG).
- Breathing. During respiratory biofeedback, bands are placed around your abdomen and chest to monitor your breathing pattern and respiration rate.
- Heart rate. This type of biofeedback uses finger or earlobe sensors… or sensors placed on your chest, lower torso or wrists using an electrocardiograph (ECG) to measure your heart rate and heart rate variability.
- Muscle. This method of biofeedback involves placing sensors over your skeletal muscles with an electromyography (EMG) to monitor the electrical activity that causes muscle contraction.
- Sweat Glands. Sensors attached around your fingers or on your palm or wrist with an electrodermograph (EDG) measure the activity of your sweat glands and the amount of perspiration on your skin, alerting you to anxiety.
- Temperature. Sensors attached to your fingers or feet measure your blood flow to your skin. Because your temperature often drops when you’re under stress, a low reading can prompt you to begin relaxation techniques
Surface electromyography (sEMG) is perhaps the most common physiological biofeedback monitor. sEMG feedback is used for tension headaches, chronic pain, spasmodic torticollis and joint dysfunction.
Electroencephalography (EEG) feedback, or “neurofeedback”, is often used for ADHD, mental health disorders and epilepsy.
Other commonly monitored variables like heart rate, respiration, skin temperature, skin conductance and heart rate variability can all help to identify what’s going on behind the scenes in your body.
These physiological markers are typically thought of as autonomic (automatic, self-governing systems we have no control over). But the truth is that you can actually train yourself to have a much greater degree of control over these processes.
Biofeedback provides the real‐time information and identification cues necessary to begin to train the body to do things like lower heart rate, control body temperature, slow a racing mind, reduce blood pressure and more.
In fact, biofeedback has been shown to help people with hypertension, anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, autoimmune and auto inflammatory conditions.
Biofeedback also helps increase awareness of thoughts, feelings and behaviors related to your physiology. Over time, you can learn to self‐regulate, better manage emotions and have greater control over your mood.
Today, research has demonstrated that biofeedback can help in the treatment of diseases, pain and mental disorders. Biofeedback has been shown to help with conditions like:
- Migraine headaches and tension headaches
- Digestive disorders
- Auto inflammatory conditions
- High or low blood pressure
- Cardiac issues
- Circulatory Problems
- Chronic Pain
- Auto immune diseases
- Paralysis and other movement disorders
A large body of research has shown that one of the main reasons – perhaps the biggest reason – that we lack wellness is because of prolonged exposure to stress.
See, stressful events produce strong emotions, which arouse physical responses. Many of these responses are controlled by the autonomic nervous system. This is the system that prepares the body to go into a fight or flight response.
This response to emergencies was developed at a time when humans faced mostly physical, mortal threats. Although the “threats” we live with today aren’t usually life threatening, the body reacts as if they were.
For instance, when you are stressed out your pupils dilate to let in more light. Sweat pours out, reducing the chance of skin cuts. Blood vessels near skin contract to reduce bleeding, while those in the brain and dilate to increase the oxygen supply. Other “non-essential” systems go into a sort of hibernation mode.
The digestive system slows down to reduce energy output in digestion. Metabolism slows causing weight gain. The heart beats faster, and blood pressure rises.
Now normally, people calm down when a stressful event is over. For instance, if you’re walking down a dark street and hear someone running toward you, you get scared. Your body prepares you to run from or fight an attacker. When you realize it’s just someone out for an evening jog, you gradually relax. That’s how it’s supposed to work.
The problem is that these days most of us stay stressed all the time. We never relax.
Many experts believe that this constant state of physical response to stress eventually become habitual and wreaks havoc on your body. Some bodily functions may become permanently overactive or inhibited.
Biofeedback is one tool to help you identify and change these habitual reactions that can lead pain and disease.
Feedback from skin temperature, perspiration and muscle tension provide information to help you recognize a fight or flight response, restore balance and stimulate a relaxed state.
There are many different approaches to biofeedback. One is called EPR biofeedback.
During a session you are connected to a laptop computer with comfortable straps. Using special software, 11,000 frequencies are sent into your body and then the software analyzes the results to suggest specific changes that you can make in your life to reduce stress and improve health and wellbeing.
It is an incredibly effective tool to shift physical and emotional states to unlock a long list of health benefits.
If you are looking for a natural, non-invasive, homeopathic way to lower stress, increase energy, sleep better and reduce your risk of disease, biofeedback may be the answer you’ve been looking for.
The Sagely Willow now offers EPR biofeedback at the studio. To experience this incredible process for yourself, book an appointment today by calling (561) 450-6407.