Change Your Stress Response with Biofeedback
As counselors who are
also biofeedback therapists, we are experts in working
with people to change problematic physical symptoms which often
develop in response to stressful events. Biofeedback is an outstanding
way to change any behaviors which are responsible for these physical
symptoms such as pain and anxiety. Having had great success
teaching people how to correct chronic stress related conditions
in our private practices, we are making that same technology
available to you online.
Changing your behavior is never easy but with support
you can move from understanding why something is happening to
actually taking the right action that will make a difference.
What is Biofeedback
Biofeedback is a system based on
monitoring biological signals produced by the body.
monitors the body's physiology and displays the monitored information back
to the person whose body is being monitored; hence the name bio-logical
This process increases your awareness of physiological activity in various
parts of your body and in various organ systems. This new awareness, made
possible by the monitoring instruments,
allows you to change your body's functioning.
How Does It Work
instruments can monitor the part of the body that responds to stress (the
autonomic nervous system) or how a specific part of the body(such as tight
muscles) is functioning. We know physiologically that it is
best if the body returns
a relaxed state frequently;
so if the the body
remains "revved up" for a long period of time, without returning
to rest, a breakdown is more likely. This breakdown can result in painful symptoms
or some chronic functional problems. Biofeedback is a method of teaching
you how to regain control
of your body's functioning in order to establish normalcy and eliminate symptoms.
Below we describe different situations and some of the biofeedback units that
can be used with positive effect.
If you have generalized stress,
learning to use a strategy
that accesses the relaxation response for the entire body
is the most appropriate. Several biofeedback instruments
are designed to train the general relaxation response,
the GSR2, emWave Desktop PC/Mac,
and Resperate Ultra.
The emWave2 Personal Stress Reliever is a portable handheld devices which use stress relief technology to help you balance your emotions, mind and body which also connects to a computer. Another enjoyable way to start relieving stress is by using a biofeedback game; The Journey to Wild Divine and Healing Rhythms.
Daily relaxation is excellent for preventing the build up of
generalized stress, promoting an inner sense of well-being
and centeredness. If you are interested in using a biofeedback
device to promote the daily practice of relaxation the
GSR2, emWave Desktop PC/Mac,
and Resperate Ultra would be good choices.
The emWave2 Personal Stress Reliever helps to balance your emotions. If you like of computer games The Journey to Wild Divine Biofeedback Game is fun to play and teaches relaxation skills at the same time.
Cold hands can be a result of body tension and a stress.
Learning how to warm the hands has been shown to be effective
for migraine headaches, Raynaud's
Syndrome and hypertension.
The GSR2/Temp biofeedback unit measures the temperature
of the of the hand from a thermister on a finger as well
as the GSR (Galvanic Skin Response).
While medical science has not yet determined the exact
cause of migraine headache, research has shown that learning
how to warm your hands has a positive effect and can be used
to reduce the severity of a migraine headache. Reducing
tension in the muscles of the jaw and neck also helps
to reduce some of the triggers of migraine headaches. The GSR2/Temp
biofeedback unit is useful for learning how to warm your
hands and our online Headache
teaches you how to reduce muscular triggers for migraine and
High Blood Pressure
The leading cause of stroke, heart attack and congestive heart failure, high blood pressure is often referred to as 'The Silent Killer'. RESPeRATE Ultra is the only FDA cleared, non-drug, medical device clinically proven to significantly lower your high blood pressure with no side effects.
If you are someone with Raynaud's syndrome, you experience
abnormally cold hands which can be uncomfortable and even
interfere with your life in significant ways. Learning how
to warm your hands has been shown to positively affect Raynaud's
Syndrome. The GSR2/Temp
biofeedback unit is useful for this purpose.
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction can be painful and can
affect the functioning of your jaw joint. Bruxing or jaw
clenching is a major culprit to developing TMJ. Being able
to relax the muscles of your jaw and neck will help you
to stop bruxing. Our online class, Stop
Bruxing Now, teaches you how
to stop bruxing during the day which can also minimize night
Chronic migraine, muscle contraction
headaches or a combination of the two have triggers which
can initiate them. Reducing headache triggers is the goal
of our Natural Headache Relief Program. Learning how to warm the hands with
the GSR2/Temp has
also been shown to be useful in reducing the triggers that
cause migraine headaches.
Neck & shoulder pain
Neck and shoulder pain can be caused or aggravated by muscle
tension. When a muscle is injured from a traumatic event,
muscle tension increases the pain and retards the healing
process. The MyoTrac muscle monitor can help train muscles
to be less tense.
Whiplash occurs when the neck muscles become torn or strained
due to sudden uncontrollable movement of the head and neck
during accidents. Muscle tension can aggravate the pain
from whiplash and retard healing. Relaxing the muscles
of the neck can be helpful in recovery from whiplash. The
MyoTrac muscle monitor is useful in helping to reduce muscle
Back pain can have many causes. Muscle tension can aggravate back pain. Learning how to relax the muscles of the back can be helpful in reducing one of the factors contributing to back pain.
Muscles and nerves can be injured in several ways, accidents
being the most common. Muscle monitors can help retrain damaged
and injured muscles and help injured muscles and nerves work
together. The MyoTrac family of muscle monitors is often used
by professionals and patients to re-educate muscles.
Clenching and bruxing of the teeth has been implicated in chronic
headaches and TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction).
Learning how to stop bruxing is important for recovery. Our
online class, Stop
Bruxing Now, teaches you how to
stop bruxing during the day which can also minimize night
Working with Heart Rate Variability to achieve a good relaxation
response is quite rewarding. By monitoring the pulse rate
the degree to which the heart is synchronized and controlled
by the relaxation response can be calculated and played back
to improve the relaxation response, The emWave
PC/Mac Stress Relief System can help mental focus and relaxation
ability. The emWave2 Personal
Stress Reliever and the StressEraser
are portable handheld devices that allow you to monitor and
shift your focus from tense to relaxed anytime, anywhere.
For those people experiencing the benign but bothersome clinical
conditions of Premature Ventricular Contractions and Mitral
Valve Prolapse these devices can help reduce symptoms by increasing
the relaxation response and the coordination of the heart
beat with the parasympathetic nervous system.
Anxiety with panic attacks can be extremely uncomfortable and
often debilitating. While psychotherapy is often important
in the treatment of anxiety, learning how to relax well is
often important in the long term management of anxiety. The
GSR2, or emWave PC/Mac Stress Relief System help
promote the general relaxation response.
The emWave2 Personal Stress Reliever is a portable handheld devices which use Heart Rate Variability (HRV) stress relief technology to help you balance your emotions, mind and body.
Concentration can be improved by learning how to focus attention
and by reducing anxiety and learning how to relax. The emWave PC/Mac has
been useful in learning how to focus attention and reduce feelings of
Learning how to focus attention and concentration and reduce stress and anxiety has improved performance. The emWave PC/Mac is useful to improve peak performance.
Incontinence can be improved by strengthening and improving
the functioning of the pelvic floor muscles. We have biofeedback equipment that
can be used to help you know that you are doing your Kegel exercises correctly and other biofeedback devices that provide resistance training to help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
The Paradox of Control
The whole idea of using biofeedback to "take control" of your body's
functioning seems paradoxical at first. "Taking control" in this
case means to learn how to relax and "let go" on the one hand or discover how to gain awareness of usually unconscious physiological processes on the other hand. We have learned that
many stress related problems are best treated through relaxation which
lets the body return to normal functioning after a prolonged period of tension. Tension or over activity often has
created the symptom. This over activity originally began as a response
to external pressures, crises or stress. These responses then became "normal" for
the body, or the body became accustomed to a higher than normal degree of tension
or over-activity. This over-activity then becomes a habit and continues over time, becoming
chronic. Further, these tense habits are now outside of awareness. Though the
tension is outside awareness, symptoms such as headaches are not. The symptoms
then add to the stress a person experiences which increases the tension which
increases the symptoms.
In the case of headaches, as an example, Biofeedback intervenes in this cycle by teaching a person
how to relax overly tense muscles in order to return the body's physiological activity back
to normal and thereby decreasing or ending the symptoms.
Author: Thomas Cobb