Biofeedback Training Overview




What is Biofeedback?


Biofeedback is a training process that empowers people to change patterns of behavior or body response patterns. It is a way to learn self-regulation which can takes several forms. Its a new way of learning and living!

There are simple and complex forms of technology used in biofeedback. It involves using some device or equipment to monitor body function and then feed the information back to the trainee. This feedback can take many different forms such as auditory tones, animation, and visual displays. In some instances, the training process the trainee uses the information to develop new levels of voluntary self control over the function. However, in Neurofeedback we are training the central nervous system which operates below our conscious control and awareness. Both methods serve the ultimate goal of self-regulation, relaxation, and symptom relief.


What kinds of body function can be measured in biofeedback?


Biofeedback training usually involves the following body measures:

EEG EEG (Electroencephalograph)

Neurofeedback (AKA EEG Biofeedback involves monitoring brain wave activity and feeding the information back in the form of sound and possibly animation. This can be helpful for a wide variety of conditions including ADD, Alcoholism, Depression, Anxiety, and Epilepsy to name just a few. For more information on this type of training click here! <insert link to Neurofeedback >


Temperature Training

When we are tense or stressed, our blood flow is restricted to our body extremities. Self-relaxation skills can be taught by monitoring levels of blood flow warmth in the fingers. While this is often done using computers and software, it can also done using simple hand thermometers or temperature sensitive cards that change color.


Skin Conductance Level (SCL) AKA Galvinic Skin Response (GSR)


This form of measurement passes a light and imperceptible current between two points on the skin. Commonly finger sensors are used for this. When we are calm, moisture moves away from the skin. When we are tense, our sweat glands move moisture closer to the skins surface in the event we need to perspire. As the moisture moves upwards, the skin becomes better able to pass this mild current between the sensors more easily. . Surprisingly these levels are changing constantly even with minor changes in mood and emotion. The trainee is aware of these changes typically by a tone that rises or falls as their level of relaxation changes. Using relaxation techniques, the user relies on the tones to guide them downwards into deeper levels of serenity.



Heart Rate Variability

This method involves relaxation training using abdominal breathing. A close cousin to this is Respiratory Sinus Arhythmia (RSA). Heart rate variability (HRV) teaches a conscious skill where people can defuse their intense emotional arousals. With practice, this can be done very quickly. In our office we use two software packages. One is called, Freeze Framer tm by the HeartMath Instittute. The second program is called, Journey To The Wild Divine tm. The latter has rich and fanciful virtual world with interactive characters within a mythical land. Journey also uses Skin Conductance together with heart rate measurements.

Click Here for additional information about training with Freeze Framer tm.

Click Here to learn more about Journey To The Wild Divine tm.


EMG (Electromyography)


This form of biofeedback training measures electrical activity and tension in key muscle groups. It is commonly used to help users lower muscle tension to prevent migraines, improve sports performance, and avoid repetitive motion injuries. Although I have received training to do EMG work, I do not yet offer this. If needed, I can refer you to other clinicians in the area who do practice this


Pelvic Floor Training

This form of biofeedback has been recently been accepted for reimbursement by Medicare! It helps with rehabilitative muscle training for better urinary control. I do not offer this service.


Benefits of Biofeedback Training

Biofeedback is a well established and researched form of training since the 1970s. However, with the explosion of medication many doctors have prescribed medication rather than encouraging alternative methods. Some of these medications come with various risks that we frequently talked about in the media. Biofeedback offers people the chance to develop new life skills with proven and safe methods.

Many medical conditions have their roots in chronic stress and anxiety. Many conditions will, often respond very well to biofeedback training, usually either disappearing altogether or decreasing in frequency, severity, intensity and duration.

While not everyone responds to biofeedback, most do with good results. Ask your therapist how biofeedback may help you!