Biofeedback Training: the art of making waves
What is biofeedback training?
Biofeedback training involves the use of scientific instruments to make unconscious or involuntary bodily processes (such as heart rhythm and brain waves) perceptible to the senses in order to facilitate the acquisition of desired skills. I use biofeedback to help people increase their mind-body awareness and develop skills to improve balance, energy, and overall wellbeing. I tailor biofeedback training to meet the specific needs of my clients. Client goals may include improved academic performance, professional effectiveness, stress reduction, better health, or pain management.
How is biofeedback different from therapy?
The difference between biofeedback and therapy is the difference between training and healing. An athlete or musician trains to develop a skill. We would not call this healing, although both athletic and musical ability may positively impact health. Biofeedback training involves learning skills that enable body and mind to operate optimally. Therapy is a healing process that restores and often improves former healthy functioning. I offer biofeedback training separately and as an adjunct to therapy.
Who can benefit from biofeedback?
Biofeedback has been found to reduce stress, help treat specific medical conditions (including headaches, chronic pain, epilepsy, ADD, PTSD, and hypertension), facilitate emotional balance, and improve academic performance by enhancing memory and focus. I evaluate whether or not biofeedback is indicated on a case-by-case basis.
What is Heart Rate Variability biofeedback?
Heart rate variability (HRV) is the beat-to-beat changes in the heart’s rhythms. HRV is important because it impacts heart health and overall coherence. Coherence is a desirable state of wellbeing in which our nervous systems, brain and heart are working in harmony. Research has found that stress and negative emotions lower HRV and increase incoherent heart rhythms. Conversely, positive emotions (such as joy, caring, and appreciation) produce coherent heart rhythms. Coherence is characterized by high energy, positive feeling and is correlated with improved mental clarity, problem solving, creativity, increased energy, health, and wellbeing (Childre, et al, 2001).
When I do HRV biofeedback, my client wears an ear sensor while observing his or her own heart rhythm and coherence scores on a computer screen. I first assess my client’s HRV and coherence. I then teach techniques to increase their HRV and coherence while they observe their physiological responses. Finally, I coach my clients until they are able to master and use these skills on their own. Through HRV biofeedback training, clients learn to self-regulate emotional and physiological changes associated with stress and negative emotion so that they can learn to achieve a balanced coherent state optimal for health and happiness.
Photo used under Creative Commons from db rolenrock