How To Listen To Your Body – The Vital Basics Of Biofeedback
by James Calvin
Biofeedback is using the power of the mind to improve health. Through biofeedback, health is improved without the use of medication. The ability to use mind power in this way has been demonstrated in numerous scientific research studies. In fact, research has shown that biofeedback helps control or remedy approximately 150 different medical conditions, such as hot flashes, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, Reynard’s disease, headaches, incontinence, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, epilepsy, and side-effects of chemotherapy, such as vomiting and nausea.
Biofeedback involves teaching the body to control involuntary responses, such as blood pressure, brain activity, heart rate, and muscle tension. Through these techniques, a person can treat both physical and mental health problems. Biofeedback can also help prevent health problems and provide the practitioner with overall improved health and a greater sense of well-being. Through the use of biofeedback, a person can potentially eliminate the need to use medication. Similarly, biofeedback can help treat illnesses that have been unresponsive to medication.
A person can be trained in biofeedback with the help of a therapist specially trained in the field. Generally, a session for training in biofeedback takes 30 to 60 minutes. During one of these sessions, the therapist places electrical sensors on different parts of the body in order to monitor the way the body responds to stress. These responses, such as muscle contractions, will trigger a response with the equipment being used for monitoring, such as a beeping sound. In this way, the person being trained in biofeedback can begin to make associations between the body’s responses with the way the body is functioning.
During a therapy session, the person being trained in biofeedback attempts to adjust his body’s responses. The person receives continual feedback from the equipment being used. If the body continues to react in an adverse fashion, the beeping number of beeping sounds might increase. This means the problem is getting worse. If the beeping decreases, the problem is getting better. In this way, the person learns what activities help reduce the problem and what activities aggravate it.
After understanding how the body reacts negatively, you can learn about biofeedback and how you can make the body have positive changes. Biofeedback will enable you to teach your self how to relax specific muscles. Eventually, the person learns how to make these changes without the assistance of a therapist.
There are many different types of machine used to help in the biofeedback process. An Electromyogram (EMG) uses sensors or electrodes to measure tension in muscles. This is especially helpful in learning how to control grinding of teeth and to relax muscles, particularly in the head, back, and neck. It can also help with illnesses that become worse in stressful situations, such as ulcers and asthma. By using an EMG, the person learns to recognize these feelings early and is then able to control the feelings of tension immediately.
Using sensors to monitor temperature can also be helpful. Often, body temperatures drop when under stress. Therefore, a low temperature indicates a need to begin performing relaxation techniques. This type of biofeedback is especially helpful for people with Reynard’s disease or who suffer from migraines.
Other sensors can be used to measure sweat glad activity. This is called Galvanic Skin response training. Excessive perspiration can be a sign of anxiety. Understanding this form of biofeedback and how the body reacts can help control anxiety, as well as phobias and stuttering.
An Electroencephalogram (EEG) can also be used in biofeedback training. The EEG is capable of monitoring brain waves. These brain waves are connected to a variety of mental states, including relaxation, wakefulness, and calmness.
A qualified biofeedback therapist can be found by contacting the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA). The BCIA can provide names of certified therapists in specific areas of the United States.
Biofeedback has also been used to help treat stroke victims who have lost movement in their muscles. In addition, psychologists use biofeedback to help east anxious clients and many specialists use biofeedback to help patients learn to deal with pain. Cardiac arrhythmias, high and low blood pressure, epilepsy, and digestive system disorders have also been successfully treated with biofeedback.
Biofeedback has been repeatedly shown to work, though most patients can’t really explain how it works for them or what exactly they are doing to control certain involuntary body functions. But, this is in-line with what biofeedback is truly all about, being able to understand one’s own body in a unique way no one else can.