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Can you imagine pulling back a curtain and being able to look directly
into your body, seeing how parts of it are working?


What if you could see how tight your muscles are right now?


Or what happens to your heart rhythm when you're stressed or frustrated or angry?


Or how much your breathing or blood flow responds to anxious thoughts or stressful self-talk?

 

And that while watching your muscles or your heart rate variability or your breathing, you experiment with thinking/moving/doing activities to see what changes occur in your body?


It is possible to do exactly this with biofeedback !


Biofeedback is a process that enables an individual to learn how to change physiological activity for the purposes of improving health and performance. Precise instruments measure physiological activity such as brainwaves, heart function, breathing, muscle activity, and skin temperature. These instruments rapidly and accurately "feed back" information to the user. The presentation of this information — often in conjunction with changes in thinking, emotions, and behavior — supports desired physiological changes. Over time, these changes can endure without continued use of an instrument.


 

 BIOFEEDBACK

(or "feedback about the body")

means using sensitive monitors to give us information about body responses that we don't usually notice.

Seeing these changes can help you identify stress triggers

and the strategies which most effectively get you to calm, relaxed, healthy levels.

Biofeedback is a learning tool, not a magic pill or instant cure. The goal of biofeedback is to use these accurate, instantaneous signals from your own body for learning and enhanced self-awareness. With training and practice, you become more sensitive to body responses, and no longer need the biofeedback monitors to be aware of what is happening or how to change it. Biofeedback of your muscle tension levels, breathing patterns, heart rate variability, blood flow changes, skin responses and brain wave patterns is an interesting (and fun!) way to help yourself learn to regulate their levels for stronger performance (academic, athletic, performing arts, business), deeper relaxation, and better health.

 

BIOFEEDBACK at the Stress Management & High Performance Clinic

 The Stress Management and High Performance Clinic provides :

  • muscle tension (SEMG) biofeedback
  • breathing pattern biofeedback
  • peripheral skin temperature biofeedback
  • heart rate (HR) biofeedback
  • heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback
  • electrodermal activity (EDA) or skin conductance biofeedback

Self-regulation in these areas will be of interest to those individuals who wish to improve their management of such things as :

  • headache
  • high blood pressure
  • anxiety
  • panic attacks
  • insomnia
  • chronic pain
  • Raynaud's Disease
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • myofascial pain
  • jaw tension and TMJ pain
  • diabetes
  • neuromuscular disorders
  • muscle guarding & bracing

and for enhancing performance in :

  • business
  • sport
  • the performing arts

Biofeedback sessions are provided by Kathy Somers who is board certified in biofeedback (BCB) from the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance. 

For further information about biofeedback or arranging private biofeedback appointments at the Stress Management and High Performance Clinic, do not hesitate to call Kathy Somers at 519 824-4120, ext. 52662 or e-mail ksomers@uoguelph.ca. Please leave a message so I can return your call.

 


 

 

Now with decades of controlled and careful research, biofeedback has moved out of "experimental" classification in many areas.

The U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) findings confirm that biofeedback can be effective in working with :

  • muscle tension headache
  • migraine headache
  • Raynaud's Disease
  • urinary incontinence
  • anxiety
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • chronic pain
  • insomnia

Other current areas of research where biofeedback is a promising strategy are: diabetes, high blood pressure, blepharospasm, bulemia nervosa, cardiac arrythmias, ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder), panic and anxiety disorders, carpal tunnel syndrome, phantom limb pain, post traumatic headache, myofascial pain, TMJ pain, and an interesting variety of other specialized areas. Visit www.aapb.org for an up-to-date list of health conditions where research has shown biofeedback to be equally, or sometimes more effective, than medications.

  

The body responses most often monitored to provide biofeedback include: 

  • muscle tension ("SEMG biofeedback")
  • heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV)
  • respiration
  • brain waves ("EEG biofeedback" or "neurotherapy" or "neurofeedback")
  • electrodermal activity or skin conductance biofeedback ("EDA biofeedback"/"SCR biofeedback")
  • peripheral skin temperature

All of these continue to be actively researched to learn even more about their value in health and performance applications. Muscle tension biofeedback, peripheral skin temperature biofeedback and electrodermal activity are currently the most utilized because they have proven to be useful in a variety of applications and consistently report positive results with certain health conditions. There is a great interest and growth in neurofeedback for attention and performance, and this field is expanding rapidly.

The proven successes of biofeedback have led some insurance companies to reimburse for biofeedback as an accepted treatment for a growing range of health-related problems. It is so effective that the military uses it to train individuals to reduce stress and stay well. 

Some reports of unsuccessful biofeedback training have appeared in the research literature since the inception of biofeedback training more than four decades ago. Many of the unsuccessful studies were conducted in the early development of the field of biofeedback and reflect the failure to thoroughly train individuals. For example, studies provided only minimal training with the biofeedback instruments (often 1 to 4 sessions), provided little coaching, involved no home practice and failed to train to clinical criteria.

 

Currently, biofeedback guidelines list 8 to 20 sessions as a reasonable length of training (when there is good practice adherence and good health).   Neurofeedback will customarily take more sessions in order to truly learn new response patterns using current instrumentation and tested protocols.

When a person has psychological or health problems that interfere with learning self-regulation, or with changing or eliminating symptoms, then other treatments or therapy may be needed before biofeedback training can be effective.

 

FOR FURTHER RESOURCES on biofeedback  (websites, books, journals, organizations, getting personal biofeedback devices, lists of professional training programs, and finding certified professionals)  read more...