Biofeedback: Applying the Mind to Health
What is biofeedback?
In biofeedback you expand self-awareness and practice powerful self-healing under guidance. This is often done with measuring devices to train for relaxation. However, the true goal is expanding the dynamic range and flexibility of your mind-body. The benefits are enhanced self-regulation and more robust health.
A biofeedback loop starts with monitoring a signal coming from your body. You can monitor muscle tension, hand temperature or brainwaves. Constant updates are fed back to you in a multimedia display. You look and learn. Using this information to get a certain feeling, you then change the signal in a particular direction.
You gain the power to relax and expand your bodys functioning. These physiological stretching lessons then go into automatic pilot and are used as needed.
Biofeedback is a mind-body mirror. Specific self-awareness, nourished by intention, becomes self-control. Next comes enhanced homeostasis without further effort. Once you have cleared the trail and paved the road, the body uses this expanded pathway.
The field of biofeedback has progressed by proving that conscious influence is possible over many physiological systems and that biofeedback relieves many diverse disorders.
Scientific literature has well established that holding a thermometer (the signal) to raise your hand temperature (vascular relaxation) prevents 50% of migraine headaches.
Using biofeedback with brain signals is called neurofeedback. Neurofeedback is more efficient and powerful than peripheral biofeedback. Saccess rates are typically 80%. And when it works, results seem to last a lifetime.
Biofeedback is effective in relieving about 150 varied conditions. The explanation for such broad effectiveness enhanced consciousness for self-healing. In neurofeedback we amplify and direct your awareness toward improved physiological functioning. These changes are recognized as improved performance and naturally adopted.
The single most popular application for neurofeedback is for ADD or ADHD. The efficacy is quite high with 80% obtaining substantial remission of symptoms. Most are able to reduce or eliminate their medications. Often the disorder is no longer detectable by any means, including brain maps.
Whats it good for?
Here is a short list of the applications for biofeedback in various categories. The quality of evidence varies from rock solid to consistent clinical reports. The positive effect size is usually strong.
Optimal functioning: students, meditators, performing artists, athletes, soldiers, executives.
Everybody: sleep, mental focus, memory, emotional health.
Brain: seizures, stroke, traumatic brain injury, coma, migraine.
Lifestyle: drug & alcohol abuse, criminality, eating disorders.
Arousal: stress, anxiety, headache, OCD, anger, PTSD, psychological trauma.
Chronic: asthma, IBS, TMJ, chronic fatigue, immune suppression, fibromyalgia.
Not just kids: ADD, autism, Aspergers, stuttering, Tourettes, tics, learning disorders.
Women: PMS, menopause, hot flashes, pregnancy.
Major: cancer, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, chronic pain, depression.
See www.isnr.org or www.aapb.org for the complete list and scientific references. See also www.eeginfo.com and www.eegspectrum.com for more research.
How could one thing be that good for so many different problems? Because the central nervous system is central. Nourishing your mind-body connection with specific awareness and directed intention conditions self-regulatory systems. Your car drives better on all roads after an engine tune up.
I believe that everyone on the planet would benefit from 10 sessions of neurofeedback to optimize mental clarity and upgrade emotional health. Some problems resolve more quickly including garden variety anxiety, migraine, anger, PTSD, PMS and sleep problems. ADD is in the middle but youll need more sessions for fibromyalgia or autism. Home neurofeedback units are now available for training under the guidance of a professional.
If you want the strongest benefits from biofeedback it is important to employ the best technology. You will derive more rapid, complete and enduring benefits by using the latest neurofeedback software and equipment.
Biofeedback sessions are most often described as pleasant, interesting and relaxing. Almost all clients report feeling more calm and focused; they feel more themselves and sleep better. Most all of my clients are able to reduce or eliminate their psychiatric medications.
Gary Ames is a Licensed Psychologist and Biofeedback Consultant.
For more information on migraine headaches visit www.EndMigrainePain.com.
28 Rock Hill Road, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004