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 body’s 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
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
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.
What’s 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, Asperger’s, stuttering, Tourette’s, 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 you’ll 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