The High Tech Mirror
If you suffer from headaches, chronic pain, chronic stress, or insomnia, biofeedback can work wonders. Biofeedback lets you see how your body reacts in real time. In many ways, biofeedback is a high-tech mirror that shows what your body looks like in that moment (such as with your heart rate and muscle tension). Then you can make changes and see the results right away.
Once you learn the connection between how your body previously reacted and how you made a change, then you begin internalizing how to control your physiology. Pretty quickly, you will master making the change stick.
For me, I discovered that I could make tension headaches disappear, migraines shrink to a tiny fraction of what they had been, and I could lower my blood pressure at will.
My role as biofeedback therapist is to guide your efforts so that you can achieve change (and get relief from what was bothering you) as quickly as possible — much like a coach or personal trainer helps an athlete train more effectively.
Types of Biofeedback
Muscle Tension – shows your muscle activity in real-time. With this knowledge, you can gain control of the activity of your muscles. Muscles that hold too much tension often lead to pain, don’t move well, and cause fatigue. With muscle tension biofeedback (technically, Surface Electromyography – a mouthful, right?), you develop insight into how problems like tension headaches, or chronic neck or back pain, have cropped up. Even more importantly, you can learn to re-regulate and re-establish control.
Heart Rate Variability – measures your heart rate, moment to moment. This allows you to see some important characteristics of your cardiac activity that you’d miss without the sophisticated processing by the equipment. What the processing reveals is how much stress shows up in the activity of your heart – and of course gives you an opportunity to change how you respond to that stress. This change is biofeedback’s “secret sauce” because it holds the possibility that you can make change rapidly in just the way to better control your stress response.
Respiration – gives you the opportunity to see how your torso expands and relaxes with each breath. This is usually viewed on a computer screen and allows you to observe very precisely when you make subtle changes to your breath. I say “usually” because there is another way to show important qualities of your breathing, and that’s with a bottle of bubbles and a bubble wand. That’s low-tech, easily accessible, and fun!
Skin Conductance – lets you see what’s happening in real time. Everyone knows that stress makes you sweat more, and Skin Conductance shows you this process moment to moment. This form of biofeedback is particularly helpful if you have especially stressful situations that overwhelm you. Together we can can follow a behavioral process called “systematic desensitization.” This allows you to master how to be less reactive to stressors, so you feel less controlled by the stress and more in control yourself. The beauty of using your sweat response is that you can move through the systematic desensitizing process much faster than usual.
Research Based Evidence
Biofeedback research has been conducted for decades, picked up in the 1960’s and continues to this day. This page is where I’m collecting interesting studies and blue panel whitepapers as a resource to you if you’re drawn to the research side of this fascinating field.
I started helping clients with biofeedback in 1991, and I have continued to learn and grow in my ability to use this remarkable tool to help clients. I still use it myself anytime that I notice a muscle has tightened up too much, to lower stress levels when I’m practicing for a presentation, and to keep breathing even when situations grow fraught with tension. Biofeedback helps us unlock powers we never knew we had. If this interests you, I’m available in my Fort Worth office, and would be happy to consult with you.
Click here to inquire about becoming a client.