Biofeedback is a way to measure your body’s natural physiological responses and a tool to understand better and control them. It’s a noninvasive, safe, and effective therapy that improves your mental and emotional health.
Generally, biofeedback relies on machines that measure your heart rate, muscle tension, or even brain waves and typically require a therapist or another type of health professional to work the machine, describe what the readings indicate, and work with you to incorporate the information into new lifestyle changes.
How does it work?
Most often, biofeedback helps people better control their stress response. You may learn to recognize when it’s underway and learn relaxation techniques like deep breathing, visualizations, and meditation to calm any physiological arousal.
Many of the benefits of biofeedback come from the higher relaxation in the body and the lack of a chronically triggered fight-or-flight response. Because chronic stress can trigger many negative health symptoms, it can offer a vital and evident improvement in the way you feel and how your body functions.
By helping you better understand and learn how your body is currently working, biofeedback can help you know what to change. Also, by showing you in ‘real-time’ which relaxation methods are working and which ones aren’t, you’re able to quickly grasp effective ways to relax your body’s physiology and incorporate healthier habits into your lifestyle.
What does biofeedback help with?
Because biofeedback can support to reverse the stress response, it can be helpful with various types of conditions, including:
- General stress
- Tension headaches
There are a few ways in which you’re probably already using a straightforward form of biofeedback:
Physical awareness: Some physical responses can be sensed without any equipment. When your body gets tense, it’s a natural message that you’re stressed. Shallow breathing can be another sign of tension. Becoming aware of your body’s stress signals can be seen as a type of natural form of ‘biofeedback.’
Household tools: Scales and thermometers can tell you about some of your body’s functioning by showing fevers and visible signs of stress such as acne. These methods tell you about your physiology and help you understand that healthy changes are required but are only the tip of the iceberg.
Traditional biofeedback usually involves much more sophisticated measurements that can change more rapidly and are more difficult for the layperson to detect on their own. Usually, standard biofeedback necessitates the use of a biofeedback technician—a therapist or health professional—but recently, home biofeedback equipment has become readily available to consumers.
Getting started with biofeedback
With expert guidance from the team at Abbey Neuropsychology Clinic in Palo Alto, California, clients typically need six biofeedback sessions to master relaxation techniques and learn how to integrate their new skills into everyday life. If you have questions about biofeedback, call the office today.
The clinic is now offering Telehealth to clients in Washington State, California, Texas, and Vermont!