If you could control your physical response to stressful situations, would you do it? Biofeedback therapy seeks to put this power under your control, a skill that improves your mental and emotional health by limiting the negative physical effects of stress on your body.
Abbey Neuropsychology Clinic specializes in biofeedback training for you or anyone in your family who could benefit. This blog explores the biofeedback therapy process and its potential benefits.
Controlling involuntary response
Your body has two types of physical response. When you walk, for example, you make a conscious decision to move from the kitchen to the dining room. While your motions may seem automatic, you started to walk because of a controlled act of will.
Other body functions are largely autonomous. When you climb a staircase, you don’t consciously adjust your heart and respiration rates to match your body’s increased demands. Your brain takes care of these things automatically. However, you can learn to exert some level of control over certain involuntary body functions. Controlled breathing and meditation are two methods that help some people control stress and anxiety.
While meditation and other forms of self-calming can be effective, the approach is somewhat scattershot. The process involves learning a technique with hopes that you’ll feel better. What’s missing is a way to target and measure specific responses in your body that you can control with your mind.
The term “biofeedback” suggests the method of doing just that. Various biofeedback techniques measure and report on the current conditions of your body. As you view this information, your Abbey Neuropsychology Clinic therapist walks you through exercises that improve the performance of these biomarkers.
For instance, watching your heart rate as you perform breathing exercises gives you information — feedback — about how respiration changes can slow that rate. This feedback allows you to learn which voluntary body functions can affect involuntary conditions. While each patient has a unique response to biofeedback therapy, most people respond well with about six training sessions.
Conditions that benefit from biofeedback
Biofeedback therapy has benefits for both mental and physical conditions, with custom-tailored programs to suit your needs. Some of the mental issues treatable with biofeedback therapy include:
- Panic attacks
- Post traumatic stress disorder
- General stress
Aspects of your physical health that may benefit include:
- Chronic pain
- Headaches, including migraine headaches
- High blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeats
What to expect from biofeedback therapy
Your session starts with electrodes placed on your body to detect the measurable physical changes you’ll undergo. The information from the sensors feeds a monitor that turns the data into a visual representation. These vary depending on the target treatment. Your therapist guides you through a series of exercises while you review the monitor results. Sessions generally take less than an hour, and people of all ages can benefit from the training.
Biofeedback means taking control over your mental and physical health without medication or invasive treatment. Contact Dr. Richard Abbey and the team at Abbey Neuropsychology Clinic by calling 650-215-6840 and arranging a biofeedback therapy consultation. We now offer virtual appointments as well.