What is Biofeedback?
Biofeedback is sensory training for your nervous system. It is a highly effective and drug-free treatment option ideal for reducing symptoms of anxiety or mood disorders, increasing performance, decreasing stress, and reducing insomnia. During biofeedback sessions, individuals learn to control involuntary body functions such a heart rate, muscle tension, and body temperature to reduce symptoms and improve overall health.
Biofeedback has been used for over 40 years supported by thousands of international peer-reviewed studies. It is utilized by cutting edge medical institutions, Veterans Affairs, universities, and even the United States Olympic Committee.
What Does Biofeedback Treat?
Benefits of Biofeedback
Biofeedback retrains your body to more readily enter into a state of coherence and rely on it's own natural regenerative abilities. Coherence is an elevated state of synchronization in the nervous system. Through this, biofeedback strengthens your body's ability to function more efficiently, which leads to greater energy and better sleep. This also reduces the harmful impact of emotional stress on the body. Not only are people better able to manage emotional states such as anxiety, depression, anger, stress, and irritability, but studies have shown improvement in hormone and immune system activities in addition to significant reductions in health risk factors such as cholesterol, triglycerides, and high blood pressure. In fact, medical and mental health professionals use biofeedback to help patients around the world with disorders and diseases caused or exacerbated by chronic stress.
What Can I Expect in a Biofeedback Session?
Most people are surprised at how much they enjoy biofeedback. Because it can look and feel like playing a video game, it makes the sessions engaging and fun. The biggest difference is that you control the "game" with your body's signals instead of a hand-held controller. Imagine driving a jet ski by controlling your heart rate!
In a biofeedback session, we use several devices to measure your body's signals. This could include a belt to measure your breathing, thermometer or heart monitor on your finger, or small sensors on particular muscle groups. The sensors are completely painless and easily removed once the session is over. Like a microphone, the sensors "listen" to your body's signals and send them to the computer. Then computer software converts your body's signals into images and sounds such as a jet ski cruising tropical islands or a garden coming into full bloom. And the rest is up to you!
Typical sessions range from 20-50 minutes 1-3 times per week, depending on your goals and individualized treatment plan. Many clients combine biofeedback with therapy for 90-minute sessions and even faster symptom recovery.
Biofeedback vs Neurofeedback
People commonly asked about the difference between biofeedback and neurofeedback. They may have heard both words but the difference is a mystery.
Simply speaking, biofeedback an umbrella term for all body-focused feedback training modalities-- including neurofeedback. It's much like the umbrella term "doctor." All psychologists are doctors, but not all doctors are psychologists-- some are physicians and some are art historians!
Neurofeedback focuses solely on the brain and is sometimes referred to as EEG Biofeedback. Other forms of biofeedback focus on other physical functions such as respiration, body temperature, heart-rate variability, etc.