Is Biofeedback for You???
So, someone has mentioned to you that you might benefit from Biofeedback Training? What exactly does that mean for you?
Biofeedback training is beneficial for any disorder that seems to intensify when you are under stress, and those symptoms you are having could be from either mental or physical stress.
When’s the last time you experienced anxiety? Does your anxiety arise from a specific incident or does it just seem to come out of nowhere? What about that headache you had the other day? And maybe we shouldn’t mention your blood pressure going up…..
Clinicians rely on biofeedback equipment through use of their computers like you might rely on a scale to weigh yourself or a thermometer to take your temperature. The equipment allows them a window through which they can hear or see a signal from an internal process going on inside a body. The equipment might pick up on small electrical signals coming from a muscle. It transforms the signal into a line on the screen that you, as the client, can cause to increase or decrease. Gradually you get sensitive to knowing when you are increasing or decreasing that signal and you no longer need equipment to tell you what is going on internally.
Scientists explain the useful of Biofeedback for reducing stress in the following way:
Their reasoning is based on what is known about the effects of stress on the body. The argument goes like this: Stressful events produce strong emotions, which arouse certain physical responses. Many of these responses are controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, the network of nerve tissue that helps prepare the body to meet emergencies, or the flight or fight response. Although the ‘threats’ we perceive are rarely of a dangerous nature, the body reacts as if they were. Like taking a test, speaking in front of people, a performance of some kind. No real threat, right? So why do we get so wound up and start to sweat? We aren’t really in danger.
So when you react to a situation suddenly and with emotion, the body reacts. Your pupils dilate to let in more light. Sweat pours out, reducing the chance of skin cuts. Blood vessels near the skin contract to reduce bleeding, while those in the brain and muscles dilate to increase the oxygen supply. The gastrointestinal tract slows down to reduce the energy being used for digestion. The heart beats faster and so blood pressure increases.
Responding with strong emotions to different situations can make you sick over time – in many many ways. Those times you get frustrated driving and you are late – there is someone in front of you that is slow as molasses. Or, your boss confronts you over something that really wasn’t your responsibility – and you can’t respond back so you stuff it in order to keep your job. Your body has prepared for action, but you cannot act.
People differ in how they respond to stressors. While one person may have their blood pressure go up, another individual might require more pain medication or more insulin. Another person has muscle spasms that are painful in their shoulders and they aren’t able to release the tension. The muscles have become stuck in overdrive. When the body is repeatedly aroused with emotion or physical stress, one or more functions may get stuck – and you aren’t even aware of it until it’s gone on way too long and develops into disease. The response has become permanently overactive.
Biofeedback is aimed at changing those patterns that have become habitual – you don’t even fully notice them anymore until something really goes wrong physically or mentally (pain or disease) – and you are forced to recognize what is happening inside you. You have the ability to turn the process around to a point. Don’t wait any longer then you have to.
In order to help you recognize and learn how to let go, you learn different relaxation exercises which increase your awareness over time. Deep breathing, progressively tensing and releasing muscles, positive statements/autogenics, and imagery are some of those you might learn in the process.
This is a fascinating training and you will be amazed when it’s complete!