"We have not been informed that our bodies tend to do what they are told if we know how to tell them." -Elmer Green
What is Biofeedback?
Biofeedback is a form of treatment in which individuals are trained to use signals from their body as a way to improve their own health. It involves engaging a client in various diaphragmatic breathing techniques, through the use of sensors and computer programs, as a means to help clients control their response to stress. By engaging in this form of treatment, individuals are able to gain awareness into how their minds and bodies work together in response to stress and anxiety. This feedback is then used to train clients how to improve their overall self-regulation. Additionally, biofeedback aids in the following:
- Through training, a sense of balance is reinforced (i.e. it helps the body to correct itself).
- Biofeedback helps to motivate individuals to take on a more active role in their personal health care.
- Used as a mind-body technique, biofeedback adds to the power and efficacy of other, more traditional forms of treatment.
- Biofeedback is technology-assisted mindfulness.
Benefits: Biofeedback training, is used to help treat many physical and mental health issues.
Types of Biofeedback used at the PCC:
- Respiration biofeedback: This form of biofeedback can be extremely helpful in increasing awareness of dysfunctional breathing patterns and for developing health-promoting, effortless breathing patterns that lead to regenerative processes (e.g., helps correct the autonomic imbalance associated with anxiety disorders).
- Heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback: Heart rate variability (HRV) refers to the beat-to-beat variation in the time intervals between each heartbeat. This type of biofeedback helps you to control your heart rate in an effort to improve blood pressure, lung function, and your overall response to stress and anxiety. HRV is crucial to health and resilience and helps you to cultivate positive emotions in order to recover from stress.
For more information on HRB biofeedback, please visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoU6juenhnU
How to get started with Biofeedback at the PCC:
Referral Process- An intake therapist, individual therapist, or a medical provider may refer you to our Biofeedback program. However, please note the following:
- Our Biofeedback Coordinator will contact you via MHAV or phone to schedule your appointments.
- Biofeedback is a 4-5 session protocol, which requires daily engagement in breathing exercises for a minimum of 10-15 minutes each time. Optimal benefits can only be reached if you can dedicate this amount of effort to your overall well-being.
- These 4-5 sessions are scheduled back to back on a weekly basis.
- During times of high demand, there may be a waiting period from the time of referral to the actual appointment of up to 6 to 8 weeks.
- A referral can also be made for our Mobile Biofeedback Program.
- How long do the Biofeedback sessions last? Session times range from 40-55 minutes.
- How do I practice at home? After your initial session, you will be encouraged to download a free app to your phone that allows you to continue practicing what you learned in session.
- My schedule is busy…do I have to do the 4-5 session protocol? Depending on your typical response to stress and your level of anxiety, a referral may be made for the entire 4-5 sessions, or to an abbreviated version known as our Biofeedback and Mindfulness program/Mobile Biofeedback (2 sessions) here at the PCC, Student Health, or at Blair
- What are the Biofeedback and Mindfulness program and the Mobile Biofeedback program? This is a two session program (between 60 and 75 minutes each) where clients learn mindfulness and self-regulatory skills to address anxiety and improve overall performance. A follow-up session takes place 3-4 weeks after the first appointment. Mobile Biofeedback is held twice per week OFF-SITE- either at Blair or Student Health (please see our webpage for days and time of day as well as how to schedule an appointment).
- What can I do to help with my anxiety if I am placed on the wait list for Biofeedback? There is a resource at the PCC known as the Mind Body Lab. It is designed with the objective of enhancing mindfulness by providing tools to manage stress and increase personal resilience. This may include self-guided training on mindful meditation or Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Biofeedback, as well as a number of other resources. Utilization of the Mind Body Lab is a valuable resource for clients and can help get you familiarized with the self-regulatory processes of Biofeedback until you are able to begin the actual protocol.
MyCalmBeat (free): works by increasing your heart rate variability through slow breathing.
Stress Doctor by Azumio ($4.99, iPhone only): Reduce stress using 100% natural biofeedback technique based on heart rate detection with the iPhone's camera.
Stress Check by Azumio (free): measures stress level by measuring heart rate by placing finger on the camera lens.
BreathBiofeedback (free, Android): measures heart rate variability by tapping on the screen when you inhale and releasing the screen when you exhale.
Headspace: Training your mind with meditation in a very effective way