Biofeedback is a method of measuring the body’s physiological responses in real time, as well as a tool for learning to control them. Biofeedback often relies on machines that measure heart rate, muscle tone, and even brain waves, and often requires a therapist or other health professional to operate the machine, interpret the meaning of the readings, and work with customers to incorporate the information into lifestyle changes. Temperature biofeedback (also called thermal biofeedback) using human body temperature is also common. However, there are some exceptions, which we will discuss later in this article.
How does biofeedback work?
In most cases, biofeedback helps people control their stress response and calm their physical arousal by realizing when it happens and using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, imagination, and meditation. Many of the benefits of biofeedback simply come from increased body relaxation and lack of long-term triggering of fight or flight response. Since chronic stress can cause many negative health symptoms, it can significantly improve how people feel and their body functions.
By helping you understand how your body currently works, biofeedback can help you understand what needs to be changed. In addition, by showing you which relaxation techniques are effective and which are not effective in “real time”, you can more easily master effective methods to relax the body’s physiological functions and incorporate healthier habits into your lifestyle.
What does it treat?
Because biofeedback can help reverse the stress response (and help you avoid it being triggered), it is useful in a variety of situations, including:
How to start using biofeedback
There are some ways you may already be using a very simple form of biofeedback:
- Body awareness: Of course, some body reactions can be easily sensed without equipment. When your body becomes tense, this is the natural message that you feel stressed. Shallow breath can be another. Being aware of the body’s stress signal can be said to be a natural form of “biofeedback”.
- Household tools: scales, thermometers and even mirrors can tell you about certain functions of your body by pointing out signs of overweight, fever, and obvious signs of stress (such as acne).
Both methods will tell you about your physiology and help you understand the health changes you need to make, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Traditional biofeedback usually involves more complex measurements that can change faster and are more difficult for laymen to detect on their own. Normally, standard biofeedback requires the use of biofeedback technicians (therapists or health experts), but recently, consumers can easily obtain home biofeedback devices.
Wild Divine is a pioneer in this field. It has created a home biofeedback system that can be connected to your home computer to measure from three fingers and tell you in real time how your physiology responds to meditation and stress management technology. With the help of health experts such as Chopra, Dr. Dean Onish and Dr. Andrew Weir, teach you. I have used their system and personally think it is great.
As mentioned earlier, there are many biofeedback practitioners who can help you understand how your physiology responds to stress, and help you develop perfect strategies to calm your body and mind and stay healthy in the process. One of the best ways to find good practitioners is to seek a referral from your doctor.