Biofeedback is a training technique in which the therapist, the patient and monitoring instruments are used. It empowers clients to improve their health and performance by utilizing signals from their own bodies. This modality of therapy encompasses the holistic method of self-regulation which is the primary goal that is learned in using Biofeedback. Biofeedback's objective is to assist clients into developing a greater awareness and voluntary control over their physiological processes. It is about regaining awareness and control over one's own body chemistry such as respiration, heart rate, muscle movements and skin temperature.
Biofeedback increases self awareness and emotional awareness. Life sometimes presents situations that often leaves one hopeless, out of control and powerless. As the client learns to practice Biofeedback, he regains control and a shift from negative to positive emotion is achieved. It is an inner maturity in which the client is present, focused, and gains a great awareness of one's own body and mind achieves the optimal level of balance (homeostatis).
In achieving and maintaining balance in the body, many somatic illnesses can be avoided, such as ADD, ADHD, gastrointestinal illness, headaches (migraine and tension), TMJ, muscle and body aches, tinnitus, anxiety and hypertension. Biofeedback is not a substitute for the benefits of medication and psychotherapy. However, if the client is dedicated to learning and implementing the techniques learned, medication can be significantly lessened and in many cases medication for certain illnesses is no longer needed.
Current applications for Biofeedback include the following:
- Migraine headaches
- Tension headaches
- Chronic pain (specified areas)
- High blood pressure
- Chronic neck pain
- Panic attacks
- PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
- TMJ (temporomandibular joint disease) This tension most often is centered in the jaw from wearing braces or even simply stress and tension. Clicking noise and tension while chewing are classic symptoms of this disorder as well.
- Tennitis (ringing in the ears)
- Fibromyalgia (pain and stiffening of joints associated often times with fatigue and depression)
The sessions will begin with a review of the detailed intake history that you will have filled out prior to the first session. This is the appropriate time to voice any concerns or questions and time to set personal goals for seeking treatment. I will usually begin Biofeedback training during the first session if the concerns and questions have been answered and understood. During the first session, which involves training in breathing and introduction to the instruments, I will make certain that you understand the benefits and the goals in reaching your body's full potential in regaining balance and maintaining homeostasis through your internal regulation system. Sessions are approximately 45 minutes to one hour long, one to two times weekly. After the initial meeting, I will offer some initial impressions of the work that we will do and your treatment plan. You will evaluate this information along with your own assessment needs about whether you feel that this is a comfortable and workable plan for you to obtain your ultimate goals. It is imperative that both the therapist and the client are totally committed to the treatment plan in order to achieve the desired outcome.
Why does Biofeedback work?
Stress can slow down the body's healing and recovery process by lowering levels of certain key immune system chemicals in the body. According to Professor Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, a professor and physiologist at Ohio State University of Medicine, wounds in stressed people can take as much as 24% longer to heal than those in other patients. Biofeedback can restore the healing process by not allowing the body to excrete the chemicals in the body which cause illnesses that can affect the entire body both medically (pathologically) and mentally.
By the utilization of relaxation, nutrition, exercise, and stress management, the balance of all body systems can be restored. You can actually visualize the progress by the data collected each session by the therapist.
How long does Biofeedback take?
Biofeedback allows for regaining control over one's physiological processes (the mind/body approach). Each individual's progress will be unique and different, thus the time frame for Biofeedback will vary. On average, approximately 10-12 sessions are necessary. An initial assessment will allow the therapist to gain a baseline in which she can determine the client's stressors (that which is causing the stress or pain).
Suggested Treatment Plan
Session 1: Intake. A signed consent and contract is required. The client must commit to attending all required sessions to obtain full benefits of treatment of Biofeedback. Client will be given valuable information concerning Biofeedback and therapist will set up fee scale and contract with client.
Session 2: Assessment and Evaluation.
Session 3: Diaphragmatic Breathing.
Session 4: Diaphragmatic Breathing (continuation and perfection of above session on breathing).
Session 5: Modality Associated with Problematic Symptoms (the therapist and client, working together, will devise a plan of treatment specific to the issues that are causing problems for the client).
Session 6: Actual Biofeedback training with equipment.
Session 7: Advance Breathing Training (HRV).
Session 8: Heart Rate Variability. Biofeedback teaches the client how to breathe diaphragmatically and become in tuned to client's heart rate. This training keeps the body's entire system in balance and thus, stress is avoided by one's own design or control.
Session 9: Analyzing graphs of client's heart rate variability, diaphragmatic breathing, and skin temperature allow for control over the client's entire system which will begin and maintain homeostasis, or balance, of the client's mind/body relationship.
Session 10: Analysis of Findings. Assessment of pre- and post-tests in evaluation of client's progress.
Session 11: Regular Session. Discussion of progress and need for further treatment.
Session 12: Recap. Time for the therapist and client to recap the many valuable techniques learned through the previous sessions, and for the client to ask any questions concerning maintenance and continuance of Biofeedback as a life long lesson, well-learned, that will change the rest of your life. Stress free and regain control = homeostasis and balance!
Remember: Control of Mind and Body = Homeostasis and Balance. This may be the one choice in therapy that can actually save your life, or at least provide you with the ability, the power and control over your own body to prevent illness and disease!
Biofeedback gives you the power and control that you may have lost due to stress response, which in turn may have caused you to develop your illnesses.
Biofeedback is one of the best things that you can do for you! Get your control back beginning today. Call Dawn Gilbert at 912.547.8200. Please don't delay!
* Some treatment plans will vary.