Biofeedback: The Solution to Stress?

Stress gets the best of us sometimes, causing us to break down, give up, or indulge in a large helping of not-so-healthy food. While punching a punching bag, going to sleep, or inhaling Ben and Jerry’s might seem like it’s easing our stress, there are better ways to go about it, or in this case, to control it. One way is through biofeedback.

Biofeedback Defined

Biofeedback is a complementary and alternative medicine technique in which you learn to control bodily functions using your mind. You’re connected to electrical sensors that help you measure and receive information about your body. The sensors teach you how to make subtle changes in your body, such as relaxing certain muscles, in order to achieve the results you want. You will perform physical and mental exercises while hooked up to a monitor and when you achieve a desired change in body function, the monitor will beep. In essence, this therapy teaches you the power of using your thoughts to control your body.

When it comes to stress or anything stress-related such as headaches, digestive disorders, or blood pressure, biofeedback can help relive those symptoms. Once you’ve learned which physical and mental exercises help you and how to do them, you can then perform them at home.

There are different types of biofeedback

(EMG) biofeedback Electromyography– gives you information about your body’s muscle tension so that you can practice relaxation.

Temperature (thermal) biofeedback– sensors attached to your fingers or feet measure your skin temperature. Your temperature often drops when you’re under stress, so a low reading can prompt you to begin relaxation techniques.

Galvanic skin response training– sensors measure the activity of your sweat glands and the amount of perspiration on your skin, alerting you to anxiety.

Heart rate variability biofeedback– helps you control your heart rate in an effort to improve blood pressure, lung function, and stress and anxiety.

Stress can become habitual and you can even forget how to relax sometimes; however, biofeedback can teach you how to get back to a more relaxed state. Although it is helpful to treat stress, it can also help a number of other conditions such as:

  • Asthma
  • Chemotherapy side effects
  • Constipation
  • Heart problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Incontinence
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Pain
  • Physical performance
  • Raynaud’s disease

This safe, non-invasive technique has provided relief for many people. The success rate of biofeedback will change based upon the person and the condition being treated. If you find success with this therapy, you can help control your symptoms whenever and wherever as well as reduce your intake of medication.

Dealing with your stress is one thing, learning to control it is an entirely different story. While you might still want to resort to Ben and Jerry’s every so often, biofeedback can be an extremely positive technique that will help improve your life.