Biofeedback is a technique that trains people to improve their health by controlling certain bodily processes that normally happen involuntarily, such as heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and skin temperature. Electrodes attached to your skin measure these processes and display them on a monitor. With help from a biofeedback therapist, you can learn to change your heart rate or blood pressure, for example. At first you use the monitor to see your progress, but eventually you will be able to achieve success without the monitor or electrodes. Biofeedback is an effective therapy for many conditions, but it is primarily used to treat high blood pressure, tension headache, migraine headache, chronic pain, and urinary incontinence.
There is a variety of biofeedback devices on the market today. At the Center, we use emwave devices from HeartMath. Emwave assesses heart rate variability (HRV). The device has a small pulse detector similar to pulse oximeter devices that are widely used in medical offices. After pulse is picked up by the detector, special software analyzes the heart rate and generates heart rate variability. HRV correlation to the health has been studied for decades by thousands of researchers around the world, and it has been documented that poor HRV correlates with poor health outcomes, and that improving HRV improves health. Browse nearly 4,000 PubMed articles on HRV clinical significance, or find well organized research documents at www.heartmath.org. This robust amount of evidence that strongly links the improvement in heart rate variability to improved patients’ wellbeing and medical outcomes is one of the main reasons why we are using this specific device. Additionally, HRV detection allows us to assess patient’s autonomic nervous system without using expensive neurofeedback devices. Combining this with careful history and several innovative laboratory tests makes it possible to not only detect a variety of subtle stress-induced disbalances, but also design effective protocols to correct most of stress-induced problems.
What happens during a biofeedback session?
In a biofeedback session, a detector is attached to your ear. Your biofeedback therapist will first get your baseline and stress response readings. After that you will be asked to do a few different breathing or relaxation practices to find one or two that have the greatest effect on optimizing the HRV and thus are likely to lead to rapid improvement of your health. Subsequently, you will be asked to practice at home for 1-4 weeks before coming back for the follow-up. We often combine biofeedback with Reiki as we have found this combination being more effective than each modality alone. Schedule an appointment.
Why use biofeedback?
Biofeedback has been proven to be effective for a variety of different medical problems. Below are some of the most common.
- Anorexia nervosa
- Back pain
- Bed wetting
- Chronic pain
- Epilepsy and related seizure disorders
- Headaches and migraines
- Head injuries
- High blood pressure
- Learning disabilities
- Motion sickness
- Muscle spasms
- Sexual disorders, including pain with intercourse
- Spinal cord injuries
In our experience, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, hypertension and headaches seem to respond exceptionally well to this simple treatment with no side effects. Of course, this system will work ONLY if you practice regularly at home.
How many sessions will I need?
Each session generally lasts less than one hour. The number of sessions required depends on the condition being treated and, more importantly, how often you do the homework.
May I purchase an emwave device?
The current price on the emwave-2 is $225. But there is no need to purchase the device. This device is just a monitor of your health improvement achieved through the prescribed mind-body practice.
Biofeedback is considered safe. No negative side effects have been reported. Please read a detailed article on biofeedback from the University of Maryland.