Biofeedback: A Stress Management Solution?

The benefits of biofeedback in both combatting and managing stress

Combining advancements in biofeedback technology and mind/body psychotherapy to best understand the root of stress and identify the most effective ways to manage it.

Stress is a fact of life common to every executive.  Throughout the years, there have been

various ways of managing it, ranging from deep breathing techniques, exercise, and even high adrenaline, thrill seeking activities (perhaps some of the reasons behind the thrill seeking of Sir Richard Branson).

According to the National Institute on Health and the studies published in major medical journals, stress is said to be the cause of about 87% of all disease.

Quite simply, stress is a biological reaction to mental, emotional, and/or physical stimuli where normal functioning has been compromised by upsetting the body’s equilibrium.  

The results are many and may include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chronic pain
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Muscle tension
  • Hypertension
  • Depression, anxiety, mood swings, and other mental health disorders
  • Hormonal imbalances and endocrine disturbances
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity  
  • Cancer  

So how do we go about not only training our equilibrium but also adjusting it when things become compromised?

There have been constant advancements in stress management and one in particular, biofeedback, has become a highly valuable tool in the battle against stress.  This practice has been adopted by Doctors, Psychologists, Dentists, Veterinarians, Naturopaths, Chiropractors, Acupuncturists, Nutritionists, and many other professional practitioners.

Some psychotherapists use biofeedback combined with relaxation techniques and mind/body psychotherapy. The concept is that with every thought and feeling, our bodies generate electrical activity in the nervous system. With this understanding the client learns not only how to control reactions to stress but can explore the causes of their stress by looking at their thoughts and behavior that contribute to it.

“The concept is that with every thought and feeling, our bodies generate electrical activity in the nervous system.”

Specifically, the Quantum biofeedback, Indigo device, is a non invasive technology based on quantum physics.   The Indigo device is self-monitoring and self- adjusting measuring the voltage, current and resistance of the client’s skin responses from the conductive sensors located on straps that are place on the wrists, ankles, and forehead.  The body is electric; therefore reactivity in the body can be measured electrically.

The device detects and targets very specific stressors in the body and its electrical field.  It identifies the reactions to over 10,000 different stress signatures stored in the data base. These are taken from nutritional items, allersodes, toxins, emotional formulas, allergens, and more.

The information gathered helps the practitioner help the client learn about their state of health and discover the source of stress and then reeducate them to manage the reaction to that source.

What would a typical session look like?

  • The practitioner will talk to the client to determine what stressors he or she is dealing with.
  • The client will sit in a comfortable chair and Velcro straps are then placed on the client’s wrists, ankles and around the forehead.  
  • The client is instructed to relax with progressive muscle relaxation, guided visualization, breathe work or meditation.  
  • While the client is relaxing the practitioner will work with the computer which is hooked up to the Indigo device.
  • After the practitioner gathers the information from the device as to what and where the stresses are showing up in the client’s body, will then discuss with the client ways for them to reduce the stress in their bodies and in their lives.

Sessions are scheduled for 1 to 2 hours depending on the goals for the session which are determined by the client and me. Most clients find the biofeedback experience relaxing, soothing, and beneficial.  Some clients are so relaxed that they fall asleep during the session.

Medical research shows that the benefits of biofeedback may include the following:

  • Improved general health and sense of well being.
  • Reduction of pain
  • Reduction in symptoms of fibromyalgia and migraine headaches.
  • Reduction of stress, tenseness and nervousness.
  • Ability to relax more quickly.
  • Improved sleep.
  • Reduction of depression, anxiety, anger, fear, apprehension and gloominess.
  • Heightened muscle mobility, coordination, flexibility and sport performance.
  • Enhanced mental clarity, memory and improved attention.

After a biofeedback session, the client typically feels more relaxed and has more information about dealing with the mental and physical stresses in their lives.  With knowledge and understanding we can empower ourselves to make better choices in changing the patterns that stress our minds and bodies. In the end, reducing stress can create increased productivity and happier lives.

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