As we go about our busy days, it can be easy to miss the cues our body gives us. Physiological responses such as changes in skin temperature, tightening of muscles, or changes in respiratory patterns can alert us if we are becoming stressed. But often we don’t notice them. Due to this lack of awareness and the body’s great ability to learn, our bodies develop conditioned stress response patterns that can cause symptoms and dysfunction. Our bodies forget how to recover and relax naturally. At Ways to Wellness MD, we use biofeedback as a tool to help patients better recognize and effectively control the stress patterns that can be a significant factor in the development of their symptoms.
Biofeedback can help improve your awareness of these conditioned responses by allowing you to “see” the physiological activity in action using sensors placed on the skin. A biofeedback therapist will help you make sensory connections between what you see and what you feel. Once you learn to better recognize states of tension, stress, and relaxation, the therapist uses the feedback to help you learn greater control. Various mind-body techniques are used along with feedback to develop self-regulation skill.
Benefits of Biofeedback
The ability to recognize and reduce stress on your own – at any time and in any place – is a powerful tool for improving health. Taking control of the stress response will not only reduce common symptoms such as muscle pain, headaches, and gastrointestinal disruption, but also assist in treating chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. Improved stress control will also reduce frequency of colds and allergy flare-ups, and minimize menstrual and menopausal symptoms. It can also improve the chance of becoming pregnant.
Although biofeedback is an excellent tool for stress control, it is also used to improve self-regulation in managing other conditions. Among them include:
- Irritable Bowel
- Myofascial (muscle) Pain
- Post Traumatic Stress
- Raynauds Disease
- Repetitive Strain Injury
- TMJ Dysfunction
Overall Goals of Therapy
Biofeedback therapy is a process that improves how the mind and body work together. Through this process you will become more mindful of subconscious habits, emotion, and thoughts and will discover how all of these can manifest in physiological activity. This process allows you to improve control of not only the physical responses, but the psychological triggers or stimuli as well.
No matter what your health condition, the primary goal of biofeedback therapy is to improve self-regulation. Improved self-regulation assists in restoring flexibility and balance of daily responses, and offers you the opportunity to be part of healing yourself.