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newslet

Biofeedback and Microcurrent Therapy & Stroke Rehabilitation

23 June 2009
BIOFEEDBACK MATTERS
– a BioFeedBack Resources International email newsletter –
written & edited by Harry L. Campbell, President
technical editing and production by Edwin Johnson

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Inside this issue:

  1. Biofeedback and Microcurrent Therapy & Stroke Rehabilitation – by Harry Campbell
  2. Biofeedback and Stress Management Tools for Educators – by Harry Cambell
  3. Training Schedule

I. Biofeedback and Microcurrent Therapy & Stroke Rehabilitation
The American Physiological Society recently reported in a Newswise article on a study involving Biofeedback and Microcurrent Therapy for loss of hand function due to stroke.

EMG biofeedback is being used to detect the ability of a person affected by stroke to grasp and release an object. The EMG amplitude increases when the object is grasped. The amplitude decreases when the object is released. The time it takes for the EMG amplitude to increase or decrease gives an indication of the level of function. Subjects that are affected by stroke take longer to grasp and release an object than subjects not affected by stroke. Stretching exercises help stroke patients reduce the amount of time it takes to grasp an object but it actually seems to increase the amount of time it takes for them to release an object. EMG biofeedback can help subjects by giving them more awareness of muscle contractions so that they can learn to contract and relax muscles more at will.

There is also a hypothesis that certain parts of the brain are overactive as a result of the stroke. This causes the continued contraction of the muscle when the person is trying to release the object. Trans cranial (micro current) stimulation of the brain could reduce the activity in the overactive part of the brain that causes continued muscle contraction when the subject is trying to release. I believe that EEG biofeedback might also be used in this case to inhibit that activity.

The authors of the study are Na Jin Seo, William Z. Rymer and Derek G. Kamper. They work at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Dr. Rymer also works with Northwestern University, and Dr. Kamper is affiliated with the Illinois Institute of Chicago.

You can read more about the study at:
Click Here

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II. Biofeedback and Stress Management Tools for Educators
Now more than ever, I believe that education about stress management needs to start early. I had the opportunity to provide a workshop on biofeedback and stress management along with Elizabeth Stroebel 2 1/2 years ago for my local school system. I was able to teach the workshop again last month. The group that attended the workshop was made up 19 Pre-Kindergarten through High School teachers (both regular and special education).

We talked about sources of stress for students and teachers. We talked about the physiological responses of stress and the negative effects it can cause. I explained what biofeedback is and how it works. I demonstrated each modality using volunteers from the group as subjects. I gave the participants reprints of articles on biofeedback and stress to read before our next session. I also told them about the Yonkers, NY, Neurofeedback program run by Mary Jo Sabo several years ago. They were interested and impressed with the results but were not confident that the Ossining School System or local community would be willing to fund a similar program. During the next session we discussed various relaxation exercises. The teachers wanted to know what they could do that would not require instrumentation. We practiced progressive muscle relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing, heart centered breathing with imagery, stretching, and scanning our bodies for areas of tension. We blew soap bubbles to experiment with changing our breathing. The participants formed groups and worked on two assignments. The first assignment was to make a poster that could be displayed in the classroom that would remind the students to be thinking about stress management. The second assignment was to come up with a list of stress management activities that they could comfortably use in the classroom. The group seemed excited about integrating the stress management techniques they learned into their classrooms. They believe that it can help reduce hyperactivity, conflicts, arguing, behavior problems, and inattention. I also offered to come in and demonstrate biofeedback to their classes so that the students can see how their physiology is affected by stress. This might help them to understand the value of the relaxation exercises the teachers would be showing them.

One of the teachers who attended the workshop has also contacted me about starting an after-school biofeedback club. I will be working with her to make that happen. If these young people are taught about stress management at an early age they will more likely continue to do a better job at managing their stress throughout their lives. They might also have a positive effect on their fellow students and other people they come in contact with. I see this as a small contribution that I can make to use what I know to make the world a better place.

I also gave a presentation on biofeedback for Project Earthquake, a group of minority young men at Ossining High School (Ossining, NY). Project Earthquake is a program that strives to instill integrity, discipline, honor and respect in young Black men by building their desire to become healthy, positive, productive citizens in our society. Project Earthquake offers personal support to young men to help counteract the forces that contribute to academic failure. They stress the importance of academic success as well as social codes of commitment to family, personal independence and strong moral character. The Project Earthquake Mission Statement is to: Reduce or eliminate lateness to class, cutting classes and referrals for inappropriate behavior. Promote completing homework assignments on time, taking college level classes and to raise GPA’s.

I talked to them about stress in school and at home and the negative effects that it can have on them, their parents, and teachers. I talked to them about biofeedback. We talked about anger, its relationship to stress and the problems it can cause. I had no problem getting them to volunteer so that I could demonstrate biofeedback on them. The presentation was recorded on video. Please contact me if you would like to receive a DVD copy of it. Project Earthquake is currently working on funding an educational trip to Egypt. To learn more about their group and activities visit:

http://www.projectearthquake.com

For more information on biofeedback or micro current instruments or stress management books and audio/video recordings you can visit:

http://www.biofeedbackinternational.com

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III. Training Schedule:
Neurofeedback: July 17-20, November 13-16, 2009 – Hawthorne, NY
Biofeedback: August 1-5, October 24-28, 2009 – Hawthorne, NY

For more information on these and other events, visit:

http://www.biofeedbackinternational.com

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