How Biofeedback Training Reduces Stress
The Problem of Stress
Biofeedback training is an effective method for reducing the negative effects of stress. There are many sources of stress including politics, natural disasters, terrorist acts, work, family, and financial problems, and traffic. In this world of 24 hour TV and radio news plus news on our computers, we are constantly bombarded with stressful, negative information. If that wasn’t enough we have smart phones, tablets, and smart watches with us at all times to make sure that we don’t miss anything. Wherever we are we can stay up on what is happening. Besides the information we get from news sources, we also get blogs and podcasts. In addition to these stress sources, the people who we interact with who cause us stress are able to call, text, or email us 24 hours a day 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Biofeedback Training Method of Reducing Stress
People need methods of reducing the negative effects of stress. Many of the solutions that are offered are medications. Even when they are effective they often come with unwanted side-effects. Thankfully there are some non-drug methods of reducing stress. Biofeedback training is one such method. Biofeedback instruments measure muscle tension, skin temperature, skin conductance (sweat), breathing, heart rate, and brainwave activity. With biofeedback training people learn to control the way their body reacts to stress by viewing a biofeedback device while they practice relaxation exercises.
Where can you get biofeedback training?
Biofeedback training is available through some healthcare professionals like psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health counselors, social workers, physical therapists, and nurses.
You can find a good biofeedback provider by searching the directories of your local regional biofeedback society or association. Go to www.aapb.org which is the website for the Association for Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback. They have a list of biofeedback providers there as well as a list of regional biofeedback societies or chapters. You can also check to see if they are certified by the BCIA (Biofeedback Certification International Alliance) on the www.bcia.org website. Although this certification does not guarantee excellence it does indicate that the provider has met a minimum requirement of education, biofeedback training, experience, mentoring, and that they have passed an exam. I recommend that if a person is interested in doing biofeedback training that they first visit a trained healthcare provider who offers biofeedback training. The professional can perform a proper psychophysiological stress profile assessment to find out which biofeedback modality will be most appropriate for the person. They then can give them professionally supervised biofeedback training in their office. Once they learn the basics and make some progress in learning biofeedback the professional can recommend a home device that the person can use to continue their biofeedback training at home.
Healthcare providers who are not yet using biofeedback training as a method may want to investigate integrating it into their practice. As the public becomes more educated about biofeedback training they may choose to visit providers who offer biofeedback over ones who don’t.
Can I Do Biofeedback Training Without a Professional?
Yes, you can do biofeedback training on your own without a professional. There are many relatively simple devices that you can purchase for home use that work on a computer, tablet, smart phone, or with built-in displays. They can be effective when used properly. Some professionals will consult with you about home biofeedback training even if you don’t sign up to do sessions with them in their office.
Harry L. Campbell
President, Biofeedback Resources International Corp.
Author of What Stress Can Do, Available on Amazon.com