Biofeedback: combat stress through relaxation techniques

Doesn't the term sound familiar to you biofeedback? The truth is that not much has been said about it, and yet its benefits are interesting. If you've been under stress for a while and nothing has worked for you, maybe it's time to give it a try.

Biofeedback can help you, but why was this concept chosen? To which it refers? It is a type of therapy that uses sensors. These are connected to your body and what they do is measure your body functions to determine the level of stress you have.

How does it help you? It allows you to better know how the body works so you can manage stress. Let's go much deeper now.

How does biofeedback work?

Biofeedback works in a very simple way. There are sensors that are placed in specific places on your body, for example the earlobes or the scalp. The important thing is that they are in contact with the skin.

There is something very interesting and that is that you will be an active subject. What does this mean? Well, biofeedback is not a test in which you do not participate. In this case, you will see the results displayed on a screen in real time so that you can be aware of how you are reacting.

It is for this reason that from the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital emphasize that this is an interactive process in which you get to get a connection with the body that you have never achieved before.

Biofeedback methods

Biofeedback methods are tailored to individual needs. Depending on the health problems you are having, one or the other will be recommended so that the result is the best.

Therefore, before submitting, it is advisable to conduct a personal interview to find out what you need. Well, stress can affect you in different ways.

Stress affects all aspects of life. It is not a minor issue to be underestimated.

Brain waves

This is one of the recommended biofeedback methods if you tend to suffer from migraines or stress headaches. The sensors will be placed on the scalp or temples and what you will see will be brain waves thanks to an EEG.

It is an interesting way to find out how stress affects the brain. It is quite amazing!

Breathing

Another method focuses on breathing if stress prevents you from having adequate respiratory dynamics or you suffer from the sensation of suffocation. The sensors are usually placed on the abdomen and chest to know what the pattern and frequency of breathing is like.

Heart rate

A heart that beats too fast (tachycardia) can find answers in biofeedback. With sensors arranged on the chest, lower torso and wrists you will be able to know how your heart rate is and the variations it presents. It may be that before the stress hits, your heart begins to beat more frequently, getting ahead of itself.

Muscle contraction

Cramps, tense muscles, contractures. Stress can wreak havoc on the body, and biofeedback addresses this as well.

Sensors are placed on skeletal muscles to closely observe the electrical activity that is causing the muscles to contract.

Sweat gland activity

In biofeedback you can observe how is the activity of your sweat glands. As you well know, due to stress you may perspire more than usual or you sweat a lot.

With the sensors that will be placed around your fingers or in the palm of your wrists, you will be able to analyze how your body responds to stress.

Temperature

Finally, another of the biofeedback methods is to measure the temperature, since with stress it tends to go down or, sometimes, up. How will your body respond? You can discover it with the sensors that will be placed on your fingers.

Benefits of biofeedback

Now that you know a little more about biofeedback, you may have realized its benefits. But it is better that we treat them in more detail in this section. The exposed methods help you to better understand your body and how it responds to stress.

What can this do for you? Well for learn to anticipate an episode of stress or anxiety, calm your breathing, take a walk to clear yourself. This way you will avoid what you already know is happening to you, from rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath and nervousness to headaches.

As well biofeedback is beneficial for you to solve your sleeping problems, better manage nausea and incontinence (urinary or fecal) that are sometimes associated with stress. Some studies account for the effect on constipation. Knowing your body will help you to be more aware of the necessary management.

By recognizing the changes that occur in the body in the face of stressors, it is easier to start stress management.

Contraindications to biofeedback

Despite all the advantages that this type of therapy has, it is clear that there will be contraindications. From the Mayo Clinic they warn of the following:

  • In the event that you have a skin disorder, the sensors used in this type of therapy can generate an allergy. Therefore, if you tend to suffer from eczema or dermatitis, it is better to ask your doctor first if it is safe for you.
  • If you're having a heart rhythm problem, biofeedback may not give you promising results on how you respond to stress. In this situation we also advise you to discuss it with your doctor.

Choose a biofeedback professional

Are you interested in this technique? Well choose the professional well, who must be a licensed therapist. Make sure that you can answer each and every one of the questions you may have about how the procedure is going to be performed.

The truth is, biofeedback has many benefits. If you've already tried it, how did the experience go?

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