These videos do an awesome job of describing biofeedback! The first is by Mike Cohen at the Center for Brain Training, and the second is from Mind Media, who makes one of the encoders we use for biofeedback.
Balance Your Body with Biofeedback:
It's all about the body's response to life.
While neurofeedback works with the brain, biofeedback works with the body.
Any athlete will tell you that when your body is doing what you ask of it, you are at your best. If you are getting enough oxygen, your heart is beating strongly, but not racing, and your muscles are relaxed, you feel good and you perform at your peak. Relaxation of the body is necessary to get you through emotional ups and downs of life, deal with stress, and perform our tasks to the best of our ability. Biofeedback does just that.
Dr. Novian can do biofeedback using the NeXus-10 system from Mind Media, and can look at a wide variety of biometrics, or biological measures.
Heart rate variability, or HRV, is a biometric that looks at the function of the heart and its relationship to stress and breathing. We train HRV when we are looking at stress management and anxiety, primarily, although we will also use it when we work with test anxiety.
Respiration (or breathing patterns) are often looked at in combination with HRV. Again, we look at this with stress, although it is often used in conjunction with other biometrics. Usually, we are teaching a pattern of breathing called the 4 by 4 breath when we are using respiration. This breathing pattern encourages you to leave the stress response and enter the relaxation response.
Sweat gland production (called Galvanized Skin Response or GSR), looks at the production of sweat in your hands. This biometric increases with you are stressed and decreases when you are relaxed.
Temperature training is also looking at the hands. When you are stressed, the temperature in your hands and feet will drop (getting â€œcold feetâ€ literally) and it will increase when your stress level goes down and you become more relaxed.
A good way to think of biofeedback is that your physiology reflects your neurological state. If you are stressed, then your body's natural functions will show that, with an increased heart rate, lower temperature in your extremities, and more sweat gland activity. By learning to recognize your body's response to stress in our office, and learn to regulate your physiological responses, you can learn to return to a state of relaxation when you encounter stressful situations in your daily life.