Biofeedback For Stress Management

Apr 24 2011

Biofeedback: For Stress Management

Are you always feeling stressed out? Does stress, anxiety and worry seemingly rule your daily life?

Using a biofeedback machine can help you manage your stress levels, and teach you how to prevent feeling stressed in the future.

Click Here to see a list of USB biofeedback devices for PC and Mac computers.

How Does Biofeedback Work?

A biofeedback machine monitors various physiological functions that allows a person to view real time changes in their body.

Some biofeedback machines, such as the Iom USB device can record several vital signs simultaneously. These measurements include:

  • Heart rate (BPM)
  • Pulse strength
  • Heart rate variability (HRV)
  • Galvanic skin response (GSR)

With this collection of real time information a person can assess their level of stress and monitor their progress as they engage in stress releasing activities.

Using guided thoughts, controlled breathing and deep muscle relaxation, a person can influence subtle physiological functions in their body that can help them achieve a deep state of relaxation. Often, these techniques can take years to learn, but with the immediate feedback of biofeedback training these skills can be mastered in a period of days or weeks.

Biofeedback training for stress management efficiently teaches one how to release mental and physical stress, and also how to identify and prevent the onset of stress in the future.

Why Must We Treat Stress?

Stress is something that everyone suffers from, whether chronically or intermittently. As humans, we are simply not designed for life in the modern world – a place that is increasingly pushing the limits of how much our minds can deal with.

As frequent feelings of stress gradually morph into a chronic stress disorder, serious health problems will occur.

Chronic stress repeatedly triggers the sympathetic nervous system – the fight or flight reaction that throws our body into overdrive each and every time it’s activated.

This response is perfectly natural for occasional events — such as leaping out of the way of a speeding bus — but it was not designed to be activated frequently. Regularly triggering the flight or flight response leaves us feeling fatigued and more susceptible to disease (both mentally and physically). The sympathetic nervous system shuts down most bodily functions that are involved with rest and recuperation. This is why treating stress is so important to maintaining general health.

Over-activation of the sympathetic nervous system will eventually lead to a decline in health. As the saying goes, “stress kills” — this is not an understatement!

Releasing Stress With Biofeedback

One of the cornerstones of stress management is learning how to relax — but simply letting go is not as easy as it sounds.

For many of us, constant worrying, high anxiety and frequent emotional swings are just an everyday part of life. But this psychological imbalance eventually leads to physical symptoms, like muscle tension in the face, neck, and shoulders; headaches that are often caused by muscle tension; and cardiovascular disease, like high blood pressure and arrhythmia.

Letting go of a lifetime of stress is something that has to be learned – it won’t happen overnight — but biofeedback is perhaps the most direct tool for getting effective results.

Biofeedback Machine

How to Use Biofeedback to Treat Stress

Getting ahold of biofeedback equipment used to be difficult and expensive. Fortunately, the company Wild Divine now offers USB biofeedback devices for at-home use. These machines connect directly to ordinary PC’s or Macintosh computers and operate with easy-to-use software.

Using one of these devices, treatment subjects can monitor various physiological signs that indicate their level of stress. It does this by sampling heart activity (beats per minute, pulse strength, and heart rate variability) as well as the body’s galvanic skin response, a measurement of activation in the autonomic nervous system.

When a person is feeling stressed their heart activity becomes more erratic. This is what HRV measures – the time regularity between heart beats. It is a useful indicator of how deeply relaxed a person is feeling, and cannot be timed like BPM with a simple stopwatch.

A GSR sensor measures electrical skin conductance on the skin’s surface. Although you might not know it, your skin is littered with tiny sweat glands that open within milliseconds of your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) becoming activated. The SNS is the part of your nervous system that kicks into gear when you experience stress.

Monitoring GSR is a quick way to determine which direction your body is currently going — greater arousal or deeper relaxation — and is very useful for biofeedback training in regards to stress management. Combined with the aforementioned heart monitoring sensor, a person can accurate observe their body’s level of relaxation. The Iom provides multiple streams of information for accurate assessment.

How to Get Started With Biofeedback Training For Stress

To start biofeedback training, you’ll need access to a biofeedback machine that can monitor various physiological signals appropriate for stress management. This means either booking an appointment with a certified biofeedback therapist that specializes in this work, or buying the equipment yourself and using such a device at home.

For home use, there is really only one product that is worth mentioning. The Iom by Wild Divine is by far the only consumer-level biofeedback machine that is both affordable and easy to use. It is the only biofeedback machine that is sold with a full suite of software titles that can teach you the techniques for better stress management.

Having said that, always consult your physician before starting any sort of treatment. Biofeedback is drug-free and virtually risk-free — there are no known side-effects. But it is always wise to let your doctor know your current health situation and how you are attempting to improve it.

Click Here to see a list of USB biofeedback devices for PC and Mac computers.

USB Biofeedback Device For PC and Mac

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