1. What is biofeedback?
(The Information below comes from the AAPB.org website.)
is providing real time information from psychophysiological recordings
about the levels at which physiological systems are functioning.
Biofeedback does not need to involve the use of computers, electronic
devices etc. For example, a mirror is a perfectly good biofeedback
device for many aspects of gait retraining. Electronic biofeedback
devices are designed to record physiological functions non-invasively.
Most record from the surface of the skin. The information recorded by
surface sensors is frequently sent to a computer for processing and then
displayed on the monitor and/or through speakers. The person being
recorded and any therapist or coach who may be present can attend to the
display of information and incorporate it into what ever process they
are attempting to perform. The device does not send anything directly
back into the person being recorded. The loop is completed only when the
person being recorded attends to and uses the displayed information.
Psychophysiology studies interactions between the mind and body by recording how the body is functioning and relating the functions recorded to behavior. Changes in the body’s functioning cause changes in behavior and vice versa. Psychophysiological recording techniques are generally non-invasive. That is, they record from the body’s surface and nothing goes into the person being recorded. Psychophysiological recordings are frequently used to help assess problems with how the body is functioning.
A tiny physiological signal (in this case muscle tension) is picked up by sensors (1) placed on the skin. The signal is sent to an amplifier (2) which makes the signal large enough to work with and is changed into a display (3) people can learn from. The client then uses the display to recognize relationships between sensations and actual levels of function.
|Biofeedback is used in many different
environments including schools (for such activities such as improving
concentration), in sports (for optimizing functioning), clinical
environments (to help people learn to recognize when physiological
systems are not behaving normally and to learn to correct their
functioning), and many others. To learn more about biofeedback, please
watch the free slide show or read more about it.
Example: A typical instance in which a psychophysiological assisted assessment is combined with a biofeedback based intervention would be when a person reports jaw area pain not caused by the jaw joint. Tension in the muscles around and controlling the jaw would be recorded under different conditions (while relaxed, tense, open, closed, etc.) Abnormalities in function would be used as the basis for determining what training is needed to correct the abnormalities. The treatment may include showing the patient how tense the jaw muscles are under different circumstances and teaching the person to be recognize how tense the jaw muscles really are and to be aware of when they are inappropriately tense. The treatment would succeed to the extent that the person being trained learns and applies the skills.
Biofeedback is concerned with assessing and training systems of the body that affect health and are thought to be under involuntary control. Breath, temperature, sweat, heart rate, muscle response and blood pressure are all aspects of the human body that can be assessed and trained for more efficient and healthy response and function.
Neurofeedback is concerned with assessment and training of brain wave frequencies using sensors applied to the scalp.
Not surprisingly, biofeedback modalities may be used adjunctively with neurofeedback protocols.
In the USB Lab here on campus we primarily work with biofeedback protocols.
The sensors used are amplifying signals then translating the signals received into digital information for view on the computer screen. No electricity is conducted into the body. Our goal is to help you reduce the stress responses that are compromising your body's systems.
No. The protocols are non-invasive but may involve a sensor placement on a shoulder or upper chest so, if such protocols might be useful your facilitator will suggest that you wear clothing so that the sensors can be easily placed.
We are not a counseling center and do not operate as therapists, psychiatrists or psychologists. We will ask you to describe your circumstances and will ask you some basic questions about sleep, diet, exercise, history of the presenting issue and other strategies you have tried. As basic as our intake is, all of your information is absolutely confidential and you are free to decline to answer if you are more comfortable doing so.
Most sessions are 30 minutes.
The services of the University Stress and Biofeedback Lab are free to students, staff and faculty at UNCA.
8. How many times do I need to come in order to have the training make a difference?
The number of sessions will depend on what we are training. Breath training typically takes about six sessions. EKG training can take a little longer. Very often just the single session of training will cause you to be more aware of your tendencies and you will quickly learn to make subtle changes on your own. Neurofeedback is usually a longer commitment, with a minimum of 20 sessions to see much change.
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