Biofeedback uses a patient’s own biology to provide information that can be used to learn self-regulation techniques for reducing stress, pain or other unpleasant conditions.
The process begins with a conversation about anatomy and physiology and the mind/body connection. Sensors are applied to the palm of the hand, around the abdomen or on areas where pain and tension occur. These sensors monitor skin temperature, skin conductivity, heart rate variability, breathing and EMG (the electrical activity that causes muscle contraction).
This information goes into a Biograph Infinity computer that uses an infrared light cable to translate data into a format that the patient can read on a computer screen. Diaphragmatic breathing techniques are taught and the patient can actually see his or her biological results on the screen. What you can see, you can change. The mind is really smart.
In order to create the ideal environment for natural healing to occur, the patient is trained in three physiological states: relaxation, mindfulness and resonance frequency, and is taught:
- Refined breathing, producing a wave-form pattern
- Autogenic relaxation; raising skin temperature which reduces cold hands and gets blood to small blood vessels, and skin conductance which helps quiet the mind
- Heart rate variability training, creating a balance of the sympathetic (stress response) and parasympathetic (relaxation response) in the autonomic nervous system
All three come about from diaphragmatic breathing.
I love to work with cancer patients because I train them in lifelong skills that they can use for all the different areas of their lives that cancer affects.
Linda MacKenzie, RN, BCB is certified through the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance. Linda is also a speaker for the Northwestern Association of Biofeedback and Neurotherapy, presenting her nursing perspectives of Biofeedback and Breath Work that assist her patients in creating the ideal environment for natural healing to occur.