Illana Katz administrates our biofeedback program.
What Is Biofeedback?
Biofeedback is a 21st century answer to taking control of our health and well-being.
Whether we know it or not, we use biofeedback all the time. When we step on the scale or look in the mirror we receive biofeedback. When we take our temperature or blood pressure we are receiving biofeedback, too. In each case, we are receiving information that we can use to make changes in our lives.
Biofeedback is a non-pharmacological approach to treating anxiety, stress, pain management and other conditions. This approach is more directed than conventional psychotherapy. It helps to promote relaxation and balance on all levels - mental, emotional and physical.
Biofeedback relies on instruments that painlessly measure the sources of tension being produced by the patient. The information is instantaneously fed to the patient visually and/or audibly. The patient is taught how to deal with tension in the affected areas as well as generally. By doing this, the body returns to its natural balance and the patient learns voluntary control as a new skill. The symptoms will potentially lessen or disappear.
How Can Biofeedback Help?
Biofeedback can be used to help patients modify their stress levels or blood pressure. Children or adults can use biofeedback to learn to respond appropriately to anxiety-producing situations or fears. Biofeedback can be used to help those who suffer from migraines or other recurrent headaches. It has even been used experimentally to help ease the symptoms of scleroderma, a very serious and debilitating disease.
Biofeedback is a three-way effort between practitioner, client, and computer. In a comfortable, quiet, and private room, patients learn the “how-to’s” of: lessening pain, increasing the temperature in their hands to get rid of a developing migraine or tension headache, modifying respiration, effecting change in blood pressure, or providing relief from health problems like Raynaud’s disease (cold hand and feet).
What Can I Expect at a Biofeedback Session?
Biofeedback is non-invasive. It is drug-free and therapeutic. It is not something that is done to you, but rather, it is a learning process.
The biofeedback patient is seated in a comfortable chair, with a view of a computer screen and/or listening to speakers. The patient’s respiration, pulse, and other measures of stress are monitored and instantaneously reported to the patient in a useful way. Techniques are taught to the patient to modify the body’s reactions to stressful stimuli, with instant feedback prompting rapid learning. The entire process is conducted in such a way as to produce comfort, reduce stress, and promote a sense of well-being. The patient directs all of these benefits, with the computer used only as a means of feedback.
How Long Does the Process Take?
Biofeedback sessions are typically scheduled twice a week for the first four or five weeks, decreasing to once a week thereafter. The total number of biofeedback sessions is usually about two-dozen. Patients often return in six to eight months for another course of treatment to refine their skills.
Who Can Benefit from Biofeedback?
Clinical Biofeedback techniques are being used to treat an ever-lengthening list of conditions in adults and children.
Here is a partial list:
• Migraine and tension headaches
• High blood pressure
• Cardiac arrhythmias
• Raynaud’s disease (cold hands and feet)
• Bruxism (teeth grinding)
• Stress/Panic Disorders
• Some Autistic Disorders
• Conduct and Rage Disorders
• Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
• Learning Disabilities
• Tourette Syndrome
• Traumatic Brain Injury
• Immune System Functioning
• Creativity, Personal Growth
• Poor Self-Esteem
• Arthritis Pain
• Sleep Disorders
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Did You Know...
• 75% to 90% of visits to physicians are stress related.
• Job stress is a major health factor costing businesses an estimated $150 billion annually.
• A Gallup poll reports that up to 25% of the American work force suffers from excess stress or anxiety.
• The proportion of people who suffer from insomnia is estimated to be 43%.
• Stress related disorders are a major cause of rapidly increasing health care costs.