Biofeedback at Equilibria
Biofeedback (and Neurofeedback, which is a subset of Biofeedback) is a non-invasive therapeutic technique that involves using technology to measure the body’s physiological responses, such as heart rate, muscle tension, and brainwave activity. By providing real-time feedback about these responses, individuals can learn to control them and improve their overall health and wellbeing. It has been found especially effective for people to whom talk therapy hasn’t been completely effective.
Types of Biofeedback
There are many types of Biofeedback techniques that target different areas. Equilibria focuses on 2 of them, Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and Passive Infrared Hemoencephalography (HEG).
- Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback: This type of biofeedback measures micro changes in the distance between one heartbeat and the next. When an individual learns to control their breathing patterns through HRV, they improve the communication between their heart and brain resulting in a range of neurological, hormonal, and biochemical benefits. By understanding and controlling the relationship between breathing and heart rate, clients can learn to adapt to stressful situations without putting undue strain on their nervous systems. This improved communication greatly benefits many areas, including:
- Improved focus
- Improved adaptability
- Better management of emotions
- Passive Infrared Hemoencephalography (HEG): A form of neurofeedback designed to improve prefrontal cortex efficiency, the area of the brain responsible for executive functioning. When an individual is able to improve prefrontal efficiency through increased blood flow and the resulting increase in oxygen, dependence on the the individual’s limbic system (the part of the brain responsible for behavioral and emotional responses) is reduced and prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain responsible for executive functioning) activation is increased. By understanding how to control the flow of blood to this essential region of the brain, patients are able to “supercharge” its functioning and achieve benefits in areas including:
- Improved impulse control
- Better Emotional Regulation
- Improved ability to prioritize
- Improved complex planning
Biofeedback has been around since the early 20th century and Neurofeedback was introduced in the 1970s. It has evolved to a point where it is completely non-invasive and uses simple interfaces to connect the patient with the technology.
HRV uses a simple ear clip to connect the patient to a program called emWave Pro designed by Heartmath Technologies. Using a graphical display, the software interprets and displays pulse data and heartrate patterns in real-time and calculates their level of their coherence. The clinicians at Equilibria guide patients on how to interact with the information displayed on the screen.
HEG uses a simple headband-like device worn on the forehead. Sensors monitor and measure heat waste caused by increased blood flow to the prefrontal cortex. This is often used in conjunction with a movie that triggers an emotional response in the patient. When the software detects an increase in limbic system dominance, the movie will pause. When the client is able to restore focus and subsequently increase blood flow to the prefrontal cortex, the movie will continue. This is done with the guidance of your clinician at Equilibria.
How Long Does it Take?
In general, a biofeedback or neurofeedback session lasts approximately an hour. The total number of sessions needed can range from just a few to many months of weekly sessions, depending on the individual’s needs and progress.
It’s important to keep in mind that biofeedback is a skill that requires practice to master. While some people may see improvements quickly, it may take others longer to develop the ability to self-regulate their physiological and neurological responses. Consistent practice and adherence to treatment recommendations are essential for achieving the best outcomes.
Biofeedback, sometimes called biofeedback training can achieve success where other therapeutic methods have proved less beneficial. It can also be used in conjunction with talk-therapy in order to attack problems from multiple angles. Biofeedback can potentially eliminate or reduce the need for medications or is some cases improve their efficacy. Is used to help manage many physical and mental health issues, including:
- Anxiety or stress
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Autism Spectrum disorders
- Chemotherapy side effects
- Chronic pain
- Epilepsy and Seizure disorders
- High blood pressure
- Insomnia and sleep disorders
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Panic disorders
- PTSD and other Trauma-related disorders
- Raynaud’s disease
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Substance Abuse and Addiction
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
Biofeedback has also been used to enhance cognitive and athletic performance in healthy individuals, as well as to improve overall well-being and stress management. It is a non-invasive and drug-free technique that can be used as a standalone therapy or in conjunction with other treatments. However, it is important to note that neurofeedback is usually used as a complementary therapy and should not be used as a replacement for traditional medical or mental health treatments.
Biofeedback Assessment Process
Before starting Biofeedback training, an assessment is conducted during the first session to determine if it is the appropriate treatment for the individual’s needs. During the assessment, the therapist will review the individual’s medical history and symptoms to determine if biofeedback can help. At regular intervals during the treatment, the clinician will discuss how the process is going and if the patient is feeling any changes. It is important to note that biofeedback is not a useful treatment for everybody and it is important to have open lines of communication between the clinician and patient to insure that Biofeedback is an effective method of treatment.
After the session, the therapist will provide feedback to the individual and discuss any changes in their physiological responses. Over time, with continued biofeedback therapy and continued practice, individuals can learn to control their responses without the use of technology, leading to improved overall health and wellbeing.
Schedule A Biofeedback Session
If you would like to meet or talk with one of our biofeedback specialists in the Philadelphia area about the process call Ethan at (267) 861-3685, option 2; or fill out our online form.