10 October 2012

Biofeedback for Mental Health

I blog for World Mental Health Day


First, I would like to commend the folks at the Carter Center for their ongoing efforts to draw attention to mental health concerns while reducing the stigma that is associated with them and to PsychCentral for the great work they do. Thanks also to everyone who has taken the time to share their own insights by joining the “blog party”. What a great concept!

In my role as Education Manager at the BFE, I have had the opportunity to learn about the work of many mental health professionals around the world who have incorporated biofeedback and neurofeedback into their practices. Our field has such great potential but remains virtually unknown to so many. 

So what is biofeedback?
The AAPB (Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback) website sums it up nicely:

“Biofeedback is a process that enables an individual to learn how to change physiological activity for the purposes of improving health and performance. Precise instruments measure physiological activity such as brainwaves, heart function, breathing, muscle activity, and skin temperature. These instruments rapidly and accurately "feed back" information to the user. The presentation of this information — often in conjunction with changes in thinking, emotions, and behavior — supports desired physiological changes. Over time, these changes can endure without continued use of an instrument.”

Approved May 18, 2008 by:
Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB)
Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA)
International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR)

Quite simply, biofeedback is like a window into the self. A good example to illustrate this is stress. In today’s fast paced world we are all familiar with stress and the negative impact it can have on our health. Most people can identify when they are feeling stressed, but may not be aware that during stressful periods their heart rate speeds up, their respiration rate increases and their muscles may be tense. With knowledge of these physiological changes comes the power to regulate them.  

Biofeedback has been widely used by a variety of health professionals in the treatment of disorders such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, trauma and PTSD to name a few.  In fact the focus of the upcoming North Carolina Biofeedback Society’s annual meeting (for which we are a sponsor) is “Trauma and the Mind-Body Connection”.  The conference, taking place November 2-4, 2012, provides a great opportunity for mental health providers to learn how they can incorporate biofeedback into their practice.

Other good resources are the AAPB (Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback), the ISNR (International Society for Neurofeedback and Research) and the BCIA (Biofeedback Certification International Alliance). All three websites provide a wealth of information for professionals as well as anyone interested in learning more about this fascinating field.  Also, check out this link for a crash course on biofeedback: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1u1v3xRCqu8 

A Bit About Us...
The BFE Learn From the Best program provides continuing education via conferences, seminars, workshops, internet courses, and software for professionals around the world. Content is developed independently by International Research & Education Project teams. Financial support comes from the Biofeedback Federation CIC, a non-profit Community Interest Corporation located in the UK. For more information, visit the BFE Online Shop. The next BFE Annual Conference is scheduled to take place February 11-15, 2014 in Venice, Italy.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like more information.
Carol Meyers
Education Manager
education@bfe.org

9 comments:

  1. Interesting info! This post could be helpful too.

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    1. Thanks for sharing this with our readers.

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  2. View the posts made by all who participated in this event here:
    http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mental-health-day/2012/10/world-mental-health-day-blog-party-october-10-2012/

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  3. Awesome article! Qualified behavioral health professionals are able to help patients understand their illness and learn healthy coping mechanism that can reduce symptoms.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your comments. One of our goals is to educate communities around the world about the benefits of biofeedback.

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  4. Hello! I simply wish to supply a massive thumbs up for your wonderful information you might have here on this post. I am returning to your blog post for more soon.

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  5. Great post thanks for the information..Most patients who benefit from biofeedback equipment are trained to relax and modify their behavior. Most scientists believe that relaxation is a key component in biofeedback treatment of many disorders, particularly those brought on or made worse by stress.

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  6. Thanks for your kind words. Stress does indeed play a role in exacerbating and in some cases causing other illnesses. Have you seen the BFE's EZ-Air program? It's a small program run on a PC that places a bargraph or linegraph on your computer to help pace breathing. Most people know that slow, deep breaths can be very calming. The problem is that we don't always pay attention to our breathing rate. EZ-Air acts as a nice reminder. You can try it free for 30 days at:

    http://www.bfe.org/breathpacer01a.html

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