14 December 2015

Mindfulness and Biofeedback

Google the term "mindfulness" and you'll see that the results are in the millions. Mindfulness is currently being used by therapists, psychologists and other mental health providers. It is often used in combination with yoga and meditation and is increasingly being introduced in schools and offices. Some of the benefits of mindfulness include stress reduction, reduced rumination, better focus, less emotional reactivity and a greater sense of well being. Mindfulness training has been used to help clients with conditions such as anxiety, headaches and chronic pain, to name a few.

So What is Mindfulness?
Dr. Inna Z. Khazan defines it as: "Mindfulness allows people to become truly aware of the present moment, to tell the difference between what they can and cannot change, and then focus their attention on the things they can change."

What makes Dr. Khazan's work in mindfulness unique is that she takes the technique one step further by combining it with biofeedback. A biofeedback assessment that measures heart rate, respiration, skin conductance, skin temperature and muscle activity provides the client with a window into what is going on in their body and how it reacts to stress.  The results of the initial assessment can help determine the best mindfulness techniques to use with each client. Real-time training with biofeedback can measure the effect mindfulness training has on ones physiology.

On the flipside of that, professionals already using biofeedback can add a mindfulness element to their training.  According to Dr. Khazan, "After analyzing the cases where biofeedback was not immediately successful, I realized that the reason for the lack of progress with biofeedback in some cases was that we were trying hard to change what was not changeable at that moment. Using mindfulness transformed my biofeedback work. I suddenly had a way to help my clients get unstuck and make progress. My clients and I learned to allow what is outside of our control to stay and apply our efforts to things we could control."

Mindfulness Software Suite
The BFE has collaborated with Dr. Inna Khazan to create a software suite that combines the use of mindfulness and biofeedback as described in her book The Clinical Handbook of Biofeedback: A Step-by-Step Guide for Training and Practice with Mindfulness. Compatible with the BioGraph Infiniti software, the BFE Mindfulness suite includes:
  • Psychophysiological stress profile assessment with automatic graphing of results into an easy-to-read excel reports.
  • Relaxation profile assessment for evaluation which relaxation or meditative technique is best suited for the client's individual self regulation. The assessment an automated excel report that graphs relevant data into easy-to-read graphs.
  • Resonance frequency evaluation with automatic graphing of results, to simplify data analysis.
  • Pre-grouped monitoring and training screens, that follow Dr. Khazan’s style of biofeedback training. Data is obtained from muscle tension, respiration, heart rate (BVP or EKG), skin conductance and temperature. The display screens are for 1 or 2-monitor setups.
  • Documentation in the form of a software manual that instructs the users how to make use of all technical aspects of the equipment, sensor, and software setup, as well as sample client data. The software manual also references the specific chapters and pages of Dr. Khazan's book for relevant clinical information.
Utility-aside, this software suite has been enhanced with pleasing designs and a superior overall esthetic that any clinician and client will appreciate. No need for those ugly motifs and unintuitive setups that reduce the overall impact of your sessions.

In order to encourage the success of other clinicians, Dr. Khazan has also included several relaxation text scripts to be used with clients during the relaxation profile assessment. The video below provides a brief overview of the software.

Introduction to the Mindfulness Suite from Biofeedback Federation CIC on Vimeo.

Open House on the Mindfulness Suite - January 28, 2016
Jon Bale, the BFE's research manager, will be hosting a free open house (10:00-11:00 am - Eastern Time US & Canada) for anyone that is interested in getting a first-hand glimpse of the Mindfulness Suite. This is a perfect opportunity to see the software in action, to ask questions from the main software developer, and get an idea how this package will enhance your practice.
This event has already taken place. View the recording here.
View details of software suite.

NEW - Mindfulness Online Class
Date: April 1, 8, 15, 22, 2016
Time: 10:00-11:30 am Eastern Time (US & Canada)
Presented by: Dr. Inna Khazan & Jon Bale

Clinicians interested in a mindfulness and acceptance approach to biofeedback will want to attend this online class that features Dr. Inna Khazan, a leader and author in the field of mindfulness and biofeedback. This class is designed for novice or experienced biofeedback practitioners who wish to integrate mindfulness and biofeedback as a tool in their practice. Over four 90-minute lessons, attendees will learn how to assess and train with biofeedback using the BFE's Mindfulness software suite, while maintaining a mindfulness approach to treatment. By the end of the class, users will be able to:
- record a psychophysiological profile assessment on a subject;
- identify and remove any fake data (artifacts);
- generate and interpret the assessment report results;
- create a treatment plan;
- perform a relaxation evaluation;
- resonant frequency assessment;
- set up training screens and interpret training progress.

Dr. Khazan is the primary instructor for lessons 1 and 4, with Jon Bale guiding lessons 2 and 3.
Click here to register.

About Dr. Inna Z. Khazan
Inna Khazan, Ph.D., BCB, is a Clinical Instructor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School, where she teaches biofeedback. A clinical psychologist specializing in health psychology and biofeedback, Dr. Khazan also maintains a private practice in Boston, working with clients presenting with various psychophysiological disorders, using both biofeedback and mindfulness-based approaches to psychotherapy.

Dr. Khazan is a licensed clinical psychologist, board certified in biofeedback. She has over 10 years of experience using biofeedback and mindfulness & acceptance techniques. She has been teaching biofeedback from a mindfulness and acceptance perspective at Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School since 2008 and has implemented these techniques in her independent clinical practice since 2006.  She has been invited to give presentations at various conferences and prestigious institutions in the Boston area on the topics of biofeedback and mindfulness.

FREE Upcoming Mindfulness Event - Dr. Licia Grazzi
On January 25th, the BFE is pleased to welcome Dr. Licia Grazzi who will be presenting a webinar on mindfulness and migraines. In this presentation, Dr. Grazzi will discuss her current clinical research on an over-medicated population group that suffer from chronic migraines. She will primarily focus on her most recent study that compares the success rates of two treatment outcomes for migraine sufferers: the use of a mindfulness-based behavioral approach and the use of traditional pharmacological medication. Her webinar includes a review of general non-pharmacological benefits to the treatment of chronic migraines, as well as an introduction to a mindfulness-based behavioral approach to therapy.

Dr. Grazzi is an executive neurologist at the Headaches Center at the Besta Hospital in Milan, actively collaborated with Frank Andrasik, PhD, and has 30 years of experience with CBT techniques and biofeedback.

Mindfulness as a Non-Pharmacological Approach for Migraine Treatment Webinar
Date: January 25, 2016
Time: 8:30-9:30 am Eastern time (US & Canada)
Presenter: Dr. Licia Grazzi
This event has already taken place. View the recording here.


  1. The process of trying to help our clients to pay attention to whatever arises internally or externally, without becoming hooked on the wish that things were otherwise, and diminishing avoidance behaviors is part of therapy.
    Mindfulness practices within therapy include improving awareness through learning to focus one’s attention in a different way than our daily “jumpy” mode of attention.
    Thanks for your great post.

  2. Hey, it is great to know about this software. Lot of information is available on internet and i was amazed to know about this. It is the first time i came to read about mindfulness and bio feedback topic. Thank you for sharing a great post it is really amazing. Training Online

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