Biofeedback and Self-Regulation Training
Biofeedback is a training tool in which processes in your body, such as muscle tension, are measured and displayed to you on a computer screen. Biofeedback training can help you to become more aware of, and to have more control over these bodily processes. Relaxation training is a related technique that teaches you skills for entering a state of deep mental and physical relaxation, which is associated with healing and pain reduction. Biofeedback and relaxation training are provided by licensed mental health professionals who specialize in behavioral methods for controlling stress, tension, pain, anxiety, and other symptoms. Biofeedback and relaxation training are used in conjunction with stress management education and supportive counseling to teach you ‘self-regulation’ skills for controlling the physical and emotional symptoms that are involved in chronic pain. Following each training session, you will be asked to practice these techniques as homework. You will also be provided with educational handouts and online resources, including a variety of guided relaxation exercises to practice at home.
Almost all PRIDE patients who practice these techniques report success with stress reduction and pain control.
Biofeedback services are provided by licensed mental health professionals who specialize in behavioral methods for controlling stress, tension, pain, anxiety, and other symptoms. Biofeedback is a training tool in which processes in your body (such as muscle tension) are measured and displayed to you on a computer screen. Biofeedback training helps patients become more aware of, and have more control over, these bodily processes. Biofeedback is used in conjunction with guided relaxation training, paced breathing, stress management education, and supportive counseling. Two forms of biofeedback are used most often at PRIDE.
Heart rate variability (HRV) is a measure of heart rate (HR) patterns, which provide information about the function of the autonomic nervous system. The goal of HRV biofeedback training is to create a large wave pattern in the heart (increased HR during inhale and decreased HR during exhale) by maintaining a slow, steady breathing pace (typically around 6 breaths per minute). Use of this technique is associated with autonomic nervous system relaxation, improved general health parameters, and improved symptoms of specific disorders (including high blood pressure, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, and others). PRIDE patients who learn and practice this skill typically report success with increased relaxation, reduce stress/anxiety/pain, and improved sleep.
Surface electromyography (SEMG) is a measure of muscle activity. It allows patients to learn increased awareness and control over specific muscles or muscle groups. SEMG is measured with surface electrodes, placed on the skin over the target muscle(s). This modality can be used to identify muscles that are too tense, and train them to relax, or to identify muscles that are inhibited during use, and train them to recruit more effectively. Specific assessment and training protocols have been developed at PRIDE for specific muscle groups and pain patterns. Many of these protocols have been published in peer-reviewed journals. See the following articles to learn more.