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When you lift your knee to make another step on the staircase, or when you lift your arm to wave, you take control of these actions. Other body actions – like skin temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure- and involuntarily controlled by the nervous system. You do not make your heart beat faster. It is initiated by the environment, like when you are excited, nervous, or exercising.
One technique will help you increase in more control over these instinctive actions. This is called biofeedback, and the treatment is used to treat conditions or prevent, including incontinence, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and migraine headaches.
The main idea surrounding biofeedback is that, by coupling the power of your mind and getting aware of what is happening in your body, you will increase in more control over your body health.
How Biofeedback Therapy Works
Researchers including doctors are not sure why and how biofeedback works. All they understand is how biofeedback accelerates relaxation, which helps relieve numerous conditions associated with stress. During a session in biofeedback, electrodes get attached to your skin. The use of finger sensors is also applicable in this session. The sensors/electrons send signals to the monitor, which displays a flash of light, or an image representing your breathing and heart rate, skin temperature, blood pressure, muscle activity, sweating, or skin temperature.
When you get subjected to stress, these functions alternate. Your muscle activity tightens, your heart rate speeds up, blood pressure rises, breathing quickens, and you start to sweat. You can note the happenings of these stress responses on the monitor, and get immediate feedback when you try to calm them down. Biofeedback sessions are only done in a treatment office, but there is some computer software that relays the biofeedback sensor to your personal computer.
A biofeedback therapist will help you practice these task-full relaxation exercises, which you will fine-tune and help you gain control over your different body actions. For instance, you can use a technique in biofeedback for relaxation and turn down brainwaves that activate a headache.
There are several relaxation techniques used in biofeedback therapy, including:
• Progressive muscle relaxation – interchangeably tightening and relaxing different muscle clusters in your body.
• Deep breathing
• Guided imagery – concentrating on an image (such as the texture and color of an apple) to have your mind focused and aid you feel relaxed.
• Mindfulness meditation – let go off your negative emotions and focus on your thoughts.
As you lower your blood pressure, slow down your heart rate, and ease tension in your muscles, you will instantly get feedback on the screen. Eventually, you will have a master of controlling these actions on your own without the aid of the therapist of the screen.
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