It is a common misperception that mental health and physical health are two separate phenomena. Despite this, most of us have experienced the “mind-body” connection in our daily lives. Have you ever been nervous before a presentation and gotten “butterflies in your stomach”? Have you ever been in a period of severe stress and then suddenly become ill? During a period of anxiety, have you felt your heart racing, your chest tightening, your muscles stiffening, and your breathing increase? After realizing that you missed an important appointment have you noticed that your hands become cold and clammy, or perhaps that you urgently need to run to the restroom?
To round out our holistic rehabilitation practices at McWhorter CNR, we are proud to offer biofeedback therapy in Denver. This unique therapy focuses on the direct link between your psychological perception of various stimuli and your physiological responses to them. Biofeedback training can help to reduce those symptoms and help you develop better control over your mind and body.
What is Biofeedback Therapy?
Biofeedback is an integrative, science based, mind-body therapy that teaches individuals how to regain control of their mental and physical health. This approach uses sensors to measure physical responses to stimuli such as heart rate, breathing rate, sweat response, muscle tension, body temperature and HRV. These responses are then depicted in the form of feedback on a computer screen. This training helps the patient gain greater awareness of their stress triggers, and unique pattern of bodily reactions. Based on this data, patients train in selected self-regulation techniques which help them to be more resilient in their everyday lives.
This therapy can be utilized for many purposes and can collect all kinds of data about your physiology. These include:
- Electroencephalogram (EEG) – For neurological performance and Neurofeedback Therapy
- Electromyography (EMG) biofeedback – For muscle tension and chronic pain
- Galvanic skin response (GSR) biofeedback – For changes in sweat response as a measure of stress.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) biofeedback – For heart rate and blood pressure regulation
- Temperature biofeedback – For circulation and blood flow related conditions such as migraines
- Heart Rate Variability (HRV) biofeedback – As a measure of the balance of the sympathetic (Fight or Flight) /parasympathetic nervous systems.
How Does This Therapy Work?
Treatment begins with a full health history, physical exam, and biofeedback evaluation. After this, one of our biofeedback clinicians works with you to develop an individualized treatment plan for promoting both mental and physical health. Based on your needs and health goals, we can build the appropriate training program that will integrate multiple treatment approaches offered at McWhorter CNR, including biofeedback therapy.
During a biofeedback therapy session, our clinician will attach non-invasive sensors to your body that will transmit real-time data to the biofeedback computer. The feedback displayed on the screen will help to make you aware of certain physiological reactions (e.g., changes in your heart rate, muscle tension, breathing patterns, etc.). With practice, you will gain a stronger awareness and control of your physical state and your mental health.
For example, individuals with an anxiety disorder often experience physical symptoms such as high blood pressure. Guided biofeedback therapy can help you learn how to lower your blood pressure through relaxation techniques and mental exercises. Stress reduction techniques benefit every system in the body. If you’re an athlete and want to improve your performance ahead of a competition, biofeedback therapy can help you gain better control over your breathing patterns and your muscle contractions.
What's the Difference Between Biofeedback and Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback and biofeedback are two related but distinct approaches that utilize sensors to provide individuals with real-time information about their physiological processes. While both methods aim to promote better self-regulation and improve well-being, they differ in terms of the specific systems they target and the information they provide.
Neurofeedback focuses on monitoring and training brainwave activity. This therapy utilizes electroencephalography (EEG) to measure electrical signals generated by the brain. These signals are then analyzed and presented to the individual through visual or auditory feedback, allowing them to learn to modulate their brain activity. Neurofeedback has been widely used to address conditions such as ADHD, ASD, depression, and cognitive deficits, as well as to enhance peak performance in various domains.
On the other hand, biofeedback encompasses a broader range of physiological measurements beyond brainwave activity. Instead of focusing on brainwave activities, biofeedback monitors and provides feedback on various bodily functions such as heart rate, skin temperature, respiration, muscle tension, and even blood pressure. Biofeedback utilizes devices like heart rate monitors, skin conductance sensors, and electromyography (EMG) sensors to gather data in real-time. This information is then translated into accessible feedback, enabling individuals to consciously regulate their bodily responses. Biofeedback is particularly helpful for individuals experiencing anxiety, panic attacks, chronic stress, and/or mental health complaints associated with physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, muscle tension, chronic pain, and digestive dysfunction.
Neurofeedback and biofeedback have the shared goal of promoting self-regulation and enhancing well-being. Both methods empower individuals to become aware of their physiological processes and learn techniques to control them. They can be used as therapeutic tools or as aids in performance enhancement. By providing individuals with immediate feedback on their physiological states, these approaches enable them to modify and optimize their responses over time.
Despite their differences, both neurofeedback and biofeedback offer valuable insights into our body's functions and empower us to take an active role in promoting physical and mental well-being. These methods represent promising avenues for self-improvement and mental well-being, especially for those who have not responded well to the standard counseling or medical approaches.
Top Benefits of Biofeedback Training
It’s impossible to take conscious control over everything that your body does. Biofeedback therapy offers a natural way to become more cognizant of your physiological behaviors, both voluntary and involuntary. With enough training, you will see improvements across most or all your symptoms.
Unlike other treatments, biofeedback therapy is completely non-invasive and drug-free. This means there are virtually no side effects or potential complications from this treatment.
Who Should Try Biofeedback?
Almost anyone can benefit from biofeedback training. It can be seamlessly integrated with existing treatment plans and can be customized to improve symptoms of many health conditions, both physical and mental.
In most cases, biofeedback is used to treat individuals with the following conditions:
- Anxiety disorders
- Attention-deficit disorders (ADHD)
- Chronic Pain
- Digestive disorders such as IBS
- Migraines and headaches
- And more
Whether you struggle with one of these conditions or just want to be more resilient to life’s daily challenges, biofeedback can make a significant contribution to your overall well-being. It’s 100% natural, non-invasive, drug-free, and safe.
Get Started with Biofeedback Therapy in Denver with McWhorter CNR
To support all of your health and wellness needs, McWhorter CNR offers a wide array of chiropractic and neurological rehabilitation services. We integrate biofeedback into many client treatment plans and strategies to provide a holistic and well-rounded client experience that will deliver long-term results. We’ll build a custom biofeedback training plan for you to help you reach your health and wellness goals.
Contact McWhorter CNR today to schedule your consultation with our team and learn if you’re a good candidate for biofeedback in Denver.