What is Biofeedback?
Biofeedback is a form of treatment in which individuals are trained to use signals from their body as a way to improve their health. Clients are engaged in diaphragmatic breathing techniques through the use of sensors and computer programs as a means to help them control their response to stress. Through biofeedback, individuals become aware of how their minds and bodies work together in response to stress and anxiety. This feedback is used to train clients on how to improve their overall self-regulation.
Additionally, biofeedback aids in the following:
- A sense of balance is reinforced (i.e. it helps the body to correct itself).
- Biofeedback motivates individuals to take a more active role in their personal healthcare.
- Biofeedback adds to the power and efficacy of other, more traditional forms of treatment.
There are multiple forms of biofeedback offered at the UCC:
- Respiration biofeedback: This form of biofeedback can be extremely helpful in increasing awareness of dysfunctional breathing patterns and for developing health-promoting, effortless breathing patterns that lead to regenerative processes (e.g., helps correct the autonomic imbalance associated with anxiety disorders).
- Heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback: Heart rate variability (HRV) refers to the beat-to-beat variation in the time intervals between each heartbeat. This type of biofeedback helps you to control your heart rate in an effort to improve blood pressure, lung function, and your overall response to stress and anxiety. HRV is crucial to health and resilience and helps you to cultivate positive emotions in order to recover from stress.
An Student Care Coordinator, individual therapist, or a medical provider may refer you to our Biofeedback program. However, please note the following:
- Our Biofeedback Coordinator will contact you to schedule your appointments.
- Biofeedback is a 1-4 session protocol, which requires daily engagement in breathing exercises for a minimum of 10-15 minutes each time. Optimal benefits can only be reached if you can dedicate this amount of effort to your overall well-being.
- These 4 sessions are scheduled on a weekly basis.
- During times of high demand, there may be a waiting period from the time of referral to the actual appointment of up to 6 to 8 weeks.
- How long do the Biofeedback sessions last? Session times range from 40-55 minutes.
- How do I practice at home? After your initial session, you will be encouraged to download a free app to your phone that allows you to continue practicing what you learned in session.
- My schedule is busy…do I have to do the 4-5 session protocol? Depending on your typical response to stress and your level of anxiety, a referral may be made for the entire 4-5 sessions, or to an abbreviated version known as our Biofeedback and Mindfulness program (1-2 sessions).
- What is the Biofeedback and Mindfulness program? This is a 1-2 session program where clients learn mindfulness and self-regulatory skills to address anxiety and improve overall performance. A follow-up session may take place 3-4 weeks after the first appointment.
- What can I do to help with my anxiety if I am placed on the wait list for Biofeedback? There is a resource at the UCC known as the Mind Body Lab. It is designed with the objective of enhancing mindfulness by providing tools to manage stress and increase personal resilience. This may include self-guided training on mindful meditation or Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Biofeedback, as well as a number of other resources. Utilization of the Mind Body Lab is a valuable resource for clients and can help students become familiarized with the self-regulatory processes of Biofeedback until they are able to begin the actual protocol. Visit the Mind Body Lab website for additional stress and anxiety reduction resources.