About Mind Body Devices
What is Biofeedback?
Biofeedback uses instruments to measure how our bodies respond to stress or relaxation.
We measure things like muscle tension, heart rate, and brain wave activity. By learning to control our body’s responses we can decrease the negative effects of stress. We can also use biofeedback instruments to measure the positive effects of relaxation, meditation, and other therapeutic techniques.
How Can Biofeedback Help You?
Biofeedback allows you to quantify changes that take place through various therapy modalities. Biofeedback is a tool that can help you learn to reduce muscle tension and other physical reactions to stress. In some cases these reactions can be contributing to symptoms like headaches, neck and back pain, anxiety, and panic attacks. Biofeedback helps you feel empowered about reducing your discomfort. Biofeedback is also used by athletes, military personnel, astronauts, students, business people, and performing artists to improve their performance.
What Can Biofeedback Instruments Measure?
- EMG – Electromyograph – Measures Muscle Tension/Contraction
- Skin Temperature – Measures Skin Surface Temperature (changes based on vasoconstriction or dilation, indicates peripheral blood flow)
- Skin Conductance – Measures Sweat Activity (indicates emotional reactivity)
- EEG – Electroencephalography (Brainwave)
- Respiration – Breathing Activity
- Heart Rate/Heart Rate Variability
- Blood Pressure (Systolic, Diastolic, Mean Arterial)
What is the Difference between Computer Based and Stand-Alone Instruments?
Stand-Alone instruments usually cost less than computer based instruments. They may only measure one or two channels of one modality. An example of this is a single channel EMG like the MyoTrac Portable EMG. It does not require a computer. It has a row of LEDs that light up to show increasing or decreases in muscle contraction power as well as audio feedback that also indicate the same changes
Pros: Stand-alone instruments are more portable than computer based instruments. They don’t require a computer. They tend to be less complex to operate.
Cons: The feedback options are limited. Stand alone instruments have limited or no statistics available. They usually don’t offer paper printout of statistics.
Computer Based Instruments
Computer Based Instruments tend to cost more than stand-alone instruments. They usually measure two or more modalities. Computer based instruments cost less per channel. Computer based instruments give more variety of visual and audio feedback. They also allow storing session data as well as graphic and statistical printouts that are useful for tracking progress.
Pros: Better visual and audio feedback.
Cons: They cannot be used without a computer which makes them less portable. They may cost more compared to a single channel stand alone instrument. They are more complex to operate.