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Another Look At Stress: Biofeedback

Another Look At Stress:  Biofeedback
(created June 12, 2018)


Biofeedback gives you the power to use your thoughts to control your body, often to improve a health condition or physical performance.


Types of biofeedback

There are many biofeedback methods that can be used for stress.  Briefly, some include:


  • Brainwave,  or scalp sensors to monitor your brain waves. 
  • Breathing or Respiratory Biofeedback, bands placed around your abdomen and chest to monitor your breathing pattern and respiration rate.
  • Heart Rate, uses finger or earlobe sensors with a device to measure your heart rate and heart rate variance.
  • Sweat Glands, sensors attached around your fingers or on your palm or wrist measuring the amount of perspiration on your skin, alerting you to anxiety.

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Biofeedback devices

Bio-feedback is a device that lets you get feedback about your biological functioning.  Traditional biofeedback instruments and more newly developed smartphone mobile applications formats provides help with regulating our emotions and coping with stress via personalized supportive audio, video, pictures, games, mindfulness exercises, positive messages and other tools.

 More traditional biofeedback devices used in hospital and clinic settings involved using various computer graphics and prompts.  You learned to use these devices to help you master stress by pacing your breathing, relaxing your muscles, and thinking positive thoughts. Numerous studies show that these types of devices might be effective in improving responses during moments of stress, and inducing feelings of calm and well-being.

As our worlds ever evolving and we are becoming more mobile, many relatively sound mobile application formats have/are being developed.  These mobile apps are conveniently downloaded on your cellphones and tablets.  It can be as simple as wearing an activity monitor or having a heart rate tracker on your cellphone. You’re doing bio-feedback. If you’re stressed, if you’re learning how to do a breathing strategy and you can’t tell if you’re calming down or not, track your heart rate. You can visually watch it slow down right on your tablet or cellphone. The reason biofeedback is so powerful is because it helps you learn in real time that you have control over your body's  physiological responses.  Through coherence techniques and interactive exercises, you can create a coherent state, build resilience, increase energy, achieve focus, mental clarity, coping, relaxation, emotional balance and less stress.

There are also some smartphone application designed for use by patients in psychotherapy an accessory to treatment. The mobile apps can help with coping, relaxation, and positive thinking. You and your therapists can work together to personalize the content on your cell/smartphone to address your specific needs. This allows you to use these powerful tools outside of the therapy office, continuing to add or change content as needed.

There is an app for that!  Don't be afraid to use new technology.  Just make sure to look for apps with content based or evidenced based research!

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