How to Use Biofeedback Equipment

Biofeedback is a process that uses instruments that record physiological signals from a person’s body and then display the information so that a person can learn to change the signal that is being measured.  One therapeutic application of biofeedback is for helping people with stress-related disorders.  In this context sensors may be attached to a client and signals including muscle tension, breathing, and heart rate is measured and displayed on a computer screen.  The client with the help of coaching from a therapist learns to control these signals and bring them to a more relaxed level.

Signals that are recorded with biofeedback instruments include:

Surface EMG (Electromyograph) – measures electrical signals produced when muscles contract.  These signals are picked up by sensors that are placed on the skin and attached to an instrument.

Skin Temperature – Measured from the hands or feet giving an indication of peripheral blood flow.  Skin temperature tends to increase when a person is more relaxed due to dilation of the local blood vessels which causes more blood to flow to the fingers or toes increasing the temperature.  Skin temperature tends to decrease when a person is stressed due to constriction of the local blood vessels causing a reduction of the amount of blood in the fingers or toes.

Skin Conductance – Measured from the palm side of the hands or feet gives an indication of changes in the amount of sweat on the skin.  Increased sweat on the hands or feet is an indication of emotional reactivity or arousal.

Respiration – Breathing is recorded by using a belt sensor that is placed around the abdomen.  It senses how often and how deeply a person breathes based on how often and how much the belt is stretched.  Breathing tends to be faster and shallower when a person is anxious and deeper and slower when a person is more relaxed.

Heart Rate and Heart Rate Variability – There are two ways to measure heart rate.  The first is by use of a photoplethysmography sensor.  It is like the pulse oximeter used in hospitals. This type of sensor shines a light into the skin, usually on the palm side of a finger, and then records how that light comes back to the sensor.  This gives information about how much blood is traveling through the blood vessels, how fast the heart is beating as well as other data.  The other type of sensor that measures heart activity is the ECG or EKGelectrocardiogram.  It uses electrodes that are placed on the torso, or wrists to measure electrical impulses given off each time the heart beats.  The signals picked up from the heart are more complex than just how fast the heart is beating.  It is also possible to look at the variability of the heartbeat and the balance of the frequencies which have a great deal of meaning related to overall health and emotional state.

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Celebrity Suicides Bring Light To A Hidden Problem | Conquering Concussion

On June 5, 2018 fashion designer Kate Spade hung herself.  Her husband Andy said, “Kate suffered from depression and anxiety for many years.  The most recent stressor may have been her husband filing for divorce after 24 years of marriage.  This led to severe depression according to a Page-6 article by Yaron Steinbuch.

Soon after the death of Kate Spade Anthony Bourdain, celebrity cook, best-selling author of Kitchen Confidential and star of TV series A Cook’s Tour, and Parts Unknown, was found dead in a Paris hotel room.  He also apparently hung himself.

Here are some statistics from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

It is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States of America

44,965 Americans die each year in the USA

For each actual death there are another 25 attempts

The costs to the USA is $69 Billion annually

One of the statistics that surprised me is that 7 out of 10 people who killed themselves in 2016 were white males.  This seems unusual in a way because this is the group that appears to be the most privileged in America.  You would think that they would have the least reason to want to kill themselves.  This brings to mind the saying that money doesn’t buy happiness.

Another disturbing statistic is related to deaths in the military.  More service members are killing themselves than are dying in combat.  Give that a minute to sink in.  According to the AFSP there were 295 combat-related deaths in the year 2012, which is a terrible loss of life.  Even worse though, in that same year were 349 service people killed themselves.  They also state that 20% of all suicides are committed by veterans.  Obviously, the military is not looking to broadcast this information.  It could have a negative effect on the morale of service people and public support, as well as for recruitment and retention.

It would be very safe to say the people who serve in the military are under high levels of stress that can be chronic.  Many of them have suffered from physical and or mental trauma, and some brain injury. Some have never been assessed or treated properly.

Continue Reading :  Celebrity Suicides Bring Light To A Hidden Problem | Conquering Concussion

Biofeedback Training for Mental Health Disorders

Mental health disorders including anxiety, PTSD, and depression seem to have become more widespread over the past several years.  Is it that more information has become available and there is less of a stigma for people to seek mental health services?  Is it a combination of effects of the pandemic, mass shootings, and national and international unrest?  Whatever the reason is, the fact is that help is needed.  Biofeedback training is among the many effective tools that mental health professionals can use to help people suffering from mental health challenges.

Psychologists and other mental health providers tend to do a lot of talking and paperwork as a part of their routine.  Some of this can become monotonous.  Biofeedback can introduce technology that helps the clients of mental health providers to learn about themselves.  It helps them to learn how to make real, physiological, measurable changes.  They learn to change how their body reacts to stress using biofeedback.

Some mental health providers may have had minimal exposure to biofeedback or neurofeedback during their initial education.  Most have not had extensive training in these areas.  The most recognized body offering certification in biofeedback is the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA).  The didactic educational requirement for BCIA peripheral biofeedback certification is 42 hours.   With a course approved for APA continuing education credits for biofeedback, a psychologistcan receive a large number of required hours in a short amount of time while learning an exciting and effective skill.  Note, you don’t have to be a psychologist to attend training.  Social workers, mental health counselors, physical therapists, chiropractors, occupational therapists, and nurses also get trained in biofeedback.  However, this can be a great opportunity for psychologists to gain required hours while learning an evidenced based therapy tool that can also bring some variety to their work and help their clients as well.

More information is available on the American Psychological Association (APA) continuing education program on the APA website: https://www.apa.org/education/ce/index

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Unique Training Options for APA Continuing Education Credit

Most psychologists in the United States need to attend training to keep up with new developments in the field and to remind them of things that they may have learned a long time ago.

There are many options for training including face-to-face programs, online programs, and material that psychologists can read.  There is a multitude of different topics that can be studied.  Since psychologists have to take training, it makes sense to make it something interesting, enjoyable, and useful.  Biofeedback and neurofeedback are subjects that check all of those boxes.  Psychologists tend to do a lot of talking and paperwork as a part of their routine.  Some of this can become monotonous.  Biofeedback and neurofeedback use technology that helps the clients of psychologists learn about themselves.  It helps them to learn how to make real, physiological, measurable changes.  They can learn to change how their body reacts to stress using biofeedback.  They can train their brain to become more regulated through neurofeedback.

I have spoken to many practicing psychologists who have only had minimal exposure to biofeedback or neurofeedback during their initial education in psychology.  Most have not had extensive training in this either area.  Many professionals that get trained in an area want to become certified if certification is available.  The most recognized body offering certification in biofeedback and neurofeedback is the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA).  The didactic educational requirement for BCIA peripheral biofeedback certification is 42 hours.  The requirement for neurofeedback is 36 hours.  With a course approved for APA continuing education credits for biofeedback or neurofeedback, a psychologist can receive a large number of required hours in a short amount of time while learning an exciting and effective skill.

Continue Reading= >  APA Continuing Education Credit

Biofeedback and Neurofeedback Training for APA Continuing Education Credit

Many psychologists in the United States of America are required to take training to keep up with new developments in the field and to remind them of things that they may have learned a long time ago.

There are many options for training including face to face programs, online programs, and material that psychologists can read. There are also many different topics that can be studied. As long as you have to take training you might as well make it something interesting, enjoyable, and useful. Biofeedback and neurofeedback are subjects that check all of those boxes. Psychologists tend to do a lot of talking and paperwork as a part of their routine. Some of this can become monotonous.

Biofeedback and Neurofeedback introduce technology that helps the clients of psychologists to learn about themselves.  It helps them to learn how to make real physiological measurable changes.  They can learn to change how their body reacts to stress using biofeedback.  They can train their brain to become more regulated through neurofeedback.

Some psychologists may have had minimal exposure to biofeedback or neurofeedback during their initial education in psychology.  Most have not had extensive training in these areas.  The most recognized body offering certification in biofeedback and neurofeedback is the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA).  The didactic educational requirement for BCIA peripheral biofeedback certification is 42 hours.  The requirement for neurofeedback is 36 hours.  With a course approved for APA continuing education credits for biofeedback or neurofeedback, a psychologist can receive a large number of required hours in a short amount of time while learning an exciting and effective skill.

This can be a great opportunity for psychologists to gain required hours while learning an evidenced based therapy tool that can also bring some variety to their work and help their clients as well.

More Info :  Neurofeedback Training for APA Continuing Education Credit

Effects of Stress on Performance | Stress Minimizing Books

Our nervous system is constantly at work partly as an interface between our mind and body.  It reacts to our environment, physical activity, and our thoughts.  It causes changes heart rate, blood pressure, blood circulation, contraction level of our muscles, our breathing, and many other things.  When the changes are appropriate and useful for the situation this is a very good thing.  When the changes are due to an overreaction related to stress then it can be harmful.   There are many ways that stress can cause problems with health and I have discussed these in other places.  Here I want to focus on effects on performance.  This type of negative stress reaction can happen with various types of performance including athletes, singers, speakers, students, business people, and actors to name a few.

When a performer becomes anxious the same kinds of changes happen in their brain and the rest of their body that would be helpful to get them out of physical danger in a situation where there is no need for the type of physical reaction the body is prepared for.  That state is usually not what is ideal for a high-quality performance.  Let’s go through a few examples.  A basketball player who has practiced thousands of free throws for years and has an excellent percentage of making them, say 85% is in position to win the game by making only one out of two free throws, misses them both badly, not even hitting the rim or backboard.  Maybe before he went to the line one of the opposing players made an insulting comment (trash talking).  His reaction might be to become angry and think about getting revenge.  His brain and body are now in fight mode which is not ideal for the task at hand.

Another example is when Greg Norman lost the Masters golf tournament after having a comfortable lead.  After making a few mistakes it seems as though he lost focus and never recovered, missing several easy short puts along the way.  This type of performance may have been due to the brain going into more of a fear rather than focus mode.

Continue Reading :  Effects of Stress on Performance | Stress Minimizing Books

Biofeedback Supplies and Technology | Biofeedback training online

 What supplies do you need to have to use biofeedback technology?  Some biofeedback modalities require little or no supplies while others require consumable supplies that you need a ready inventory of.

A Plethysmograph (PPG) sensor which is used to measure Heart Rate, Blood Volume, and Heart Rate variability may use a clip or Velcro band that is permanently attached to the sensor.  In this case, there would be no replaceable supplies needed.

The Electrocardiograph (EKG) sensor measures Heart Rate and Heart Rate Variability.  The EKG sensor uses adhesive disposable sensors that stick to the skin and snap or clip to the electrode cable.  These usually come in packages of 50 – 300.  Alcohol prep pads are used to clean the skin before applying the sensors.

Temperature biofeedback sensors either use a Velcro band to attach to the finger or you can use paper or cloth tape.  If you use Velcro then you don’t have to replace it very often.  If you are using tape, then you need to keep a supply.

For Skin Conductance/EDR/GSR, you should be using sensor cream or gel that comes in a tube or bottle.

You only use a small amount each time so a tube or bottle lasts a long time.

Electromyograph (EMG) uses 2 or 3 adhesive disposable electrodes similar to the EKG sensor.  These are placed on the skin over the muscle area that you want to record from.  You also need alcohol prep pads to clean the skin before applying the sensors.

The Respiration sensor uses a belt that goes around the abdomen or chest.  It attaches with either Velcro or a clip.  There aren’t any supplies needed.

Get More Info : Biofeedback Training New York

Website : https://biofeedbackinternational.com/

Biofeedback and Neurofeedback Training for APA Continuing Education Credit

Many psychologists in the United States of America are required to take training to keep up with new developments in the field and to remind them of things that they may have learned a long time ago.

There are many options for training including face to face programs, online programs, and material that psychologists can read. There are also many different topics that can be studied. As long as you have to take training you might as well make it something interesting, enjoyable, and useful. Biofeedback and neurofeedback are subjects that check all of those boxes. Psychologists tend to do a lot of talking and paperwork as a part of their routine. Some of this can become monotonous.

Biofeedback and Neurofeedback introduce technology that helps the clients of psychologists to learn about themselves. It helps them to learn how to make real physiological measurable changes. They can learn to change how their body reacts to stress using biofeedback. They can train their brain to become more regulated through neurofeedback.

Continue Reading Click here : Biofeedback Training | Continuing Education | Continuing Training

Stress and Use of Technology

Most people I talk to agree that we are living in very stressful times.  Stress management tools and techniques are more needed than ever.  Books about stress are popular.  I came across an interesting one recently called Tech Stress, How Technology is Hijacking our lives, strategies for coping, and pragmatic ergonomics by Erik Peper, Ph.D., Richard Harvey, Ph.D., and Nancy Faass, MSW, MPH.

The description on the back of the book starts by saying –“Re-envisioning your relationship with technology to reclaim health, happiness, and sanity in a plugged-in world.”

We cannot get away from technology and probably shouldn’t want to.  Technology makes it easier to do most things faster and more efficiently.  We rely on new technology and almost forget about how we used to do things before it was available.

After reading about the Tech Stress book in Biofeedback Magazine, I quickly ordered a copy.  I have known the main author Erik Peper for over 30 years so I contacted him to congratulate him on the book and ask if he would be willing to do an interview with him about book.  He gladly accepted.  I had hoped to talk with him for ten or fifteen minutes instead we ended up talking for over fifty minutes about the topic of stress and technology and the book.

Probably the biggest source of stress caused by technology has to be cell phones.  We spend lots of time with our necks bent and our heads looking down at our cell phones.  This causes physical stress on our neck muscles because of the extra contraction required to hold the weight of our head in that position.  It causes stress on our eyes because we are spending lots of time looking at the small screen that is very close to our eyes.  Erik Peper says that it is healthier to vary the distance that our eyes focus on from close to far away throughout the day.

More info : Stress | Stress Minimizing Books

Biofeedback Training in Miami

This year I started a project of reaching out to all of the HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).  I want to find out if they are using biofeedback and neurofeedback.  I am interested to find out how many of them are using biofeedback and how they are using it.  If they are not already using biofeedback, I want to introduce it to them and help them begin to find out the ways it can be used.

I have started with the states closest to New York since that is where I am.  This is also where we do most of our training.  I am looking at the schools in Florida next since we have also been doing biofeedback and neurofeedback training in Miami, Florida for many years.

I looked at the list of HBCU institutions in Florida and found that there are four listed as being located in the state of Florida; Bethune Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, and Florida Memorial University in Miami.

Since the other schools are between 260 and 480 miles from Miami, I will start by contacting Florida Memorial University in Miami and then continue with contacting the other institutions.

I have been involved with providing biofeedback equipment and training and doing presentations on stress management and physiological monitoring at many colleges and universities.  The universities I have worked with include Pace, NYU, Yale, NC State, Rutgers, Brooklyn College, Denison, Drury, Otterbein, Bradley, University of Colorado, Idaho State University, Seton Hall, Fordham, Campbell, and Vanderbilt University.

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