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How do I Use Biofeedback for Stress?

By Brandon May
Updated Feb 15, 2024
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Biofeedback for stress involves using various instruments and machines that detect physiological changes within the body in response to stress, which in turn helps an individual manipulate these changes to combat the stressful symptoms. These machines can detect changes in brain waves or heart rate in response to stress, and help an individual alter her lifestyle to help change these responses. Overtime, an individual who uses biofeedback for stress can manipulate the physiological responses automatically and will no longer need to use biofeedback therapy. Using biofeedback for stress is a proven way to help combat stress naturally.

Heart rate monitoring is a popular technique used in biofeedback for stress because it helps an individual train herself to bring down blood pressure and heart rate instantly when exposed to a stressful situation. As with other biofeedback training systems, electrodes are attached to the skin of a patient, which then monitors the heart rate of the individual. After being exposed to a stressful stimulus, the heart rate is monitored and the patient is then trained to use relaxation techniques that will bring down the high heart rate. The feedback from the biofeedback machine will ultimately show both the physician and the patient the best relaxation techniques that will easily bring down heart rate and blood pressure.

Another technique of biofeedback for stress relief involves monitoring the brain waves of an individual when a stress trigger is experienced and processed through the brain. A physician uses electrodes, which are attached to the skin, and monitors the changes in the brain waves of an individual when exposed to stress. The individual is then directed to use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and muscle relaxation to help control these brain wave shifts and bring them back to a normal level. An individual can monitor these changes in brain waves at different periods throughout her treatment, and over time will train her mind and body to relax and bring down unnatural brain wave patterns into a desired state with ease.

Often an individual can use biofeedback for stress at home without a physician or certified biofeedback engineer by using blood pressure monitoring systems. An individual can place a blood pressure cuff around the circumference of the upper arm and monitor the blood pressure at any given time, which will be the received feedback. The individual will then start to breathe deeply and relax the muscles of the body to help bring down blood pressure. When this is accomplished, the individual will have trained herself to use these techniques in everyday life to combat stress in real situations.

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Discussion Comments
By stoneMason — On May 31, 2014

@SarahGen-- I think the trick is recognizing the physical symptoms that develop when you are under stress. If you can recognize them and learn to intervene before the symptoms worse, that means biofeedback is working.

By ZipLine — On May 30, 2014

@SarahGen-- I suggest continuing the sessions with the therapist and practicing the relaxation exercises more. It can take some time for biofeedback therapy to work for stress because our mind has been wired to react a certain way to stress. Biofeedback helps rewire that, but it takes time. I'm sure things will improve and become easier with time and practice.

There are some cases when biofeedback may not be enough. You might wan to support biofeedback with other types of behavioral therapy or perhaps medications. Talk to your doctor and biofeedback therapist about this.

By SarahGen — On May 30, 2014

I'm receiving biofeedback therapy for stress. I'm able to use the relaxation techniques properly during sessions to reduce my stress. But for some reason, I can't seem to do it when I experience stress at home.

My blood pressure goes up when I'm stressed, which makes me even more anxious. The breathing and meditation techniques seem impossible to do in that moment. So I have a hard time practicing what I'm taught during therapy.

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