We are all too aware of a deep connection between mind and body and their interactions. However it is interesting to know and decode the voluntary and involuntary interactions and their impact on Mind and Body.
During eating, hands reach out to the plate, lifts up the food, takes it to the mouth; the food is chewed and then swallowed. There is a conscious “awareness” of the motions that are under “voluntary” control. What is not noticed are the subtle things that follow like the salivary and gastric juice secretion or the peristaltic movements of the digestive system.
These actions are regulated by the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) that does not require any conscious control. ANS consists of:
· Sympathetic Nervous System – Simply speaking ‘Fight or Flight response’ generated by Nervous System for any Stress encountered
· Parasympathetic Nervous System – Simply Speaking ‘Rest and Digest response’ for the maintenance of Homeostasis once the Stress encountered has subsided
These two components of ANS regulate the involuntary functions like Heart Rate, Respiratory rate and the activity of various glands together but act at different point in time and have different impact on the same functions.
Biofeedback is a technique that helps gain more control over these normally involuntary functions. The idea behind Biofeedback is that, by harnessing the power of your mind and becoming aware of what's going on inside your body, you can gain more control over your body functions and thereby own health. This feedback helps focus on making subtle changes in body, such as relaxing certain muscles as well as to achieve desired results, such as reducing pain and to make the breathing pattern more deep, long and slow which automatically reduces the heart rate.
Biofeedback is very effective in improving Health, Performance and the Physiological changes that occur in association with Emotions, Thoughts and Behaviors. The goal is to eventually learn to manipulate the body functions without the help of the Biofeedback.
To start Biofeedback training session, electrodes are attached to the skin and a respiratory belt is wrapped to the chest. A specialized machine attached to a computer captures the electrodes and Respiration belt signals. These signals are sent to a TV monitor that shows wave patterns of heartbeat and respiration moving across a grid. During the session specific Relaxation techniques and Breathing practices are taught. The effect of these techniques is seen real-time in the TV monitor in front where one can see before and after wave patterns of Heart Rate and Respiration.
Biofeedback, or in other words Biofeedback Training can be used to manage various physical and mental illnesses like – Anxiety disorders, Asthma, Chronic pain, Fibromyalgia, Hypertension, Headache, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome etc. Biofeedback is considered be safe and no negative side effects have been reported till date. This technique is non-invasive, and in many cases has reduced or eliminated the needs for medications. It helps people to take charge of their own health.