By using sensors connected to an amplifier and a computer, clients receive real time information (feedback) about their body. The awareness of the physiological process helps individuals to manage their thoughts and emotions, and choose the behaviors that align with their lifestyle and future goals.
Under the word “Biofeedback,” there are four different modalities that require specific training to apply each of them:
- Peripheral Biofeedback or just Biofeedback measure physiological variables such as electromyography (sEMG), Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), Thermal Biofeedback, Heart Rate and Heart Rate Variability (HRV), and Respiration.
- Neurofeedback is strictly for brain wave feedback also called EEG biofeedback.
- Pelvic Muscle Dysfunction is for those medical professionals who use sEMG biofeedback to treat elimination disorders and chronic pelvic pain.
- HRV Biofeedback is for appropriate health care or sports professionals
Biofeedback is “training” not “treatment”
If you looked for Biofeedback services, you probably noticed “Biofeedback” associated with words like treatment or therapy. In fact, to find a Biofeedback Practitioner in your area, you will have to google the words “biofeedback therapy.” The association of “Biofeedback” with “treatment or therapy” occurs because mental health professionals, nurses, and physicians use Biofeedback in addition to other types of services to treat a condition.
I use the term “Biofeedback Training” not only because we are in the realm of sport, but also as a reminder that clients take an active role in practicing the skills between the sessions. As a mental performance consultant, I am adding Biofeedback to other mental skills to optimize athletic performance.
Biofeedback applications in Sport Psychology
Focus and concentration. Breathing at your Resonance Frequency can produce calmness in the body and improve focus and concentration.
Regeneration and recovery from injury. Breathing at your Resonance Frequency increase blood flow to your extremities, which helps healing and recovery from strenuous workouts.
Managing Emotions. Cognitive anxiety is minimized when the athlete breath at its resonance. HRV Biofeedback help athletes manage moods during competitions.
Adaptability. HRV can be used as a sign of readiness after physically demanding practices and competitions.
Stress Response Psychophysiological Profile. Indicates how the athlete responds to different stressors.
Professional Biofeedback Equipment
Professional systems give the ability to monitor multiple biofeedback modalities within the same device (e.g., Thought Technology ProComp Infinity). Smaller-scale devices are intended for consumer use, and I can recommend a few tools for you. Tablets, Apple and Android phones have breath pacer apps that are not a feedback system, but it can be used for home practicing.
My equipment: ProComp Infiniti – 8 Channel (FDA approved)
Official Definition of Biofeedback
Biofeedback is a process that enables an individual to learn how to change physiological activity for the purposes of improving health and performance. Precise instruments measure physiological activity such as brainwaves, heart function, breathing, muscle activity, and skin temperature. These instruments rapidly and accurately “feed back” information to the user. The presentation of this information — often in conjunction with changes in thinking, emotions, and behavior — supports desired physiological changes. Over time, these changes can endure without continued use of an instrument.
Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB)
Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA)
International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR)