Stress and the way your body responds to it is believed to play a major role in the development of substance use disorders as well as contribute to relapse after treatment, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and stress management is an important component of relapse prevention during treatment and beyond.
One of the most effective tools for managing stress is biofeedback therapy, which teaches you to control certain body functions, such as heart rate, body temperature and muscle tension, to reduce stress on the spot.
How Biofeedback Therapy Works
A typical biofeedback therapy session lasts up to an hour. A therapist attaches sensors to your body to monitor physiological functions, and the activity picked up by the sensors is displayed to you on a monitor. The therapist teaches you various relaxation techniques to control your body’s responses while you watch your progress on the monitor. These techniques may include deep breathing, guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation and mindful meditation. You’ll see your heart rate slow down, your body temperature rise and your blood pressure decrease.
Not Just for Stress
Biofeedback therapy is used to help patients effectively manage a number of physical and mental health conditions, including asthma, migraines, chronic pain, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, incontinence and side effects of chemotherapy, according to Mayo Clinic. For many, biofeedback is so effective that it can preclude the need for medication for these and other conditions.
Types of Biofeedback Therapy
You may learn several Biofeedback Therapy Benefits: How Effective is it?biofeedback techniques during biofeedback therapy sessions. Electromyography (EMG) biofeedback gives you information about muscle tension, while heart rate variability biofeedback helps you control your heart rate. Thermal biofeedback measures skin temperature, and galvanic skin response measures the amount of perspiration on the skin.
Brainwave Biofeedback Therapy
Brainwave Biofeedback Therapy Benefits: How Effective is it?biofeedback, or neurofeedback, is a technique used to help you learn to control your brainwaves to improve cognitive, emotional, physical and behavioral experiences, according to an article in the journal Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. This technique is used to turn abnormal brain rhythms and frequencies into normal ones, which leads to normalized psychological states. The article cites a number of studies that have found neurofeedback effective for reversing the negative neuropsychological consequences of drug and alcohol addiction as well as for treating ADHD, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other mental health problems that commonly co-occur with substance use disorders.
Is Biofeedback Right for You?
Biofeedback therapy is offered through many high-quality, holistic addiction treatment programs to help people in recovery gain psychological confidence, lower stress and anxiety on the spot and manage symptoms of other conditions that may trigger or contribute to cravings. Learning to recognize your body’s stress cues can have far-reaching positive consequences for your overall health and quality of life. Biofeedback therapy can help you maintain a better state of mind once treatment is complete and you return to the usual stresses and triggers of regular life.
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