Pressures of work; hectic family lives – it’s no wonder so many of us suffer health problems brought on by stress.  Last year around half a million people suffered work-related stress, experiencing symptoms such as depression, headaches, high blood pressure and insomnia.

Left unchecked, stress not only makes life feel unbearable, it can also have serious consequences for long-term health.  Yet many people are reluctant to take medications because of worries about dependency and side-effects.

Fortunately there is a revolutionary new therapy which uses technology to tap the body’s own natural resources, restoring calm and control to those suffering from stress.  Biofeedback – as featured in The Independent, The Guardian and on the BBC – has produced scientifically measureable improvements in test subjects.

This new therapy not only reduces symptoms but also improves people’s ability to concentrate and perform at their best.  Rather like a mechanic re-tuning a misfiring engine, Biofeedback therapy restores the body to a natural harmony, decreasing stress and opening up whole new areas of possibility.

Your Own Worst Enemy

Surprisingly, stress is actually a built-in bodily reaction designed to help us!  It is part of the so-called ‘fight-or-flight’ response experienced by animals in danger.  When threatened, an animal’s body instinctively prepares either to flee or defend itself.  This involves a raised heart rate, increased blood pressure and a heightened state of awareness.

Unfortunately, evolution hasn’t caught up with the different demands of humans and ‘fight-or-flight’ responses set in over longer periods when we are stressed by life.  Whilst helpful in the brief burst of dealing with danger, these bodily responses are actually very damaging when they become long-term.

So it’s not really stress which is causing the problem, it’s the body itself!  That’s why biofeedback is so useful, because it teaches people to override these natural responses and control their instinctive reactions.

What is Biofeedback?

In fact, biofeedback is less a therapy and more a form of training.  The clue is in the name: a biofeedback session allows a subject to ‘see’ his or her bodily processes from the data produced by simple electrodes on the skin.  Measurements such as heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension and skin temperature are displayed on a monitor and the focus of each session is for the therapist to help the subject control these elements.

There are no drugs and the only function of machines is to gather information.  The key is in developing awareness of these functions and learning the techniques to alter them so the body is brought into working harmony.  This not only tackles the damaging physical symptoms of stress, it also optimises the body’s operations, meaning an individual’s ability to perform many tasks is greatly improved.  With enough practice it is even possible to reduce physical pain!

Because biofeedback is more training than treatment it means subjects will reach a point where they require no more sessions.  They will have learned the techniques they need and will then be equipped to manage stress for the rest of their lives.

The Gateway to Better Health

Biofeedback is literally mind over matter.  Using the scientific principles of psychophysiology and relaxation therapy it is possible to tackle a wide range of health problems:

  • Migraines and tension headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Sleep disorders
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Respiratory disorders

Subjects have even benefited from therapy when they have suffered no health problems at all!  Studies of neurofeedback, which focuses attention on brain wave patterns, have produced startling results.

Professor John Gruzelier of Goldsmith’s College, London, conducted a neurofeedback experiment on 97 students from the Royal College of Music.  The test subjects developed increased creative awareness after their sessions and over the course of a year their musical performance was measured as having improved by as much as 17%.

Businessmen have also found the benefits of biofeedback, learning how to increase their powers of concentration and boosting their personal productivity and success.

Safe, Natural and Lasting

The body is a marvellous thing and we take it for granted that it gets on with the processes of life without any conscious effort from us.  But given its complexity it’s no wonder that all these processes don’t necessarily work as they should.

That’s why biofeedback is invaluable, helping people understand and regulate the bodily processes we all tend to ignore.  The benefits are clear, the process is completely natural and the results can last a lifetime.

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