Peripheral Biofeedback training focuses on learning self-regulation over the Autonomic Nervous System and its two branches, the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems (SNS & PNS). This is because much of our body’s stress response is experienced through, manifests in, and affects these systems in our body. Dysregulation of these systems is what often, in the short term, leads to headaches, difficulty sleeping, digestive problems, high blood pressure, difficulty with attention and focus, and psychological/emotional instability, among other issues. Chronic dysregulation can result in an exacerbation of the above — significantly decreased immune system function (more frequent and prolonged illness), heart and organ damage, weight issues, hypertension, inability to focus, injuries and overall decreased functioning and performance. Biofeedback enables an individual to identify even the smallest of changes in the body, to readily balance the nervous system, and to master regulation of these systems for the long term. Dr. Stewart and the Human Performance Institute offer a variety of biofeedback training modalities, including Heart Rate, Respiration Flow, Heart Rate Variability, surface Electromyography, Peripheral Temperature, and Galvanic Skin Response.
Heart Rate Variability Training
Surface Electromyography (sEMG)
Much like we can measure and train the brain’s electrical activity, we can do something similar with a muscle’s electrical activity. sEMG is a modality of biofeedback used in treatment of body tension, especially caused by stress, tension headaches, bruxism, anxiety, pain, neuromuscular rehabilitation (e.g. stroke), and for improving bioregulation for relaxation and calm.
Peripheral temperature training involves training an individual to voluntarily increase or decrease his/her temperature in the fingers and toes; this occurs through the process of vasodilation and vasoconstriction. Typically it is used to increase peripheral temperature, as the body’s natural ‘fight or flight’ response is vasoconstriction, where vital organs necessary for sustaining life pull blood from the periphery. Peripheral temperature training is a modality used extensively in the field of biofeedback as a treatment for chronic headaches, Raynaud’s, hypertension, decreased anxiety and stress response of the nervous system, therefore induced relaxation, and can even improve tactile sensation which may be applicable in certain sports.
Galvanic Skin Response (GSR)
Sweat gland activity is highly indicative of the level of nervous system activation. Galvanic Skin Response, sometimes called Electordermal Response, is perhaps one of the most sensitive modalities of peripheral biofeedback, as even the most subtle changes in sweat gland activity are detectable. Something as simple as a change in one’s thoughts or emotions can affect sweat gland activity—this is why it is used for polygraph tests.
HPI offers Bio Mapping, a full Neurophysiological Assessment for evaluation of your unique responses to life and to stress and to tailor a training program that is right for you!