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Jo A. Stoddard, PhD, CPCC, CCHT
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Peripheral Biofeedback

Peripheral Biofeedback Photo

Research has shown that "biofeedback is helpful in treating about 150 medical conditions" and is "widely used in most hospitals and medical centers" for medical, sport and peak performance training. Accepted as "an effective alternative therapy" that complements traditional medicine, biofeedback is safe and poses few risks.

- Mayo Clinic Guide to Alternative Medicine

Peripheral Biofeedback is a psychophysiological "mirror" that allows you to monitor and learn from the subconscious electrical signals produced by your body.

Enhanced Performance Training® uses non-invasive sensors that act like little microphones. Placed on your skin they pick up your body's electrical signals. These signals are then displayed on a monitor in front of you allowing you to learn how to change your physiological patterns through simple games or training programs.

Mastery occurs as you learn how to change how your body responds to environmental influences, by changing your breathing patterns, strengthening your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and recovery), controlling your muscle tension levels, and changing how you think and feel about your body, mind and life experiences. For more information visit: www.aapb.org.

The NeXus-10 is used for biofeedback training using Bio-Trace software developed by Mind Media in the Netherlands. The system utilizes 24-bit DC coupled amplifiers (allowing for DC to 800 Hz), shielded input cables and the most sophisticated digital processing software currently available (2048 samples per second).


Biofeedback training includes:

Temperature trainingTemperature training (reflecting parasympathetic influences) is used in biofeedback training to teach you how to relax your nervous system for recovery or activate it to energize yourself. A sensor placed on your index finger monitors changes in peripheral body temperature. Every 30 minutes or as needed, the body adjusts its temperature via input from thermoreceptors in the skin and mucus membranes. Changes in blood flow direct skin temperature such that less blood flow (vasoconstriction) activates your flight/flight response and more blood flow (vasodilation) activates your rest/recovery response. Biofeedback teaches you to master how your body responds to your surroundings in order to improve or maximize your performance and cognitive function.


Electrodermal ResponseElectrodermal Response (reflecting fight/flight sympathetic nervous system influences) is activated by signals from the brain in response to threats, strong emotions, increased work load or physical exertion. The resulting increase in sweating of the body or hands is believed to have survival benefits. The hands alone have 370 sweat glands per cm2 making them a very sensitive measure of sympathetic activation. Two sensors placed on the palm of the hand monitors EDR. Biofeedback training can teach you how to reduce sympathetic activation in order to feel more relaxed, think clearer, have better access to memories and feel happier.


RespirationRespiration (reflecting lung, heart and brain influences). There is an intimate relationship between your lungs and heart such that your heart speeds up when you inhale and slows down when you exhale. For centuries yogis' have known how extensive training of the breath can be used for improved function. Respiration is recorded from an elastic belt placed around your waist. Biofeedback can train you to use your breath to influence the heart and brain and in doing so improve your health, increase clarity of thinking and improve how you feel and respond to life circumstances.


sEMGsEMG (surface electromyography: muscle contractions reflecting sympathetic influences) is measured by sensors picking up the muscles electrical activity. Biofeedback gives you direct visual feedback of where and to what degree your muscles are contracting via sensors placed on specific muscle groups. This important information helps you to better present yourself, use your body's musculature to relax or strengthen your body and, to the extent of muscle involvement, help regulate/release any pain you may be experiencing.


Heart RateHeart Rate (reflecting heart, lung and brain involvement) is examined to evaluate how effectively your heart responds during periods of relaxation or increased demand. Heart rate is measured by three sensors placed on the chest, arms or legs or pulse rate by using a photoplethysmograph placed on a finger. Optimal functioning occurs when respiration (blue line) and heart rate (red line) work together. Biofeedback helps you to increase your capacity to slow down or increase your heart rate through breathing exercises in order to increase relaxation, agility and flexibility; elevate mood and improve memory and mental clarity.



What is biofeedback and neurofeedback?
A Mind Media video featuring NeXus (4:49)