What Is Biofeedback?
Biofeedback is a therapeutic technique that teaches you how to control physical responses, such as breathing, muscle tension, hand temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and brain activity that are not normally controlled voluntarily. This control is achieved by learning how to focus on and modify signals from your body. (1)Biofeedback may be used to help people change the way their bodies respond to a variety of conditions, including:
- Addiction to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs
- Anxiety disorders
- Attention deficit disorder
- Blood-pressure problems
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Cardiac arrhythmia (abnormalities in heartbeat)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Chronic pain
- Circulatory problems (such as Raynaud's phenomenon)
- Concentration improvement for education and meditation
- Control of brain waves for spiritual development and inner tranquility
- Fecal incontinence
- Headaches (including migraines)
- High blood pressure
- Irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders
- Jaw pain and dysfunction (including temporomandibular joint syndrome)
- Menopausal symptoms
- Menstrual cramps
- Migraine headaches
- Mild depression
- Nausea and motion sickness
- Neuromuscular re-education
- Paralysis, spinal cord injury and other movement disorders
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Raynaud's disease
- Stress & anxiety
- Torticollis (neck muscles contract involuntarily, causing the head to turn)
- Tourette's syndrome
- Urinary incontinence
- Vulvovaginal pain
What Is AcuFeedbackTM?
AcuFeedbackTM is the technique where acupuncture treatment is combined with biofeedback in order to enhance the treatment outcome for a given condition. It is a technique developed by Scott Denny, PhD, LAc, and is based upon his knowledge of electromedical devices, clinical experience, and researching the scientific literature in order to find more effective ways to manage many health conditions.
Not all patients will require AcuFeedbackTM, however, it is a technique that can be used for difficult to treat cases, or as a primary integrative approach for specific conditions such as hypertension, where there is strong evidence that both acupuncture and biofeedback can influence the condition. One significant report suggests that the application of acupuncture in conjunction with biofeedback breathing techniques can significantly affect cardiac autonomic function. Simply stated, using both acupuncture and biofeedback will have a synergistic effect if used at the same time during the course of the treatment. (2) Other experiments have demonstrated that in most cases, heart rate spontaneously decreases upon acupuncture needle insertion and stimulation. This deceleration of heart rate is attributed to inhibition of the autonomic nervous system and increased stimulation to the parasympathetic nervous system. (3) The use of breathing techniques also appears to reduce sympathetic activity and cause the arteries to dilate which produces a reduction in blood pressure. (4)
How Is AcuFeedbackTM Performed?
During the AcuFeedbackTM procedure, the patient will hear a relaxing pattern of sounds that they will time their breathing to. Their respiration will be monitored during the course of the treatment by the same computerized biofeedback equipment. Acupuncture is applied to the patient with careful attention to how the points are stimulated with careful consideration to the depth of insertion and the breathing pattern of patient. A Japanese acupuncture approach is utilized which means the insertion of the needles is typically shallow with gentle manual needle stimulation. At home, the patient is also encouraged to use the same breathing techniques to enhance the overall result of the therapy. For many, AcuFeedbackTM can improve the treatment outcome due to its profound effect on the autonomic reflex, and can be used to positively impact the conditions as described above.
Is AcuFeedbackTM Effective And Safe?
There are no known side effects to relaxation breathing techniques when they are assisted by the biofeedback device used for this procedure (5). Acupuncture as a stand alone treatment has shown great promise in the reduction of blood pressure (6) and in overall reduction of sympathetic activity (7). Acupuncture as a procedure has been shown to be extremely safe in the hands of competent practitioners. (8) If you need further information about this service, please feel fee to contact our office at any time.
What Is Auditory And Visual Stimulation Intended To Do?
Auditory and visual stimulation or AVS is a system used to promote deep relaxation, influence your mood, and enhance your cognitive abilities and energy level. Pulsating light and/or sound patterns have been used for thousands of years to invoke emotional responses and we are now just beginning to understand how light and sound stimulation work.
AVS is a method of brain stimulation and brainwave training that has evolved from the study of biofeedback (please see our biofeedback page). Biofeedback is a brainwave training procedure that can enable a person to alter physiological responses and induce a desired state of mind. With AVS technology we can select pre-set sessions that combines scientifically designed sequences of pulses light and sound frequencies. For instance, if you want to slow down and relax deeply or sleep, we would choose a program from the AVS device, lie back with the LED glasses and headphones on, and let the flickering lights and sounds capture your brainwaves and gently lead them into letting go. In other words, AVS is a method of brain stimulation and brainwave training.
Many researchers are studying the effects of AVS as a method for:
- Decreasing in Hyperactivity and Behavioral Problems
- Improving Test Performance and Academic Abilities
- Increasing Attention-Span and Concentration
- Increasing Long and Short-Term Memory
- Enhancing Self-Esteem
- Reducing of Anxiety and Depression
- Reducing of Medication Intake
- Increasing in Right-Left Visual-Spatial Integration
- Increasing Creativity and Ideas
- Aiding in Decision Making
- Reducing Insomnia and Sleep Disorders
- Improving Motivation
What Benefits Are Gained By The Use Of AVS Machines?
Inside the special glasses are a series of light emitting diodes (LEDs) which blink at specific frequencies and can be sensed through closed eyelids. During the course of a session, these sequences of rhythmic light and sound patterns will change causing the mind to gradually become quiet and allow you to feel deeply relaxed.
Unlike EEG biofeedback where the user is deliberately attempting to calm brainwave activity, AVS induced “entrainment” occurs directly to the brain without any conscious effort. The flickering of the lights affects the brain through the optic nerve and causes the brainwaves to match the frequency of the various programs provided, depending on the desired outcome. In our practice during a session you will sit back in an anti-gravity chair, with the LED glasses and headphones on, and let the flickering lights and sounds capture your brainwaves and gently lead them into letting go.
What Type Of Programs Does The AVS Device Have?
The AVS device has many programs including excitatory and inhibitory protocols. Excitatory programs can improve cognitive awareness by heightening brainwave amplitude and frequency and can be used for:
- Increase Motivation
- Alleviation of Fatigue
- Under Arousal of Brainwaves
- Concentration, and Improve Problem-Solving Abilities.
- Addressing the Symptoms of Hyperactivity (Not From Anxiety)
Inhibitory programs are designed to decrease brainwaves to a slower frequency rate which brings on physical and mental relaxation. These programs may also be effective for alleviating:
- Symptoms of Anxiety and Stress,
- Inducing Deep Physical Relaxation.
What Are The Different Brainwave States?
There are four primary brainwave states; Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta.
Beta brainwave frequencies or brain states are measured approximately between 13 and 40 hertz (Hz.) or cycles per second. This state represents our “waking” state of excitement or high alertness. This state, when predominant, results in external attention, but when paired with a stressful psychological stimulus, can also result in feelings of anxiety .
Alpha frequencies are measured at approximately 8 to 12 Hz., and represent a relaxed state which is associated with external attention.
Theta state is measured from approximately 4 to 8 Hz., and represents a deeply relaxed state of inward focus.
Delta is known as the “sleep” state, and is measured at 0.5 approximately 3 Hz.
Researchers have found that stimulating a higher brainwave state can increase brain activity, and inducing lower brainwave states can reduce anxiety and hyperactivity. Brainwave entrainment within alpha states, may allow for relaxation and a decreased stress response to occur by providing a slower and more relaxed brainwave state.
Who Should Not Use AVS Devices?
If you have a seizure disorder, you should definitely consult with your health care provider before trying AVS. Do not use these devices if you are currently suffering from severe emotional trauma, or if you are using a pacemaker or suffering cardiac arrhythmia or other heart disorders.
How Often Will I Need To Have AVS Sessions?
A trial course of sessions will be initially recommended. Following this course, it will then be determined what session frequency will be most beneficial. Call today for more information
Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES)
Cranio-Electro Stimulation (CES) was developed in the Soviet Union in the late 1940s as a treatment for insomnia via a low intensity electrical microcurrent, and has since been used by millions of people all over the world. Most research over the past 25 years has shown that CES reduces anxiety and improves cognition in recovering drug addicts and alcoholics.
Pete Townsend, formerly of the band "The Who", found CES was the most effective treatment for his drug addiction recovery. CES is an alternative to drugs, which attempt to affect the brain via chemical processes. Research demonstrates that CES produces a mild stimulation in the hypothalamic area of the brain, resulting in balancing neurotransmitter activity (in particular Beta Endorphin and Norepinephrine). The effects achieved are similar to that of a "jogger's high.
CES treatment also promotes an increase in the brain's levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, and a decrease in its level of cortisol.Individual levels of improvement may vary; medical research reveals dramatic improvements in mental functioning including:
- Deep Relaxation
- Improved Memory
- Mental Clarity
- Mood Elevation
- Improved Learning
- Sound Sleep
- Increased Concentration
- Increased Vitality
- Reduction of Psychosomatic Conditions
- Assisting Substance Abuse Recovery
How CES Works
Research conducted in the 20th century has demonstrated that the brain makes use of electrical activity; thus, one can affect mental functions by affecting the organ's electrical activity. During CES, an electric current is focused upon the hypothalamic region; during this process, CES electrodes are placed behind the ear at the mastoid, or clipped to the upper portion of the earlobe, near to the face. Please call our office for more information on this exciting technology.
1. "Biofeedback." Biofeedback Certification Institute of America. http://www.bcia.org.
2. Tanaka. T.H. The Creation and Efficacy of a HRV-Autonomic Trainer CD in Assisting Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback Training: Preliminary Report. Presented at the 34th Annual Meeting of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, Jacksonville, Florida March 27-30, 2003
3. Nishijo K, Mori H, Yosikawa K, Yazawa K. Decreased heart rate by acupuncture stimulation in humans via facilitation of cardiac vagal activity and suppression of cardiac sympathetic nerve. Neurosci Lett 1997;227(3):165-8.
4. Parati et al. in Hypertension Primer, Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins, 2003; Ch. A40, p117-120.
5. Non-Drug Blood Pressure-Lowering Device: A Clinical Overview William Elliott, MD; Joseph Izzo, Jr. MD; Henry Black, MD
6. Yin, C., Seo, B., Park, H. J., Cho, M., Jung, W., Choue, R., Kim, C., Park, H. K., Lee, H., and Koh, H. Acupuncture, a promising adjunctive therapy for essential hypertension: a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial. Neurol Res. Vol.29 Issue Suppl 1 pp. S98-103, 2007
7. Sakai, S., Hori, E., Umeno, K., Kitabayashi, N., Ono, T., and Nishijo, H. Specific acupuncture sensation correlates with EEGs and autonomic changes in human subjects. 2007 May 30;133(2):158-69. Epub 2007 Feb 22
8. MacPherson P, et al. The York acupuncture safety study: prospective survey of 34,000 treatments by traditional acupuncturists. BMJ September 1, 2001;323:486-78. MacPherson P, et al. The York acupuncture safety study: prospective survey of 34,000 treatments by traditional acupuncturists. BMJ September 1, 2001;323:486-7.