What is biofeedback?
Biofeedback is a tool that helps individuals visualize how their biological systems work. For example, software can show individuals what their heart is doing and how basic changes in their breathing can influence their heart beat and overall health. At the Counseling Center, students can learn how to physically lower their stress levels and achieve a better state of being.
How does biofeedback work?
- All systems in the body (mental, emotional and physical) are connected, working together like a machine. Making a change in any one system can positively influence the other systems. By achieving balance among the systems, performance levels and positive emotions increase.
- In the Mind-Body Clinic, students can learn different coping strategies and develop an individualized approach for managing stress based on the visual feedback provided by the biofeedback programs. The programs use an ear sensor to assess stress levels in the body by measuring heart rate.
- As students’ control of their physical state improves, they can test out these new skills in various video games in the clinic.
The Counseling Center uses the EmWave© system, which is an easy to use computer program that teaches students to self-regulate attention by focusing on heart rate patterns. For more information on this specific system, please visit Heart Math.
How can biofeedback benefit me?
Biofeedback can be used to help with a variety of conditions, including, but not limited to:
- General stress and worry
- Public speaking
- Sleep problems due to stress
- Test and performance anxiety
Note: Biofeedback as a method for self regulation can be a very effective tool for dealing with stress, but it is seldom adequate by itself for treating various forms of anxiety. Typically, working with a counselor to modify patterns of thought and behavior is needed and sometimes medication as well.
Students may want to check with their doctor or mental health professional before using the Mind-Body Clinic if they have any of the following:
- Disorders involving a severe, unstable autonomic nervous system or endocrine or metabolic functions (e.g., diabetes)
- Severe memory, attention or neurological conditions (e.g., seizures)
- Severe or unstable medical illness, including a heart condition or asthma
- Significant psychological disorder (e.g., schizophrenia, mania, major depression, paranoia, severe obsessive-compulsive disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder)
How to get started
Students who are interested in biofeedback and would like to learn more about it should contact the Counseling Center at 404-413-1640 to speak with the Mind-Body Clinic coordinator. The student and the coordinator will decide together if the student meets the eligibility criteria for biofeedback training. The Mind-Body Clinic coordinator will then refer the student to a member of the biofeedback team for a demonstration and personal coaching session. When students are comfortable using the equipment on their own, they may begin using the biofeedback equipment in the Relaxation Room at their convenience during the Counseling Center business hours.
To sign up for a training session, call the Counseling Center at 404-413-1640 or come by the Counseling Center at 75 Piedmont N.E., Suite 200A (Citizen’s Trust Building).