"Occassionally I had heard half-joking remarks about researchers in biofeedback sounding like snake-oil salesmen. It didn't bother me until one of our own doctors cautioned against the concept of biofeedback as a panacea. Then I gave it serious thought. Why did biofeedback prove helpful in the treatment of so many and varied disorders? Suddenly I realized that it isn't biofeedback that is the 'panacea'--it is the power within the human being to self-regulate, self-heal, re-balance. Biofeedback does nothing to the person; it is a tool for releasing that potential."
Alyce Green, Beyond Biofeedback
Dr. Sam Sewell was privileged to work personally with Dr. Elmer Green, the father of biofeedback therapy. In the early 1970’s Dr. Sewell was recruited to participate in a research project at the famous Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. Dr. Green was the first person ever to receive a National Institutes of Health research grant, given for his autonomic research program . Dr. Green investigated voluntary control of internal states by individuals like Swami Rama, and American Indian medicine man Rolling Thunder. A film containing footage from their investigations was released as Biofeedback: The Yoga of the West (1974)
Dr. Sewell’s participation in these studies in the early 1970s strongly influenced him. He has been using biofeedback therapy at Best Self USA ever since.
Biofeedback is a process that enables an individual to learn how to have volitional management of autonomic functions, thus improving overall health and performance. Precise instruments measure physiological activity. These instruments rapidly and accurately 'feedback' information to the user. Becoming aware of this information — often in conjunction with changes in thinking, emotions, and behavior —results in desirable therapeutic changes. Over time, these changes become responsive to the individual’s will, and can be implemented without the use of an instrument .
Biofeedback has many therapeutic applications, but the primary goal of biofeedback training at Best Self USA is to empower the individuals to have volitional input into and management of the autonomic functions that create stress and emotions.
STRESS MANAGEMENT – In just a few coaching session s clients learn to turn off stress responses to stimulus quickly; stimulus that has heretofore always resulted in uncomfortable feelings. EXAMPLE: The usual stress-related responsesto situations at work or in the family can be reduced, and perhaps eliminated, by finding the internal “switch” that controls such stress responses. Biofeedback coaching can help the client find the On/Off switch for stress.
ANXIETY DISORDERS – We all have anxiety “triggers.” They range from feeling somewhat uncomfortable in an elevator to the significant anxiety attacks associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. EXAMPLE: A client has developed obsessive patterns of anxious thinking related to an automobile accident that happened three years ago. With biofeedback coaching the client leans how to “turn on” and “turn off” such uncomfortable feelings and becomes better able to manage such feelings, eventually becoming desensitized to the original trauma.
PERSISTENT TRAUMA – Many of us have trauma buried in our personal histories. Grief or guilt can feel very uncomfortable, even if the events happened years ago, as far back as during childhood. Biofeedback coaching can help clients identify the intensity of buried traumatic memories and feelings, and can help desensitize them to such memories and feelings. EXAMPLE: An elderly man who cheated on his wife one time when he was 24 years old continues to have very uncomfortable feelings about his “one night stand.” By experiencing these feelings and memories while connected to a biofeedback device he can get accurate readings about his progress in “letting go” of his history, progressively transcending the event, and finding peace.
Clients who request biofeedback coaching will begin with a brief orientation session to establish the guiding principles of biofeedback science. In the next session they are introduced to the biofeedback device and familiarized with the effectiveness of biofeedback training. A significant advantage of biofeedback training over conventional therapy is instantaneous, objective progress measurement. After completing the introduction to biofeedback training the client will be invited to work with a biofeedback device that is connected to a computer so that they can work on their skills independently, without supervision. The eventual goal is for the clients to become so comfortable and proficient with these skills that they will be able to apply them in real life situations without the need of the biofeedback unit.
Most people can identify with the plaintive cry “Help! My brain has a mind of its own!” We all know what it feels like to have our brain taking charge of our thinking, feeling, and behavior. Biofeedback training can help you become the master of your brain, rather than your brain being in charge of you.
Two short videos of Dr. Green’s research are on YouTube
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