Biofeedback

What is Biofeedback?

Stress is something all of us feel at one point or another. College is often a very stressful period in which we go through many changes academically, socially, and personally. While stress can be a positive event that helps us feel motivated and focused, many students allow their stress to go unchecked, causing a negative experience.

Good stress management often means recognizing signs and symptoms of stress earlier rather than later. Once we are aware of how our body is trying to signal stress, we can begin to make changes to manage it before stress overwhelms us. Biofeedback is simply feedback on our biological systems. It is a way to help people become more aware of their internal physical responses related to stress and anxiety. Once we understand the physical mechanism for our natural stress response, we can change how we manage our stress.

How Can Biofeedback Help Me?

Biofeedback can be used to treat a variety of conditions. However, at A&M, we've selected a training program designed specifically for stress management. We use sensors and computer software to show you how some of your biological systems, like your heart and breathing rate, can be influenced to help you feel more relaxed. Through training, we can teach students how to use a breathing technique that will help them manage their stress levels.

Biofeedback Lab – What is it? What will I do? What will I learn?

Our biofeedback lab is a room designed to be relaxing. We've put together a calming atmosphere of cushy chairs, soft lamps, and peaceful quiet. We use a software program called Healing Rhythms, designed by world-renowned experts in the art of relaxation. Healing Rhythms is a video-game format that will challenge the student to practice relaxing breathing techniques in order to complete the challenge. Through skill-building and consistent practice, students can then use these relaxation techniques in the real world to manage day to day stress.

Trainings

To become trained, students can sign up for a self-guided training Monday through Friday between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm. In the room, a quick video pdf and manual are available to fully walk the student through the relaxation technique and how to use the equipment on his or her own. The room is scheduled on a first call, first scheduled basis. To find a time that works well with your schedule, please call us at 979.845.4427.

Precautions for Training with Biofeedback Techniques

Undergoing biofeedback training is generally safe. However, because the training we use at Texas A&M University is based on altering breathing and heart rates, asthma may make the training uncomfortable. You are encouraged to bring your inhaler if needed. If you feel discomfort at any point, please discontinue the training and schedule with a counselor to learn other relaxation techniques that might work better for you.

Additionally, if you have a history of seizures, biofeedback is not advised. Please schedule with a counselor to discuss other options.

Some medications may also make the equipment less sensitive to your physiological responses. While it's not a concern to use the equipment with these medications, the sensors may have difficulty detecting your responses, making the equipment not work. These medications can include benzodiazepines (such as Xanax or Valium) or beta blockers (like Metoprolol or Atenolol).

Relaxation Tools

The web has really opened up access to relaxation tools. A quick engine search will reward you with hundreds of options for MP3s and scripts for various relaxation techniques. There are also some wonderful applications that can be used on your smart phone that are designed to be portable and easy to access. We've listed some links below that you might be interested in. Keep in mind that these links are external to Texas A&M University and the Student Counseling Service and are therefore not within our control. Additionally, the material may be copyrighted by the site, and we ask that you respect their instructions for using the material. You always want to be a smart consumer when using web links. Ensure your source has a good reputation and is a trusted company, person, and/or educational institute.

Kaiser-Permanente Relaxation Library

Arizona State University Relaxation Center

Iowa State University Relaxation Center

An App to Consider:
 

Breathe2Relax for Android and iPhone

Have an app or relaxation website that you love? We’d love to hear what works for you! Send your information to biofeedback@scs.tamu.edu so we can share your awesome find with fellow Aggies!
 

 

Have More Questions?

If you are ready to make your appointment, please call 979.845.4427. If you have already completed the self-guided training and have additional questions, please don't hesitate to email your questions to biofeedback@scs.tamu.edu. There are several options available to provide help so your biofeedback experience can be rewarding. We wish you peace, contentment, and relaxation on your journey to better living!