Acne is a very common problem for young people with about 20% of young adults being moderately to severely affected (Bhate & Williams 2012). Some social consequences of facial acne include reduction of feelings of self-worth and self-esteem. An early biofeedback study by Hughes, Brown, Lawlis & Fulton (1983) observed that those participants who continued and generalized the relaxation skills continued to show improvement in facial acne. The current study surveys the frequency of acne and stress among college students and illustrates through a case example how an integrated stress management program can significantly improve acne as well as self-esteem.
Awareness of one’s stress reaction coupled with mastery of physiological self-regulation, conscious behavior and attitude changes appear to be useful approaches to mobilize health. This poster provides 1) an overview of a structured 14-session regenerative program, 2) results of the 5-month follow-up email outcome survey, and 3) two case examples to illustrate the process.
Stressors and an individual’s stress reaction may act as an initiator, promoter, or co-factor in the development of and recovery from illness (Sapolsky, 1998). Awareness of one’s stress reaction coupled with mastery of physiological reactivity and conscious changes in behavior and attitude appear to be useful self-regulation approaches to mobilize health. We propose that therapists and teachers include a structured educational stress management program to complement their biofeedback and training protocols for enhancing clients’/students’ self-healing potentials. This paper provides an overview of a structured 14-session regenerative program that can be used to guide individuals or groups to practice at home and work. Emphasis is on active participation in one’s own self-healing, which is essential for reducing mental/emotional blocks that may interfere with regeneration.
Many of the health ailments we face today are due to stress (American Psychological Association (2007). According to American Medical Association (Cohen et al, 2007), stress is often a silent killer because it is commonly believed that we cannot do anything about undue stress in our lives. College students equally report high stress levels: a factor that may put them at higher risk for future illness. Thus, teaching students lifelong stress management and self-healing skills as part of a university curriculum would offer students ways to cope with stress and, optimize their health.
Many college students experience stress-related illness, and in one study, 82% of students reported significant improvement in health when they participated in a semester-long stress management program. The factors that contribute to symptom reduction are illustrated by the case report of a 23-year-old male student who had been suffering from psoriasis for the past 5 years, which was not alleviated with medication and traditional medical treatment. Results showed a significant improvement in the clearing of the skin, more positive self-talk, and improved posture. The benefits have been maintained at the 4-month follow-up. Discussed are the training components and procedures along with factors that contributed to the clinical success and that can be applied to numerous other stress-related disorders.
Autogenic Training (AT) is a highly systematized technique designed to generate a state of psychophysiologic reaction relaxation– a state diametrically opposed to that elicited by stress.
Stiffness, tightness, pain or other muscle discomforts and exhaustion are common experiences for many people who work long hours at the computer or for athletes who push their body physically. Muscle discomfort often limits what they would like to do and, as symptom intensity increases, their discomfort tends to interfere with their work or athletic performances.The teaching examples presented in this chapter illustrate the efficacy of the evidence based SEMG biofeedback approach in the assessment and reduction of dysponesis, or misdirected muscular efforts.
The Power of Words, Biofeedback, and Somatic Feedback to Impact Illness Beliefs
The article explores the use of words, biofeedback and somatic feedback as tools to change illness beliefs. These tools can make patients aware of the mind-body connection, illustrating how thoughts and emotions can affect their body.
An educational approach is often different from a clinical treatment approach to promote healing. Using an educational approach, 80% of university students who are enrolled in a holistic health course report that both acute and chronic disorders can be ameliorated or eliminated when they engage in daily self-practice of autogenic training, biofeedback self-regulation practices, and/or somatic posture awareness. This process of reducing health problems is illustrated by a case report of a 20-year-old female student who experienced three migraines per week for the past 6 years. After practicing self-regulation and body awareness techniques such as autogenic training, surface electromyography–assisted muscle awareness, diaphragmatic breathing, and postural changes, the frequency of her headaches decreased to zero. At 20-month follow-up, the student continued to be headache free. This type of integrated self-healing educational approach is recommended for students, patients, and anyone who wants to create lasting health changes.
Poor awareness of covert low-level muscle tension and poor ergonomics can result in chronic muscle bracing and the development of clinical symptoms. This article introduces a simple exercise to teach awareness and control of residual muscle contraction, presents evidence of its effectiveness, and concludes with a case study in which it contributed to the treatment of severe pelvic girdle pain.
Pain is not simply a neurological or biological experience, it occurs in context. Major lessons include the need for clients to feel totally safe and accepted, with components of the experience including trust, hope, and faith.
A 39-year-old kidney transplant female participated in six biofeedback sessions to learn relaxation and enhance control. When she inhaled pentamadine it caused coughing, gagging and increased blood pressure and heart rate. Respiration feedback was recorded with abdominal and thoracic strain gauges. Training included cognitive and physiological breathing self-regulation skill. After training, respiration changed from 27 to 8 breaths per minute with concurrent abdominal movement; heart rate decreased and RSA increased. She was able to take the pentamadine inhalation treatment without evoking discomfort and her blood pressure and heart rate remained normal.
Millions of women experience substantial pain and suffering from vulvodynia, which is pain around the entrance to the vagina (vulva). A common treatment is surgical removal of the tissue (vestibulectomy). This case report describes the detailed process of a holistic biofeedback-based intervention that successfully resolved the vulvodynia in a 23-year-old woman. The four-session treatment interventions included teaching diaphragmatic breathing to transform shallow thoracic breathing into slower diaphragmatic breathing. Treatment transformed her feeling of powerlessness, a belief that there was nothing she could do, into empowerment and a hope that she could reduce her symptoms and optimize her health. After 6 weeks, she once again could initiate and enjoy intercourse and has been symptom free during the 8 month follow-up.
This article discusses one individuals healing of Vulvodynia from the client perspective. The participant’s interpretation of what she experienced and her perception for reasons for success, including triggers for illness and triggers for healing are discussed.
Falls and hip fractures may not be inevitable, however, at prevent time they account for a significant portion of morbidity and contribute significantly to mortality in the elderly. This paper offers an evolutionary perspective with the concept of learned disuse as one of the major factors contributing to falls and hip fractures. The concepts are illustrated through experiential exercises. These exercises can be used both diagnostically and as preventive/educational approaches. Pragmatic recommendations are provided to reduce the risk of falls and improve strength and balance.
Patients often equate biofeedback training homework to mandatory activities, which are often viewed as one more thing to do. Changing the perception from that of work to fun can encourage laughter and joy and help overcome a chronic pain pattern all necessary for healing. This paper encourages therapists to explore utilizing childhood activities and paradoxical movement to help patients release tension patterns and improve range of motion. A strong emphasis is placed on linking diaphragmatic breathing to movement.
This case report describes an indirect approach incorporating diaphragmatic breathing, imagery, role rehearsal and surface electromyographic (SEMG) feedback to successfully reduce pain and increase left shoulder mobility in a 23 year old woman with a left pectoralis muscle injury from a skiing accident. It demonstrates how direct biofeedback or therapeutic interventions may be counterproductive and indirect approaches guided by SEMG activity may facilitate clinical success. Discussed are specific concepts, rationales and strategies employed that guided the successful therapeutic intervention. This article offers a case description with process and outcome comments from the client’s and therapist’s perspectives. It is offered as a model to increase therapeutic efficacy when an initial biofeedback intervention appears not to work.