Healthy Computing

Healthy Computing


Peper, E. Resolve Eyestrain and Screen Fatigue. Well Being Journal, 30(1), 24-28.

Peper, E. & Harvey, R. (2018). Digital addiction: increased loneliness, depression, and anxiety. NeuroRegulation. 5(1),3–8doi:10.15540/nr.5.1.3 

Digital addiction is defined by the American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM) as well as the American Psychiatric Association (APA) as “… a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry.  Symptoms of digital addiction such as increased loneliness (also called “phoneliness”), anxiety, and depression were observed in a sample of university undergraduates who completed a survey about smartphone use during and outside of class. Other observations included observations of “iNeck” (poor) posture as well as how multitasking/semitasking was prevalent in the sample. Implications of continued digital addition are discussed.

Stress Protocol for Assessing Computer-Related Disorders

The information gained from a psychophysiological stress profile when a person works at the computer can be used to assess and prevent repetitive strain injury (RSI)/computerrelated disorders (CRDs). The following protocol offers recommendations for (a) placing sensors, (b) instructing the trainee about tasks, (c) debriefing the trainee after the task, and (d) interpreting physiological indicators concomitant with stress reactions. Suggestions for educational and clinical interventions and biofeedback training based on the stress profile are offered to reduce the risk for RSI/CRD.

If It Is Just Ergonomics, Why Do My Employees Still Hurt?

Two years after his first ergonomic assessment Mark was still suffering.  His employer had followed the recommendations of the ergonomist, yet, with all these changes, Mark continued to complain of severe and chronic neck pain, tingling down his arms, and aching in his forearm. Mark’s story is, unfortunately, a very common one.  Why, after spending so much money and making the ergonomic corrections, do Mark and thousands of other workers still suffer from computer-related disorders? This article offers tips to reduce computer-related discomfort.

Computer-Related Symptoms

When employees develop awareness and acquire the skills to work healthfully at their peak, this alarming epidemic will abate. Using a group-training model that included muscle biofeedback for micro-break training, the SFSU study found that trained employees, as compared to the control group, reported a significant overall reduction in work-related symptoms. This included significant reduction of muscle strain of the head, neck and shoulders, wrists and hands, arms and overall tiredness.

Assessment, Treatment and Prevention of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) at the Workstation

This paper reviews the ergonomic and psychosocial factors that affect musculoskeletal disorders at the workstation. Recommendations include suggestions that successful safety and prevention programs need multiple components and that participants should to be trained to control physiological responses with respiration and sEMG biofeedback. All participants should to master these physiological skills just as they learn how to use the computer.

Unique Safety Program Wins Governor’s Award

The Ergonomic Safety Program Team at SFSU was awarded Gov. Schwarzenegger’s Employee Safety Award for its groundbreaking program that helps employees practice healthy computing habits. The program includes many quick tips — from dropping the hands to the lap every 30 seconds to blinking at the end of sentences — which computer users can incorporate into their daily routines.

Group Training with Healthy Computing Practices to Prevent RSI

This pilot study investigated whether group training, in which participants become role models and coaches, would reduce discomfort as compared to a non-treatment Control Group.  The program included training in ergonomic principals, psychophysiological awareness and control, sEMG practice at the workstation, and coaching coworkers. This study suggests that employees could possibly improve health and work style patterns based on a holistic training program delivered in a group format followed by individual practice.

From Technostress to Technohealth

Technostress contributes to increasing discomfort and illness at the worksite, especially for those who work at the computer. In this study, a technohealth training program consisting of six weekly, two-hour group sessions consisting of an educational component and practice of muscle tension awareness and control is described. A decrease in symptoms and improvement in positive work habits resulted from participating in the technohealth intervention; participants continue to report benefits from the training program at a two year follow-up.

Stay Healthy at the computer

The majority of employees who work on computers experience discomfort ranging from neck, shoulder, back, and arm pain to eye irritation and exhaustion. A major cause is the holding of chronic and unnecessary muscle tension—tension of which the employee is usually unaware and leads to illness. Research at San Francisco State University have demonstrated with biofeedback that 95% of employees automatically raised their shoulders as well as maintained low-level tension in their forearms while keyboarding and mousing, as well as increased their breathing rates and decreased eye blinking rates. Almost all employees studied thought that their muscles were relaxed when they were sitting correctly at the computer, even though they were tense.

Healthy Computing Email Tips

Healthy computing incorporates optimum work style, ergonomics, mind/body fitness, and positive work setting as a whole while working at the computer. This article suggest integrating eight components improves health, decreases discomfort, and increases performance. The eight components are provided in detail.

Article in Dutch: Een technologische kramp

Improve Health with Movement: There is Life After Five.

Physical fitness promotes health. In most cases about 20 minutes of continued activity is enough to keep in shape and regenerate. The following exercises are developed to reduce discomfort and improve health. Practice them throughout the day, especially before the signals of pain or discomfort occur. Before performing the exercises, read over the General Concepts Underlying the Exercises, and then explore the various movements.

Wireless devices may cause harm, be careful while using mobile phones, tablets or laptops

In less than 20 years, we can no longer imagine a life without these wireless devices and go into a panic when they are missing. We have accepted the new technology and assumed that it is safe. Yet, could this be similar to the early cigarette debates in the tobacco industry? Or the discovery that X rays were dangerous for pregnant women? Or how we were accepting asbestos in our lives? We now know better. This article offers suggestions on how to act now and reduce the exposure to the antenna radiation.

Computer Related Symptoms: A Major Problem for College Students

This survey investigated the frequency of discomfort associated with computer use.The results showed that 96.8 % of subjects reported some discomfort while only 3 subjects reported no discomfort. To prevent illness, learning how to stay healthy at the computer should be the first lesson and an integral part of every computer class — from grade school to university.

Keep Cell Phones and PDAs Away From EMG Sensors and the Human Body to Prevent Electromagnetic Interference Artifacts and Cancer

Cell phones produce electromagnetic interference (EMI), which can cause artifacts in physiological recordings and be misinterpreted by the clinician. This study investigated the possible effect of EMI (electrical artifact) on physiological recordings when cell phones are activated/ringing. To avoid EMI artifacts, clients and therapists should turn off their cell phones when recording physiological signals.  In addition, recent epidemiological studies suggest that long-term intensive cell phone use may increase the risk of gliomas, auditory tumors, and salivary tumors on the side of the head to which the person places the cell phone. Thus, to reduce artifacts and biological harm, the authors recommend keeping the cell phone away from the body and the biofeedback equipment.


The smartphone and iPad/tablet have revolutionized personal computing. iPad/tablets smartphones can now do activities that until recently only computers could do such as e-mailing, browsing the internet, taking notes, playing games, and connecting with social networks. This study explores 1) students use of smartphones and iPad/tablets and 2) physiological patterns associated with smartphones and iPad/tablets use.