January 29, 2021
I also wanted to know if I did decide to try biofeedback, is there any information I need to know before I look into it?
February 1, 2021
Hey there, cappuccino! Maybe some of our past articles about biofeedback will help you out. Feel free to ask any follow-up questions you have.
I wish you the best of luck! Keep us posted!
Melissa, migraine.com team
February 1, 2021
Thank you so much Melissa. I so appreciate the information about biofeedback which I am pretty sure I will be trying. I just wanted some accurate information about it before I do. Thanks again,
February 2, 2021
I have been doing Biofeedback for since April 2016 on the HeartMath system. I have over 1100 sessions and about 2,000,000 points. To those who say biofeedback (bio) is just getting your head straight I will give this example. There are known cases of people who believe they are pregnant. The will get a belly and even lactate. They go through all the symptoms. But they are not pregnant. Yes, there are cases of men doing this too. So people who think biofeedback is just getting your mind straight, this is a good example of what you can do to your body if you really believe it.
Biofeedback reminds me of the school saying of "you get out of it what you put into it" I always hated that saying, but bio is 100% this.
I am an engineer so my brain is always going. It took about 30 sessions to finally get my brain to realize it needed to slow down and just think about the session. It focuses on breathing. Everyone has a different breathing pattern. For round numbers they recommend between 5-7 breaths per min. ...it took about 30 sessions to understand where my breathing pattern was optimal and match that in the bio session. Your breath pattern is unique so you have to see what is comfortable for you. I can do my pattern for hours and not feel rushed or have to take that big breath because I am going to slow. As you get better your body will adjust and you will start to breath slower because your body is getting use to the pattern and with finally slowing down to think about just doing the session.
Any biofeedback helps the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves relax. Once they relax it helps the Vagus nerve take care of the things wrong in the body. The only time your nerves can send the proper signal to help heal things in the body is when they are not flooded or blocked by all the other things stressing you out. Once you fall into coherence your nerves can finally send and receive the signals properly that can help your body heal.
The VA uses Bio specifically to help in pain reduction and for PTSD. For the VA to teach bio, to me, screams volumes. They are usually the last ones to recommend anything for pain reduction unless it has been around for years. But then again bio has been around since the 30's.
Also NASA recommends it to their Astronauts. I guess they want to keep everyone calm so they don't open an airlock 😀
You have learned to breath and be in the mind set you have since you were born. You have to unlearn some behaviors. I hear people all the time say they cant get their brain to slow down enough to do bio. I would have been a Poster Child for this train of thought. You have to learn how to calm your thoughts. Meditation is great...but I never liked it because you could spend an hour in a session and never know what you did. With biofeedback you can see if you are in coherence and watch as you get better at it. You can also generally see distraction like the trash truck coming by or when you remember to put something on your grocery list. It's not that you fall out of coherence it is how fast you get back in.
Considering how much we spend on other things the Heart math system is fairly inexpensive and can hook to a Bluetooth device including phones and tablets. On long trips I will throw it up on the dash and use it like a HUD. Once you get the hang of it it is not a distraction and it help you focus more.
Biofeedback is one of those things where you really do have to work at it. The more you work at it the easier you can get into coherence. The easier you fall into coherence also means your body will want to fall into coherence when you start your breathing. So now you can get the benefits of bio without the machine if you are stuck in traffic or have some other crisis.
The simplest system has a small sensor that hooks on the ear. You can get them that plug into a phone or computer or that are stand alone Bluetooth sensors. I recommend the Bluetooth version simple because of its flexibility like the "HUD" display on a vehicle or being able to charge the sensor while you are using it.I looked into the full blown system that the VA has and they are crazy high. For what it does and how it keep track and logs every session, The Heart Math Inner Balance is something I would recommend to just about anyone.
I also use it in series with Acupuncture. Acupuncture doesn't help much when you are stressed (And in my case I would have about 25 needles that just got stuck in me) Biofeedback helps you relax and get into coherence and they can work in harmony. I also use the Alpha Stim with bio, and Acupuncture. "stacking" the three together help each one and my doctors believe it is a good idea. What is odd is the VA will pay for an Alpha Stim but not a biofeedback device. Alpha Stim is about 10X more expensive and you cant track it. Biofeedback tracks your progress and, if you wanted to, there is a way with a password that your doc or anyone, can see your progress scores.
The main reason people stop bio is they haven't spent enough time relaxing and getting their brain to slow down. Again what you are doing is fixing habits from when you were born till now. Once you get past that hurdle of slowing your thoughts, your breathing and coherence will get better. My general coherence is around a 6. If I really focus and work on my breathing I can hit the 7's. Mind you over all these years and a after 1100 sessions I have only average 7's about 5 times. Bio reminds you you can not force yourself to relax. 😀
I still do what I call 1000 point "sprints". The object is to get into coherence as fast as I can and hit 1000 points with the least amount of time. You cannot force yourself to get better scores. You REALLY have to be in coherence to get there. This 15 minute or less exercise gets me use to getting into this rhythm as quickly as possible. I will also do this at more stressful times. Traffic Jam, Waiting in the airport, anytime that can cause the most amount of distraction that I can still be in the situation but be safe to do the breathing. This again trains your brain to relax in a stressful time and you can watch your coherence get better as things progress.
My brain STILL goes a Thousand MPH but I can slow that down now. I will catch myself in one of those catch 22 spirals and now I can stop them. As much as I hate to say it
You get out of it what you put in it 😀
This is what I use. They also don't charge monthly to use the system. If this is allowed I will add the link,
February 2, 2021
I can't thank you enough for this in depth response to my question. Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with biofeedback. Although some of your terms are unfamiliar to me (of course), I definitely understand the way it works. So now I will click on your links to get some more info.