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    Old 01-22-2010, 02:45 PM   #1
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    Post LONG POST re: Biofeedback

    ***Please note: I am not a Psychologist, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, MD, nor do I work as a Biofeedback Technician. I'm a woman who has been diagnosed w/ FMS amongst other things and am sharing some of what I learned recently while enrolled in a multi-disciplinary pain management program. Someone asked for a little more info on this topic so here it is. If it helps even one person that's fantastic! If not I urge that whatever you do in your quest to take back your life from FMS, please never, never, NEVER give up***

    One note of caution if you opt to try BF - Pay attention to how many breaths you take in one minute. I believe the average adult breathes anywhere from 12 -20 bpm (breaths per minute) while at rest, and it is dangerous to go too low, although the number probably varies somewhat based on different factors. Personally, I'm 42 years old, 5'2", 115lbs with a history of respiratory illnesses. While learning BF, I went from taking 32 bpm's to 5 bpm's and was told by my technologist that it could be dangerous to go under 6 bpm's. A website I found from the health systems of Virginia stated that going below 10 could be considered abnormal.(?) Bottom line, use common sense and If you feel yourself getting a headache, feeling dizzy or any other adverse reactions, just slowly try to increase your respiration a little.

    As always, it's a good idea to check w/ your physician before trying any new therapy.

    Biofeedback is the practice of using machines to monitor certain body functions. The theory behind it is that by being able to see what your body is doing, you can gain some control of functions previously thought to be involuntary.

    Different techniques exist for BF and you don't need any special devices to practice them. The technologist who trained me said if you really want, you can purchase a digital biofeedback thermometer for around $20, but again - it's NOT necessary.

    In the "More Naturals for FMS" thread, I gave an example of using autogenic biofeedback to raise your surface temp. The science behind this is that the higher your skin temp, the lower your stress and tension levels are. If you are a very visual person or like me, always daydreaming, using a simple visualization technique seems to also work well - here's mine but everyone can adapt this to what works for them, the important thing is how you are breathing. *According to my technologist, you should both inhale and exhale through your nose*

    Go somewhere that you won't be interrupted for at least 10 - 15 minutes. Get in a comfortable position, sitting, or lying down, whatever. Close your eyes and breathe normally for a minute or so. If you find yourself distracted by thoughts, acknowledge them and just move on - in otw, don't stress yourself out trying to make yourself "empty".

    Begin breathing from your diaphragm. If you have musical or theater experience you already know what this is. If you're not sure and have a baby in your life, watch how they breathe while sleeping. Their solar plexus and stomach are what rise and fall, not their lungs. I find it helpful to picture my diaphragm as a balloon, expanding in all directions with each inhale, and deflating (although not completely) with each exhale.

    After about 30 seconds of sustained DB (Diaphragmatic Breathing) picture yourself as a gray shadow sitting or lying in whatever position you actually are. As you breathe, focus on each area of your body, beginning with your feet. With each inhale, picture the shadow area you are focused on turning from gray to a warm red. I also think the word "warm" as I inhale. On exhalation, keep the area the same warm color. Additionally, I think the word "cold" and visualize my exhalation as blue haze leaving my shadow body. Spend a few minutes on each area of your body - feet, calves, thighs, pelvis, chest, arms (including hands), shoulders, back, neck and head. Once completed, do a scan of your entire body and revisit any trouble spots. Gently shift from focused DB to normal, automatic respiration, count backwards from three and open your eyes.

    That's it! Again, you can adapt the visual to whatever works for you. Some people visualize themselves in a hot tub or by a roaring fireplace. Use a mantra if you want - remember anything can be a mantra, the importance is the repetition. When I'm stressed, one of my faves is "In with the Ghandi, out with the Manson". Okay, maybe not so good as a meditation, but it does always elevate my mood and make me smile.

    If you're a complete skeptic (like me) I highly recommend visiting a Biofeedback Practitioner so you can see for yourself how it works. They can measure your skin temp, stress levels and muscle tension while guiding you through different techniques. It's worth noting that the Mayo Clinic recommends BF as part of an FMS treatment plan, although as always I believe that YOU know your body best.

    Peace to all, and Sweet, I'll try to post another thread on body mechanics this weekend!

    "The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly." Buddha

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    Old 01-22-2010, 03:41 PM   #2
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    Re: LONG POST re: Biofeedback

    Thank you so much for taking the time to post this - I'm going to set aside some time to put this into action - probably on Tuesday when I'm working away in hotel and can get some proper time to myself - enjoy your weekend x
    Love and Light

    Old 01-22-2010, 06:29 PM   #3
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    Re: LONG POST re: Biofeedback

    Okay, you answered my question before I even asked on the other thread. Thanks. I'll study this awhile.

    Old 01-23-2010, 08:30 AM   #4
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    Re: LONG POST re: Biofeedback

    i have been using this technique for several years. i also deal with blood pressure issues and find i can raise or lower my bp in less than 1 minute. it's all about breath.
    our minds are the most powerful tool we have.

    Old 01-23-2010, 09:36 AM   #5
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    Re: LONG POST re: Biofeedback

    Thanks for posting this. I agree that Biofeedback is extremely helpful. I realized that I have made the technique automatic when I had to get anesthetic shots in my back, and I automatically began my deep breathing. It kicks in for me when under stress or anxiety. I also used it as my technique when I delivered my baby while having fibromyalgia. My mother could hardly believe how calm I stayed. I was able to visually put myself in a peaceful place and relax, which was really helpful for me.

    For me, when hooked to the intruments to monitors, my muscle tension usually began off the charts, and then decreased significantly. However, the temperature in my extremities did not improve. That stumped my therapist a little. Any suggestions? My hands and feet are always freezing. She explained that it is the body's biological response to stress. When under stress, the "fight or flight" reaction is to send the blood to the core of the body for survival. But it seems that mine, then, is always in that stressed survival mode. Her suggestions included changing my diet to include more vitamins and minerals to help circulation.

    The other thing that really helped for me was to listen to soft, relaxing music while breathing. Then, when I'm at work and I put that music on, my body automatically relaxes. There is a mind-body connection with that music. That is scientifically proven.

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