Biofeedback (“feedback from the body”) is a form of therapy that brings awareness
to how stress impacts the body. Instruments provide immediate information of
your response to stress and anxiety and uses the information to help you learn
how to modify your reactions.
Clinicians teach various regulating techniques during biofeedback training. These
include mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, and
The more you practice these skills the more you gain.
Biofeedback has been shown to be helpful in reducing the negative effects of stress
and improving mental clarity, self-regulation, and performance-based activities. It
can help with a variety of conditions, including but not limited to stress, anxiety,
headaches, muscle tension, and pain.
CWS offers the following types of biofeedback:
• Thermal biofeedback measures the temperature of your hands with the aim
of teaching you to voluntarily create a relaxed state. The more stressed we
feel, the colder our extremities tend to get.
• Surface Electromyography (sEMG) measures muscle tension and allows you to
better influence the activation or relaxation of your muscles. It can be
helpful in reducing tension headaches and muscle spasms.
• Skin Conductance (SC) measures the sweat gland activity of the surface of the
skin, which is sensitive to emotional and cognitive responses. It is useful for
identifying stressors and learning to reduce their impact.
• Respiratory Biofeedback involves the monitoring of breathing rates and
patterns. It can assist you in learning to regulate your breathing.
• Heart-Rate Variability (HRV) measures heart-beat intervals and provides
feedback of heart rate patterns. It is helpful for increased self-regulation and
the reduction of performance-related anxieties.
• Interactive Mindfulness Meditation provides self-guided training options based
on HRV biofeedback.
Cautions and contraindications
Biofeedback is considered safe but may not be appropriate for everyone. Those
with a medical or mental health condition should check with their health care
provider to determine the suitability of the program, prior to its use. The following
conditions are cautioned:
o acute, severe, or unstable medical illness
o disorders that involve severe, unstable autonomous nervous system,
endocrine, or metabolic functions (e.g., diabetes)
o neurological conditions (e.g., seizures) and/or severe impairments of
memory or attention
o irregularities of heart rhythm (e.g., atrial fibrillation, flutter, or intense
clusters of premature atrial contractions)
o significant psychological disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, mania, major
depression, paranoia, severe OCD, PTSD, or dissociation)
Interested in learning more?
Call CWS at (509) 359-2366 or stop by 225 Martin Hall during our office hours (8:00
am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday) to schedule an appointment with one of