How to find the healing devices that improve quality of life, for good.
by Gary Ames
These six kinds of devices were selected for their research support
and professional regard. All are available to consumers and can be a
great bargain for quality of life. These gadgets usually produce
significant improvements in nervous system functioning. These
gains are typically sustained in the long term.
Temperature biofeedback training with a thermometer
Learn to relax by increasing the blood perfusion to your fingers or
toes. Trial and error learning guides you toward relaxation.
Indoor/Outdoor digital thermometer with 2 second updates to 1/10th
Galvanic Skin Response (GSR). Skin Conductance.
Every time your autonomic nervous system changes the level of arousal
or relaxation, the moisture of your skin changes. This affects
the electrical conductivity of your fingers. The GSR 2, without or with
accessories, cost $50 or $150. Equipment is available at the following
Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
When you inhale, heart rate increases. When you exhale, heart rate
decreases. Practicing smooth and strong heart rhythms in sync with
breathing is good for mind and body.
GSR & HRV combined
EEG Biofeedback or Neurofeedback. Brain Wave Training.
Monitoring and interacting with your own brain waves is a powerful
method. There is broad applicability to enhance sanity, health,
competence, and wisdom. This device will probably improve your life in
The BrainMaster is a good device for consumers, but you may need
professional support. Play Attention is a weaker technology but has good
remote support. Pocket Neurobics is a bargain with the weakest support.
Yahoo has good newsgroup support forums.
Anyone can buy EEG biofeedback units on these sites:
There are home training systems available for use with a
clinician. You may need a health care license or prescription to
buy other equipment from a manufacturer or dealer.
HemoEncephaloGraphy, HEG (blood brain image with infrared sensors).
These biofeedback devices monitor blood perfusion or blood
oxygenation inside the brain with an infrared sensor on a headband. When
you practice at activating certain sites on the head enhance a
corresponding function in the brain. HEG devices can be both hand held
There are two kinds of HEG: nir HEG and pIR HEG. pIR HEG uses a box
shaped sensor that is worn on the forehead. It is used only for the
frontal cortex, the most human part of the brain. nir HEG is a headband
with flat sensors that can be positioned at different sites on the head
to exercise particular brain functions. See http://www.biocompresearch.org/questionaire1.htm
Cranial Electrical Stimulation (CES)
This device is not biofeedback. CES sends a very mild current through
the brain. Strong research support, FDA approved for anxiety,
depression and insomnia. Simply turn it on so low that you can’t feel it
and get a better brain. Generally used for 20-60 minutes per day for a
month or two. Use continuously during chemical withdrawl cravings
such as when quitting smoking.
A Slight Word of Caution
Biofeedback is generally safe and fun for the whole family. I am all
for healing yourself with self-training based on information from your
own body. But it is possible to do biofeedback badly. Usually this
happens when doing too much too soon and pushing the mind–body too hard.
This is especially true when there is greater dysfunction or
instability. My caution is like the common sense advice you would get
about weight training—start low and increase slowly. The difference is
that too much mind–body training can be less easily recognized.
When there are medical or psychiatric issues, it is prudent to work
with a licensed biofeedback trainer or therapist near you. Discuss a
home training unit and program to get the full benefit from devices.
There is no comprehensive directory of biofeedback providers. Try
finding one at: