The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback defines biofeedback as "a process that enables an individual to learn how to change physiological activity for the purposes of improving health and performance. Precise instruments measure physiological activity such as brainwaves, heart function, breathing, muscle activity, and skin temperature. These instruments rapidly and accurately "feed back" information to the user. The presentation of this information — often in conjunction with changes in thinking, emotions, and behavior — supports desired physiological changes. Over time, these changes can endure without continued use of an instrument.”
We are including biofeedback instruments as part of the resources for relaxation training because they can enhance your learning process. When you practice relaxation skills while using these instruments, you can track how your body changes in real time. With time, this process can enhance your sense of mastery in your ability to achieve relaxation.
Though there are many health applications for biofeedback in professional settings (e.g., pain management, hypertension, headaches), the focus here is on relaxation training. However, you can discuss with your counselor how to use biofeedback to enhance your relaxation training as part of your treatment plan for depressed mood and anxiety, among other issues.
The Counseling & Testing Center has three biofeedback instruments: (1) The Stress Eraser, which measures heart rate, (2) The GSR2, which measures the electrical conductance of the skin, and (3) the Stress Thermometer, which measures skin temperature. You’ll find instructions for the use of each instrument in this section. You’re welcomed to try each one of them.