Biofeedback May Help Control Stress-Related Diseases

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Many college students succumb to stress-related illnesses and several studies have been conducted, with positive results, to introduce stress management programs into their lives. An article in the most recent issue of Biofeedback discusses the outcome of a 23-year-old test subject with stress-related psoriasis, who gave up medicinal treatments and instead used the self-healing method of biofeedback to control his disease.

Pre and post photos of the elbow and knee showing the improvement of the skin

Pre and post photos of the elbow and knee showing the improvement of the skin

In this study, James, a 23-year-old student suffering from the disease for five years, learns how to train his mind to not give into stress, feelings of anxiety, self-doubt, or even the need to physically touch his affected skin.

Biofeedback – Currently, 74% of patients who visit their health care providers have undiagnosed medical conditions. Most of the symptoms are a culmination of stress, anxiety, and depression. Health care professionals choose to treat these patients ineffectively with medications instead of offering stress management options. These stress management techniques have proven to have an 82% success rate among students in a semester-long stress management program.

Many college students succumb to stress-related illnesses and several studies have been conducted, with positive results, to introduce stress management programs into their lives. The Biofeedback article,“There Is Hope: Autogenic Biofeedback Training for the Treatment of Psoriasis,” discusses the outcome of a 23-year-old test subject with stress-related psoriasis, who gave up medicinal treatments and instead used the self-healing method of biofeedback to control his disease.

Psoriasis causes red, flaky skin and is currently the most common autoimmune disease affecting approximately 2% of the US population. Many people afflicted with this disease use steroids, topical creams, special shampoos, and prescription medication. Unfortunately, the disease can only be suppressed, not cured; many people with psoriasis feel damaged and have a difficult time socially. Stress is often the trigger that makes one’s psoriasis worse. In this study, James, a 23-year-old student suffering from the disease for five years, learns how to train his mind to not give into stress, feelings of anxiety, self-doubt, or even the need to physically touch his affected skin.

James was trained in stress management and biofeedback techniques including relaxation, stress reduction, and desensitization. He also learned how to increase his confidence by changing his body posture while sitting and standing. James was instructed to take his time, slow down, and even stop and refocus his energy when he felt the need to fall back into old habits. He admits that it was difficult, and at times he would have to stop focusing on the task in front of him to put all of his energy into regaining his composure, but that it was also worth it. After three weeks, James had clear skin, something he had not had in five years, and after four months his progress remained intact.

There are many diseases and ailments that require the use of medication for appropriate treatment, but when stress is a factor in any diagnosis, or when a diagnosis cannot be found, it is important for stress management to be offered as a viable option for patients to consider. It is obvious, shown through the case of James, that stress can play a huge factor in the health of an individual. And if managed properly, a happy and healthy life is attainable.

Full text of the article, “There Is Hope: Autogenic Biofeedback Training for the Treatment of Psoriasis,” Biofeedback, Vol. 41, No. 4, 2013, is available at http://www.aapb-biofeedback.com/doi/full/10.5298/1081-5937-41.4.01.

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About Biofeedback

Biofeedback is published four times per year and distributed by the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback(AAPB). AAPB’s mission is to advance the development, dissemination, and utilization of knowledge about applied psychophysiology and biofeedback to improve health and the quality of life through research, education, and practice. For more information about AAPB, see http://www.aapb.org.

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Bridget Lamb
Allen Press, Inc.
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