Weighing the pros and cons of biofeedback therapy

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As you may expect, biofeedback therapy has both benefits and liabilities. Let me start with the "bad" news:

1 Your health-insurance company may not provide coverage, so the sessions can be pricey.

1 Identifying a trained professional who has the equipment and who is competent to provide the therapy may be difficult.

1 The therapy takes time. Biofeedback improvements may not occur in the first few sessions, and it may take longer than you'd like before you see any results — not a good thing if you're paying out of pocket for these treatments.

The major pro is that if biofeedback therapy works, you'll feel better. Experts also believe that you can generalize the results of biofeedback to your daily life. That is, after you've mastered the technique, you no longer need to be hooked up to a machine that measures your blood pressure, pulse, and so forth. Instead, when you feel yourself starting to stress out, you can (at least, theoretically) call upon the capabilities that you've gained through the biofeedback training. In one study, patients were still successful at using what they'd learned even six months after biofeedback therapy had completely ended. They hadn't forgotten the techniques, even though they were no longer receiving the treatments.

184 Part IV: Modifying Your Lifestyle: Small Changes, Big Results vjjUBEn

A reminder: Rest!

Taking time out for some rest and relaxation is not a bad thing, although you may think that it is in our hyperactive society where the cultural concentration is centered on working harder and faster. Your body and your mind need diversions. At least once every few days, do something fun or take some time to do nothing at all. Doing nothing involves activities like listening to gentle music, or watching birds outside your window, or taking a bubble bath. Include this kind of downtime in your schedule because it's good for your body and for your soul.

Don't watch television to relax, and if you do watch TV, stop watching it at least 30 minutes before you want to go to bed. Watching TV (or searching the Internet on your computer) causes the electrical activity of the brain to increase, and makes relaxation and sleep more difficult to achieve.

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