These six devices were selected by Gary Ames 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 which are sustained in the long term after the benefit is obtained.
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.
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, and this affects the electrical conductivity of your fingers.
GSR 2 – with or without accessories. ~$50 or $150.
Heart Rate Variability, HRV. When you inhale, heart rate increases. When you exhale, heart rate decreases. Learning to have smooth and strong heart rhythms in sync with breathing is good for mind and body.
[http://www.StressEraser.com/] Hand Held, $395
GSR & HRV combined
http://www.WildDivine.com. Lush computer game with 40 biofeedback challenges. Sedate. $159.95.
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 multiple ways.
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.
http://www.pocket-neurobics.com – stand alone, PC or wireless
http://www.PlayAttention.com single channel, helmet
http://www.Brainquiry.com – wireless
You may need a license or prescription to buy other more expensive 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 and computer-based.
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
http://www.pocket-neurobics.com HEG and/or EEG
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 you can’t feel it and get a better brain. Generally used for 20-60 minutes per day for a month or two.
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 to 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. The difference is that too much mind-body training can be less obvious.
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:
http://www.aapb.org (coming soon).
You might also try the web sites of particular software vendors such as http://www.adnf.org/neurofeedback_directory.htm