Mind Over Body
By Mimi Ko Cruz
Apr 22, 2009 – 7:21:36 AM
(HealthNewsDigest.com) – When 2nd Lt. Jacob Gonzales first boarded an Army CH-47 Chinook, he got sick with nausea. With a history of motion sickness, the officer said he had to figure out a way to control it to be an effective leader. “When you’re in charge of soldiers, it’s not good for them to see their leader vomiting in front of them,” he said from Fort Sill in Oklahoma, where he is awaiting deployment to Afghanistan.
Last year, while completing his psychology degree, Gonzales signed up for Maureen Haney’s biofeedback class, where he learned to control motion sickness.
What is Biofeedback?
The term was coined in 1969 to describe laboratory procedures that trained research subjects to alter brain activity, blood pressure, muscle tension, heart rate and other physiological responses often thought to be beyond voluntary control. Biofeedback helps teach people to improve their health and performance by observing signals generated by their own bodies.
“After I learned about biofeedback and techniques for concentrating, breathing and relaxing, I was able to use it, and it worked,” Gonzales said. “I also use it when I’m running five miles a day. It helps me with the pain so I’m able to push through to the end.”
Haney, lecturer in health science and director of the university’s Psychophysiology Lab, said biofeedback is a learning process in which people are taught to improve their health and performance by observing signals generated by their own bodies. Her students learn to use biofeedback equipment and skills — such as deep breathing, relaxation, autogenics (self-hypnosis of the central and autonomic nervous system) and visualization — for changing physiological functions.