Everyone’s individual biofeedback system includes two main resources. One is intuition, that quiet inner voice which continuously guides us and one which few of us hear and even fewer follow. The second is our physical body with all its senses and emotions. For some individuals there is still a third biofeedback system based on the connection with the Divine, Higher Intelligence or whatever name that person uses to recognize it.
Dr. Rocki uses all three biofeedback systems to guide him in his medical practice and personal life. He teaches patients how to use biofeedback in their healing from diseases and maintaining health.
In this section Dr. Rocki describes the biofeedback systems used in his practice, which are focused on the physical body.
Biofeedback is an essential tool in training patients to recognize their bodies’ self-healing power and to harness it by learning self-care routines. Biofeedback includes the use of electronic devices to monitor the body’s functions, like heart rate, temperature, and breathing. Patients then are trained in using their mind and emotions to influence their bodies’ functions in a positive way. Biofeedback tools are effective because they offer immediate feedback on the patient’s version of self-care and allow them to visualize their healing progress in numbers and objective data. Biofeedback monitoring empowers patients to influence their bodies’ basic functions which is the core promise of self-care.
Heart rate variability (HRV)
This biofeedback system is based on the fact that our heart rate changes from one beat to another in accordance to the body’s needs, whether they are of physical or mental in nature. In sports that state is called “being in the zone” and refers to when the player is in his or her peak condition. Like athletes, patients may be trained in improved performance that synergizes the body’s natural self-healing.
HRV in relation to health and disease reflects the balance between sympathetic system, which mediates stress reactions (the “fight or flight” response), and parasympathetic system, which supports rest, digestion, reproduction and repair. Sympathetic system “overdrive” (dominance) as reflected in HRV is associated with the risk for cardiovascular and other body systems’ malfunctions.
To monitor HRV Dr. Rocki uses devices manufactured by HeartMath, an organization dedicated to researching the physiology of stress and heart-brain interactions. Biofeedback devices developed by HeartMath include the emWave Personal Stress Reliever® and emWave® Desktop. These tools are effective in training patients to reduce stress, manage emotions associated with stress, expand their coping skills repertoire, and create a greater sense of well-being leading to the state of optimum performance.
Monitoring skin temperature is used to show patients that they can influence that parameter using their mind, which reinforces their faith in the power of self-care as they realize just how much power their conscious thoughts have.
This is another physiological parameter which correlates with the balance of the sympathetic- parasympathetic part of the autonomic nervous system. Connected to that is also breathing quality, which is differentiated between diaphragmatic (abdominal) breathing and chest breathing.
Dr. Rocki uses a computerized device called RESPeRATE. A breathing sensor is positioned on patient’s mid-abdomen using adjustable belt. It monitors breathing rate and the software program creates an optimal breathing pattern which is then embed ed into relaxing music. Patient learns this new, beneficial breathing pattern by listening trough the earphones to the music with an individual Besides it biofeedback function, use of the RESPeRATE device has been shown to lower elevated blood pressure.