Biofeedback interventions, based on the psychophysiological principle that thoughts, emotions, and body interact, affecting each other, have been shown to be powerful clinical tools for use in psychosomatic medicine settings and primary care settings where 75% of patients may present with symptoms of unknown causes. This paper describes both overt and covert factors supporting successful biofeedback training. Highlighted biofeedback approaches addressed are: a) dynamic uses of the stress profiling; b) reframing the patients' experiences as a result of normal or even excessive biological reactions; and, c) details of cardiorespiratory feedback practices. The clinical example is illustrated by the description of a two session intervention for a 20 year old woman to reduce symptoms of chronic anxiety and crying. This case illustrates that clinical biofeedback is more than just attaching sensors or having the person mechanically practice some prescribed behavior.
The author has investigated brain activations to uncover the nature of brain function, and has developed brain-computer interface (BCI) system to provide better communication abilities to paralyzed or locked-in patients. BCI detects brain activities by non-invasive measurements (e.g. EEG, NIRS), and user's intentions or "thoughts" are extracted and detected. In this paper, some of our research activities, including EEG-based BCI system based on motor imagery to detect commands from activities in sensory-motor cortex induced by imagination of user's limb movement, are introduced. Pfurtscheller et al. and I have developed a BCI system, called "Brain Switch", to realize a binary switch by detecting bursts of beta oscillation from one-channel EEG. And the effects of online feedback training using EEG and NIRS (near-infrared spectroscopy) signals of interest have been investigated. It was found that such online feedback training using measured brain signals is effective for improving S/N ratio and reproducibility of measured signal. It is expected that the neuro-feedback system will contribute to the real BCI system which enables bi-directional communication between brain and external environment.
Representation of information by using multiple senses plays an important role to convey information to the user accurately and intuitively. In the field of Virtual Reality (VR), researchers have been developing various representation techniques by using not only visual/auditory but also tactile/olfactory sensations so as to contribute to facilitate multi-modal information representation. The multi-modal representation is one of the most effective methods to improve the accessibility of information in the elderly. It is important to stimulate multiple senses of the elderly because some functions of their sense organ may decline by aging. Also, the VR technology which allows the user to attract their interest and giving the sense of presence strongly is easily applied to the field of entertainment. Based on these characteristics, our research group has been engaged in various studies using virtual reality (VR) techniques to assist in both motivating and rehabilitating elderly individuals. Our studies aim to help the elderly to maintain their physical functions and to prevent depression, dementia and other cognitive malfunctions. In this paper, we classify and introduce the previous studies that related on the VR based rehabilitation and therapies. Then the potential of multi-modal representation is discussed with the engineering viewpoint.
Neurofeedback which is also known as EEG Biofeedback has not be well known yet in Japan. But it is known as a effective treatment for not only ADD/ADHD but also epilepsy, depression, chronic pain, attachment disorder, and many other psychiatric and psychosomatic problems in the U.S. The Author has used Neurofeedback for 6 years in Japan and experienced many kinds of clients include ADD, Aspergers., HFPDD, Autism, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Bipolar disorder, Stroke etc.. This is an introduction of Neurofeedback therapy and what was experienced through Neurofeedback sessions.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is defined as medical interventions which do not belong to modern Western medicine. CAM includes various kinds of therapies such as Kampo medicine, folk medicine, therapies related to diet or herb, psychological therapies, exercise, animal therapy, horticulture therapy, therapies utilizing five senses, manual therapies, therapies utilizing environment, and religious therapies. Integrated medicine, combination of modern western medicine with CAM, is focused on the treatment and prevention of diseases, and health promotion. Furthermore, in the new type of integrated medicine, two key words, spirituality and environment are adopted. We have tried to establish the new type of integrated medicine in the Buddhist temple and the green park. Biofeedback is useful in the new type of integrated medicine to enhance the effect on spiritual care, by incorporating relaxation techniques and meditation. For that purpose, it is necessary to develop portable biofeedback instruments.
This study examined the influence of listening to one's heartbeat on one's psychological and physiological changes during a resting state. It consisted of two experiments. In Experiment 1, the heartbeat-listening condition, in which participants closed their eyes and listened to their heartbeat, was compared to a control condition, in which participants closed their eyes but did not listen to any particular sound. In Experiment 2, the metronome-listening condition, which involved closing the eyes and listening to a metronome, was compared to the same control condition as in Experiment 1. POMS (Profile of Mood States) Brief Japanese Version and introspective reports were the psychological indices. The electrocardiogram R-R interval and skin potential level were the physiological indices. Moreover, a Lorenz plot was calculated from the electrocardiogram R-R interval. Effects of the heartbeat-listening condition appeared in the physiological indices in Experiment 1: the CSI values of the Lorenz plot and the skin potential levels. For the heartbeat-listening condition, the CSI values of the Lorenz plot indicated that there was a reduction in heart sympathetic nerve activity during the post-experimental resting state. Furthermore, the skin potential level during the heartbeat-listening condition experiment showed a positive test result compared to the control condition. Therefore, it is apparent that listening to one's heartbeat while in a resting state reduces sympathetic nerve activity more than being in a resting state with eyes closed.