People living in current complicated societies are influenced by various psychosocial stressors. Biological responses to stressor are adaptive and defensive mechanism in nature. Psychological, physiological and behavioral problems may be evoked, if stressors are excess and continue for a long time, or if coping strategies are not effective so much. Anxiety disorders and mood disorders may be considered as psychological responses to stressors in many cases. Psychosomatic disease, which is defined as somatic disease influenced by psychosocial factors strongly, may be considered as physiological responses to stressor. Even if there are many psychosomatic therapies for psychosomatic disease, biofeedback therapy was expected as the most effective one. But, biofeedback therapy is not yet applied in general clinical practice. Its reasons might be as follows: (1) Evidences of biofeedback therapy are not so much, (2) Much treatment time is needed, (3) Mechanism of efficacy is not clarified. In order to overcome these issues, it is needed that improvement of usability of biofeedback equipment, accumulation of clinical evidence, and approach to information processing in the brain. And, the interdisciplinary collaboration with near research fields is important, in which key words may be measuring of biological information, feedback, and control.
The Health Belief Model proposes that medical treatment and patient self-care plans need to be congruent with the client's illness beliefs. When the client's illness attribution is compatible, the client is more likely to comply with both medical treatment and self-care. The authors emphasize the internal versus external locus of control dimension in illness attributions. Clients may believe that the illness is outside of personal control and that only external treatment such as surgery or medication will help. With such beliefs in place, the client is unlikely to be open to a regimen emphasizing self-regulation and personal behavioral changes. When medical professionals give information without taking into account the patient's perceptions, it can transform patients' illness beliefs and create a poorer prognosis. On the other hand, when physician's instructions suggest hope, healing is augmented by the placebo instructions. The authors propose that biofeedback and somatic feedback exercises provide effective tools for changing illness attributions and awaken the client to the impact of thoughts and emotions on physiology. A case study and a description of a somatic feedback exercise illustrate the approach.
Patients with psychosomatic disorder frequently experience alexisomia, which means they have difficulty identifying and describing bodily sensations (Ikemi, 1977). Several studies have reported changes in bodily sensations, including internal perception (proprioception), during negative emotions such as anxiety, anger, and so on. However, few studies have examined changes in bodily sensations during positive emotions. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to elucidate changes in bodily sensations during positive and negative emotions. Stimuli consisted of seven emotionally-laden film clips: three were used to elicit negative emotions (NEGAs), three were used to elicit positive emotions (POSIs), and the remaining clip was neutral (NEUT). Thirty-one male and female students (aged 19-24 years) viewed these clips in random order. Participants rated the bodily changes they experienced while watching each clip on the 28-item Autonomic Perception Questionnaire-Revised (APQ-R), which relies on a five-point Likert scale. The analysis of APQ-R data revealed the following: 1) The NEGAs induced significantly greater changes in bodily perceptions than did the POSIs or the NEUT; 2) Changes in bodily perceptions spread to all parts of the body while participants watched the NEGAs, and 3) Changes involving cardiac and respiratory perceptions were significantly more pronounced while participants watched the POSIs, which may have been caused by humorous scenes. It is necessary to develop a new questionnaire that is more sensitive than the APQ-R to bodily changes during positive emotions.
Valins (1966) showed that false heart rate (HR) feedback during sexual female picture presentation can change attractiveness for their attractiveness, indicating that a physiological response is not necessary for emotional arousal. On the other hand, Stern et al. (1972) executed the same experiment and found that a physiological response may occur thorough the attractiveness modification process. They advocated that a physiological response is necessary for emotional arousal. In subsequent research, Valins' results (1966) have been generally supported (e. g., Inamori, 1974). Many of these studies analyzed only the period of picture presentation. However, to investigate the precise effects of false feedback, a longer period of analysis is required. This study investigated the effects of false HR feedback during picture presentation on attractiveness ratings and autonomic nervous system indices (HR, finger blood flow, and skin conductance) by performing analysis after the picture presentation period. We employed eight male subjects. Each of them viewed ten female pictures through two types of HR feedback: one was rising HR (reinforced feedback) and the other was constant HR (non-reinforced feedback). After a rest period of four minutes, 10 pictures of women were presented. Each picture presentation consisted of one minute of fixation and 15 seconds of presentation. After a one-minute rest period following the last trial, the subjects rated the attractiveness of each picture. As a result, we found differences in the autonomic activities of the two types of feedback only in the period after picture presentation. However, we could not find the modification of attractiveness ratings between the two types of feedback. The failure of cognitive operation seemed to be the reason for these paradoxical results.
The Japanese Society of Biofeedback Research has launched in 1973, and continues academic conferences annually for more than 40 years. During each conference, the Planning Committee of the Society has been discussing about development of biofeedback, and decided to conduct a questionnaire survey for society members who attended the 40th annual conference in 2012. The questions were as follows; 1. Essential role of the society, 2. Request for the society, 3. Materials or information to provide non-members from the society, 4. Appropriateness of the name of the society, 5. Content of annual conferences, 6. Utilization of international foundation of the society, 7. Homepage of the society, and 8. Other opinions. As results, 25 members completed the questionnaire. Summarizing these answers, the collaboration among experts in the fields of medicine, engineering, and psychology is the great advantage for the society, and participations of students and young scholars are essential for the development of biofeedback. To complete the task proposed in this survey, information exchange is required between the society and the international society related to biofeedback in the academic setting, as well as between the society and people living in the community in regard to the usage of biofeedback technology in daily lives.