"Forest bathing," a term proposed by the Forestry Agency in 1982, can be described the psychological and physical restoration of health by experiencing nature and the ecosystem in the forest using the five senses. Forest bathing is expected to be a place free of everyday stress, where the bather can relax, and is a way to cope with modern stresses. Recent studies have shown the stress reduction effect of forest bathing. Forest bathing has been shown to physically reduce not only sympathetic nerve activity, but also stress hormones such as cortisol in saliva, blood pressure, and pulse, and to elevate parasympathetic nerve activity even during a short forest bathing (20 min). It has also become clear that forest bathing psychologically contributes a positive affect, subjective restoration, and enhanced mood. Internal immunocompetence, such as increased activity of natural killer cells, which is an internal immune cell, is increased by a long (three days and two nights) forest bathing. Forest Therapy Bases or Roads, where visitors can enjoy effective and restorative forest bathing, have been constructed throughout the country (so far, in 57 locations through the end of the 2014 fiscal year). At these sites, a forest bathing course and menu, reflecting the characteristics of each site, are prepared. A guide who has qualifications, such as forest therapist, takes visitors walking, allowing them to experience not only the quality of the forest bathing, but also a high stress reduction effect from the forest atmosphere. Finally, because the visitor can evaluate his or her mental and physical state before and after the forest bathing at these sites, the sites can be thought of as an example of the application of biofeedback for the purpose of health management.
Based on discussion from the 2014 symposium "The Pursuit of Additional Values in Biofeedback" at the 42nd congress of the Japanese Society of Biofeedback Research, this article discussed additional values of biofeedback. In this article the values of biofeedback were classified into two categories based on whether they were primary or secondary (or additional) values. The author has conducted seminars for stress management in the disaster area affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Some relaxation training, including biofeedback, was provided in the seminar. The biofeedback practice was received well by the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake. There are many benefits of biofeedback. The primary values include, first, that biofeedback is a psychophysiological treatment. The biofeedback practice was received by the victims better than was psychological counseling. This may be because an approach to altering mind-set through a physical or psychophysiological manipulation is less invasive to individuals who are psychologically distressed. A second primary value of biofeedback practice is that biofeedback provides reality-based information, and a client's attention repeatedly returns to reality. Third and fourth primary values include improving awareness about mind-body correlation, and improving self-control over mind and body. Secondary values of biofeedback include increasing self-efficacy through improving self-control ability, and there is high motivation to train using game-like feedback information. Biofeedback has the additional secondary value of promoting the capacity for "self-distancing" from symptoms, when a mindfulness approach is added. From the viewpoint of logotherapy, the self-distancing from symptoms is considered to be self-distancing from the physical and psychological dimensions to the spiritual dimension. Self-control is especially promoted in a clinical situation by the capacity for "self-transcendence" in logotherapy. At the same time, the acquired self-control reciprocally provides the additional value of promoting self-transcendence to personal life meaning. In conclusion, this article indicates that biofeedback is a psychophysiological therapy that improves human well-being via increasing initiative.
Effects of biofeedback from an aspect of psychosomatic medicine are not only psychosomatic regulations but also the emotional and/or somatic awareness. The awareness arises in the process of conscious regulatory process by biofeedback. Both subconscious regulatory systems such as autonomic nervous system and the conscious awareness which leads to coping behavior are important for human homeostatic health. Relationship between the emotional/ somatic awareness and autonomic regulation is an important issue for discussion of the additional values in biofeedback, because the biofeedback accelerates the association between the subconscious and conscious regulations. Interoception is a physiological basis for the emotional/somatic awareness. Neural substrates which connect the limbic system with the neocortical system, such as insula, are mainly involved in the interoception. The emotional awareness accelerates vagal tone and regulates the emotional function by a negative feedback loop based on an emotional regulatory model by Lane et al. Our studies on psychophysiological stress responses in patients with functional somatic or psychosomatic disorders indicated an existence of a cluster in which psychophysiological tones in baseline are high and reactivities to stress are low. The physiological traits were probably involved in the emotional/ somatic awareness. Alexithymia, a trait in which emotional awareness is impaired, has been considered as one of the main pathologies in psychosomatic disorders. Some studies, however, indicated alexisomia, a trait in which somatic awareness is impaired, has a more fundamental role for the psychosomatic pathologies. The interoceptive awareness is a physiological foundation of the alexisomia, and autonomic regulatory systems are basically involved in the interoception. These multilevel constructs contribute the psychosomatic regulation and homeostatic health. Biofeedback makes an attempt of conscious regulation which is subconsciously made in normal conditions. Hence the biofeedback has characteristic potentials which could access the various levels of constructs simultaneously, that is, biofeedback could accelerate the interoception, emotional/ somatic awareness, and autonomic function.
The maker movement, i.e., the culture of do-it-yourself technology, is spreading worldwide from the United States. The application of physical computing and digital fabrication on the development of biofeedback devices, as well as the influence and effects of such processes on future research, were explored. Examples of entertainment-oriented biological information measuring devices were showcased, and the importance of learning the psychosomatic relationship through play were emphasized. By becoming familiar with device development and applying that to educational activities, the possibility that biofeedback generalize and spread more widely to our life was proposed.
Biofeedback(BF) therapy have been applied in psychosomatic medicine as a technique of self-cotrol. We use it for various disease. It have been demonstrated about the effect as a relaxation technique, and used in education and preventive medicine. I think that it is effective in self-esteem, self-efficasy by visually and instantaneously. I report that the additional value of Biofeedback(BF) therapy of self-esteem and self-efficasy.
Interpersonal stress has various effects on individuals depending on their perception of the stressful situation. We focused on competitive situations as one of the interpersonal stressors in daily life, and we examined the effect of perceiving competitive situations in terms of electrophysiological responses. An electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded during a cued reaction time task under solo and competitive situations with a visible opponent or an invisible opponent. Fast Fourier transform analysis was performed to compute absolute EEG alpha and beta power values. The alpha power ratio was calculated by dividing alpha power by alpha plus beta power and was then used to assess the participants' responses to interpersonal stress in competitive situations by examining the effects of time course on the alpha power ratio. To estimate the perception of competitive situations, participants' competitiveness was quantified using a questionnaire. Participants with lower third and upper third scores on the questionnaire were included in this analysis. For participants exhibiting low levels of competitiveness, the alpha power ratio of later trials was larger than that of earlier trials when competing with an invisible opponent, whereas there was no such temporal change when they were competing with a visible opponent. For participants with high levels of competitiveness, the alpha power ratio decreased in the competitive condition with a visible opponent compared with the solo condition, although there were few differences in their alpha power ratio between the competitive condition with an invisible opponent and the solo condition. These results suggest that less competitive individuals experience less stress in competitive situations although their arousal level is affected by awareness of their opponent. In contrast, competitive situations have greater impact on more competitive individuals owing to their high motivation for winning; invisibility of the opponent reduces their stress in competitive situations.
The present study was designed to examine the effects of heart rate variability biofeedback (HRV-BF) on the cardiorespiratory resting function during sleep in 12 healthy young adults. All participants were examined as to the effects of HRV-BF and control (no-treatment) assigned in a random order at an interval of one week. In the HRV-BF condition, participants were instructed to use a computer-based HRV-BF program for 20 minutes (a 10-minute training was administered twice) before their habitual bedtime, while they breathed synchronously with a visual pacemaker at a 0.1 Hz frequency. In the control condition, participants were asked to engage in their habitual activity before bedtime. In both conditions, pulse wave signals during sleep at their own residences were measured continuously using a wristwatch-type transdermal photoelectric sensor for four successive nights. Cardiorespiratory resting function was assessed quantitatively as the amplitude of high-frequency (HF) component of pulse rate variability, a surrogate measure of respiratory sinus arrhythmia. HF amplitudes during sleep in the HRV-BF condition were found to be higher than in the control condition. Although State Anxiety scores before bedtime in the HRV-BF were lower than those of the control condition, no significant effect of HRV-BF on OSA sleep inventory scores immediately after awakening was detected. These results suggest that HRV-BF before sleep may improve cardiorespiratory resting function during sleep, which is consistent with the findings of our previous study (Sakakibara et al., 2013).
[Purpose] To investigate how virtual environment affects aged people who periodically play the balloon popping game "Kineriha System [○!C]," with a Kinect^<TM> sensor developed by Microsoft [Procedure] We provided Kineriha System to twenty-three aged people who used day-care services twice or more a week, and asked them to operate the system two or more times a week for four weeks. Before and after this trial, we conducted (1) 10 meter walk test, (2) TUG, and (3) 5 step test on them, and compared test results of people who continued operation of the system completely for four weeks. Also, we checked their daily exercise levels and how they were curious or care about game systems. We conducted this study with Tokoha University Research Ethics Committee's consent. [Result] The tested aged people were eleven men and twelve women, 78.1 years old on the average (±6 years). Among them, seven people continuously played the game until the last day of the test period, and were measured with (1), (2), and (3). Their average score was: (1) 10.65s (±3.66)→9.23s (±1.73); (2) 10.87s (±1.97)→10.07s (±1.96); and (3) 14.14s (±2.46)→11.46s (±1.62), and every people significantly improved the test scores after playing the game at (2)&(3) (p < 0.05). [Prospect] Many people tested in this time had problems in motor functions and visual and auditory senses due to aging, and accordingly, could not keep playing the game and stopped it. Also, many of them had no experience with games. Supposedly those people could not get themselves interested in the game and stopped playing it. After playing the game, their motor functions were improved significantly, and that result was related to the number of tested people and selection bias.