Dr. Andrew Weil, sometimes called “The Integrative MD,” is founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and clinical professor of medicine at the University of Arizona.
For people experiencing migraines, as well as serious stress and anxiety, and high blood pressure, Dr. Weil recommends biofeedback as a technique to help manage your condition.
He describes it as a “Learned, mind-body technique that allows you to influence seemingly involuntary physical functions such as your body’s response to stress, which manifests as increased blood pressure and muscle tension.”
Breaking it down, during a typical session, the therapist uses sensors to track markers of your body’s state, like heart rate, brain wave frequency and muscle tension. This information can then be used to help you learn how to adjust your internal responses in positive ways.
A sensor placed on your finger, for example can translate skin temperature into a distinct beep – the higher the temperature, the faster the beeping. This can help you become aware of your own stress responses, and can help you learn to calm them through approaches like breath work, meditation and guided imagery.
The web sites Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (aapb.org) and Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (bcia.org) can provide more information. At home, you could try computer-based biofeedback training, like “Journey to Wild Divine.” Prevention Magazine April 2014