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August 2019

Arousal reduction with biofeedback-supported respiratory meditation

Journal/Book: Biofeedback Self Regul. 1984; 9: 497-508.

Abstract: This study investigated the effectiveness of a relaxation procedure that combines a concentration aid, in the form of biofeedback, with elements of approved relaxation procedures. Ten subjects completed two sessions, one with and one without feedback. Half of the subjects started with the feedback session and then completed the session without feedback; the other half had the reverse order. In the experimental procedure, subjects had to concentrate on their exhalation, being supported by respiratory feedback. In the background they heard slow movements of baroque music and relaxation-suggesting sentences. The control procedure contained only background music and relaxation-suggesting sentences. Both procedures elicited a trophotropic response: Finger temperature increased while skin conductance level, number of skin conductance responses, and muscle tension decreased. However, with respiratory feedback and meditation, there was an additional, specific effect, a decrease in respiration and heart rate, to an extent not found in the control procedure. It is suggested that exhalation feedback helps to concentrate on the exhalation process and by this means slows respiration rate, and as a consequence, also heart rate. Therefore, respiratory feedback could be a useful tool for inducing relaxation and slowing of heart rate.

Keyword(s): Adult. Arousal/physiology. Biofeedback (Psychology). Combined Modality Therapy. Female. Galvanic Skin Response. Heart Rate. Human. Male. Middle Age. Muscle Contraction. Relaxation Techniques. Respiration. Skin Temperature

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