Sunday, July 17, 2011

Is Your Shampoo Making You Fat?

More on that in a minute, let's start with 4-7-8 Breathing

I've told you I'm taking a chronic pain course that has 3 components. One is relaxation therapy with biofeedback. It's very interesting and I learned a great breathing technique I want to share. It's called 4-7-8 breathing and it helps you to breathe deeply and gets your breaths down to about 10 breaths per minute, which is a great rate for deep relaxation. 
The theory is that when you regulate your breathing, other parts of your body respond by relaxing as well. It's used as a pain management technique to ease tension, regulate blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature. (here's a site on how to use 4-7-8 breathing). This is where biofeedback comes in...


I hadn't heard about this relaxation technique before, but it's so neat so I wanted to share. I've done it a few times in sessions so far and am really intrigued by it. I'll use Mayo Clinic's definition (found here) to describe it:
"Biofeedback is a complementary and alternative medicine technique in which you learn to control bodily functions, such as your heart rate, using your mind. With biofeedback, you're connected to electrical sensors that help you measure and receive information (feedback) about your body (bio). The biofeedback sensors teach you how to make subtle changes in your body, such as relaxing certain muscles, to achieve the results you want, such as reducing pain. 

In essence, biofeedback gives you the power to use your thoughts to control your body, often to help with a health condition or physical performance. Biofeedback is often used as a relaxation technique". 

I've really enjoyed it and found it interesting to see where my numbers (heart rate, body temp, "stress" rate) are as I practice deep breathing and relaxation. In my last session, I was hooked up during a 20 minute hypnosis (super relaxing), and the therapist observed that my breaths are a little bit shallow. We'll have to see if that's something I can work on in future sessions.The sessions are recorded as well so she can see what my average was and see where my numbers were at different times during the session.  Overall, I've already been able to see with my own eyes how practicing this deep breathing technique can calm the rest of the body down and regain some control of our body's stress response. 

Is your shampoo making you fat?