The Newsletter of the Pennsylvania Society of Behavioral Medicine
and Biofeedback January 1996


  • Nursing and Biofeedback: A Winning Combination
  • Highlights: November '95 Conference:
    presentations by Dr. Elmer Green & Dr. Vietta Wilson
  • President's Column: Dr. James Supplee
  • Member Spotlight: Dr. Eric Miller
  • Next Issue

    Nursing and Biofeedback: A Winning Combination

  • Being a nurse and a biofeedback therapist has been a wonderful and very rewarding experience. As a nurse for the past 27 years and a biofeedback therapist for the last 16 of those years, I have cared for many patients using biofeedback as an adjunct therapy. One of the reasons I feel that nursing and biofeedback complement each other so nicely is due to the fact that the knowledge that is acquired in a nursing education can be utilized very effectively in biofeedback. For instance, the courses in anatomy and physiology are essential in working with many conditions. The nursing student is taught an understanding of various diseases and disorders, how to relate to patients, and how to provide the appropriate care. These are all areas that are incorporated into a nursing education. In addition, the clinical experience that is required throughout a nursing education provided first hand experience in working with patients. All types of patients with many different diseases and disorders are cared for not just on a one to one basis but simultaneously. Nurses are taught to develop a plan of care, observe results and any side effects to the treatment, and meet the individual needs of that particular patient. In other words, the patients look upon a nurse as a caregiver, providing comfort both physically and emotionally. Nurses also act as a liaison between the patient and the physician. The same qualities that make an effective nurse would also help a biofeedback therapist. In working with patients, a nursing education can be utilized very effectively in the field of biofeedback. Finally, since nurses already have many of the essential tools to be effective in the area of biofeedback, it truly is a winning combination for any nurse.

    Highlights: November ’95 Conference

    The Pennsylvania Society of Behavioral Medicine and Biofeedback was privileged to have one of the most renowned pioneers in the field at their November ’95 conference. Barbara Kelly, M.A. shares some of the highlights. Dr. Elmer Green presented on the topic Human Potential at the annual fall meeting on November 18, 1995. Dr. Green addressed the relationships between self-regulation, consciousness and human potential. The film “Biofeedback: The Yoga of the West” was shown. Results of experimentation on electrostatic phenomena in exceptional subjects such as healers were presented. Dr. Green’s effective personal use of meditation led to the ability to instrument and generalize the meditative method through alpha-theta brainwave feedback training. Clinical, research and exploratory results of alpha-theta brainwave training in the last five years has exceeded the most hopeful expectations. Dr. Green also expressed optimism for the future of biofeedback in the next century. As economic pressures mount to fund our health-care system, the emphasis will shift from treating disease to teaching psychophysiologic health and self-reliance to cut health-care costs. For a copy of “Mind Over Matter” write to: Peter Parks, Menninger Clinic, Box 829, Topeka, KS 66601. Also invited to speak at the November conference was Vietta Wilson, Ph. D. and her associate, Tina Feghali, M.D. Karen Sox, Ph.D shares highlights from their presentations. Dr. Vietta Wilson, Ph. D. is a professor at York University in Ontario, Canada, who specializes in kinesiology, stress management, and sports psychology. Dr. Feghali, is a sports consultant, and a faculty member of College of Mt. St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio. Friday evening’s topic, Terminal Health: Self-Regulation at the Computer was a timely one for all of us therapists who attempt to teach self-regulation while sitting at our biofeedback computers. It dealt with the prevention of repetitive strain injuries. Dr. Wilson noted that the fastest growing injuries are workstation related, costing an estimated seven billion dollars annually in lost productivity and medical costs. Dr. Wilson emphasized that the most important method for preventing workplace injuries is simply to move around more. She went on to discuss workstation ergonomics, kinesthetic awareness and muscle maintenance through strength and flexibility training. On Saturday morning, Drs. Wilson and Feghali presented on Imagery for Self-Regulation: What you See is Not all There is. This workshop was experiential as well as informative. Using hand-held portable temperature biofeedback devices, all members of the audience were able to observe the effects of their own mental imager. Dr. Wilson classified imagery along a number of dimensions, such as whether it is spontaneous or induced, concrete or abstract, or concerned with the end result versus being process oriented. It can be used for a variety of purposes, such as improving achievement, deepening relaxation, or ego strengthening. Dr. Wilson also reported on physiological changes in brain and muscle functioning which appear to be associated with the nature and the vividness of mental imagery. President’s Column: Dr. James Supplee 1996 is now upon us and so is the wintery weather. With all the cancellations, this is a stressful time for clinicians. It is also an excellent time to practice our stress management skills - to cope in an adaptive way and to resist the “awfulizing” which comes from watching too much local TV news. I am reminding myself that these cancellations are also giving me unexpected time to write this article. One of the tasks I want to take on as president is that of making biofeedback more well-known. When I entered the field in 1988, biofeedback was still coasting on all the attention it received in the 1970s. Unfortunately, it seems that biofeedback in 1996 is unfamiliar to many people. Recently I worked with Magee’s public relations department to produce an article about how I use biofeedback with people having chronic pain and this article appeared in PT News. In February, along with Dr. Carol Dorfman, I will be presenting to rehabilitation reps on “Stress Management and Biofeedback - Assisted Pain Reduction”. And in March I plan to return to my alma mater (Immaculata College) to talk to an honor society of graduate students and to undergraduates about biofeedback and self-regulation. During the next two years I want to create as many opportunities as possible to let others know about the interesting work we do. On Sunday, May the 5th, PSBMB along with the Greater Philadelphia Pain Society and the New York Biofeedback Society will sponsor a one-day conference on “Assessment and Treatment of Sleep Problems in the Chronic Pain Patient”. It will be held at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. I believe we are breaking new ground in doing a conference on this topic. Biofeedback applications which treat both the pain and disregulation pieces of this problem will be explored. One last piece of news I’d like to share with you comes from a behavioral medicine panel on treating pain and sleep problems. The panel indicated there was moderate support in the literature for biofeedback (a big improvement from the Dept. of Health’s 1994 finding of no support for biofeedback fro acute low back pain) as well as strong support for relaxation as a treatment for these problems. This panel was sponsored by NIH’s Office of Alternative Medicine and the Office of Medical Applications of Research. As part of the trend to make biofeedback more familiar with others, in your contacts with the public and other health care professionals be sure to let them know about these findings. All of you have some good ideas about how to improve the viability of what we do. Please don’t hoard them! You are welcome to join us (the Executive Committee) when we meet after PSBMB’s fall and spring conferences and in August. You are equally welcome to call me (w- 215/955-1210, h-610/363-2884). I am looking forward to serving PSBMB as president. Note: Feature Article are requested from members. It is hoped that members will share the type of work they do in the various areas of biofeedback.

    This issue's Member Spotlight: Dr. Eric Miller

    Jung defined “spirit” as the dynamic aspect of the unconscious and spoke of the unconscious as the creative, energetic center of our beings. More and more, a movement joining creative expressions and biofeedback therapy has been developing. Dr. Eric Miller, a psychologist and certified music therapist, has been working on developing integrative techniques with biofeedback and music. He serves as president of Expressive Therapy Concepts, a non-profit organization dedicated to the creative arts therapies and he has recently joined the staff at the Mind/Body Connection, a holistic treatment center in King of Prussia. A variety of music therapy interventions are used to facilitate desired physiological goals. In addition to using music to cue (classically condition) relaxation, Dr. Miller often asks patients to produce tones or chants that express their emotionality. “The patient is actively engaging in the creative process on a very simple level and he or she can observe physiological changes through biofeedback”, explained Dr. Miller. Eric plays jazz mandolin and percussion. This February, Eric and his wife will be playing and presenting at the Network Chiropractic Convention in Paris. Their band is called Omnistroke.

    Next Issue

    Insurance Billing and Procedure Codes: Which code goes to what? by Rob Kall. Members are requested to send Rob information on how you bill. What code do you use for a Psychophys. Stress Profile? Do you bill for 2 modalities at one time? What are you views? Please participate...please get involved. Rob Kall: e-mail Futurehealth or fax (215) 364-4447. Happy New Year to all of you!