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Relaxation exercises/techniques.

There are many variations of these exercises, but all of them produce what physiologists call "the relaxation response." The parasympathetic nervous system predominates, the individual's autonomic system is not in an emergency mode, and the body is in a more rebuilding, "healing" mode. This is not the same as sleeping although sleeping is also a type of rebuilding activity. One component that is common to most of these techniques is relaxed, deep, slow, and unforced breathing.


Cognitive therapy.

This form of psychotherapy helps patients to replace dysfunctional, inaccurate thoughts and images (causing the experience of stress) with thoughts and images that are more accurate and that decrease stress. This often involves a technique known as "reframing" in which one learns to view or think about a stressor or stressful situation in a different light that is less stressful. In addition, the therapist will also help the patient to find ways of decreasing or removing stressors. Sometimes this is the easiest thing to do if it is logistically feasible.


EEG biofeedback (also known as neurofeedback).

This is a cutting-edge technology that uses operant conditioning (reinforcement) to alter brain waves. EEC biofeedback provides information to patients about their nervous systems so that they can self-regulate more effectively. This regulation can help the body achieve homeostasis and balance. In turn, patients are very often able to become more relaxed physically and to experience less stress. Neurofeedback is FDA approved for relaxation.


Medical hypnosis.

Particularly when performed by a licensed mental health professional such as a clinical psychologist, hypnosis assists the client in entering an extremely relaxed but focused state so that subconscious processes of healing can occur. This relaxed state not only reduces immediate stress, but it also reduces chronic stress.

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