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Importance of Biofeedback

Importance of Biofeedback

One of the treatment modalities offered at AToN Center is Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback.  Many of our residents avail themselves of this training and have reported it to be a wonderful addition to their relapse prevention plans.

A recent article in the journal of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback reviewed literature that reported reduced heart rate variability was particularly pronounced in individuals disclosing strong cravings for substances.  As the goal of Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback is to increase heart rate variability, the authors implemented a research study which recruited individuals from the community who reported experiencing intense food cravings with lack of control over their food intake.  These participants were split into two groups:  a Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback protocol,  and a control group without any interventions.  The authors reported that those in the Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback group reported reduced food cravings and an increased confidence in their ability to manage their food intake.  These authors recommended the implementation of Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback as a possible modality for reducing cravings for food, and others have suggested that Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback may be helpful in reducing cravings for nicotine and other substances.

As research regarding Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback and craving reduction continues to develop, there is no doubt that those who practice heart rate variability biofeedback regularly report an increased quality of life.  I encourage those of you who learned this valuable skill at AToN to continue on with all of your hard work so you can live fulfilled and balanced lives.  If your practice has fallen by the wayside, I encourage you to re-commit to your daily practice, even if it is only ten minutes at a time!


Best – Cassandra Cannon, Ph.D. – Licensed Clinical Health Psychologist
**Article referenced:  Meule, A., Freund, R., Skirde, A.K., Vogele, C. and Kubler, A. (2012).  Heart rate variability biofeedback reduces food cravings in high food cravers.  Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 37, 241-251.***

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