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By Inna Khazan, PhD, BCB, BCB-HRV, and Donald Moss, PhD, BCB, BCN, BCB-HRV
Mindfulness, acceptance, and compassion are words heard with ever greater frequency in healthcare and behavioral health circles. Originally inspired by Vipassana meditation in Buddhist traditions, mindfulness encourages the practitioner to cultivate a moment-to-moment awareness of present events, characterized by non-judging, non-striving, acceptance, trust, non-attachment, patience, and beginner's mind (Kabat-Zinn, 1994, 2013).
This book proposes a fruitful integration of the mindfulness approach with clinical biofeedback practice. The authors follow the integrative approach initially introduced by Khazan (2013) and believe when patient and therapist together cultivate an open attitude of acceptance and compassion, during the therapeutic encounter, this facilitates a more successful pursuit of both physiological and psychological self-regulation. It has long been recognized that striving and effort block relaxation and reinforce physiological tensions. In the early days of biofeedback, Herbert Benson (1975) recommended cultivating an attitude of passive attention or passive volition as one of the four components of the relaxation response. Mindfulness, acceptance, and compassion-based approaches take this cultivation of an open and accepting awareness to a new level.
The mindfulness approaches have generated such appeal that at least 50 mobile applications are now available for self-training in mindfulness. Plaza, Demarzo, Herrera-Mercadal, and GarcíaCampayo (2013) recently reviewed the available research on 50 mindfulness mobile applications and found a lack of evidence to document the usefulness of the apps, yet the number of available applications continues to increase.
Most of the individual chapters in this book have appeared as articles in the Biofeedback magazine between 2015 and 2019. Several were solicited specifically for this collection but have also made an appearance in the magazine. The chapters of the book are gathered into four sections, each with an introduction by the editors. We are grateful to both the authors and the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback for permission to gather the individual articles into the present volume.
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Biofeedback providers necessarily make contact with patients or clients using sterile and non-sterile instruments and sensors. Many biofeedback providers lack the aseptic technique training that is common to licensed medical providers. This review familiarizes biofeedback providers with the essential principles and procedures of infection risk mitigation by touching on routes of disease transmission, disinfection, sanitization, and Spaulding classification. Basic suggestions for infection risk mitigation standards of practice are offered.
What is Biofeedback?
Biofeedback has evolved from a fascination in the 1960s and 70s to a mainstream methodology today for treating certain medical conditions and improving human performance. This evolution has been driven by years of scientific research demonstrating that the mind and body are connected, and that people can be taught to harness the power of this connection to change physical activity and improve health and function. Public interest in biofeedback is growing, and with it the need for a clear answer to the question, “what is biofeedback?” The leading professional organizations representing the field have answered with the following standard definition: