Bio Feedback as a tool to combat RSI

Bio Feedback, is a method of measuring an individual’s stresses by monitoring muscle tension, sweat gland behaviour, heart rate etc. It is a non-invasive, non-medical process, designed to raise the awareness of the subject to how their body is reacting to their working environment.

Previously, while living in the US, I was sent for Bio Feedback monitoring, and was ‘hooked up’ to many electrode pads around my neck, shoulders, and arms. These were to be used to measure muscle tension in all the upper body limbs including the neck and shoulder area.  The sensors are connected to a computer which plots out the associated muscle tensions on a monitor, so you have real time visualisation of the various muscle tensions you hold in your upper body when operating computer equipment. You are actually seated in front of a real keyboard and mouse, and asked to type and enter data like you normally would in your daily life.

I was actually quite surprised at how much tension the signals showed, and was constantly told to relax the posture to drop the tension levels – not an easy task!

I had to really try to relax my whole body from my head to neck to shoulders to arms to wrist angle to make even the slightest difference. The difficulty was trying to hold it there whilst typing and using a mouse.

Emphasis was placed on relaxing muscles that control the upper limbs, as well as suggestions on how to become more relaxed in the mind both inside and outside of the office environment.

As with other RSI awareness education therapies, there was no magic bullet for me with Bio Feedback, but it certainly helped to raise my awareness of how tense my upper body limbs (including shoulders) became while operating computer equipment, and that really is an important part of the RSI education process.

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