I am one of those unfortunates that have what is called “White Coat Syndrome.” That means my blood pressure soars when I visit a doctor. Any other time my blood travels through my veins without much attention from me. It all began years ago when my Dad was critically ill and I kept a doctor’s appointment. The nurse who took my blood pressure frowned after the reading and asked, “Do we have your emergency contact on record?” What??? The doctor assured me the rise in pressure was situational because of my concern for my Dad, but ever since that incident, my blood pressure begins to rise in the medical office parking lot and doesn’t go down until the visit is over and I’m back in my car. If there’s an emergency and my blood pressure is taken without any time to think about it, the reading is always normal.
It’s easy to understand that I’m causing the rise in pressure, but not so easy to stop. The doctor that I see once a year smiles and says don’t worry about it, but I do. He seems to think I can wish it away, but I can’t. As I get older it’s important to me not to be caught up in the effects of the syndrome which blurs my thinking process. I want a clear head when it comes to making health choices.
This is where biofeedback steps in. Please understand that I am not an expert on biofeedback, that I am very much a pupil. Don’t take my personal experiences as advice to follow. If biofeedback sounds like something you’d like to pursue, find an expert like I did.
Through the use of tapes created by my instructor and Reiki-ish sessions, I am learning to focus more on my body, rather than letting my thoughts run away with me. Over the years I’ve used relaxation tapes, but these tapes are a bit different. The difference is subtle. Messages of “trust what you know,” and suggested images of muscles moving from “Ice to water to steam” help me focus. Dropping my shoulders and imagining the space above my shoulders, concentrating on relaxing that space, also helps me focus.
I’ve not arrived in that spot where I can confidently walk into a medical office without worrying about my blood pressure reading, but I am getting there. By the way, biofeedback is helpful with other issues too, including learning to stop smoking, drinking, losing weight. It may seem a bit new age-ish, but a lot of new age techniques are actually ancient and have proven effective for centuries.