Grandmothers caring for grandchildren can lower stress with biofeedback device.

According to U.S. Census data, the number of children living with their grandparents has increased 64 percent in the past 20 years. Prior studies conducted by Case Western Reserve University’s (CWRU) Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, found that many grandmothers suffer stress and depression from having to serve as full-time child-care givers at this stage in their lives.

Recently, the nursing school’s researchers studied ways to use biofeedback techniques that focus on heart rate variability (HRV) to reduce stress, negative emotions and depressive thoughts and help grandmothers cope with the added responsibilities. They also wanted the grandmothers “to become more aware of how their bodies react to stress to help reduce the tension and associated heath risks, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and depression.”

Researchers recruited 240 Ohio grandmothers, average age 58 (42- 68) with an average income of $50,000. They were followed for 6.5 years to see how caring for grandchildren aged 16 and younger affected their health. Some provided full-time care, some lived in multi-generational homes and assisted with their grandchildren’s care, and others provided no care. The study group was evenly divided racially by African Americans and Caucasians and by educational level of those who have a college degree and those who do not.

The grandmothers used a biofeedback device at home for four weeks. The women provided information about their perceived stress, negative emotions and depressive thoughts by questionnaire. In a press release, researchers concluded that “while the study was small, it showed promise in that self-reported stress and negative thoughts were reduced during and after using the device.” They say the noticeable in stress warrants a larger study.

While it is important to be aware of stress, it is more important to treat it. RESPeRATE is a portable computerized device also designed for home use that guides the user through sessions of therapeutic breathing. Using the device for just 15 minutes a few times a week has been clinically proven to not only reduce stress, but to significantly lower blood pressure. RESPeRATE is available without a prescription and used by more than 250,000 men and women worldwide to naturally lower high blood pressure and to distress.


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