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The study aimed to determine whether athletes who practice biofeedback are able to self-regulate by reaching resonance frequency and gaining physiological control quicker than if practice time integrates imagery or a rest period. Intervention effectiveness (e.g., intervention length, time spent training) was also explored. Twenty-seven university athletes were assigned to one of three groups: (a) biofeedback (i.e., continuous training), (b) biofeedback/imagery (i.e., interspersed with imagery), and (c) biofeedback/rest (i.e., interspersed with a rest period). Five biofeedback sessions training respiration rate, heart rate variability, and skin conductance were conducted. A repeated-measure analysis of variance showed a significant interaction between groups over time (p ≤ .05) for respiration rate, heart rate variability, and skin conductance, indicating that resonance frequency and physiological control was regained following imagery or a rest period. Postmanipulation check data found intervention length and training time to be sufficient. Combining imagery with biofeedback may optimize management of psychophysiological processes.
Nelson Ferguson is with the Dept. of Geography, and Hall, School of Kinesiology, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada. Divine is with the Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom.