4 August 2011

Biofeedback Offers Help to Survivors of Japan's Earthquake and Tsunami


Most of you are already well acquainted with the work of Dr. Erik Peper, renowned psychologist, educator, author and president of the Biofeedback Foundation of Europe. What you may not know is that he travels extensively teaching workshops in biofeedback around the world. Recently, he traveled to Japan to teach strategies to reduce stress and prevent PTSD with the help of biofeedback.

Disaster Strikes
On March 11, 2011, the world witnessed one of the most devastating natural disasters of our time: Japan’s earthquake, followed by a tsunami and then a nuclear disaster.  We watched the events unfold and were shocked by the magnitude of suffering and loss.  Then, we moved on with our lives. But for the people of Sendai, the healing process is only beginning and will last for years. Even after their physical needs are met the psychological scars remain.



In the Aftermath of the Earthquake and Tsunami
In response to the disaster, Dr. Erik Peper volunteered his time and traveled to Japan to offer a series of workshops on using biofeedback to treat stress and PTSD. Before he left, he secured a donation of 50 GSR2’s as these hand held, battery operated biofeedback devices would be ideal for bringing treatment to those affected.  It is used as an educational tool to demonstrate and experience that emotions, thoughts, images and body are all interconnected. It helps the participants lower and experience control over their ongoing sympathetic arousal. During his stay, he shared his expertise with psychologists, physicians, health professionals and volunteers.  The training programs were organized by:

  • Naoki Takebayashi, M.D, Head, Institute of Holistic and Integrative Medicine, Osaka, Japan
  • Morihiro Tsujishita, Professor, Konan Women University, Kobe, Japan
  • Tomo Nakagawa, Administrative Officer, Institute of Holistic and Integrative Medicine, Osaka, Japan


April 28, 2011 – Full Day Basic Course
Basic Medicine, Psychophysiology, Practical Training with Biofeedback Tools to Prevent and Reduce Stress and PTSD Associated with Tsunami Trauma
Konan Women University (for general volunteers)

April 28, 2011 – Evening Lecture
Behavioral, Cognitive Education to Prevent and Reduce Stress and PTSD Associated with Tsunami Trauma
Kansai Medical University (for physicians and other health professionals planning to work with people who experienced trauma)

April 29, 2011 – Full Day Advanced Seminar
Psychophysiology and Practical Training with Biofeedback Tools to Prevent and Reduce Stress and PTSD
Kansai Medical University (for health professionals and psychologists)

April 30, 2011 – Full Day Advanced Seminar
Training for Practitioners Headed to Iwata Prefecture
Konan Women University
Sponsored by:  Konan Women University and the Institute of Holistic and Integrative Medicine   


by permission from Naoki Takebayashi, MD
by permission from Naoki Takebayashi, MD

Training First Responders
When asked what it was like to be in Japan at this time, Dr. Peper replied, "Although it was and continues to be a major catastrophe, all the people I met wanted to contribute and help. They were appreciative that I came to teach, since so many foreigners left in panic and have cancelled their travel to Japan. The health care professionals are remarkable in volunteering to help in areas where the disaster occurred. The donation of equipment was very appreciated as it truly was a symbol that other people cared. I felt so fortunate to be able to share some of the self-regulation skills to support regeneration and inhibit vigilance. As I flew back to the USA on April 30th, some of the students in the training program went to Iwate prefecture in the disaster area to teach and apply these self-regualtion skills."

Following Up on the Progress
Dr. Peper returned to Japan in July to teach a two day workshop in Iwate prefecture along with three more programs around Sendai. We look forward to hearing more from Dr. Peper and the health professionals he trained in Japan about the role of biofeedback in reducing the impact of the Tsunami. Meanwhile, our thoughts are with the people of Japan.

More About Dr. Erik Peper...
To learn more about Dr. Peper's methods consult his book Biofeedback Mastery: An Experiential Teaching and Self-Training Manual (co-authored with Hana Tylova, Katherine H. Gibney, Richard Harvey and Didier Combatalade and available through the AAPB or on amazon.com). Dr. Peper's software suite, Biofeedback Basics is a companion to his book and is available in the BFE online shop.

Photos courtesy of Dr. Erik Peper

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