What is biofeedback?
Biofeedback is a mind-body method. It uses monitoring devices to help a person control
certain body functions. These functions normally can't be controlled voluntarily.
Heart rate variability
Feelings linked to stress, anxiety, and pain
Some symptoms linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
The idea of controlling body functions with the mind is not new. Many Eastern philosophies
are based on the belief that meditation and visualization can help to do this. Yoga
is one example.
Today many types of biofeedback tools are available. They show how well the therapy
is working as it is being done. They can also be used to watch the progress of the
Biofeedback is most often used with tools that measure:
First a person is hooked up with electrodes to electronic equipment. Then their breathing
rate, perspiration, skin temperature, blood pressure, and heartbeat are measured.
The results are shown on a computer screen. Certain devices are used to measure each
body change, including:
Electromyogram (EMG). This is used to measure muscle tension.
Electrodermal activity (EDA). This measures changes in perspiration rate.
Finger pulse measurements. These measure blood pressure and heartbeat.
Electroencephalogram (EEG). This is used to measure electrical activity in the brain.
In addition, both the rhythm and volume of breathing are measured.
After the body signals are recorded, a biofeedback technician or computer feedback
may advise physical and mental exercises to gain control. Biofeedback technicians
are trained and nationally certified.
Biofeedback works best with reducing stress and helping with relaxation. Experts are
also studying if it may help with certain conditions. These include urinary incontinence,
migraines, and other headaches.
Tell all of your healthcare providers (conventional or complementary) about the health
approaches, supplements, and medicines you use. This will give them a full picture
of your health. It will help ensure safe, effective, and coordinated care.