What is biofeedback?
Biofeedback is a mind-body approach that uses special monitoring devices to help you
gain more control over certain body functions. Most often, the body functions that
biofeedback targets are those that are not typically under voluntary control, such
Blood pressure regulation
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. Guided
imagery and yoga are just two examples of this approach.
Today, different types of biofeedback tools are available. Many use high-tech gadgets
or "wearables" that help give feedback to the person practicing the biofeedback methods.
They can show how well the therapy is working as it is being done in real time. These
tools are often used by the therapist and the patient to watch and track the progress
of the activity.
Biofeedback is most often used with tools that measure:
To do this, you first back first connect yourself to the gadget or put it on. Then
your breathing rate, perspiration, skin temperature, blood pressure, and heartbeat
are measured. The results are shown on a screen. Certain devices are used to measure
different body changes. These include:
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.
The rhythm and volume of breathing can also be measured.
After the body signals are recorded, a technician will use computer feedback to suggest
physical and mental exercises to gain control. Biofeedback technicians are trained
and nationally certified.
Biofeedback works best with reducing stress and helping with relaxation. It is being
studied to see if it may help with certain conditions. These include urinary incontinence,
migraines, and other types of headache.
Tell all of your healthcare providers 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.