Do you like the idea of a therapy that is truly non-invasive and gives you the techniques to take total control over your health? Biofeedback may be able to do this for you. Read on to learn more about it.
What is Biofeedback?
Biofeedback is a technique in which people are trained to recognise and use the signals that body gives off in order to improve their health. It operates on the belief that we are able to use our willpower and our mind to influence the automatic functions of our bodies such as heart rate and breathing.
The readings from special machines and sensors can be used to teach the patient how to control the normally involuntary bodily processes that increase during periods of stress, such as heart rate or blood pressure. With the feedback that is given by the machines, you can learn to recognise and control the aspects of the stress response yourself.
Biofeedback is non-invasive and conservative, and using this therapy early on means that you may not have to resort to other forms of therapy to help manage or treat a condition. Also, once you have learnt the techniques from the biofeedback practitioner, you can use it for the rest of your life to help manage stress responses.
Machines Used in Biofeedback
Several machines are used for biofeedback. These include:
- Electromyogram (EMG) – this machine uses electrodes or other sensors in order to measure the tensions in the muscles. The machine alerts you to the tension, and you learn to recognise tension early, and thus are able to gain control over it. The EMG is used mainly to teach relaxation in muscles that are involved in back pain, headaches, neck pain, and teeth grinding, but it is also used for the treatment of some illnesses in which stress is a factor, such as asthma.
- Temperature Biofeedback – this is done using sensors that are attached to your fingers or your feet in order to measure your body temperature. Temperature commonly drops during times of stress, so a low temperature reading prompts you to start relaxation techniques. Using temperature biofeedback can help to treat circulatory disorders or to reduce the frequency of migraines.
- Galvanic Skin Response Training – sensors measure the activity of sweat glands and how much perspiration is on the skin, which in turns indicates how anxious a person feels. This is useful when it comes to managing emotional disorders such as phobias, anxiety, and stuttering.
- Electroencephalogram (EEG) – the EEG measures the brain waves that are linked to different states of being, such as wakefulness, relaxation, calmness, light sleep, deep sleep, etc.
What can Biofeedback Treat?
Biofeedback is useful in treating the following disorders, amongst others:
- tension headaches
- digestive disorders
- Raynaud’s disease
- teeth grinding
- chronic pain
- muscle rehabilitation
- urinary or fecal incontinence
- motion sickness
- irritable bowel syndrome
- hot flashes
- irregular heartbeats