What is biofeedback therapy?
Biofeedback therapy is a technique in which people are trained to improve their overall health by controlling involuntary bodily processes such as skin temperature, muscle tension, blood pressure, and heart rate. This is based on the belief that the use of mind and willpower can help influence the automatic functions of the body.
What does biofeedback do?
Electrodes are patches that are placed on the different areas of the body to measure these functions while displaying the results on a monitor. Also, the monitor shows the changes in the automatic functions such as blood pressure and heart rate in response to being stressed or remaining relaxed.
The readings from these special machines and sensors are used to help teach the patient on controlling normally bodily processes that increase in times of stressful periods. These feedback can be used to learn in recognising and controlling aspects of the stress response.
There are several special machines being used for biofeedback therapy which include:
- Electroencephalogram (EEG) - used in measuring brain waves that are linked to the different states of being like wakefulness, relaxation, calmness, light sleep, and deep sleep.
- Electromyogram (EMG) - used in measuring the response of the muscles to signals. It is mainly used in relaxing the muscles associated with headaches, back pain, neck pain, and teeth grinding. It can also be used in treating some illnesses where stress is a factor, like asthma.
- Galvanic Skin Response Training - measures the activity of the sweat glands and the amount of perspiration on the skin. It is useful in managing emotional disorders like anxiety, stuttering, and phobias.
- Temperature Biofeedback - used in measuring body temperature which is then used in treating circulatory disorders or in reducing the occurrence of migraines.
Benefits of biofeedback
Biofeedback therapy has been known to help several medical conditions. The following conditions can benefit from this therapy:
- Chronic pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Anxiety or Stress
- Urinary Incontinence
- High Blood Pressure
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Back pain
- Epilepsy and other related seizure disorders
- Fecal incontinence
- Head injuries
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Learning disabilities
- Motion sickness
- Muscle spasms
- Raynaud's disease
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Side effects of chemotherapy
- Spinal cord injuries
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)