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.
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 how your muscles respond to signals. The EMG is used mainly to relax 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. 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. 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.
How can Biofeedback help?
Biofeedback is useful in pain reduction, muscle relaxation, stress reduction and reduction of allergic reactions.