Biofeedback Therapy – A Complete Overview of the Process

Biofeedback Therapy

Biofeedback therapy is a technique that allows you to control your body’s functions through your mind, including heart rate and breathing. This is done by using sensors attached to your body to receive feedback about it, allowing you to adjust as needed. This process is a way to heal and relax your body using the power of your thoughts, and it can be quite beneficial for a number of conditions.

Mind over matter is a technique used in many alternative forms of treatment, but biofeedback therapy is a form that really takes the mantra on board. Although it might sound space age and futuristic, biofeedback uses sensors that attach to your body in order to get readings and information about yourself that can then be used to treat problems.

There are many different types of this therapy but all with the overarching goal that your mind can be used to fix a variety of mental and physical conditions. Everyone from anxiety and depression sufferers to those with gastrointestinal problems will be able to find relief with biofeedback, and because it’s non-invasive that makes it even more attractive.

As with an alternative method of treatment like this, there is a lot we need to understand in order to grasp how it works. Numerous studies have proven that biofeedback is indeed beneficial, so it’s not simply a form of holistic therapy that people can easily disregard.


What Is Biofeedback Therapy?


The term biofeedback encompasses two things – ‘bio’ meaning your body and ‘feedback’ being the information that the sensors pick up about your physical state. The information can be gathered using a number of different methods that we’ll explore later, but it’s what we do with this information that makes this form of therapy so beneficial.

Once the sensors have collected the information, they will be able to direct you to the areas of the body and techniques that can be used. For example, you may be directed to slow your breathing or focus on relaxing one group of muscles, and in turn, this will reduce the pain or relieve discomfort.

The purpose of biofeedback therapy is using your own mind to treat these problems so that there’s no need for medication or surgery. You will see instant results on the screen so that you can see how well the treatment is working, so for something like lowering blood pressure, this will give immediate improvement.

The end goal of biofeedback therapy is to teach you how to control these things on your own, using your mind to alleviate the symptoms or reduce pain. Once you’ve established the best ways to control them yourself, you’ll no longer need to use the special biofeedback therapy sensors that your health professional has.

The Different Types of Biofeedback Therapy

Biofeedback works by getting information or feedback from our bodies and then using this information to make subtle changes. There are a few different ways that they might gather this information, depending on the body functions that they’re monitoring.

Electromyogram (EMG)

The most common form of biotherapy used to monitor tension and activity in the muscles. An EMG machine is used for headaches, back pain, anxiety disorders, incontinence, and to retrain muscles after an injury.

Electroencephalography (EEG)

An EEG measures brain waves so is used for conditions like epilepsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other disorders that cause seizers. The machine measures brain waves and is sometimes referred to as a neurofeedback device.

Thermal

By measuring skin temperate these devices are able to treat conditions like Raynaud’s disease and headaches.

Electrodermal activity (EDA)

Sensors that measure the amount of sweating the patient does. This can help pinpoint issues with anxiety disorders and anything that is causing pain.

Heart rate variability (HRV)

This type of feedback measures your heart rate and is used for a number of conditions including anxiety, irregular heartbeat, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Biofeedback Devices


There are now more places than ever that perform biofeedback therapy, including hospitals, physical therapy clinics, and medical centers. Some home-use machines are available, however, their accuracy and authenticity are sometimes brought into question. When being treated by a professional, there are usually two different types of devices they’ll use.

An interactive computer or mobile program is most common, and these include the sensors which attach to your body and a device. They can measure the physiological changes as they are happening and give current feedback on what’s happening in your body. The sensors may be attached to your skin, ears, head, fingers, or as a headband, and the information they retrieve can be stored for later use if needed.

Another type used for biofeedback is a wearable device that allows you to track the information and changes as you go about your day. These might be worn around the waist and connected to an app on your smartphone or small computer that can point out when you’re feeling tense or stressed in certain areas, so you can keep a check on your body throughout the day.

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The Purpose of Biofeedback


With a keen focus on conditions that are caused by stress, biofeedback encourages the user to work their mind in order to fix their body. By changing your involuntary bodily functions like breathing and muscle tension, you will effectively reduce the pain, discomfort, or other symptoms that are linked to your condition. These are some of the common conditions that work best with biofeedback therapy:

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Eating disorders
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    Blood pressure problems
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    Learning disorders
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    Constipation
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    Incontinence
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    Irritable bowel syndrome
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    Raynaud’s disease

What to Expect At A Session


When you arrive at a biofeedback therapy session, the therapist will begin by attaching sensors to certain parts of your body. The machines will work by picking up on things like brain waves and perspiration, showing you accurate and up to date data about what’s going on in your body.

The technician will show you the findings and teach you the things that you can do to help reduce pain or improve your condition. A typical session will last 60 to 90 minutes, however, there may be variations depending on the types of devices using and what is being treated. The end goal is that you will be able to use these techniques for yourself and help to relieve pain and discomfort without the machine.

You should always check that the biofeedback technician is qualified before you book the session. There are different state laws in place regarding biofeedback therapy and what constitutes as qualification, so it pays to do your research. For the best results, ask your doctor to recommend a technician to you so that you can be sure of their reputation and credentials.


The Benefits of Bio


When looking at alternative methods of treatment like this, understanding what makes is such a great alternative is important. According to the US National Institute of Health, their research has shown that biofeedback can improve a number of conditions, so we know for sure that it works. Here are some of the reasons why people choose bio and how it can make such a huge difference:

It’s noninvasive and all done with the power of your mind and thoughts.

There’s no need to take harmful medications or alter your conscious or body in any way with drugs. It can be a great alternative for those who have tried medication and found that it wasn’t effective.

Bio can reduce or eliminate the need for surgery or other painful treatments that require recovery.

Once you have learned how to respond to your physiological changes, you can use the training you have at any time without returning for another session.

Biofeedback may be useful for those who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding who have limited other treatments available at the time being.


A Non-Invasive and Healing Treatment


Biofeedback therapy is a truly innovative and unique way to heal your body, and it’s all possible with the power of your mind. Ensuring that you see a trained professional is the best way to achieve success with this treatment, and it will also mean that you can use the training learned later on in life.

There is a lot to be said for the power of the mind and this treatment proves that. Without relying on harmful drugs or invasive surgeries, biofeedback therapy can cure or treat mental and physical problems just by using the power of your own thoughts.

As we look for more natural ways to treat our everyday health conditions, studies into the effectiveness of biofeedback will no doubt continue. What we’ve learned so far though is a good testament to just how powerful our minds can be when we put our focus in the right place.

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