What is Biofeedback therapy and who can benefit? Neelesh Bokkisam, CA

Updated: Jan 30, 2021


According to the APA, “ Therapy helps people of all ages live happier, healthier and more productive lives.” Many therapies involve curative methods for diseases that people develop slowly over the course of their life, but biofeedback is a specific type that focuses on gaining more control over involuntary actions that occur in the body. It will ultimately lead to easing of pains depending on the type of biofeedback procedure. `One of the most common diseases that can be treated through biofeedback is High blood pressure. Blood pressure is an involuntary action caused by the body. A person can not physically increase and decrease heart rate. “The idea behind biofeedback is that, by harnessing the power of your mind and becoming aware of what's going on inside your body, you can gain more control over your health.” says Melinda Ratini, DO, MS.


Biofeedback Therapy has a distinctive method of treating patients. One unique thing about these therapy sessions is that they can be done at any location as long as the patients have all necessary equipment. Therapy is generally safe for a wide audience, but might not work on people with some types of disease. According to Mayo Clinic, some different types of Biofeedback treatments are Brain Waves, Breathing, Heart Rate, Muscle Contraction, Sweat Gland Activity, and Temperature. These are some of the most popular types of biofeedback that doctors work with on their patients. Mayo Clinic also describes a typical therapy session for a patient, “During a biofeedback session, a therapist attaches electrical sensors to different parts of your body. These sensors might be used to monitor your brain waves, skin temperature, muscle tension, heart rate and breathing. This information is fed back to you via cues, such as changes on a monitor, a beeping sound or a flashing light.


The feedback teaches you to change or control your body's reactions by changing your thoughts, emotions or behavior. This can help the condition for which you sought treatment.” Some types of methods that are used include deep breathing, alternately tightening and then relaxing different muscles.


Types of Biofeedback


Electromyogram (EMG): This measures muscle activity and tension. It may be used for back pain, headaches, anxiety disorders, muscle retraining after injury, and incontinence.

Thermal: This measures skin temperature. It may be used for headache and Raynaud's disease.

Neurofeedback or electroencephalography (EEG): This measures brain waves. It may be used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), epilepsy and other seizure disorders.

Electrodermal activity (EDA): This measures sweating and can be used for pain and anxiety.

Heart rate variability (HRA): This measures heart rate. It may be used for anxiety, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and irregular heartbeat.


Biofeedback Uses

Helps different diseases:


Chronic pain: By helping you identify tight muscles and then learn to relax those muscles, biofeedback may help relieve the discomfort of conditions For pain relief, biofeedback can benefit people of all ages

Headaches: Headaches are one of the most popular biofeedback uses. Muscle tension and stress can lead to migraines and other types of bad headaches. Evidence that biofeedback therapy can relax muscles and ease stress to reduce severity of headaches.

Anxiety: Anxiety relief is one of the most common uses of biofeedback. Biofeedback lets you become more aware of your body's responses when you're stressed and anxious. Then you can learn how to control those responses.


References:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/biofeedback/about/pac-20384664

https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/biofeedback-therapy-uses-benefits#2


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