Biofeedback is a therapy technique used to train your mind to control certain biological functions. This blurb is about how biofeedback is used as a treatment option for various health conditions. Although, a biofeedback system can be used in other settings as well, for instance enhancing overall health and athletic or academic performance.
The basis of biofeedback is to train you to consciously alter your brain’s control of involuntary systems, which you normally aren’t aware of. A couple of the physiological responses biofeedback training may target is heart rate reduction, blood flow adjustment, minimizing certain brainwaves, body temperature increase and muscle activation or relaxation.
So to do biofeedback training, you’ll need to be made aware of systems you normally are not in an attempt to manipulate them. Attempt is the operative word because not everyone is successful at this alternative form of treatment.
There are several different types of biofeedback techniques that can be used to feed you information. Which technique is used largely depends on your particular health issue.
Biofeedback uses sensors that typically measure:
- heart rate
- brain waves
- blood pressure
- muscle tension
- skin temperature
- sweat gland activity
By monitoring these measurements, the feedback helps you train yourself to modify them.
One of the key components involved in biofeedback treatment is training yourself to relax because stress and anxiety is often a major cause for unhealthy physical reactions. So, relaxation in turn can help the health condition for which you sought treatment.
For example, biofeedback can help you identify tense muscles that are causing a tension headache. You then invoke positive physical changes by relaxing those muscles to reduce your pain. Some of the other health related conditions wherein biofeedback training therapy is sometimes a suggested treatment are:
- Bell’s Palsy
- chronic pain
- panic attacks
- heart problem
- sleep disorder
- eating disorder
- muscle cramps
- spinal cord injury
- Raynaud’s disease
- migraine headache
- movement disorders
- traumatic brain injury
- irritable bowel syndrome
- chemotherapy side effects
- reflex sympathetic dystrophy
- functional gastrointestinal disorder
- hot flash symptom due to menopause
- autonomic nervous system dysfunction
The primary benefit of biofeedback training is the therapy offers you a technique to use your mind to control your body. But don’t look to biofeedback as the only form of treatment for several of these health issues.
One negative aspect of using a professional to train you on the technique of biofeedback therapy is it’s costly and the treatment is not usually covered by health insurance. However, there are various biofeedback devices on the market you may want to consider as alternative system.