Biofeedback refers to the process through which a person can gain awareness about the physiological functions in his body using electronic or other instruments. The main goal of biofeedback therapy is being able to manipulate and control one’s body at will.
The body consists of two kinds of actions – voluntary and involuntary actions.
Voluntary actions are those actions that can be controlled, for example: when you raise a hand when you walk or lift your leg. These actions can be controlled by you. But whereas involuntary actions like heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature, etc, cannot be controlled by you. You do not voluntarily increase your heart rate, it just happens when you are nervous, excited, or exercising.
One technique that can help you control these involuntary actions is Biofeedback therapy. This therapy is used to treat cases like migraine headaches, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and so on. The basic idea behind biofeedback therapy is that by understanding the power of your mind and learning what is happening inside your body, you can have more control over your health.
PURPOSE OF BIOFEEDBACK :
The main objective of biofeedback therapy is to treat conditions using relaxation techniques. It involves controlling your body’s response to stress by administering involuntary functions like heart rate, blood pressure, and so on. Biofeedback therapy is mostly used to deal with conditions caused due to stress.
Biofeedback therapy can be effective in treating eating disorders, bedwetting, learning disorders, and muscle spasms. Biofeedback is also used to treat anxiety, stress, deficit/hyperactivity disorder, chronic pain, headache, and epilepsy. On learning about the conditions of the patients, biofeedback treatment is carefully planned by biofeedback doctors.
TYPES OF BIOFEEDBACK THERAPY :
Doctors will recommend different types of biofeedback therapy to different patients based on their level of stress or symptoms. Listed below are some types of biofeedback therapy that doctors recommend to their patients.
- BREATHING OR RESPIRATORY BIOFEEDBACK: This process helps to gain control over your breathing which can help in various aspects. In this process, sensory bands are worn around your chest and abdomen to monitor your breathing rates.
- BRAINWAVES OR NEUROFEEDBACK: This biofeedback technique is preferred for conditions like ADHD, pain, addiction, anxiety, depression, and other disorders. Patients’ brain waves are monitored through the electroencephalogram (EEG) machine using scalp sensors.
- MUSCLE TENSION: In this method, sensors are placed in various parts of the body and are connected through an electromyograph, which helps to detect muscle tensions by observing muscle contractions.
- BLOOD PRESSURE: In this process, the doctor learns about the patient’s blood pressure. Then the doctor guides the patient through various relaxation methods using visual cues, breathing exercises, or music to help the patient calm down.
- HEART RATE: In this method, using an electrocardiograph (ECG) machine the changes in the heartbeat rate are measured. The sensors may be placed in the wrist, chest, or lower torso. In another process, sensors may be placed in fingers or earlobes.
DOES BIOFEEDBACK WORK?
Biofeedback therapy is considered to be extremely useful as it is said to be therapeutic and reduces the need for medication. Biofeedback therapy is generally safe and effective.
But it does not work for everyone. Biofeedback devices may not work properly on some patients with certain health conditions such as heart rhythm problems or some skin conditions. Therefore, even though biofeedback is proven to be effective in most cases, it is appropriate to consult with a doctor first to know if you should go under biofeedback therapy.