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Home » What is Biofeedback?

What is Biofeedback?

Biofeedback is a therapy, in which people are trained to improve their health by using signals from their own bodies. In the late 1960s research showed that certain involuntary activities like brain activity, blood pressure, heart rate can be altered by tuning into our body. This was termed as Biofeedback.

Simply put biofeedback is the technique of looking into the signals from our body, for example measuring one’s weight or temperature are simple methods of biofeedback, as both devices feedback information about the body.

Biofeedback is used in a variety of situations. It is generally used by physical therapists to help stroke victims regain movement in paralyzed muscles. Psychologists use it to help tense and anxious clients learn to relax. Research has demonstrated that we have more control over so-called involuntary bodily function than we once thought impossible and using the biofeedback techniques we can exercise this control.

What does biofeedback involve?

BiofeedbackIt mostly involves some form of relaxation exercise. Some people learn to identify the circumstances that trigger their symptoms. They may also be taught how to avoid or cope with these stressful events. Most are encouraged to change their habits, and some are trained in special techniques for gaining such self-control.

Biofeedback cannot cure disease or by itself make a person healthy. It is a tool, available to health care professionals. It reminds physicians that behavior, thoughts, and feelings profoundly influence physical health.

When is Biofeedback used particularly?
Clinical biofeedback techniques are widely used to treat a host of conditions. These include:
What are the Patients' Responsibilities?
Biofeedback demands the patients to examine their day-to-day lives and to find out if they may be contributing to their own distress. They must commit themselves to practicing biofeedback or relaxation exercises every day, change bad habits and even ease up on some good ones. They must accept responsibility for maintaining their own health.

Relaxation is a key component in biofeedback treatment of many disorders. Stressful events produce strong emotions, which arouse certain physical responses. Many of these responses are controlled by the sympathetic nervous system, the network of nerve tissues that helps prepare the body to meet emergencies and this may be by ‘flight or fight.’ Normally, people calm down when a stressful event is over especially if they have done something to cope with it.

Individuals differ in the way they respond to stress. In some, one function, such as blood pressure, becomes more active while others remain normal. These individual physical responses to stress can become habitual. When the body is repeatedly aroused, one or more functions may become permanently overactive eventually causing damage to body tissues.

Biofeedback is often aimed at changing habitual reactions to stress that can cause pain or disease. Feedback of physical responses such as skin temperature and muscle tension provides information to help patients recognize a relaxed state.

The value of a feedback signal as information and reward may be even greater in the treatment of patients with paralyzed or spastic muscles. The signals can guide the exercises that help patients regain use of their limbs. The feedback convinces patients that the limbs are still alive. This reassurance often encourages them to continue their efforts.

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