Biofeedback Therapy

Understanding Biofeedback Therapy

Biofeedback therapy is essentially the practice of listening to one’s own bodily responses to certain activities or stimuli and learning how to alter the outcome. This is done by training one to use biofeedback machines. We’ve all seen or used biofeedback machines before—basically it’s any machine that can be used to measure a person’s bodily functions, such as temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, brainwaves, and even muscle tension. Many people are turning to this method of treatment because it severely reduces the patient’s dependency upon their doctor. In fact, many people believe that having more independent control in their own treatment produces longer lasting results.

How Biofeedback Therapy Works

The idea of biofeedback therapy is to give the patient the ability to monitor their body’s natural responses to their condition. The type of machinery that the patient is taught to use depends on what type of condition they are trying to overcome. For instance, to help “re-train” muscles, much like physical therapy, a patient may be taught to use a muscle monitor in order to understand the way that their muscles are incorrectly functioning. Once the patient becomes familiar with their typical—but incorrect—readings, they can make a conscious effort to change these readings by making slight alterations to the way their body functions. In essence, the patient is training their body to change its own behavior and responses. These slight alterations in function would naturally be very difficult to detect, often leading to a short-lived attempt at using one’s own body to heal itself. But with the aid of machines, the patient is able to visually detect the change that their effort is having in the form of readings, making the effort seem much more worthwhile and productive. Over time, many conditions can be treated with the conscious effort and willpower of the patient, backed by the aid of modern technology.


Conditions Treatable Using Biofeedback

Biofeedback therapy can call for the use of many different machines, depending on the type of condition that is trying to be treated. Biofeedback is becoming increasingly popular as a treatment method for high and low blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, circulatory disorders, headaches, muscular movement disorders (particularly paralysis or retraining of the muscles), and even digestive function! Conditions such as these could require a variety of machines, such as portable blood pressure monitors, stress detection monitors, muscle monitors, and even tension detection devices. Most of these devices are hand-held and easy to conceal, so they can be taken virtually anywhere and allows the patient to secretly monitor their condition throughout everyday life. This plays a huge factor in providing quick and positive results because the patient is able to actively enforce conscious treatment throughout the day, rather than attending physical or stress therapy treatments only a few times a week.

It’s easy to see how physical conditions can be managed through biofeedback therapy, but what about mental or emotional disorders? Stress is one of the leading causes of hundreds of conditions. The effect that long-term stress has on the human body is astounding, leading to everything from muscle and bone problems, such as TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder), to heart attacks. There have even been studies conducted that suggest that stress could be a contributing factor to the development of cancer! When the human body becomes stressed out, fluctuations often occur in blood pressure and heart rate, muscle tension, mental patterns, and even body temperature. With the technological devices now available to the everyday person, we can pay more attention to how our body reacts during stressful situations and work to counteract negative responses.  

Biofeedback therapy may not be for everyone, but if you think it may be right for you then speak to your doctor about the possibility of trying out this treatment.