Biofeedback

1 What is Biofeedback?

Biofeedback is a technique you use in the process of learning how to control your body functions, such as your heart rate.

With biofeedback, you are connected to electrical sensors that help you receive information (feedback) about your body (bio).

This feedback helps you focus on making subtle changes in your body, such as relaxing certain muscles, to achieve the results you desire, such as pain reduction.

Essentially, biofeedback gives you the ability to use your thoughts to control your body, often to improve a health condition or physical performance.

The different types of biofeedback methods include. Brainwave. Breathing. Heartrate. Muscle.Sweat glands. Temperature. There are certain devices that can be used in biofeedback for home use.

2 Reasons for Procedure

Sometimes called biofeedback training, biofeedback is used for many reasons, including the managing of the following:

Biofeedback appeals to individual for various reasons:  

  • It is nonevasive.
  • It might reduce or eliminate the need for medications.
  • It might be a treatment alternative for those who cannot tolerate medications.
  • Might be an option when medications have not worked well.
  • It might be an alternative to medications for some conditions during pregnancy.
  • It helps people take charge of their health.

3 Potential Risks

Biofeedback is generally safe, including no potential risks. It might not be appropriate for any individual, though. Be sure to discuss it with your doctor first.

4 Preparing for your Procedure

The is no special way of preparing for biofeedback. To find a feedback therapist, ask your doctor or any other healthcare professional with the knowledge of biofeedback therapy to recommend someone who has experience in treating your condition.

State laws regulating biofeedback practitioners vary. Some biofeedback therapist chooses to become certified to show their extra training and experience in practice.

Ask a potential biofeedback therapist questions prior to starting the treatment, such as:

  • Are you licensed?
  • What are your training and experience?
  • Do you have experience providing feedback for my condition?
  • How many biofeedback sessions do you think I will need?
  • What is the cost, and is covered by health insurance?
  • Can you provide a list of references?

5 What to Expect

Here’s what you can expect before, during, and after your biofeedback procedure.

Your therapist may use several different biofeedback methods. In order to determine the best method for you, he or she will take into account your current health. Biofeedback methods include Brainwave.

This method uses scalp sensors to monitor your brain waves using an electroencephalograph (EEG). Breathing. During respiratory biofeedback, bands are placed around your abdomen and chest to monitor your breathing pattern and respiration rate.

Heart rate. This type of biofeedback makes use of finger or earlobe sensors with a device called a photoplethysmograph or sensors placed on your chest, lower torso or wrist using an electrocardiograph (ECG) to measure your heart rate and h heart rate variability.

Muscle. This method of biofeedback involves placing sensors over your skeletal muscles with an electromyograph (EMG) to monitor electrical activity that causes  muscle contraction.

Sweat glands. Sensors attached to your fingers or on your palm or wrist with an electro dermo graph (EDG) measure the activity of our sweat glands and the amount of perspiration on your skin, alerting to anxiety.

Temperature. Sensors are attached to your fingers to measure you blood flow to your skin. Because your temperature often drops when you are under stress, a low reading can prompt you to begin using relaxation techniques.

Biofeedback devices. you can receive feedback training in physical therapy clinics, medical centers, and hospitals.

A growing number of biofeedback devices and programs are also being marketed for home use:

  • Interactive computer or mobile device programs.
  • Some types of biofeedback devices measure physiological changes in your body by using one or more sensors attached o your fingers or your ear.
  • The sensors plug into your computer.

Using computer graphics and prompts, the devices then help you master stress by pacing your breathing, relaxing your muscles and thinking positive thoughts.

Studies show that these types of devices might be effective in improving responses during moments of stress, and inducing feelings of calm and well-being.

Another type of biofeedback therapy involves wearing a headband that monitors your brain activity while you meditate. It uses sounds to let you know when your mind is calm and when it's active to help you learn how to control your stress response.

The information from each session can then be stored on your computer or mobile device.

Wearable devices. One type of wearable device involves wearing a sensor on your waist that monitors your breathing and tracks your breathing patterns using a downloadable app.

The app can alert you if you're experiencing prolonged tension, and it offers guided breathing activities to help restore your calm.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a biofeedback device, Desperate, for reducing stress and lowering blood pressure. Resperate is a portable electronic device that promotes slow, deep breathing.

However, many biofeedback devices marketed for home use aren't regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Before trying biofeedback therapy at home, discuss the different types of devices with your doctor to find the best fit.

Be aware that some products might be falsely marketed as biofeedback devices, and that not all biofeedback practitioners are reputable.

If a manufacturer or biofeedback practitioner claims that a biofeedback device can assess your organs for disease, find impurities in your blood, cure your condition or send signals into your body, check with your doctor before using it, as it might not be legitimate.

6 Procedure Results

Understanding the results of your biofeedback will be made possible by your doctor.

If biofeedback is successful in your case, it might help you take control of symptoms of your condition or reduce the amount of medication you take.

Eventually, you can practice the biofeedback techniques you learn on your own. You might need to continue with standard treatment for your condition, though.

Keep in mind that learning biofeedback is a long process, and if not covered by health insurance, it can be costly.

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