Aviva Directory » Health & Well-Being » Alternative Medicine » Biologically-Based Therapies » Biofeedback

Biofeedback is a technique used in both traditional and alternative medicine.

Through real-time data regarding physiological processes, such as heart rate, blood pressure, blood flow, muscle tension, brain waves, and pain perception, obtained through electronic monitoring devices, an individual can learn to exercise more control over their physical functions.

When an individual is under stress, their body changes in ways that can be monitored through electrical devices. Heart and breathing rates will increase while under stress or in pain, and muscles tighten. These changes, and others, can be monitored through sensors attached to the body, providing audio and visual feedback. With the assistance of biofeedback, individuals can develop strategies to identify when they are under stress, and to gain more control over their physical and mental states, thus improving health and well-being.

Biofeedback is a relatively non-invasive and secure method of increasing control over one's body. Biofeedback involves monitoring an individual's physiological state and sending information about it back to the individual. The data allows the individual to take conscious control over aspects of their physiology, such as the use of relaxation techniques to slow the heart rate. The information provided by the data is used to help the individual manage the symptoms of a variety of medical conditions.

There are several types of biofeedback, and the approach used would depend on the issue to be resolved.

Respiratory biofeedback is obtained through the use of sensor bands around the chest and abdomen which monitor breathing rates and patterns. Individuals can learn to exert control over their respiratory rates in order to reduce anxiety.

Heart rate biofeedback is determined through sensors attached to the ears, fingers, wrists, chest, or torso. Heart rate biofeedback is believed to be helpful in controlling a number of disorders, including depression and asthma.

Blood pressure biofeedback is obtained through a device that provides information about the individual's blood pressure, which can be controlled through breathing exercises, music, meditation, or visual cues.

Galvanic skin response involves the measurement of perspiration on the surface of the skin and can provide useful feedback on emotional arousal. Emotional stimulation can also stimulate sweating.

Thermal biofeedback measures changes in body temperatures, as sensors are used to detect blood flow to the skin. During times of stress, individuals often experience a drop in body temperature, so thermal biofeedback can help people determine when they are feeling distressed, which might suggest a need for stress management techniques.

Electromyography involves the placement of sensors at various points on the body, which are connected to an EMG device, which detects changes in muscle tension over time.

Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback obtained through the use of an electroencephalogram (EEG), which provides information about brain activity. This non-invasive technique is sometimes used to treat attention-deficit disorder (ADHD), additions, anxiety, depression, pain, and other disorders.

Biofeedback is a type of training rather than a treatment, although, with training and practice, it can be used to help individuals develop better coping skills. In order for it to be effective, biofeedback requires individuals to play an active role in their treatment.

Some of the conditions that biofeedback can be used to assist with include ADHD, anxiety, brain injuries, depression, digestive disorders, high and low blood pressure, mental health problems, migraine headaches, pain, physical reactions to stress, PTSD, stress management, and tension headaches.



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