Practice in Clinical & Health Psychology
Biofeedback for Health

 

 

 

Biofeedback
Using your mind to improve
your health and well-being
 
Have you ever wished you could simply will your symptoms to disappear? With biofeedback you may be able to learn how to rely less on medications and more on the power of your mind to reduce your symptoms, improve your overall health, and feel better.
What is biofeedback?
Biofeedback is a training technique in which you are taught to improve your physical health and performance by becoming more aware of and using signals from your own body. It is a way to learn how to use your mind to better control your body.
Biofeedback uses specialized electronic instruments to monitor and record physiological signals from your body that are ordinarily unconscious and automatic and then show you how to gain conscious control over these bodily reactions. Malfunctions in these automatic responses contribute to a wide variety of health problems.
What conditions benefit from biofeedback?
Biofeedback has been shown helpful in treating about 150 health conditions but is especially effective in the treatment of illnesses that are stress-related, anxiety-driven or involve dysfunction or imbalance of the autonomic nervous system. More recently, biofeedback of brain waves (EEG) has been shown effective in the treatment of many brain-based disorders.
Some conditions that can benefit from biofeedback are…
Addictions                                                                   Headache
Anxiety Disorders                                                        High Blood Pressure
Asthma                                                                        Insomnia
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder                       Irregular Heart Rhythms
Autistic Spectrum Disorders                                        Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Autonomic Nervous System Disorders                        Muscle Tension Disorders
Chronic Pain Disorders                                               Raynaud’s Syndrome
Depression                                                                 Stress-Related Health Problems
Pros and cons of biofeedback
Biofeedback may appeal to you for several reasons…
It can reduce, or even eliminate, your need for medication.
It has the potential to help conditions that have not responded to medications.
Unlike many medications that may simply mask symptoms, biofeedback often affects the underlying physiological imbalance that may be at the root of your illness. It strengthens the body's natural self-regulatory functions.
It helps put you in charge of your own healing by providing measurable feedback, allowing you to monitor your progress and learning.
It increases your sense of self-efficacy and teaches control over your body.
It is a relatively non-invasive treatment modality with minimal risk of adverse effects.
On the other hand, you may feel hesitant to try biofeedback because medical experts are not entirely sure how the therapy works. Many people who have successfully tried biofeedback still cannot explain how they are able to control their bodies to relieve their symptoms.
Biofeedback also requires considerably more motivation and effort on your part than taking medications. It is a self-exploration and learning process that requires a certain amount of time and attention and a willingness to continue practicing in daily life what is learned in the clinic.
Finally, although biofeedback by itself has been shown to be an effective treatment for many different health problems, it is often more effective as part of a broader treatment strategy that may include psychological or lifestyle counselling, changes in activity or exercise and nutrition, and other physical therapies. Medical practitioners generally view biofeedback as an adjunct or complementary treatment to more conventional medical treatments and medications.