When you go for a walk or cook dinner, you are controlling your movements and actions. But you probably aren’t thinking about the biofeedback of your body’s automatic functions, like your heart beat, skin temperature or blood pressure. These are controlled by your nervous system. Your heart rate might increase when you’re exercising or if you’re scared or excited in response to your environment. But it’s probably not something you’ve even thought about much.
With biofeedback therapy, clients are trained to have more control over these involuntary functions. By using their minds to become more aware of what’s happening in their bodies, clients can have better control over their health. Biofeedback therapy is used to treat a variety of physical illnesses, such as migraines, high blood pressure or chronic pain. It is also used to treat conditions such as anxiety and ADHD.
Biofeedback therapy typically includes relaxation exercises such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation, mindfulness meditation, and guided imagery (focusing on a specific image to feel more relaxed). Due to these techniques, it can be an excellent tool for managing stress and anxiety.
3 Important Facts
- Biofeedback therapy is commonly used to treat chronic pain, headaches, anxiety, ADHD, high blood pressure and urinary incontinence. People with arthritis, asthma, injury and epilepsy may also benefit from biofeedback therapy.
- Biofeedback therapy is used to help people change habitual reactions to stress which causes anxiety, pain, or illness.
- Although biofeedback therapy has evolved over time, it began in the 1960s when scientists began training people to have more control over their involuntary body responses.
Signs to Look For
If you’re suffering from anxiety, stress, chronic pain, headaches, and other physical or psychological disorders, biofeedback may help you learn to successfully manage your physiological responses. For example, through biofeedback, you can learn what’s triggering your anxiety and how to manage your physical responses so that you can prevent or reduce anxiety symptoms.
What Are My Next Steps?
If you think you might benefit from biofeedback therapy, look for a healthcare professional or mental health professional who is trained and experienced in this technique.
Common Questions and Answers About Biofeedback
How does biofeedback work?
Researchers aren’t sure why biofeedback works. Most believe, however, that the increased physiological awareness combined with relaxation techniques used in biofeedback therapy are key to the therapy’s effectiveness.
What happens during a typical session of biofeedback therapy?
During a typical session of biofeedback therapy, electrodes or sensors are attached to a client’s skin. These send signals to a monitor, which displays a sound, flash of light or image representing heart rate, muscle activity, temperature, etc. When stress responses occur, the client is be able to see or hear the physiological changes happening in their body. This allows them to work to minimize these stress responses through relaxation techniques.
How effective is biofeedback therapy?
Biofeedback therapy doesn’t cure an illness. However, it is a useful tool that can help people manage debilitating pain, illnesses or anxiety. Depending on the disorder, biofeedback therapy can be an extremely effective treatment.