What is biofeedback?

Biofeedback is a form of mind control over the body that allows a person to reduce sensations of pain. Biofeedback is a technique that involves training the mind.

The idea of controlling body functions with the mind is not new. Many Eastern philosophies, such as Yoga, are based on the belief that meditation, and other thought processes, can control the body.

Hooked up with electrodes to electronic equipment, a patient's breath rate, perspiration, skin temperature, blood pressure, and heartbeat are measured. The results are displayed on a computer screen. Specific devices are used to measure each body change, including:

  • electromyogram (EMG) - to measure muscle tension

  • electrodermal activity (EDA) - to measure changes in perspiration rate

  • finger pulse measurements - to measure blood pressure and heartbeat

In addition, both the rhythm and volume of breathing are measured.

Once a patient's body signals are recorded with the electronic devices, a biofeedback technician may recommend both physical and mental exercises to gain control. Biofeedback technicians are trained and nationally certified.

Biofeedback may improve urinary incontinence and alleviate migraines and other headaches. It may also serve as an effective relaxation technique for some people.

Medical Reviewer: [Lee Jenkins, Sara M. Foster, RN, MPH] Last Annual Review Date: 2009-07-27T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright: Copyright © 2007 Staywell Content Services, Inc. except where otherwise noted.

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