Overview of Biofeedback
How Does Biofeedback Therapy Work? continued...
As you slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and ease muscle tension, you'll get instant feedback on the screen. Eventually, you'll learn how to control these functions on your own, without the biofeedback equipment.
Different types of biofeedback are used to monitor different body functions:
Electromyogram (EMG). This measures muscle activity and tension. It may be used for back pain, headaches, anxiety disorders, muscle retraining after injury, and incontinence.
Thermal. This measures skin temperature. It may be used for headache and Raynaud's disease.
Neurofeedback or electroencephalography (EEG). This measures brain waves. It may be used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), epilepsy and other seizure disorders.
Electrodermal activity (EDA). This measures sweating and can be used for pain and anxiety.
Heart rate variability (HRA). This measures heart rate. It may be used for anxiety, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and irregular heartbeat.
Each biofeedback therapy section lasts about 30 minutes. Usually, you can start to see biofeedback benefits within 10 sessions or less. Some conditions, such as high blood pressure, can take 20 or more sessions to improve.
Biofeedback can help many different conditions. Here is a rundown of some biofeedback benefits:
Chronic pain. By helping you identify tight muscles and then learn to relax those muscles, biofeedback may help relieve the discomfort of conditions like low back pain, abdominal pain, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), and fibromyalgia. For pain relief, biofeedback can benefit people of all ages, from children to older adults.
Headaches. Headaches are one of the best-studied biofeedback uses. Muscle tension and stress can trigger migraines and other types of headaches, and can make headache symptoms worse. There is good evidence that biofeedback therapy can relax muscles and ease stress to reduce both the frequency and severity of headaches. Biofeedback seems to be especially beneficial for headaches when it's combined with medications.
Anxiety. Anxiety relief is one of the most common uses of biofeedback. Biofeedback lets you become more aware of your body's responses when you're stressed and anxious. Then you can learn how to control those responses.