How Does Biofeedback Work?
Biofeedback is a non-invasive method that uses instruments to mirror mind/body functions (activity, responses) of which we are not normally aware. You can use it even at your home. With biofeedback instruments you can learn to recognize the relationship between mind and body changes, and with this insight, you can come to exert more control over your bodily responses in a more beneficial manner.
Biofeedback instruments can monitor muscle tension, heart rate, blood pressure, peripheral blood flow, galvanic skin response (GSR), EEG brain waves and other measures. These instruments vary from simple thermometers to high-tech multi-channel computerized systems. Biofeedback practitioners typically assume a "trainer" role. They coach on techniques to help you facilitate change, such as breathing exercises, guided imagery, autogenics word imagery, meditations, etc. The real power of the training is the immediate feedback that reveals physiological changes. Biofeedback is commonly used in the treatment of Headaches/migraines and muscle contraction, Hypertension (high blood pressure), Anxiety, ADD/ADHD (attention deficit disorders), Seizures/Epilepsy, Depression, Neck and Back pain, Addictions and muscular and vascular conditions.
Scientists cannot yet explain how biofeedback works. Most patients who benefit from biofeedback therapy are trained to relax and modify their behavior. Most scientists believe that relaxation is a key component in biofeedback therapy.
Biofeedback is often aimed at changing habitual reactions to stress that can cause pain or disease. Many clinicians believe that some of their patients and clients have forgotten how to relax. Feedback of physical responses such as skin temperature and muscle tension provides information to help patients recognize a relaxed state. The feedback signal may also act as a kind of reward for reducing tension. It's like a piano teacher whose frown turns to a smile when a young musician finally plays a tune properly.
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