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Biofeedback

What Is It?
How Does It Work?
What Happens During Treatment?
What Is It Used For?
Side Effects/Cautions
Recommended Books


What Is It?
Biofeedback is a technique that teaches people to become more aware of, and to control, physical and emotional functions that are normally unconscious and automatic. It involves the use of monitoring instruments which measure brain-wave patterns, temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, skin resistance and muscle tension. Abnormalities in these bodily functions can cause a variety of medical problems, and learning to control them can bring relief.

How Does It Work?
Biofeedback is based on the concept that our thoughts and emotions influence physical reactions in the body. It trains people to associate certain thoughts and actions with desired physical responses.

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What Happens During Treatment?
During your first visit to a practitioner you will be asked about your general health, The practitioner will then tape sensors to various parts of the body in order to measure heart rate, temperature, muscle tension, and so on. The sensors are connected to instruments which give you immediate feedback on the bodily function you are trying to control. For example an electromyograph measures muscle tension, and an electroencephalograph (EEG) measures brain-wave activity. Some biofeedback machines give feedback in graphical form on a computer display, while others use sounds or flashing lights.

The practitioner will teach you mental or physical exercises that will help you to control the functions which are causing your problem. You can monitor your progress by noting any changes in signals from the feedback machine. Over time, you will learn to control physical functions by associating desired responses (e.g., relaxation, reduced pain) with certain thoughts and actions. Once learned, these thoughts and actions can be applied without the aid of a feedback machine.

Sessions usually last between 30 minutes and one hour. Most people need 8-10 sessions with 1-5 sessions per week.

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What Is It Used For?
Biofeedback is useful for any ailments caused by involuntary muscular tension, such as headaches, migraine, back and neck pain and breathing problems (including asthma). It can relieve anxiety, depression and insomnia and help overcome addictions. It can help stroke victims recover co-ordination, and is also used to treat complications from diabetes.

Side Effects/Cautions
Biofeedback has no known side effects. The process is not painful.

If you use a pacemaker or have a heart disorder consult your doctor before using a biofeedback machine.

Diabetics should monitor their blood sugar levels carefully if using biofeedback therapy.

References

Find a Biofeedback Practitioner

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Recommended Books

Prices are in US Dollars

 

A Symphony in the Brain: The Evolution of the New Brain Wave Biofeedback
Jim Robbins

Imagine a procedure versatile enough to treat epilepsy, autism, attention deficit disorder, addictions, and depression with no drugs or side effects; to bring patients out of vegetative states; and to improve everything from golf scores to opera singers' voices. These are only some of the claims made for neurofeedback, a controversial but effective treatment that is revolutionizing the way an incredibly diverse range of medical and psychological conditions are treated. In A Symphony in the Brain, Jim Robbins traces the fascinating, untold story of the development of neurofeedback, from its discovery by a small corps of research psychologists, to its growing application across the country and around the world, to present battles for acceptance in the conservative medical world. Offering a wealth of powerful case studies, accessible scientific explanations, and dramatic personal accounts, Robbins journeys through a remarkable field, which he brings to the public eye for the first time.

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Biofeedback, Third Edition: A Practitioner's Guide
Mark S. Schwartz, Frank Andrasik

This guide offers state-of-the-science coverage of biofeedback research, applications, clinical procedures, and biomedical instrumentation. For biofeedback practitioners from any professional background, including clinical, counselling, and allied health. This new edition includes eleven new chapters; and revised, updated and streamlined chapters.

"The Bible of non-EEG Biofeedback; a practitioner must-have."

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Getting Started with Neurofeedback
John N. Demos

This book introduces the reader to neurofeedback, including its history and scientific basis. Case studies help the reader understand how these techniques are applied to therapeutic situations such as ADD and learning difficulties. Information about training, setting up an office, and neurofeedback equipment are provided.

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More Biofeedback Books

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