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What is the Deal With: Biofeedback

Biofeedback might sound like a throwback to the 70's - like 8 track tapes, but it is making a comeback. Basically it is a method for harnessing the mind/body connection for all it is worth.

Considered a form of alternative or complementary medicine, Biofeedback teaches you to use your mind to control involuntary bodily responses to different types of stress. By monitoring brain activity, blood pressure, muscle tension and heart rate a biofeedback specialist will try to teach you to control your body's reactions. These methods have been proven to help a wide variety of medical conditions including: asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, hot flashes, headaches, irregular heartbeats (cardiac arrhythmias, high blood pressure and epilepsy.

Used as a form of treatment in physical therapy clinics, medical centers and hospitals, a typical biofeedback training session lasts 30 to 60 minutes. Electrical sensors are attached to different parts of your body to monitor your body's physiological response to stress. For instance, the therapist monitors your muscle contractions during a tension headache and then feeds the information back to you via auditory and visual cues. The cues may take a beeping sound or a flashing light. Teaching you to associate your body's response, in this case, pain, with certain physical actions, such as your muscles tensing. Once you recognize the pattern, you can start to break it or change it. The ultimate gaol is to be able to recognize the negative pattern on your own and then reproduce the positive changes without the help of technology.

While experts know biofeedback helps with certain conditions, they don't exactly know why it works. Yet it can reduce or even alleviate the need for certain medication, which can be great since bio-feedback doesn't have any negative side affects like some medications. If you are looking for a biofeedback therapist check out the website of Biofeedback Certification Institute of America for a certified biofeedback therapist near you.

If any of you have tried biofeedback, I would love to hear about your experience.

Join The Conversation
kscincotta kscincotta 10 years
I've never used biofeedback, but my parents had my brother do it for a long time in an attempt to help him control his ADD without meds. At first, he just had to sit quietly and focus on "lowering the number". After time, when he could do that, they had him do it while watching movies or reading or other things. It worked well for a time, because it got him focused on sitting quietly and blocking out distractions, but ultimately, it wasn't enough and he had to go on Ritalin.
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