What is biofeedback therapy and who can benefit?
  • How it works
  • Uses

Biofeedback therapy is a non-drug treatment in which patients learn to control bodily processes that are normally involuntary, such as muscle tension, blood pressure, or heart rate.

It may help in a range of conditions, such as chronic pain, urinary incontinence, high blood pressure, tension headache, and migraine headache.

As it is noninvasive and does not involve drugs, there is a low risk of undesirable side effects.

This could make it suitable for those who wish to avoid medications, or those who cannot use them, such as during pregnancy.

It is often combined with relaxation training.

How it work
  • Biofeedback therapy can help people change unhealthful habits by interpreting factors such as electrical brain activity.
  • Thermal biofeedback measures skin temperature.
  • Electromyography measures muscle tension.
  • Neurofeedback, or EEG biofeedback focuses on electrical brain activity.

EEG biofeedback may help patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), addiction, anxiety, seizures, depression, and other types of brain condition.

During a biofeedback session, the therapist attaches electrodes to the patient’s skin, and these send information to a monitoring box.

The therapist views the measurements on the monitor, and, through trial and error, identifies a range of mental activities and relaxation techniques that can help regulate the patient’s bodily processes.

Eventually, patients learn how to control these processes without the need for monitoring.

Other conditions that may benefit from biofeedback include:

  • back pain
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • asthma
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • chronic pain
  • anorexia nervosa
  • learning disabilities
  • muscle spasms
  • motion sickness
  • Biofeedback therapy can help to optimize performance in sports participants.