BIOFEEDBACK ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH AFRICA

      



Equipment

Biofeedback equipment is used often in our daily lives, for example, when you take your child’s temperature with a thermometer or weigh yourself on a scale. These measuring tools give you feedback on some aspects of your body’s condition, in this case temperature and weight. You can then use this information to lower your temperature or lose weight.

Clinicians use advanced biofeedback equipment in somewhat the same way. Their equipment can detect a person’s internal bodily functions with far greater sensitivity and precision than ‘over the counter equipment.’ This information is used to gauge and direct the pro cess of the training.

Biofeedback equipment must be able to accurately measure and record certain physiological functions. This information must be relayed back to the client and practitioner by means of auditory and visual display systems that can be used for teaching.  The information recorded is displayed in real-time.

It is important to note that biofeedback doesn’t send signals to any physiological process in the body; it only receives signals from these processes. Biofeedback is a learning tool that clinicians use in combination with other techniques to evaluate and train clients to improve their functioning.

BIOFEEDBACK EQUIPMENT CAN MEASURE:

Brainwave activity (EEG) or

Other physiological activities such as….

·         Muscle tension

·         Temperature

·         Breathing / Respiration

·         Heart rate / Blood volume Pulse

·         Skin conductance / sweat gland activity

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

WHICH EQUIPMENT  SHOULD I PURCHASE ?

The first step would be to decide what you would want to do with the biofeedback equipment. Will it be incorporated in your practice or, if for research, what should the equipment be able to do or measure?

There are a few crucial questions you need to answer before purchasing equipment.

ARE THERE ANY LEGAL REQUIREMENTS?

It is advisable to utilize equipment that, if imported, is approved by the relevant authority. By way of example, equipment imported from America should be approved by the FDA, or CE conformity approval if equipment is imported from Europe.

ALIGNING TYPES OF INTERVENTIONS AND CLIENTS TO BE SEEN WITH TYPE OF EQUIPMENT

The device you purchase must meet your needs. An example would be if you only see clients with one major class of disorder – such as stress-related breathing problems and you want to use a few biofeedback techniques such as heart rate variability and respiration, then you would need two channels.  Those channels need to pick up heart rate and respiration. If you want to train the brain, you require equipment capable of recording and training EEG.

Be certain that the device you choose can record the signals you want to see at the same time. Some systems can record the signals you need but not simultaneously. This can limit the application of your needs.

ALLOWING FOR EXPANSION FROM CURRENT TO FUTURE NEEDS COMPARED TO SAVING MONEY NOW

Do not limit yourself by buying equipment you cannot grow into. The device needs to be right for your current needs but you also need to keep an eye out for future requirements you may have for biofeedback. The trade-off is between a low price to get started, contrasted with a bigger initial investment which may save you from having to buy an entirely new system later. 

DO YOU NEED A SPECIAL COMPUTER TO RUN THE DEVICE?

Most modern biofeedback devices will run on any modern laptop or desk top. A second screen is frequently used for Neurofeedback. This is a relatively inexpensive item.

 

DEVICE PORTABILITY VS. DURABILITY AND USE IN NON-CLINIC SITUATIONS.

Most people use biofeedback devices in their offices and clinics. Occasionally the practitioner might need to take the device to a different clinic or work situation. Thus, nearly all current biofeedback devices can run on modern laptops and most practitioners use their devices with laptops rather than desktops at least part of the time. Any modern laptop can run typical biofeedback programs just as well as a desktop. Thus, biofeedback devices are portable.

DIFFERENT PEOPLE PREFER DIFFERENT SOFTWARE:

Different people find different software packages easier to use or more intuitive. It is  vital to practice using the software for each device you are considering.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

         Is training for the biofeedback device easily accessible?

         You need to know what the device is training and be competent in achieving training goals.

         Does the software include a tutorial with live examples?

         Is there adequate technical support available?

          Is the device portable and durable to use in clinical and non-clinical settings?             

                                     

         What is the turnaround time for warranty service and repairs?