BIOFEEDBACK ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH AFRICA

      



Biofeedback

Biofeedback is a technique that trains clients to improve their health by controlling certain bodily processes that normally happen subconsciously. These processes are respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, skin temperature and internal arousal levels as reflected in sweat gland activity. Therefore, biofeedback is a form of self-regulation where the aim is to bring awareness to the way in which the mind/thoughts trigger physiological processes within the body.

Biofeedback is the practice of making these physiological processes measurable and visible to the client. The client gains insight into how the body adjusts and responds to internal thought processes and its stress response to daily events.

Electrodes placed on the body measure physiological responses like the tension in particular muscle groups, blood pressure or hand temperature; these are displayed on a monitor for the client to observe. With assistance from a biofeedback therapist, the client learns techniques to change their breathing, heart rate or blood pressure, as examples. At first, the monitor is used to track progress. Eventually, the client will be able to achieve success without a monitor or electrodes.

Biofeedback is an effective training modality for developing self-awareness which promotes mindfulness of the moment-to-moment responses to life's challenges (stress). Biofeedback is primarily used to treat high blood pressure and to lower anxiety responses. It is also used for tension headaches, migraine headaches, chronic pain and urinary incontinence. Further utilization includes Peak Performance Training with top athletes, artists and executives.

Specialised areas in biofeedback include:

- Thermal Biofeedback helps relieve migraine and chronic tension headaches in children and teens. Research also suggests that thermal biofeedback may ease the symptoms of Rynaud's disease (a condition that causes reduced bloodflow to fingers, toes, nose or ears).

 - EMG Biofeedback has been shown to reduce pain, morning stiffness and the number of tender points in people with fibromyalgia.