Biofeedback Therapy: Types, Uses, and Benefits

Biofeedback is generally safe, but it might not be right for everyone. Biofeedback machines might not work on people with some medical problems, such as heartbeat issues or some skin diseases. A heart rate variability app on your phone, a fitness watch, and a thermometer can all be effective.

  1. 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.
  2. Spend some time examining the claims, which are often highly exaggerated and not supported by research.
  3. It allows people struggling with addiction and their therapist to recognize the body’s involuntary functions that trigger substance use.
  4. Be sure to check your biofeedback therapist’s credentials before starting therapy.
  5. Using the criteria detailed above, Yucha and Montgomery7 rated the current evidence on the efficacy of biofeedback training on various diseases and reported this in 2008.

You can also perform guided imagery with a recorded voice acting as a guide. During respiratory biofeedback, your rate of breathing is monitored. After monitoring, you get feedback about how your breathing changes during certain situations.

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It is also helpful to check with your health insurance company to see if your policy will cover any or all of this type of treatment. Costs for biofeedback can vary considerably, often ranging from $35 to $85 per biofeedback session. Fees can vary depending upon the training, qualification, and experience of the biofeedback therapist. Biofeedback may appeal in situations where other treatments have not been effective or where people are unable to take certain medications. Because biofeedback is non-invasive, patients may prefer it in situations where other treatments may be more invasive or disrupting. Biofeedback is often considered a type of training rather than a treatment.

In general, biofeedback therapy works by teaching the client how to recognize and control bodily functions like heart rate, temperature, and muscle tension. For example, physical therapists often use biofeedback to help people with urinary incontinence. The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research currently recommend pelvic floor muscle training with biofeedback therapy for the treatment of urinary incontinence, based on findings in clinical studies.

Many jobs involve standing or sitting in one position for long periods; it can be challenging for muscles and cause ongoing pain. A thermometer taped to your finger, or even resting your finger on a piece of chocolate, can suffice to measure temperature changes. This is achieved by “letting go of struggle and attempts to control your finger temperature while bringing mindful attention to the body,” rather than trying to make it happen (Khazan, 2019). While specialized monitors are available, some fitness trackers and phone apps can guide breathing rates and measure HRV. Monitoring our physiology can provide input to regulate and balance our mental and physical wellbeing. Here’s what experts and research say, plus, tips for beginners trying sweat therapy.

Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback

Just make sure to do some research beforehand, and as always, ask your professional healthcare provider before trying anything new. With this type of biofeedback, a therapist attaches sensors to your scalp to monitor brain activity using an electroencephalograph (EEG). According to the 2020 Therapeutic Advances in Urology article mentioned above, this technique is often used to treat children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The number of sessions needed to resolve an issue will vary depending on a number of factors, including how quickly you learn to control your physical responses. Urinary incontinence is often the result of weak pelvic floor muscles.

A pelvic floor expert then teaches your child pelvic floor exercises. For example, your child plays as a character and has to contract their pelvic floor muscles to avoid obstacles in the game. This can help improve pelvic floor strength and decrease urinary incontinence. With electromyography (EMG), sensors are placed on the body, and the EMG measures muscle activity and tension. EMG biofeedback can help teach people how to improve or relieve chronic pain. While working with a therapist who uses biofeedback therapy, the person in therapy will typically have a variety of sensors attached to different parts of the body.

Respiratory Feedback

It may sometimes feel like you have little control over what happens inside your body, and how that affects your overall health. But there is a way to harness physiological functions like breathing, muscle tension, heart rate, skin temperature, and even brain waves so they work to your healing advantage. We hope to establish in these and other diseases that biofeedback can you overdose on lad is successful in improving quality of life and clinical status, as well as possibly reversing biological aspects of each disease. But there are many other functions that occur in your body that seemingly happen beyond conscious thought. Your nervous system is constantly controlling your heart rate, blood pressure, anxiety levels, and pain responses.

You consciously manipulate your breathing, heart rate, and other usually “involuntary” functions to override your body’s response to stressful situations. Over time, stress can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Some types of biofeedback therapy may help patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Some conditions, such as high blood pressure, can take more sessions to improve. A biofeedback therapist helps you practice relaxation exercises, which you fine-tune to control different body functions. For example, you might use a relaxation technique to turn down the brainwaves that activate when you have a headache. Biofeedback can also have additional mental health benefits, including learning new techniques for coping with feelings of anxiety and managing emotional responses. Neurofeedback involves utilizing electroencephalography (EEG) to measure brain wave activity. Neurofeedback is sometimes used as a non-invasive treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), pain, addiction, anxiety, depression, and other disorders.