Alternate Names : Relaxation Techniques, Progressive Relaxation
Biofeedback refers to methods that allow people to have conscious control over body functions that usually occur automatically. The heartbeat, blood pressure, muscle tension, pain response, and brain waves have all been targeted. An instrument measures changes in these functions. The person is made aware of the measurements. The name biofeedback comes from this biological feedback.
Who is a candidate for the procedure?
Biofeedback may be used on its own or with other medical treatments for the following conditions:
high blood pressure
fast or rapid heart rate
chronic pain syndromes
post-traumatic stress disorder
nicotine or other substance abuse and addiction
irritable bowel syndrome
multiple personality disorder
Any child or adult with these conditions may be a candidate for biofeedback. A certified biofeedback specialist may be consulted.
How is the procedure performed?
Instruments are used to measure things like blood pressure, heart rate, skin temperature, and sweat gland activity. The breathing rate, muscle tension, and electrical activity in the brain might also be recorded. These functions are not normally under conscious control. The instruments just record information and do not change anything. The goal is to teach the person to monitor these functions more carefully. They can then use various methods to change the responses consciously. These include guided imagery and muscle relaxation. The person is connected to a device that shows the heart rate, for example, with a meter or by sounding a beep. Based on this feedback, the person tries to adjust the heart rate.
Biofeedback may be administered by a certified biofeedback specialist. This person may be a psychologist, a physical therapist, or other healthcare provider.