Biofeedback is a training process that teaches an individual how to modify his or her physiological responses to decrease stress, and improve health and performance. In biofeedback training, we use non-invasive methods to teach the client to adjust physical reactions that he or she may not be aware of. The biofeedback practitioner uses electronic equipment to measure and monitor physiological processes such as heart rate, breathing patterns, muscle tension and skin temperature. Neurofeedback is a type of biofeedback that involves monitoring and training brain waves. Biofeedback processes provide a window into how the body is functioning in a way that the mind can understand and have an impact on. Simple auditory and visual feedback is provided by the computer, and clients are taught to use this information to improve their health, symptoms and response to stress.
Biofeedback training can usually be accomplished in a relatively short-term time frame, depending on a client's symptoms. The therapist acts as a training coach, setting goals that are objective and measurable. Clients are assigned home practice and self-monitoring exercises to ensure that they can learn to apply skills outside of sessions. Biofeedback can be helpful with regard to:
- Anxiety and stress
- Tension and Migraine headaches
- Chronic pain disorders
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- High blood pressure
- Optimal performance (test-taking, sports, music/drama)
- Habit reduction
Children, adolescents and adults can all benefit from a biofeedback approach. Biofeedback can also be used very effectively in combination with other forms of psychotherapy and medical treatment.