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Biofeedback

Definition

Biofeedback is a technique that measures bodily functions and gives you information about them in order to help train you to control them.

Information

Biofeedback is most often based on measurements of:

  • Blood pressure
  • Brain waves (EEG)
  • Breathing
  • Heart rate
  • Muscle tension
  • Skin conductivity of electricity
  • Skin temperature

By watching these measurements, you can learn how to change these functions by relaxing or by holding pleasant images in your mind.

Patches, called electrodes, are placed on different parts of your body. They measure your heart rate, blood pressure, or other function. A monitor displays the results. A tone or other sound may be used to let you know when you have reached a goal or certain state.

Your health care provider will describe a situation and guide you through relaxation techniques. The monitor lets you see how your heart rate and blood pressure change in response to being stressed or remaining relaxed.

Biofeedback teaches you how to control and change these bodily functions. By doing so, you feel more relaxed or more able to cause specific muscle relaxation processes. This may help treat such conditions as:

References

Haas DJ. Complementary and alternative medicine. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2010:chap 127.

Lumpkin M, Rakel D. Relaxation techniques. In: Rakel D, ed. Integrative Medicine. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 93.

Magis D, Schoenen J. Treatment of migraine: update on new therapies. Curr Opin Neuro. 2011;24(3):203-210.

Payne CK. Conservative management of urinary incontinence: behavioral and pelvic floor therapy, urethral and pelvic devices. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Novick AC, et al., eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 69.


Review Date: 10/29/2013
Reviewed By: Joseph V. Campellone, M.D., Department of Neurology, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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