Biofeedback is simply the feeding back of a biological signal to you, the producer of the signal. These signals include:
- Skin temperature
- Muscle tension
- Heart rate
- Electrodermal response
- Brain wave activity
These biological signals are recorded by computerized biofeedback systems. Through the information provided, you are able to change your physiological state in a desired direction and thus become more skilled at psychophysiological self-regulation.
The most common indications for applied psychophysiology and biofeedback in the area of medicine, dentistry and behavioral disorders are:
STRESS DISORDERS: Variety of functional disorders, especially headaches (migraine and tension), essential hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome, Raynaud’s disorder.
PAIN DISORDERS: Biofeedback and other self-regulation procedures may aid in direct self-management of tension headache and other neuromuscular pain disorders and help patients with other kinds of pain to adapt less emotionally to the pain experience (it does not “cure” pain).
BEHAVIORAL DISORDERS: Applications of psychophysiological technology to biofeedback-assisted relaxation and to desensitization is a common adjunct in treating post-traumatic stress, delayed stress, generalized anxiety, various phobias and anger / self regulation disturbances.
EXCESSIVE MOTOR TONE: Neuromuscular disorders of spasticity, cramping and / or chronic muscular contraction movement disorders.
TYPICAL PROCEDURES IN BIOFEEDDBACK
Practitioners should be skilled in specific training techniques to aid patients in gaining better control of disregulated body systems
Typical specific training techniques include:
- Electromyograph (EMG) feedback
- Skin temperature feedback
- Respiration (RSA) feedback
- Skin conductance (EDR) feedback
- Electroencephalograph (EEG) feedback
- Autogenic Relaxation
- Neuromuscular Relaxation
Homework exercises and assignments are an integral part of the training process. These may include:
- Use of portable biofeedback devices at home
- Self-monitoring of pain, stress and / or relaxation
- Applied psychophysiology therapies are usually divided into three phases:
- Evaluation, usually monitoring stress levels during specific mental and physical tasks
- Early training with monitors to self-regulate body systems
- Generalization training, and transferring the skills to everyday life