Biofeedback Therapy


Biofeedback therapy is alternative health treatment in which individuals are trained to improve their own health by becoming more aware of their bodies physical responses to their thoughts, emotions and behaviors and using this information to control involuntary functions.
 
Processes that can be controlled include brainwaves, breathing, muscle tone, metabolic function, perspiration levels, heart rate, body temperature and pain.
 
The patient is taught how to use the mind to control the body while monitoring the results with equipment that reports information such as blood pressure levels, brain activity, perspiration, heart rate, temperature and muscle tension in real time. Biofeedback technicians work together with the patient to interpret the information from their machines and to work on ways to improve the results.
 
History of Biofeedback Therapy
 
Biofeedback therapy developed in the 1960s, a time in which eastern healing systems were gaining attention in the west.
 
Western scientists observed the abilities of eastern Yogis to control various bodily functions to a remarkable extent. The Yogis can perform feats that seem impossible, such as slowing their breathing rates to allow themselves to survive in oxygen deprived situations or slowing their heart rates to mimic death.
 
Seeing the possibilities of this ability to control the body with the mind, they took this process into a laboratory setting, employing equipment to monitor the effects of their experiments.
 
The term, "biofeedback" describes the monitoring procedure that takes place in the experimental laboratory setting out of which modern biofeedback therapy grew.
 
Hatha yoga, which focuses on the mastery of the breath and similar practices involving controlling the body through conscious use of the mind became interwoven with western ideas about the importance of pain and stress management in the hectic western life style. These techniques were combined with biofeedback monitoring to create the system of modern biofeedback therapy.
 
Health Benefits of Biofeedback Therapy
 
One of the most important conditions that biofeedback therapy treats successfully is stress. Experts say that stress is the number one killer in the west, although it generally manifests as other diseases, in particular, heart disease or cancer.
 
Biofeedback has been found to be effective for the treatment of an ever-growing list of ailments including:
 
  • Addictions
  • ADD/ADHD Anxiety
  • Asthma Bowel disorders
  • Brain injury
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome Chronic pain Circulatory disorders
  • Diabetes Digestive disorders Eating disorders Epilepsy Fibromyalgia Headaches High and low blood pressure Incontinence Insomnia
  • Memory and concentration
  • Menopausal symptoms Migraines
  • Mood disorders Paralysis and limited mobility, particularly after injury or stroke TMJ and Bruxism (Tempromandibular Joint Disorder and Tooth Grinding)
  • Tinnitus
  • Tourette's syndrome
 
Biofeedback therapy has long term benefits, especially in the case of chronic conditions. Perhaps most importantly, it is self-empowering because it teaches the patient how to become his own healer.
 
How Biofeedback is Performed?
 
Biofeedback is performed by a number of different kinds of specialists, including psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors, dentists, nurses and physical therapists, who teach relaxation in combination with other therapies.
 
Patients examine their life styles to determine what may be causing stress responses. They learn how to identify the circumstances which trigger particular responses. Patients may be taught coping mechanisms or be encouraged to change habits that contribute to their stress.
 
Many health professionals use hypnosis together with biofeedback. And, in fact, the type of relaxation methods taught are similar to autosuggestion or self-hypnosis and involve the use of guided imagery. These methods are used to effect changes in behavior, to release unwanted emotions or modify counterproductive habits.
 
Using hypnotherapy together with biofeedback teaches the patient to make connections between his own thoughts or feelings and a physical response. This helps the patient to revise his own mental habits in a long-term effort toward improving his own health.
 
They learn to gain control over their heart, breathing and to control muscle tension through the guidance of the biofeedback therapist who employs biofeedback equipment to monitor the responses using such equipment as Electroencephalography (EEG) machines to monitor brain activity and devices to monitor sweat glands, skin temperature, heart rate and other bodily functions.
 
Who Can Benefit from It?
 
Almost anyone can benefit from biofeedback therapy because it teaches patients how to relax, which helps all systems of the body to function optimally. It is most beneficial for patients who are willing to become participants in their own health care and who are open to learning relaxation techniques and practicing them independently.
 
It is most commonly used to help people who suffer from anxiety or stress disorders, nervous system-related conditions, pain and paralysis. But, even those who are not ill, but wish to enhance their cognitive or athletic performances can benefit from biofeedback therapy.
 
Biofeedback therapy is a good alternative for patients who are unable or unwilling to use allopathic medicines or therapies due to pregnancy or other health conditions.


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Seema Dixit



Dr. S.S. Aggarwal


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