Biofeedback may assist improve physiological functioning or unpleasant discomfort and bodily arousal by telling a person to change what they are doing in the moment, whereas neurofeedback is frequently used to treat types of psychopathology or mental disease and for performance enhancement. However, both techniques have similar goals of helping people become more aware of and control their own brains and bodies.
Biofeedback uses instruments such as electroencephalograms (EEGs), electromyographs (EMGs), and galvanic skin response devices to show a user information about their brain waves or other physical processes. This information is then used to help them modify their behavior in order to affect the physiology that they are observing. For example, an individual with epilepsy can use this information from an EEG to know when a seizure is coming on. They can then take measures such as getting out of bed or going into a secluded area to prevent having a seizure.
Neurofeedback uses instruments such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) to measure changes in blood flow and neural activity in specific parts of the brain. These measurements are displayed on a computer screen and used by researchers to identify changes in the brain's activity pattern during certain tasks or under specific conditions. Neurofeedback works by having the patient learn to control these changes by adjusting their thoughts and actions.
Biofeedback can give you a sense of control over your health and fitness. It is noninvasive, with no known side effects or problems. You may learn how to make modest modifications to decrease tension, increase performance, and lessen aches and pains with practice during and between sessions.
However, like any other form of treatment for a medical condition, biofeedback cannot cure disease or delay aging. It can only help you manage symptoms and live life more comfortably.
Some common side effects of biofeedback include: fatigue, weakness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, confusion, depression, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, pain, tremors, changes in taste, weight change, increased or decreased appetite.
If you experience any symptoms that persist for longer than two weeks, see your doctor immediately.
Biofeedback is not recommended for people who are allergic to any materials used in treatments, such as latex. People who are allergic to certain chemicals in the environment should avoid places where they use chemicals for home improvement projects. Talk to your doctor about what activities should be avoided if you have allergies.
People who are pregnant or breast-feeding should not do biofeedback exercises unless instructed to do so by their physician. Biofeedback devices should never be used without direct supervision by a qualified professional.
Biofeedback is a useful treatment for a variety of illnesses, although it is most commonly used to treat hypertension, tension headaches, migraine headaches, chronic pain, and urine incontinence. It can also be effective in treating obesity. Biofeedback uses instruments that measure physical or biological processes quantitatively and makes these measurements visible to the patient. This allows the patient to see progress toward achieving health goals and to correct undesirable behaviors before they result in serious damage to the body.
Biofeedback methods include electroencephalogram (EEG), electromyography (EMG), heart rate variability (HRV), respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), and skin temperature measurement. These are discussed in detail under their respective headings.
Biofeedback has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of many disorders. It can also help patients learn how to control certain functions of the brain and body that they may not have known existed. For example, one patient reported that learning how to control his heartbeat with his mind had such a calming effect that he no longer needed to take medication after a heart attack!
Biofeedback has been proven to be more effective when used in combination with other treatments.
Published research also suggests that biofeedback therapy may be beneficial in the treatment of stress-related symptoms. Biofeedback techniques may be used in combination with other therapy approaches by mental health experts to assist persons who suffer anxiousness or tension throughout the therapeutic process. Biofeedback uses instruments that measure physical responses such as skin conductance or heart rate to provide information about emotional responses such as fear or excitement. Mental health professionals can use this information from their patients to guide them through relaxation exercises or other methods that may help reduce anxiety.
Biofeedback has been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety due to a number of different causes. It has been found to be helpful for people who have panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), specific phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Biofeedback has also been demonstrated to improve mood in persons who suffer from depression.
What kinds of anxiety can be treated with biofeedback? Anxiety caused by physical disorders such as heart conditions or diabetes may be able to be reduced using this method. Stress related to job loss or academic failure can be diminished through biofeedback training. Even mild cases of social anxiety can be helped by learning how to control your body's response to perceived threats during sessions.