When the body is in so much stress or anxiety, relieving the feeling is not as simple as telling yourself to relax. The mental tension you’re under in this condition manifests physiologically in your heart rate, breathing, and muscle tension. Fortunately, there are ways to increase mind and muscle relaxation and bring back your bodily awareness.
One of these methods is biofeedback therapy, a clinical treatment typically used for conditions such as migraine and chronic pain. The process of biofeedback therapy involves the use of a machine to monitor the body’s response. It evaluates the body temperature and muscle tension and gives immediate feedback as you modify your motion response. The reason why it monitors these is that they are the body responses that react to stress and strain.
Biofeedback machines typically send the feedback from electrical sensors connected to your body through auditory and visual forms. For example, the monitor may produce a loud sound when the muscle tightens and a moderate sound when it relaxes. It can also make use of a light display to show the changes in your bodily response.
By providing real-time information on your conscious and unconscious body motions, it enables you to observe and modify your stress response. As such, this therapy process does not only help patients learn and understand how their body responds to stress. Biofeedback therapy also allows individuals to have control in their response to mental and physical pain.
The number of biofeedback therapy sessions you need will vary depending on your condition. Your therapist will provide an outline you can follow at home as they review your progress. This regular and consistent practice will gradually reinforce the changes you made in therapy.
To learn more about biofeedback therapy and how it works, here are some frequently asked questions that will clarify your questions around its procedure.
What is biofeedback and how does it work?
Biofeedback is a therapy technique that helps you learn how to control reflexive body functions like heart rate. Using electric sensors, it monitors changes in your body and provides feedback about your body’s responses in real-time. To put it briefly, biofeedback’s visual or auditory feedback helps guide you in controlling your automatic body functions. The process aims to teach you how to improve your physical condition.
What is biofeedback therapy used for?
Often, patients seek biofeedback therapy to address stress-related conditions and conditions involving reflexive muscles and involuntary body functions. It includes chronic pain, migraines, headaches, incontinence, constipation, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and more.
What is an example of biofeedback?
There are various methods and types of biofeedback according to the condition being addressed. The three primary biofeedback methods are electromyography (EMG), thermal biofeedback, and electroencephalography (EEG). These processes measure changes in muscle tension, body temperature, and brain wave activity, respectively. Other biofeedback methods would involve the use of an electrocardiogram (ECG) to measure heart rate or track breathing patterns.
How effective is biofeedback therapy?
Many studies have shown that biofeedback is a useful technique for addressing various conditions. For the best results, it’s best to do follow-ups after each session to reinforce your body’s progress. Consistent application and practice often help boost the effectiveness of the therapy.
What are the side effects of biofeedback therapy?
Biofeedback therapy has no reported harmful side effects. Hence, it is a safe therapy process. However, note that the method may not be suitable for everyone, especially people with heart problems or skin conditions. If applicable, make sure to consult with your primary healthcare provider before undergoing the therapy.
Does insurance cover biofeedback?
Health insurance plans now often include biofeedback for certain conditions in their insurance coverage. However, please note that the coverage may vary by company and by the insurance plan. You may check with your insurance company regarding the details of their insurance coverage on biofeedback.
Can biofeedback help with anxiety?
When you are anxious, your brain cells become overly active. Biofeedback can help with anxiety because the technique teaches you how to control your brain’s activity. In the process, it enables you to develop relaxation skills that can help manage your stress responses.
What is the basic principle of biofeedback?
The basic principle of biofeedback is changing the adverse effects of your body’s automatic functions through active observation. Hence, you can train the physiological responses of the body. This observation of the processes that occur in your body is made possible through the use of sensor feedback.
What are the three stages of biofeedback training?
The three biofeedback training stages are psychophysiological stress profile (PSP), skill acquisition and training, and transfer of control. To put it briefly, it starts by identifying the problem with the body’s physical responses through a stress profile. After administering the PSP, the next step is acquiring the necessary skills to make essential changes in the body’s physical response. Finally, after training, the patient would start to use the technique on their own.
Does biofeedback help depression?
After multiple sessions of biofeedback, many patients report a significant decrease in their depression symptoms. It is primarily because biofeedback helps improve brain function to achieve a state of calm and focus.
What’s the difference between neurofeedback and biofeedback?
Many people are not aware of the difference between neurofeedback and biofeedback. Neurofeedback is a subcategory under biofeedback. While biofeedback monitors and works on various physiological processes, neurofeedback only focuses on the brain’s activity. Furthermore, unlike biofeedback, where it only provides visual or auditory observation, neurofeedback’s process directly “trains” your brain to function more efficiently.
What are biofeedback exercises?
Since biofeedback only works to monitor and display your automatic body functions, it requires exercises to make the necessary changes. Biofeedback exercises may include breathing exercises, relaxation training, mindfulness meditation, guided imagery, or progressive muscle relaxation.
Does Medicare pay for biofeedback therapy?
Medicare covers biofeedback therapy under conditions that involve the treatment of pathological muscle issues and rehabilitation of muscles. However, Medicare coverage for biofeedback therapy does not cover treatment for psychosomatic disorders and typical muscle tension.
Living with pain can take a massive toll on your physical health, extending to mental and emotional well-being. It can also affect how you perform your daily activities and your relationships with other people. Don’t settle on living with stress and pain. There are methods to address this struggle in a way that you will learn more about your body.
Relaxation is a skill that you can master with the right instrument, practice, and time. Like other therapy processes, you can make the most out of biofeedback through the help of a trained professional. Since it may not be the best treatment for everyone, a professional can help determine if it’s the right option for you.
Biofeedback therapy has been proven effective for many conditions other than stress and anxiety. It is also a useful complement to treatments for conditions like depression, chronic pain, arthritis, asthma, etc. The benefits of the procedure can improve your overall well-being. It is also a safe procedure that has little to no side effects and risks.
After undergoing biofeedback therapy and developing your ability to reduce tension, you will gradually be able to apply it by yourself. As you monitor your progress, you will eventually see improvement in your stress response without the use of the electrodes.