Biofeedback is a technique that measures bodily functions and gives you information about them in order to help train you to control them.
Biofeedback is most often based on measurements of:
- Blood pressure
- Brain waves (EEG)
- Heart rate
- Muscle tension
- Skin conductivity of electricity
- Skin temperature
By watching these measurements, you can learn how to alter these functions by relaxing or by holding pleasant images in your mind.
Electrodes measure your heart rate, blood pressure, or other function. A monitor displays the results for both you and the trained practitioner to see. A tone or other sound may be used to let you know when you've reached a goal or certain state.
While the practitioner describes stressful situations and guides you through relaxation techniques, you can 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 and may be able to help treat such conditions as:
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Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.