Biofeedback is a form of alternative medicine that involves measuring a subject's quantifiable bodily functions such as skin temperature, sweat gland activity, blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension, conveying the information to the patient in real-time. This raises the patient's awareness and conscious control of their unconscious physiological activities.
Biofeedback: Defined as a technique that measures bodily functions and gives you information about them in order to help train you to control them. With biofeedback, you're connected to electrical sensors that help you receive information (feedback) about your body (bio). This feedback helps you focus on making subtle changes in your body. Researchers aren't exactly sure how or why biofeedback works. They do know that biofeedback promotes relaxation, which can help relieve a number of conditions that are related to stress.
Neurofeedback: Defined as a type of biofeedback that measures brain waves to produce a signal that can be used as feedback to teach self-regulation of brain function. Neurofeedback is commonly provided using video or sound, with positive feedback for desired brain activity and negative feedback for brain activity that is undesirable. Related technologies include hemoencephalography biofeedback (HEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) biofeedback.
Biofeedback is said to have made it's beginnings in the late 60s and grew as a much hyped tool in the 1970s. It has continued to be of interest to the healing community.
Biofeedback is also called the mind-body therapy, it is fast emerging as a complementary and alternate healing technique that can help treat a variety of physical and mental health problems. Biofeedback technique lays a singular emphasis on the patient and his understanding of his physical state, which forms the base upon which the therapist builds his diagnosis and charts further course of treatment.
The three most commonly used forms of feedback techniques that are available are electromyography or EMG which measures muscular tension, Thermal biofeedback which measures the skin temperature and the Neuro- feedback or electroencephalography (EEG) which measures brain wave activity.
Usually it is temperature, heart rate or neurological frequencies that is the input to feedback devices. An electromyograph, or EMG is the one of the most commonly used modalities in biofeedback treatment. An EMG in a biofeedback setting typically uses electrodes in order to measure muscle action potentials. These action potentials result in muscle tension. The patient can learn to recognize the way tension subjectively feels by using the objective EMG readings, and as a result learn to control the muscle tension.
A thermistor attached to the subject's digits or web dorsum measures the subject's skin temperature. Because there is a correlation between a drop in body temperature and the patient's experience of stress, a low temperature reading indicates the need to begin relaxation techniques.
Neurofeedback, a type of biofeedback treatment, has also become a popular treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); electromyogram biofeedback, used for muscle tension, has been widely studied and is currently accepted as a treatment for incontinence disorders. The role of biofeedback in controlling hypertension is also becoming recognized.
Neurofeedback, also called neurotherapy, neurobiofeedback or EEG biofeedback (EEGBF) is a therapy technique that presents the user with real-time feedback on brainwave activity, as measured by sensors on the scalp, typically in the form of a video display, sound or vibration.
Other areas where neurofeedback has been researched include treatment of substance abuse, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, OCD, learning disabilities, Bipolar Disorder, Conduct Disorder, anger and rage, cognitive impairment, migraines, headaches, chronic pain, autism spectrum disorders, sleep dysregulation, PTSD and MTBI.