Health Library Explorer
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A-Z Listings Contact Us
Adult Health Library
Translate
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Topic IndexLibrary Index
Click a letter to see a list of conditions beginning with that letter.
Click 'Topic Index' to return to the index for the current topic.
Click 'Library Index' to return to the listing of all topics.

Biofeedback

What is biofeedback?

Biofeedback is a form of mind control over the body that allows a person to reduce sensations of pain. Biofeedback is a technique that involves training the mind by using instruments that measure body functions.

The idea of controlling body functions with the mind is not new. Many Eastern philosophies, such as yoga, are based on the belief that meditation, and other thought processes, can control the body. In its modern applications, instruments that display a body function are used to direct and focus the mind.

Biofeedback is most often used with instruments that measure blood pressure, brain waves (EEG), breathing rate, heart rate, muscle tension, skin conductivity of electricity, and skin temperature.

Hooked up with electrodes to electronic equipment, a patient's breath rate, perspiration, skin temperature, blood pressure, and heartbeat are measured. The results are displayed on a computer screen. Specific devices are used to measure each body change, including:

  • Electromyogram (EMG). This is used to measure muscle tension.

  • Electrodermal activity (EDA). This is used to measure changes in perspiration rate.

  • Finger pulse measurements. These measure blood pressure and heartbeat.

In addition, both the rhythm and volume of breathing are measured.

Once a patient's body signals are recorded with the electronic devices, a biofeedback technician may recommend both physical and mental exercises to gain control. Biofeedback technicians are trained and nationally certified.

Biofeedback is most helpful to reduce stress and promote relaxation. It is under investigation for conditions, such as urinary incontinence, migraines, and other headaches.

Online Medical Reviewer: Marcellin, Lindsey, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Nelson, Gail A., MS, APRN, BC
Date Last Reviewed: 1/28/2013
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
Powered By Krames StayWell
Copyright © Krames StayWell except where otherwise noted.
About Us
  • Follow Us On:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Health Hub
  • Pinterest
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • RSS
  •  
  • Bookmark and Share
© Brigham and Women's Hospital | 75 Francis Street, Boston MA 02115 | 617-732-5500