Biofeedback Mastery

Biofeedback Mastery

Have you ever wondered what Biofeedback is all about? Uncover these unique information on Biofeedback! Are you in constant pain? Do you wish you could ever just find some relief? If so, you are not alone. Relieving chronic pain can be difficult and frustrating.

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Finding biofeedback providers

In general, psychologists and therapists are the primary people who provide biofeedback therapy to the stressed-out individuals who need it. They have the equipment, and they have the training to know how to use it correctly and to help you mobilize your abilities. You can ask your physician and others you know if they can recommend anyone with training in biofeedback therapy. If you live near a university or major hospital, you can call the public-relations staff to find out if they know of any biofeedback practitioners.

Is biofeedback useful in MS

In recent years, biofeedback has become commonly used in the management of pain in pain clinics. The use of biofeedback now appears to be generally well accepted. However, in past studies with Dr. Ronald Melzack at McGill University, surprisingly, we found that Workman's Compensation patients with back pain responded better to biofeedback than MS patients with back pain did. Biofeedback, however, may be helpful in some MS patients. More sophisticated approaches to biofeedback have recently evolved from spinal cord injury centers and other medical clinics.

Weighing the pros and cons of biofeedback therapy

As you may expect, biofeedback therapy has both benefits and liabilities. Let me start with the bad news 1 The therapy takes time. Biofeedback improvements may not occur in the first few sessions, and it may take longer than you'd like before you see any results not a good thing if you're paying out of pocket for these treatments. The major pro is that if biofeedback therapy works, you'll feel better. Experts also believe that you can generalize the results of biofeedback to your daily life. That is, after you've mastered the technique, you no longer need to be hooked up to a machine that measures your blood pressure, pulse, and so forth. Instead, when you feel yourself starting to stress out, you can (at least, theoretically) call upon the capabilities that you've gained through the biofeedback training. In one study, patients were still successful at using what they'd learned even six months after biofeedback therapy had completely ended. They hadn't forgotten the techniques, even...

Stress Busting with Biofeedback Therapy

Can you really control your body changes, such as lowering your blood pressure, dropping your skin temperature, and making other physical changes Supporters of biofeedback (a therapy that works to enable the user to change his body responses through concentration and observation of physical changes on a computer screen) think that yes, you can. And they also believe that biofeedback training can enable you to become more focused and more relaxed.


In biofeedback, patients are taught to consciously regulate unconscious body functions. By learning to depress the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, improvements can be realized in blood circulation and pressure, heart rate, digestion, and spastic conditions of the stomach and colon. The sympathetic system is for emergencies, a fight-or-flight situation, and it is thought that this system is also activated when anger and anxiety remain unexpressed which can keep the body in a constant state of tension. As a result, organs become chronically stressed and eventually give way to illness and disease. Biofeedback uses computers to give instant feedback on brain wave activity, respiration, skin temperature, electric resistance of skin and muscle tension, and can also monitor conditions of the bladder, esophagus motility, stomach acidity, and of the rectal sphincter in cases of incontinence. Patients are taught through various techniques to effect a desired response while computers...

The importance of the early diagnosis of the prostate cancer

The pelvic floor muscles, besides other functions, play an important role in sexual activity and contractions of the ischiocavernosus and bulbocavernosus muscles produce an increase in the intracavernous pressure and influence penile rigidity. The bulbocavernosus muscle compresses the deep dorsal vein of the penis to prevent the outflow of blood from an engorged penis. The procedures of the physiotherapy, associated with a interdisciplinar team, including exercises for the muscles of the pelvic floor muscle only or associated with mano-metric biofeedback, electrotherapy, vaccum pumps can be used successfully in various patients with ED 20-26

Adjunctive treatments

In recent years increasing research has been done on mind-body medicine and its effect on coping with the side effects of illness. Adjunctive therapies are those that can be expected to add something beneficial to the treatment. For example, imagery and hypnosis are widely used to help children and teens prepare for or cope with medical procedures. Other helpful adjunctive therapies are relaxation, biofeedback, massage,

Betablockers with either ACE inhibitors or ARBs

However, with ACE inhibition or angiotensin receptor blockade, juxtaglomerular cells become stimulated and more renin is secreted because of the lack of biofeedback. This compensatory renin secretion could be blunted by the addition of a beta-blocker. Conceivably, therefore, the beta-blocker could have additional antihypertensive efficacy by diminishing circulating renin levels in patients who are either on an ACE inhibitor or an ARB. In some studies, an additional antihypertensive effect has been demonstrated when a beta-blocker was added to an ACE inhibitor. However, the efficacy of such combination therapy was not tested in the upper dose range of either drug class. It is, therefore, difficult to judge whether or not there are additive effects of the two drug classes.

Understanding what happens

Different biofeedback practitioners use different methods, but in general, the patient sits in a chair and is connected to a series of monitors. One monitor takes the skin temperature of the hand or arm. Another monitor, often placed on a finger, takes the pulse. Other monitors may also be used to take various body measurements, such as your blood pressure. When it works, biofeedback enables a person to learn to decrease these various measures of stress. By doing so, that person can achieve a better state of relaxation, which she can duplicate when she's not hooked up to monitors and machines. Some studies of the results of biofeedback have indicated that patients with fibromyalgia have decreased their pain, fatigue, and morning stiffness and also improved their sleep. Perhaps one reason why biofeedback may work for people with fibromyalgia is that studies of people with FMS have indicated that they have temperature differences as well as differences in the blood flow, compared to...

Cognitive Behavioral Interventions

Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) embraces an empirical foundation that focuses on the inter-relationships among behavior, thoughts, emotions, and biological events regarding mental health problems and medical symptom development and persistence. CBT, in this context, incorporates a wide array of intervention strategies that attempt to change those behavioral, cognitive, and affective variables that mediate the negative effects of cancer and its treatment. Many strategies under the CBT umbrella are theoretically based on principles of respondent and operant conditioning, such as contingency management (e.g., changing the consequences of behavior to change the behavior), biofeedback, relaxation training, and systematic desensitiza-tion, whereas other strategies are more cognitive in nature and include techniques such as cognitive distraction, cognitive restructuring, guided imagery, and problemsolving training. Applications of CBT for cancer patients have addressed both specific...

Table 117 Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Although some psychiatrists continue to counsel patients, the current trend in medicine is for them to focus on starting and adjusting medications that treat symptoms of anxiety and depression. Psychologists and clinical social workers, who are not licensed to prescribe medications, perform counseling. These professionals can also be extremely skilled at teaching patients cognitive strategies to help with relaxation and stress reduction, such as meditation, biofeedback, and imagery. Some counselors, especially those who work closely with oncologists, can also provide information about a particular medical condition in order to help put things in perspective.

Alternative Diagnoses

One final disorder worth mentioning is vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) or glottic dysfunction (40). This paradoxical closure of the vocal cords during inspiration often accompanies symptoms easily confused as episodic exacerbation of asthma. Frequent ED visits and repeated corticosteroid therapy may be initiated before visualization of the vocal cords during a symptomatic episode divulges this alternative diagnosis (41). Careful auscultation of the neck may reveal stridor or abrupt cessation of sound during inspiration. Treatment for VCD involves biofeedback and speech therapy (41).

Irritable bowel syndrome

An understanding of the role of psychosocial factors is required in IBS in order to optimise patients' care. Drossman (1993) and Thompson (1999) have emphasised the importance of psychosocial treatments in the management of IBS. Psychological treatments including psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, biofeedback, cognitive behavioural therapy and relaxation therapy have been suggested for use in the management of IBS.

Psychosocial Influences On Painrelated Limitations In Cancer Survivors

Cognitive-behavioral approaches have dominated psychological intervention research on cancer pain management. Cognitive-behavioral perspectives proceed from the view that an individual's interpretation, evaluation and beliefs about their health condition, and their coping repertoire with respect to pain and disability will impact on the degree of emotional and physical disability that will be associated with cancer.25,28 It is important to note that the term cognitive-behavioral does not refer to a specific intervention but, rather, to a class of intervention strategies. The strategies included under the heading of cognitive-behavioral interventions vary widely and may include self-instruction (e.g., motivational self-talk), relaxation or biofeedback, developing coping strategies (e.g., distraction, imagery), increasing assertiveness, minimizing negative or self-defeating thoughts, changing maladaptive beliefs about pain, and goal setting.67 A client referred for cognitive-behavioral...

Biological and Behavioral Influences

Many different biological models of food selection have been developed and most of these are based on homeostatic models (i.e., systems that work to maintain a balance between the intake of energy and or specific nutrients and requirements for them) and are seen to operate via stimulus-response mechanisms of various kinds. Food choice is thus seen as driven either via some kind of internal biofeedback

Treating the Problem

And don't forget about the promise of alternative remedies People with fibromyalgia have some very intriguing choices to consider, including acupuncture, acupressure, biofeedback, herbal or homeopathic remedies, and neurofeedback. Read more details about all these different choices in Chapter 12.


Insomnia-related symptoms Fragmented sleep with difficulty in sleep onset and sleep maintenance Nonpharmacologic measures Avoidance of nighttime alcohol, caffeine, tobacco Increase in daytime physical activity and ensuring exposure to daylight Psychological therapies relaxation training, cognitive therapies, biofeedback training Pharmacologic strategies Short-acting benzodiazepines clonazepam, temazepam, diazepam Nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics zopiclone


A recent review of 61 randomized controlled trials of exercise therapy found that exercise had no clear benefit for adult acute LBP, but was mildly helpful at decreasing pain and improving function in adults with chronic LBP (74). Bed rest is not advised for patients with LBP, and only has limited benefit for patients with sciatica (13). Conflicting results have been reported for other treatments such as physical therapy, spinal manipulation, TENS, acupuncture, biofeedback, and behavioral therapy (71,73). Although some treatments, such as spinal manipulation, can improve acute symptoms, no clear long-term benefit has been found (13). The combination of medical care with PT or manipulation may be slightly more effective than a single type of treatment in reducing pain and perceived disability (73). Multidisciplinary approaches combining physical rehabilitation with educational, psychological, and behavioral treatment have been reported to lead to improved outcome that is sustained over...


TMJ (temporomandibular joint syndrome) can also cause a loss of bone support. Ear and jaw pain and difficulty in opening the mouth are symptoms, often a result of underlying muscle tension. Bruxism, or grinding of teeth, is usually a part of the syndrome. Calcium, 1 g, and magnesium, 350 mg, taken twice daily can relax muscles. Acupuncture, biofeedback, imagery, and craniosacral osteopathy are therapies that can bring relief.

Treatment Options

Stress-management techniques may be employed to reduce emotional discomfort, which may contribute to drinking behavior. Specific techniques include deep-muscle relaxation, biofeedback, systematic desensitization, and cognitive and behavioral strategies to cope with stress-inducing stimuli.

Other parasomnias

Sleep bruxism is the third most common parasomnia and it can be bothersome to the bed partner. Bruxism is not a dangerous disorder. However, it can cause permanent damage to the teeth and uncomfortable jaw pain, headaches, or ear pain. Approximately 8.2 of people experience it at least once a week. Sleep apnea and anxiety disorders are the most prominent risk factors for bruxism. Bruxism could be a reflex to open the airway after an apneic or hypopneic event. Bruxism may improve with treatment of sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure. Sleep bruxism does not have a definite cure. The goals of treatment are to reduce pain, prevent permanent damage to the teeth, and reduce clenching as much as possible. Stress reduction, relaxation, biofeedback, hypnosis and improvement of sleep hygiene have been tried with no persistent or significant improvement. To prevent damage to the teeth, mouth guards or appliances (splints) have been used since the 1930s to treat teeth grinding,...


There are a number of alternative and unproven treatments that people claim are effective in treating ADHD. These include restricted diets, allergy treatments, megavitamins, biofeedback, anti-motion sickness medication, antioxidants, chiropractic adjustment and bone realignment, treatment for yeast infection, and so forth. There are also a variety of natural products advertised on the Internet and other places that claim to cure the symptoms of ADHD (CHADD, July 2001).


Many nondietary, therapeutic approaches to the management of dysphagia have been identified including use of palatal training devices to assist triggering of the swallowing reflex insertion of pros-theses to lower the palatal vault to improve bolus formation oral electrical stimulation oral thermal stimulation drug therapy (nifedipine) high-intensity swallowing therapy exercises to improve where appropriate laryngeal closure, labial mandibular closure, tongue elevation and lateralization use of biofeedback involving mirrors and VSS. Although benefits have been described for many of these interventions, the lack of randomized, controlled clinical trials with adequate power has limited conclusions relating to effectiveness.


Diagnosis of constipation and encopresis is based on a thorough history and physical examination, with additional laboratory and radiological testing as indicated. Correction of the underlying condition, and correction of dietary composition, and pharmacological therapy usually improve constipation an initial disimpaction and colonic clean-out may also be warranted. For encopresis, additional behavioral therapy is often required. Conditions such as anismus may require additional modalities, such as anorectal manometry to diagnose and biofeedback training to aid in correcting.

Management of IBS

Relaxation therapy, biofeedback, cognitive therapy and gut-directed hypnotherapy are examples of psychological therapies in IBS. These therapies are usually provided by clinical psychologists however it should be recognised that medical and nursing staff can train to provide psychological therapies. At present there are no specific nurse training programmes for psychological therapies to treat IBS patients. It should be recognised that the availability of psychological therapies is limited in the National Health Service. Best practice guidelines for IBS have been published by the BSG (2000).


Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 10200 West 44th Avenue, Suite 304, Wheat Ridge, Colorado 80033, 303-4228436 Center for Applied Psychophysiology, Menninger Clinic, P.O. Box 829, Topeka, Kansas 66601, 913-273-7500 ext. 5375 Tools for Exploration, 4460 Redwood Highway, Suite 2, San Rafael, California 94903, 415-499-9050.