Some physiological processes are involuntary—like heart rate, skin temperature, and blood pressure. But, with the help of biofeedback therapy, a person can learn how to recognize and control these involuntary physiological processes. The therapy is non-invasive and can be a great alternative to medication or medical procedures for treatment of a condition.
During biofeedback therapy, the patient wears electrodes that are hooked up to a monitor. The monitor displays a visual representation of the patient’s physiological response to stress like heart rate, skin temperature, or sweating. When the patient is exposed to stress, the monitor lights up, beeps, or displays an image that represents the body’s reactions. From there, a patient literally sees the effects of stress and his or her efforts to stop the reaction.
Biofeedback has been shown to be useful for relaxation and learning relaxation techniques. The patient can practice meditation, visualization, muscle relaxation, and deep breathing during therapy. When a patient is able to slow his or her heart rate, lower blood pressure, and relax the muscles the screen will display the results. Eventually the patient will not need a monitor to control his or her processes.
Many conditions can be treated with biofeedback therapy: headaches, anxiety, muscle tension, asthma, chronic pain, urinary incontinence, injury, high blood pressure, and constipation. Sessions normally last less than one hour, and many patients see positive results in as little as eight sessions.