Biofeedback is a method to visualize the physiological processes which are taking place ‘inside’ the body, triggered by the nervous system. By attaching a special electronic measuring device, like a NeXus system, parameters such as heart rate, blood volume pulse and respiration can be observed. By using these physiological signals as feedback under the guidance of a trained professional clinician, people can learn to improve their health and their performance. It has been scientifically proven that many conditions can be treated successfully by applying biofeedback, thus reducing the intake of medication.
Biofeedback = health and performance training
When applied by a trained clinician, biofeedback can be a very effective method to deal with modern diseases where lifestyle and stress are the major components. It is well known that chronic stress has a negative impact on the functioning of the nervous system, as well as on the immune and cardiovascular system. Chronic stress can cause health problems over time, and many people still turn to medication to deal with these problems. But stress is caused by behavior, so changing the behavior is the real answer! This is where Biofeedback enters the picture.
Biofeedback focuses on improving health and performance, rather than treating a disease. For instance, in the case of chronic tension headache, a very common form of headache, it makes sense to enable the sufferer to dissolve the headache by reducing stress and tension, instead of taking pain killers that just treat the symptoms. This is what biofeedback can do.
In the following list of health problems are examples of conditions where stress or psycho-somatic factors may be significant components:
Anxiety disorders and hyperventilation
Burnout / stress problems
ADHD and learning disabilities
Furthermore, biofeedback can be effective in neuromuscular rehabilitation, pelvic floor and incontinence training, and for various other applications.
Biofeedback: a non-pharmacological solution
Biofeedback can’t be compared to classical medication or to passive therapy. So how is it different?
It is an active method, requiring the client/patient to participate.
It is a learning process, requiring behavioral change and learning.
It only works when the client is motivated.
It requires the right biofeedback equipment and in most cases a trained clinician as a coach.
From the above list the differences between biofeedback and taking medication become quite clear. Taking medication requires much less involvement and does not produce lasting results. Often, taking medication does not address the cause of the condition, but merely treats symptoms, as is the case with the traditional pharmaceutical treatment of stress-related health problems.
Since 1992 the acceptance of biofeedback has increased significantly. The scientific evidence is steadily growing: pubmed.gov now lists over 7400 studies on biofeedback. The American association of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB) has created a list of the levels of efficacy of biofeedback for various applications.
You might also consider participating a workshop or seminar for professionals on these topics: workshop schedule.