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Biofeedback is a mind and body technique that helps patients increase awareness and control over certain body functions. Biofeedback can help patients manage disease symptoms, side effects, pain, and stress. It is a complementary therapy that can be used alongside traditional medical treatment.
With biofeedback, a health care provider uses special equipment to detect and monitor body signals such as breathing and heart rate. The patient watches on a screen to see how their body responds to different calming techniques. In time, the patient can recognize body functions and manage them without biofeedback.
Biofeedback uses equipment to measure body functions such as:
The health care provider places sensors on different areas of the body, depending on what is being measured. Sensors can be put on fingers, wrist, earlobes, scalp, or chest.
The patient looks at a screen to see how their body functions in real time. This can help them become more aware of certain body activities.
The health care provider uses these details to help the patient make small changes to produce desired results.
For example, a higher heart rate reading may indicate stress. The therapist may use a relaxation technique to reduce stress and lower heart rate. Or the therapist may measure muscle activity to help the patient relax certain muscles and lessen pain or discomfort.
With practice, patients learn to recognize how their body functions and use specific techniques to control their body’s responses.
Biofeedback is non-invasive and considered safe. But sensors could cause skin irritation. Biofeedback is most effective when taught by a certified care provider with advanced training.
Contact your care team with questions about biofeedback.
Reviewed: October 2023