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Biofeedback

Definition

Biofeedback is a technique that measures bodily functions and gives you information about them in order to help train you to control them.

Information

Biofeedback is most often based on measurements of:

  • Blood pressure
  • Brain waves (EEG)
  • Breathing
  • Heart rate
  • Muscle tension
  • Skin conductivity of electricity
  • Skin temperature

By watching these measurements, you can learn how to alter these functions by relaxing or by holding pleasant images in your mind.

Patches, called electrodes, are placed on different parts of your body. They measure your heart rate, blood pressure, or other function. A monitor displays the results. A tone or other sound may be used to let you know when you've reached a goal or certain state.

Your health care provider will describe a situation and guide you through relaxation techniques. The monitor lets you see how your heart rate and blood pressure change in response to being stressed or remaining relaxed.

Biofeedback teaches you how to control and change these bodily functions. By doing so, you feel more relaxed or more able to cause specific muscle relaxation processes. This may help treat such conditions as:

References

Burgio KL, Kraus SR, Menefee S, Borello-France D, Corton M, Johnson HW, et al. Behavioral therapy to enable women with urge incontinence to discontinue drug treatment: a randomized trial.Ann Intern Med. 2008;149(3):161-9.

Camilleri M. Disorders of gastrointestinal motility.In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds.Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 138.

Loder E, Rozzoli P. Tension-type headache.BMJ. 2008;336(7635):88-92.

Magis D, Schoenen J. Treatment of migraine: update on new therapies.Curr Opin Neuro. 2011;24(3):203-210.

Nygaard I. Clinical practice. Idiopathic urgency urinary incontinence. N Engl J Med.2010;363(12):1156-62.


Review Date: 10/30/2011
Reviewed By: Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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