Updated: Apr 3
Holistic mind-body therapies and alternative medicines are rapidly growing in popularity. The reason for the shift is down to a variety of factors including not being able to get appointments with doctors, overworked health staff not being able to give the time to their patients, lack of funding for healthcare providers, the desire to move away from pharmaceutical drugs and wanting a more integrative approach to health and wellbeing. Biofeedback is a complementary and alternative approach that you may wish to consider.
What is biofeedback?
Biofeedback is a non-invasive, alternative medicine technique that can be used to help a whole range of conditions such as chronic pain, high blood pressure, asthma, IBS, ADHD, Fibromyalgia and anxiety & depression. The term ‘biofeedback’ was first introduced in 1969 but has ancient antecedents in psychiatry and medicine.
The process normally involves attaching sensors to your body for measuring your main body functions. Based on the feedback that is received the practitioner will then suggest physiologic changes that you can make. With practice and further education on the matter you can then learn how to make these changes without the need for the equipment.
The aim of the mind-body therapy process is to gain a greater understanding and awareness of the physiological functions in your body. By harnessing the power of our minds and becoming more in tune with our bodies we can gain better control over our health and wellbeing.
There are a variety of different biofeedback methods including:
• Muscle contraction & activity
• Brain waves
• Sweat gland activity
• Heart rate
The majority of people receive biofeedback treatments in physical therapy clinics, medical centers or hospitals. However, there is a growing trend for home biofeedback devices including wearable devices and computer programs.
The benefits of biofeedback
Recent research has shown that biofeedback sessions are successful in treating a range of medical conditions and it is recognized by the National Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. A study conducted in 2015 indicated that biofeedback sessions were effective in significantly reducing stress, anxiety, and depression over a 4-week period. In 2020 a study concluded that biofeedback can significantly reduce the symptoms associated with urinary incontinence in women.
There are many reasons why someone may choose to have biofeedback treatment. Here are some of the main benefits:
• It’s noninvasive
• It empowers the individual to feel more in control of their health
• It can, potentially, reduce the need for medications
• It can, potentially, enhance the positive effects of certain medications
• No side effects
• It’s versatile
Whether a person chooses to have sessions with a trained biofeedback therapist or opt to self treat at home is down to each individual and their preferences.
Where to buy biofeedback therapy equipment
The type of biofeedback equipment you buy to use at home will depend on what you’re attempting to monitor and your desired outcome. Fortunately, with advances in technology, there are lots of home devices to choose from. The majority of home devices are wearable tech such as headbands, watches and patches. As well as portable devices, hand-held devices and interactive video games. All of these devices can be bought online.