In a way, biofeedback therapy can be used to sure anything from autism to motion sickness. Although the entire process is still not complete and well-defined, the benefits of good biofeedback sessions can be immense.
As far as actual sessions are concerned, you mostly have to undergo them weekly, with the total number of sessions varying from 10 to 12 for problems like constant headaches and incontinence, and as many as 20 sessions for seeing any effective results in lowering high blood pressure. Your homework will generally involve mind games dedicated to lowering your stress levels and improve your state towards a more positive one.
That, forms the foundation of what biofeedback stands for, letting go of your stress. It’s been known that high and constant levels of stress cause most problems, and most of the time elevate them. Which is why it’s important to stop worrying about it and take steps in the right way to solve the problem. This, is always easier said than done and this is where it steps in. You are under regular monitoring, doctors make checks on all the relevant involuntary body functions you show to know how you’re doing and what you should be doing to get better.
A cynical view is often a short-sighted one. Yes, you have all the drugs and operations in the world to ‘cure’ those problems of yours away. But they don’t make sure these problems don’t come back. The advantages of treating yourself with biofeedback are many and strong.
- The best benefit is the absolute exclusion of any side effects that the aforementioned drugs and operations are packaged with.
- The treatment is completely non-invasive, which means any apprehensions a patient may possess towards it are more or less baseless.
- No medicines and operations, which means the cost of undergoing the therapy is much cheaper than the former.
- Yes, biofeedback seems to take a long time to take effect, but if you think about it; you’re getting monitored constantly so you know how you’re doing and whether you should keep going or not.
Your standard therapy sessions include-
- Breathing exercises, from your basic deep breathing to controlled breathing patterns.
- Concentrating on muscle groups and using alternating contraction and relaxation exercises.
- Meditation to calm your mind and to gain a more positive nature.
- Using videos and images of specific colors to soothe the mind.
Biofeedback in Curing Ailments
I’m giving examples of how biofeedback can be used to cure patients of common and uncommon problems alike, it being the best way to understand the benefits. A point to understand here is the overall effectiveness in eliminating ‘diseases’. If someone claims to cure you of cancer or HIV using some brand new biofeedback machine that costs tens and thousands of dollars, don’t fall for it. Biofeedback is nothing but the one-word definition of “If you’re your worst enemy, you can also conquer your ailments by yourself”. There are certain boundaries that biofeedback will not cross, like treating AIDS. But it has been found effective in curing the following conditions.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is diagnosed mostly in kids. Symptoms include extreme hyperactivity, difficulty in paying attention to one thing and impulsive behavior. The problem in treating ADHD is that there is no definition to it. Treatment methods can vary from doctor to doctor and can include anything from drugs to intensive therapy. It was shown that the brain waves of children suffering from ADHD are very different from those of normal children. Biofeedback therapy helps in altering these abnormal brain waves to as close as normalcy as possible.
The mental activity of children suffering from ADHD closely resembles that of being in a state of dreaming, rather than a calm state of being alert. A biofeedback therapist will first assess this state of the child and see how much it differs from a normal state using neurofeedback. He/she will then prescribe a daily routine of mental exercises that will help the child in increasing his/her mental arousal. More importantly, the children will learn to control their own behavior and mental state to a certain extent, in order to become normal. It’s been observed that most children with ADHD can benefit from this.
This includes most modern ailments like carpal tunnel syndrome, along with backaches and headaches. It is through regular biofeedback therapy that the patient learns to discipline himself to control and subdue his own discomfort. The advantage of using it for treating physical pain is that each individual experiences pain uniquely. This is one reason why, while the same medicine may not work for multiple patients, biofeedback can be very effective for treating most of them. With medicine, if a patient is not relieved with one chemical, the doctors will try another. With biofeedback, if the pain is not relieved yet, it will only result in a minor change in his/her mental exercise regimen.
It is now proven that anxiety affects more Americans than any other psychological problem. It is more common in teenagers than adults and in women than men. The current trend of bad diets and lack of physical work only add fuel to the fire. Anxiety disorders can severely hamper the professional and social lives of people. Sadly, only a few actually get medical treatment for it. Biofeedback therapy can help people with anxiety disorders the most. Since it isn’t really genetic and is more or less self-induced due to an imbalanced way of life, biofeedback simply helps patients take control of themselves again and put a stop to all the worry. Anxiety affects most bodily functions and so it includes monitoring of most of them, including mental activity, heart rate and temperature.
People may still come to believe that biofeedback is not true, that it doesn’t really work. The thing about it is, biofeedback is mostly all about mind control and self-discipline. Which is why skepticism may slow down the process. It all depends on how well you want to become, without having to pop pills all the time.