When was the last time you checked your weight, your skin or your hair? Changes in any of these mean changes in the body’s well-being. Biofeedback therapy works on almost similar lines, but on a higher level, to attain the goal every patient dreams of; complete recovery.
To tell you the truth, the concept has been around in medicine for a very long time. So there is nothing new with biofeedback. What is relatively fresh, is the therapy part. Ever since the inception of homeostasis in 1885, the concept of monitoring the body and treating physical and mental problems by voluntary control of physical aspects is pretty well-known. It was in 1969 that the term “Biofeedback Therapy” came into existence.
Uses of Biofeedback Therapy
In its basic explanation, it is a medical technique that helps patients with physical or mental illnesses, by monitoring and controlling the involuntary body processes, in an effort to curb the problem. The involuntary functions can include your heart rate, temperature or blood pressure, along with some other functions. The idea is, if a problem can alter, let’s say your heart rate, you can use biofeedback therapy to gain control over your heart rate to get it back to normal, thereby eliminating your problem.
Now that you know the basics, here is a list of illnesses that biofeedback therapy can possibly cure:
- Migraines, chronic headaches, stress headaches and other physical pains
- High blood pressure and low blood pressure
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Constipation and bed wetting
- Anorexia Nervosa
- Poor digestion
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Raynaud’s disease
- Spinal cord injuries
The benefits of biofeedback therapy can be claimed as countless, including curing the whole list of ailments given above. What remains to be seen is its actual effectiveness.
Truth is, there is no real documentation of an evident path to find well-being through biofeedback therapy. Even the researchers are not quite sure exactly how biofeedback works within the body. Despite that, patients who seek the therapy claim to be cured after 10 to 20 sessions of therapy. The only strong basis of its working has been found to be the elimination of stress. Apart from that, there are very few clues as to how the daily routine of physical and mental exercises prescribed by the therapist result in curing ailments that required invasive medical methods or a slew of medicines.
Working of Different Biofeedback Therapies
The method uses a piece of technology called the ‘electromyograph’. It takes the readings of electrical signals produced by skeletal muscle nerves. The method is also known as nerve conduction study, as it uses the condition of these electrical signals in order to judge the presence or the magnitude of any ailments.
This is one of the more common methods of biofeedback, due to its simplicity and cost-effectiveness. It is now known that the thumbs on our hands have the most nerve endings that connect them directly to the brain. This means that any problems in the brain, like high stress levels or headaches, can directly relate to change in the state of blood vessels in your thumbs, resulting in the change in temperature. This can therefore, be used to know if there is a problem in the mental state.
Quantum biofeedback therapy aims to measure the electrical impulses of our body and then bring them into order, thus ridding the body of any problem related to them. The apparatus includes bands that wrap around the head, ankles and wrists. These bands are used to measure the impulse signals in our body. The therapist, based on the results, prescribes a routine of exercises that will help you to climb back to normal.
Neurobiofeedback uses something known as electroencephalography (EEG), a very big word, which means measuring the brain’s electrical activity along the scalp of the patient. The therapy takes into account the various changes in mental state and measures the difference in mental signals from one state to the other. The method is not at all invasive and can be something as simple as listening to music while having a few electrodes stuck to your head. Neurobiofeedback has been used to cure epilepsy.
Although there may be people who deny the concept of biofeedback therapy, it has shown to help patients when the other ‘mainstream’, or so to speak, methods of medicine have been found to be either failed, unwanted or beyond financial reach. They form the basis of biofeedback therapy’s success.