I had been in chronic, agonizing back pain for over 3 ½ years when I stumbled upon biofeedback over 35 years ago. Just a few sessions of hand temperature biofeedback turned my life around–I was able to reduce my pain to a very minimal level and get back to living my life. I still use what I learned then to keep me healthy and functional. I use it on a daily basis to help my clients feel better. If you are in pain, it is one of the most powerful things you can do to get and stay well.
I often refer to biofeedback as “the best kept secret in medicine.” Although most people have heard the word, few people know what it is. It is one of the powerful tools available for helping people improve their health and well-being.
Biofeedback uses sensitive electronic instruments to measure a patient’s bodily processes then feeds back that information back to the patient so that he can learn to control his body. Biofeedback can measure muscle tension (EMG biofeedback), peripheral blood flow (temperature biofeedback), heart rate, respiration rate, skin moisture (GSR biofeedback) and electrical activity of the brain (neurofeedback). Once the patient has achieved mastery in controlling these processes, he can overcome pain and many other health problems.
Biofeedback has been successfully used to treat many chronic pain conditions. EMG biofeedback is very helpful for back pain and tension headaches. Migraine headaches can be reduced or eliminated with temperature biofeedback, EMG and/or neurofeedback. Peripheral neuropathy can be relieved with temperature biofeedback. Fibromyalgia symptoms can be greatly improved by heart rate variability training (HRV) which involves synchronizing respiration and heart rate. Neurofeedback can also be very helpful for fibromyalgia. The only known side effect of biofeedback is improved overall health and emotional well-being.
Websites which can help you find a biofeedback practitioner in your area include:
The Biofeedback Certification Alliance www.bcia.org,
The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback www.aapb.org
The International Society for Neurofeedback and Research www.isnr.org