What is Biofeedback?

Biofeedback is a practice in the medical community where a patient learns to tune into the body’s messages and react accordingly. In an oversimplified example, individuals practice biofeedback everyday when eating. If the stomach signals it is hungry, the individual eats. When the stomach signals it is full, the individual stops eating. Similarly, in sports, when a golfer swing is off, he makes adjustments to correct the swing and play a better game. The same philosophy is applied in biofeedback.

On a more complicated scale, biofeedback machines monitor a patient’s body, be it heart rhythm or stress level, for example. The machine signals the patient that activity is not normal via a beep or flashing light. The patient, once trained, is able to return the body to its regular function through conscious changes in thought or action. Biofeedback is simply listening to the feedback one’s body is giving and responding accordingly.

There are two key elements involved in the practice of biofeedback that are vital to its success: the monitoring machine and the human response. In order for biofeedback to be successful, the proper monitoring system must be able to signal the individual when the body is not functioning as expected. For example, a machine could be used to alert an individual of a rise in stress and blood pressure. Then, the individual must practice, in this case, the correct calming techniques to return the body to its proper state.

As with all medical treatments, biofeedback is a treatment that must be prescribed and monitored by a trained physician. Biofeedback is a course of treatment that works for many individuals with many ailments, but does not necessarily work for all. Speaking with a doctor about biofeedback will help any individual decide if it is the right course of treatment.

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