Biofeedback therapy is a process by which patients learn to regulate body functions such as muscle tension and hand temperature. This regulation allows patients to gain relief from disorders such as headaches, neck pain, back pain, fibromyalgia and anxiety. They are taught specific breathing and relaxation techniques while being monitored with non-invasive surface electrodes. By viewing their progress on a computer screen and interacting with the monitor, patients actively exert positive control over bodily functions and significantly reduce their symptoms.
Each patient's program is tailored to his/her specific problems. Patients are provided with home practice instructions and are expected to practice at home between sessions with the biofeedback therapist.
The value of biofeedback is that the patient is not simply receiving care passively, but is actively participating both in the provider's office and ongoing in the home. Patients are made aware of behaviors that cause or contribute to their pain. For example, patients may be tightening muscles unnecessarily. Biofeedback monitoring measures muscle tension at a millionth of a volt and hand temperature at a tenth of a degree - increments that human beings are unable to sense independently. With this increased knowledge of their body functions, patients learn to recognize excess muscle tension and release if before the pain increases. When a patient experiences pain or anxiety, the body tightens up with the mistaken notion that it is protecting the individual. A patient who has learned general relaxation techniques is prepared to counter the body's injurious instinctive reaction and thus is better able to function.
Most patients are seen 6-10 times over a period of several months to learn relaxation techniques while being monitored; they are then able to employ these on their own without the need of the biofeedback monitoring.
Request an appointment with our biofeedback therapist, Carolyn Shargel.
National Association of Epilepsy Centers