It was such a strange, wonderful term coming of age in the late seventies: "Biofeedback" and "therapy" were hand-holding partners in the New York City dance that was my middle childhood.
But what, exactly was it? I had vague notions of machines and graphs, charts and instruments, but never really knew anyone who'd done it or, if I had, never bothered to talk about the details of the experience.
So truly, what is biofeedback and how does it work? Taking apart the term, the first piece, "bio" means life, of course and the next, "feedback" is sort of what you think of when you think about a speaker or microphone making that too loud sound that could practically deafen you.
It's information that is, literally "fed back" to you and really, it's information about your life. In its most rudimentary form, biofeedback means that you are being given information about your life, specifically about your physiological state, in order to gain understanding, awareness and control over these states in order to lead a happier and healthier life.
In conjunction with other forms of therapy (talk therapy, massage therapy, etc) biofeedback can provide relief for a myriad of problems; from anxiety disorders to migraines and simple daily stress. Biofeedback has also been used to treat chronic pain, help people recover from injuries, and restore physical balance.
Temperature, brain activity, eye movements and hearing can all be monitored by machines, and information is then given about their activity. Essentially, biofeedback attempts to teach a person how to use their mind to control their bodies' reactions to stress, thereby encouraging a relaxation response leading to a deeper level of relaxation and overall well-being.
As an alternative, non-invasive form of treatment, many people find it to be the treatment of choice and look forward to it helping them on their journey of recovery and or preventing future instances of troubling ailments.
For a more in depth look at biofeedback please follow these links: