What is Biofeedback?
Biofeedback uses sensitive electronic instrumentation to monitor your body’s vital signs so that you can see them and learn to control them. This is useful because we all experience stress and anxiety in our daily lives. How our body copes or responds to stress and anxiety can determine our state of wellness or illness (see below: Conditions Which Can Be Positively Impacted). Our body’s response to stress (or relaxation) can be measured with various types of biofeedback: muscle tension (EMG), skin temperature (PST), galvanic skin response (GSR), heart rate and heart rate variability (HR and HRV) and brainwave (EEG, electroencephalogram or neurofeedback). It is important to note that the biofeedback equipment is only recording the body’s own signals and is not using any electrical stimulus that could cause pain. As one learns to regulate one’s body and mind, symptoms lessen, conditions improve and the need for medications may be reduced or eliminated. For more information on biofeedback, go to:
Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback – AAPB (www.aapb.org)
Mayoclinic.com (www.mayoclinic.com) Enter biofeedback in the search box
Neurofeedback — An Advanced Therapy
Neurofeedback uses state of the art computer-assisted technology to monitor brainwaves. Brainwaves are displayed in the form of a game on a computer screen. Individuals learn to produce the optimum brainwave frequency pattern which results in physical or psychological symptom reduction. Some individuals pursue neurofeedback to achieve a higher level of performance in various departments of life (sports, performing arts, academic, career) For more information on neurofeedback, go to:
EEG Associates - (www.eegassociates.com)
Can a successful outcome be predicted?
It is not possible to predict with certainty that training will be successful for a particular condition or particular individual. The effectiveness of the training can usually be assessed early in the course of treatment. For most conditions, there are no known adverse side effects of the training provided the training is conducted by a professional.
Conditions Which Biofeedback/Neurofeedback Can Positively Impact
This drug-free and non-invasive approach has been found to improve the following conditions:
- Anger Issues
- Asperger’s Syndrome
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
- Bipolar Disorder
- Chronic Pain (often leading to less dependence on opiates or narcotic pain medications)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Jaw Clenching
- Learning Disorders
- Migraine Headaches
- Minor Traumatic Brain Injury
- Panic Attacks
- Peak Achievement
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Raynaud’s Syndrome
- Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
- Sleep Onset and Maintenance
- Tension headaches
- Unrefreshed Sleep or other sleep issues
Physicians who have patients with chronic pain or patients who have been resistant to decreasing doses of narcotic prescriptions have found Neurofeedback to be beneficial. To function daily at a 3 on the common pain scale instead of an 8 is a success and what we know about Opiates is one will have to increase their dosage over time to get the same desired effect leading to a long and often uncomfortable prescription pain pill regiment. We know this pattern is not ideal for patients or providers and by no means is First Step “anti” medication, we are “pro” coping skills and “pro” alternatives to needing a lot of narcotics to manage for years to come.