Biofeedback therapy is a non-drug treatment in which patients learn to control bodily processes that are normally involuntary, such as muscle tension, blood pressure, or heart rate.
As it is noninvasive and does not involve drugs, there is a low risk of undesirable side effects.
This could make it suitable for those who wish to avoid medications, or those who cannot use them, such as during pregnancy.
It is often combined with relaxation training.
There are three common types of biofeedback therapy:
Thermal biofeedback measures skin temperature.
Electromyography measures muscle tension.
Neurofeedback, or EEG biofeedback focuses on electrical brain activity.
During a biofeedback session, the therapist attaches electrodes to the patient's skin, and these send information to a monitoring box.
The therapist views the measurements on the monitor, and, through trial and error, identifies a range of mental activities and relaxation techniques that can help regulate the patient's bodily processes.
Eventually, patients learn how to control these processes without the need for monitoring.
How many sessions will I need?
Sessions typically last less than one hour.
For some conditions, patients experience relief in eight to 10 sessions. For other conditions, such as high blood pressure, improvements may take 20 sessions to appear.
Alongside these sessions will be mental and relaxation activities that the individual will complete at home for 5 to 10 minutes a day.