How is Biofeedback Used Today?
Clinical biofeedback techniques that grew out of the early laboratory procedures are now widely used to treat an ever-lengthening list of conditions. These include:
Migraine headaches, tension headaches, and many other types of pain
Disorders of the digestive system
High blood pressure and its opposite, low blood pressure
Cardiac arrhythmias (abnormalities, sometimes dangerous, in the rhythm of the heartbeat)
Raynaud's disease (a circulatory disorder that causes uncomfortably cold hands)
Paralysis and other movement disorders
Specialists who provide biofeedback training range from psychiatrists and psychologists to dentists, internists, nurses, and physical therapists. Most rely on many other techniques in addition to biofeedback. Patients usually are taught some form of relaxation exercise. Some learn to identify the circumstances that trigger their symptoms. They may also be taught how to avoid or cope with these stressful events. Most are encouraged to change their habits, and some are trained in special techniques for gaining such self-control. Biofeedback is not magic. It cannot cure disease or by itself make a person healthy. It is a tool, one of many available to health care professionals. It reminds physicians that behavior, thoughts, and feelings profoundly influence physical health. And it helps both patients and doctors understand that they must work together as a team.