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What is Biofeedback? Methods, Benefits and Contraindications

Doesn’t the term biofeedback ring a bell? The truth is that not much has been said about it, and yet its benefits are interesting. If you’ve been under stress for a while and nothing has worked for you, maybe it’s time to try it.

Biofeedback can help you, but why was this concept chosen? To which it refers? It is a type of therapy that uses sensors. These are connected to your body and what they do is measure your body functions to determine the level of stress you have.

How does it help you? It allows you to better know how the body works so you can manage stress. Let’s go much deeper now.

How does it work?

Biofeedback works in a very simple way. There are sensors that are placed in specific places on your body, for example the earlobes or the scalp. The important thing is that they are in contact with the skin.

There is something very interesting and that is that you will be an active subject. What does this mean? Well, biofeedback is not a test in which you do not participate. In this case, you will see the results displayed on a screen in real time so that you can be aware of how you are reacting.

It is for this reason that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital emphasizes that this is an interactive process in which you get to achieve a connection with the body that you have never achieved before.

Biofeedback methods

Biofeedback methods are tailored to individual needs. Depending on the health problems you are having, one or the other will be recommended so that the result is the best.

Therefore, before submitting, it is convenient to carry out a personal interview to find out what you need. Well, stress can affect you in different ways.

Brain waves – This is one of the recommended biofeedback methods if you often suffer from migraines or stress headaches. The sensors will be placed on the scalp or on the temples and what you will see will be brain waves thanks to an EEG.

It is an interesting way to find out how stress affects the brain. It is quite amazing!

Breathing – Another method focuses on breathing if stress prevents you from having adequate respiratory dynamics or you suffer from the sensation of suffocation. The sensors are usually placed on the abdomen and chest to determine the pattern and rate of breathing.

Heart rate – A heart that beats too fast (tachycardia) can find answers in biofeedback. With the sensors arranged on the chest, the lower part of the torso and the wrists you will be able to know how your heart rate is and the variations it presents. It may be that before the stress hits your heart begins to beat more frequently, getting ahead of itself.

Muscle contraction – Cramps, tense muscles, contractures. Stress can wreak havoc on the body and biofeedback addresses this as well.

The sensors are attached to skeletal muscles to closely observe the electrical activity that is causing the muscles to contract.

Sweat gland activity – In biofeedback you can observe how is the activity of your sweat glands. As you well know, due to stress you may perspire more than usual or sweat a lot.

With the sensors that will be placed around your fingers or in the palm of your wrists, you will be able to analyze how your body responds to stress.

Temperature – Finally, another of the methods of biofeedback is to measure the temperature, since with stress it tends to go down or, sometimes, to rise. How will your body respond? You can discover it with the sensors that will be placed on your fingers.

Benefits of Biofeedback

Now that you know a little more about biofeedback, surely you have been able to realize its benefits. But it is better that we treat them in more detail in this section. The exposed methods help you get to know your body better and how it responds to stress.

What can this do for you? Well, to learn to anticipate an episode of stress or anxiety, calm your breathing, take a walk to clear yourself. This way you will avoid what you already know is happening to you, from rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath and nervousness to headaches.

Also, biofeedback it is beneficial for you to solve your sleep problems, nausea and better manage incontinence (urinary or fecal) sometimes linked to stress. Some studies account for the effect on constipation. Knowing your body will help you to be more aware of the necessary management.

Contraindications

Despite all the advantages that this type of therapy has, it is clear that there will be contraindications. From the Mayo Clinic they warn of the following:

In the event that you have a skin disorder, the sensors used in this type of therapy can generate an allergy. Therefore, if you tend to suffer from eczema or dermatitis, it is better to ask your doctor first if it is safe for you.

If you’re having a heart rhythm problem, biofeedback may not give you promising results on how you respond to stress. In this situation we also advise you to discuss it with your doctor.

Choose a biofeedback professional

Are you interested in this technique? Well, choose the professional well, who must be a licensed therapist. Make sure he can answer each and every question you may have about how the procedure is going to be performed.

The truth is, biofeedback has many benefits. If you’ve already tried it, how did the experience go?

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