Biofeedback is the use of electronic instruments to measure and feedback to people information about the state of their bodies, including muscle tension and other physiological signs of stress. The objective is to help people develop greater awareness of and control over their physiological processes that are ordinarily outside awareness and/or under less voluntary control. Biofeedback is particularly useful for patients with anxiety disorders, chronic pain, headaches and many other stress related problems.
The following biofeedback methods may be used in conjunction with relaxation techniques, hypnosis, mindfulness and guided imagery.
- Skin Temperature- also known as hand warming, involves increasing the temperature of the fingers. It is one of the easiest biofeedback methods to learn.
- Electrodermal Activity-Skin Conductance- also known as Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), involves measuring sweat gland activity. If focuses on decreasing perspiration in the hands.
- sEMG or Electromyography- Involves measuring an electrical aspect of muscle contraction and teaches muscle relaxation. sEMG feedback can be particularly useful for treating tension headaches, teeth grinding, temporomandibular joint problems, and chronic pain.
- Heart Rate Variability (HRV)- Involves learning how to gain control over the natural fluctuations in the heart rate.
- Paced Respiration- Similar to heart rate variability, it involves learning how to breathe at a slow, steady rate.