The significance of biofeedback therapy lies in the fact that it provides us with a training and learning process that will serve our physical and mental health for the rest of our lives, and we can learn to operate consciously. Biofeedback therapies are a complex treatment of „the human being”, helping to maintain health or restore imbalances. There are several types of biofeedback methods, depending on the initial problem, the complaint or symptom reported by the patient and the therapeutic goal to be achieved.
What is biofeedback?
In principle, all unconscious bodily reactions can be learned to change if we get feedback on them. Biofeedback is biological feedback. A biofeedback device is able to measure, analyse and provide feedback on bodily processes that are regulated by the body in a continuous but usually unconscious way.
In times of stress, the heart rate increases immediately, even though we did not ask our body to do so. In the case of physical stress, the heart rate adapts to the situation without us doing anything about it. A similar principle applies to respiratory rate, respiratory pattern, sweating, brain regulation.
Biofeedback therapy gives us the opportunity to learn about these bodily processes and to learn how to consciously regulate them. In essence, it can bring the body and mind into perfect harmony, which later on does not require biofeedback therapy, but can be mastered with practice.
It is the biofeedback device and its special sensors, the software running on it, through which the body’s bioelectric signals can be measured by sensors placed on the body. With the help of a computer, they can be converted into analogue visual or auditory stimuli so that they can be perceived and interpreted.
A biofeedback therapy device such as the QUEX S also shows the optimal functioning signal shape, and the patient has to achieve this optimal signal shape during biofeedback therapy by his/her behaviour, posture, breathing, muscle tone, and voluntary control of his/her mind.
Biofeedback therapy can help us to be more balanced in our daily lives and to manage stress more effectively.
Too much stress, poor response to stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, stomach problems not only lead to a poorer quality of life in the long term, but can also be risky and lead to the development of associated diseases.
There are several types of biofeedback methods, each of which serves to alter, consciously retrain and balance a different physiological process.
- Muscle (EMG) biofeedback
EMG measures muscle tension. During EMG biofeedback, the tone of the muscles can be changed and conscious relaxation can be learned.
Stress often results in involuntary muscle contractions, and overstretched muscles can lead to headaches, shoulder pain, back pain, etc.
- Temperature biofeedback
Temperature biofeedback measures the temperature of the skin, which can change during anxiety or stress, but if the flow can be reversed, the body can relax. In stressful states, the limbs also cool down, consciously warming them also helps to achieve a relaxed state.
- Skin resistance biofeedback
Even under minimal stress, the palms and skin sweat without you even noticing. This method can improve the stress response and stabilise the autonomic nervous system.
- Heart function
The heartbeat increases with fear and anxiety, if we can control it consciously, the risk of circulatory diseases is reduced and the heart function can be more regular.
- EEG biofeedback (Neurofeedback)
Neurofeedback measures and analyses brain waves and helps to bring them back to normal, achieving balanced brain function.
Biofeedback therapy process
Through the use of biofeedback therapy, it is possible to let the mind control the body, to control the body consciously from the very first physiological manifestation.
According to biofeedback therapists, 10-30 sessions may be needed in general to successfully treat the problem. On average, a biofeedback therapy session takes 50 minutes.
- The biofeedback therapist asks questions about your lifestyle. About nutrition, fluid intake, alcohol consumption or cigarettes. We will also talk through the complaints and the goal to be achieved.
- The biofeedback device is calibrated by the therapist. This involves placing sensors on your body and checking that the biofeedback device is set up correctly. This is completely painless.
- Next comes the symptom checklist: the biofeedback device measures the body’s response to around 15,000 indicators. It detects stress, inflammatory processes, where the balance is out of balance.
- The actual biofeedback therapy begins. The device monitors brain waves, breathing, muscle tension, among other things. The therapist asks the patient to change, for example, their breathing or sitting position. A special programme is used to achieve optimal bioelectrical manifestations of the body.
- At the end of the therapy, you will be given life management tips and you will need to practice so that you can later consciously control your previously involuntary processes without the biofeedback device.
Benefits of biofeedback
Among the most important benefits of biofeedback is the fact that it allows you to achieve physical and mental well-being and treat complaints without any needle or other painful, unpleasant intrusion into the body. The biofeedback therapist will not prescribe medication and the therapy is free of risks and side effects.
It is recommended as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, either on its own or as an adjunctive therapy. Among other things, biofeedback is a common therapeutic method:
- for headaches, migraines, chronic pain
- attention deficit, concentration difficulties, behavioural problems, ADHD
- during menopause
- incontinence, constipation, IBS
- depression, stress, anxiety
- sleep disorders
- performance enhancement
- circulatory problems, blood pressure disorders
- rehabilitation after brain injury
- therapies for paralysis and musculoskeletal complaints
The advantage of biofeedback is that the training also improves general wellbeing and can be effective not only for symptoms that have already appeared. Biofeedback is a drug-free and painless therapy known and used worldwide for health maintenance and recovery.