Biofeedback is a strategy that can be implemented so that clients can learn how to control their physical functions and manage physiological symptoms. By using this technique they can focus on subtle changes to help relax their muscles and reduce pain in certain areas that tend to contract due to stress and anxiety. It is often taught during sessions and it can also be learned as a self-help technique so that patients have the power to control their mind and body, preventing uncomfortable behavioral conditions. Ultimately it is a relaxation technique that is safe to use and can be implemented at any time.
Goals of Biofeedback
The purpose of Biofeedback is to control physical and mental symptoms and prevent them from affecting your comfort, enjoyment and social interactions. People deal with anxiety and stress on a daily basis which is why biofeedback can be used to prevent the conditions. As a noninvasive technique it may be used to reduce the use of medication as a treatment alternative. It may also be suggested when treatments are not effective toward a patient. If women are pregnant and are unable to take medication for a certain condition, Biofeedback is used to reduce physiological symptoms.
When is Biofeedback Used?
Biofeedback mechanisms monitor and master bodily feedback as a result of what we are thinking and feeling. When someone has mastered the application of biofeedback they will feel relief from chronic stress and anxiety. It may be used when clients are suffering from panic attacks. Although this does not replace a medication in some cases it is a natural treatment that benefits users when they cannot use medication or medical treatment. With less tension and reduced anxiety the individual will have benefited from one of the most effective natural treatment options. Biofeedback is used in many anxiety disorder conditions. The patient will first possess a worry which leads to physiological responses, more worries and then a heightened response. The adrenaline and stress hormones in the body create this stance even if a threat isn't present. This threat is irrational and although the person is often aware of this, they will still feel suffocated in their body and mind.
How Biofeedback Works
The process of managing physiological symptoms is also treating them. For those who suffer from anxiety disorder may feel as if the response will never go away – that is, until they learn how to control triggers and responses. As a highly effective treatment the patient is going to be taught how they can professionally respond to their anxiety and manage it without having to use medication. This process gives the client the opportunity to become aware of the physiological process as well.
The counselor or therapist will first show the client how their body may begin to react during this time. Their heart rate is going to increase, hands will become clammy and breathing is likely to become very shallow. Muscles will tense up and the hi-beta waves in the brain begin to increase. Emotions are likely to increase due to the loss of metabolic activity in the frontal lobe of the brain. The counselor will teach the client awareness and ultimate relaxation by recognizing the behavior and then controlling the responses. Patients will learn how they can use their imagination and body to control activity in the brain and maintain the right level of brainwaves in order to maintain focus and relaxation. This method has been mastered when the patient can remove fear and tension from their body within a given environment.
At times a psychologist may use a special piece of equipment in teaching the client how they can learn how to control involuntary responses in their body. The physiological responses will be monitored and the patient is able to see what they are doing wrong or how they can tweak their mind and body to perfect the biofeedback technique. There are various imagery exercises and techniques that help the patient change the responses when they have learned how to manipulate the elements. This is very effective in those who deal with blood pressure, migraines and anxiety and most beneficial to learn in a professional setting. The session time is going to vary although they usually last for up to an hour. The number of sessions that the client attends will depend on the underlying issue and how severe the physiological response is. When the client displays controlling behavior and learns how to remain calm in times of chaos the sessions usually close.
Criticism of Biofeedback
There are many that question the biofeedback technique due to cost containment and practices that are based on evidence. Professionals hold skepticism toward the efficiency of these treatments.
Biofeedback systems for stress reduction. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://doc.utwente.nl/79721/1/VandenBroek12Biofeedback_systems.pdf
How biofeedback therapy helps in treating stress related disorders and psychological symptoms. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.altmedicinezone.com/biofeedback/how-biofeedback-therapy-helps-in-treating-stress-related-disorders-and-psychological-symptoms/
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