What is biofeedback?
Biofeedback training involves learning
what makes you tense and developing new
ways to reduce tension. Use of biofeedback
equipment and a computer allow you to “see” and “listen” to
your body’s natural abilities to
relax and heal. It brings you immediate
information about your body, like looking
into a mirror or taking your temperature
with a thermometer. Another example is
a thermostate to regulate room temperature.
How does biofeedback work?
A biofeedback instrument is connected
to the skin in order to listen to a specific
body system like breathing, skin temperature,
etc. (No needles are involved and no discomfort
is caused or experienced). This instrument
converts your body information into a sound
and/or a line on the computer screen which
is “fed” back to you. You can
then use this information, much like a
mirror, about your body’s systems
and processes which people don’t
usually notice or thought they could control,
such as breathing, muscle tension and sweating.
By listening to your body’s processes
such as breathing, you learn to control
that process and therefore, control the
symptom you may be experiencing.
How does biofeedback control
Certain disorders such
as headaches, asthma, anxiety, side
effects of chemotherapy, etc., and
the pain associated with these disorders,
are closely connected with these body
responses, such as breathing and sweating.
When a person is in pain, their muscles
become tense, which worsens the pain. Learning
to reduce muscle tension, therefore, reduces
pain. For example, migraine headaches are
usually associated with lowered skin temperature.
Learning to raise skin temperature reduces
headache pain. With the use of biofeedback
instruments, you learn how to recognize
problematic body changes and how to reverse
them before they set off a flare-up of
pain. Biofeedback helps you feel better
and be in greater CONTROL of
your body’s responses, instead of
feeling helpless to decrease pain.
What is the goal of biofeedback?
learn to reduce tension (i.e., stress,
pain, discomfort) in your body; to recognize
early warning signs of stress and control
it before you really become stressed out
and before it controls you. Biofeedback
is a skill, and like any skill, practice
and knowledge are important for progress.
Children who participate in biofeedback
training and therapy often achieve significant
symptom reduction and are able to reduce
or eliminate medications while experiencing
a renewed sense of physical and mental
well-being. In fact, children report that
biofeedback training is fun, relaxing,
and an enjoyable experience.
What types of problems are
helped by biofeedback?
is most helpful for chronic pain associated
with headaches, RSD (Reflex Sympathetic
Dystrophy), pain associated with cancer,
side effects of chemotherapy (e.g., nausea/vomiting),
gastrointestinal conditions such as IBS
(Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and Crohn’s
Disease, Reynaud’s Syndrome, symptoms
associated with anxiety/panic, asthma,
among others. Depending on the nature of
the problem, Biofeedback is most helpful
when combined with other treatments such
as physical therapy (if prescribed), self-hypnosis,
counseling, medication (if prescribed),
For further information, please contact Dr. Napoletano at 858-523-1617 or visit www.sandiegobraintraining.com.