Biofeedback can help you learn to control some bodily functions, such as your heart rate. During the therapy, you’re connected to electrical sensors that help collect information about your body that will allow you to begin learning to understand how to better control it. Biofeedback helps you make small changes in your body, such as relaxing certain muscles, to achieve the results you want, like reducing pain. Overall, biofeedback gives you the ability to practice new ways to control your body to improve your health and life.
6 Types of biofeedback
Depending upon your health concerns, you could experience any of the following Biofeedback types:
- Brain waves. This type uses scalp sensors to monitor your brain waves using an electroencephalograph (EEG).
- Breathing. During respiratory biofeedback, bands are placed around your abdomen and chest to monitor your breathing patterns and respiration rate.
- Heart rate. This type uses finger or earlobe sensors with a device used to detect blood volume changes (photoplethysmograph). Or sensors placed on your chest, lower torso or wrists use an electrocardiograph (ECG) to measure your heart rate and how your heart rate varies.
- Muscle contraction. This type involves placing sensors over your skeletal muscles with an electromyograph (EMG) to monitor the electrical activity that causes muscle contraction.
- Sweat gland activity. Sensors attached around your fingers or on your palm or wrist with an electrodermograph (EDG) measure the activity of your sweat glands and the amount of perspiration on your skin, alerting you to anxiety.
- Temperature. Sensors attached to your fingers or feet measure blood flow to your skin. Because your temperature often drops when you’re under stress, a low reading can prompt you to begin relaxation techniques.
You can receive biofeedback training in physical therapy clinics, medical centers and hospitals. A growing number of biofeedback devices and programs also are being marketed for home use, including interactive computer programs, mobile device simulations, and wearable devices.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a biofeedback device called Resperate for reducing stress and lowering blood pressure. It is a portable electronic device that promotes slow, deep breathing. Yet, the FDA doesn’t regulate many biofeedback devices marketed for home use.