What is Biofeedback?
Biofeedback is a unique, scientifically based treatment that has been used for a number of years to treat patients suffering from Fibromyalgia. This therapy works by testing changes in different aspects of the autonomic nervous system of a person including body temperature, muscle tension, blood pressure, heart rate and brain waves.
By showing the person what the autonomic nervous system is doing, and by training through this process of feedback to make changes, the person can gain control of different non-voluntary functions such as pain control and stress response.
This is accomplished by using mental technology such as deep breathing, progressive relaxation, mindfulness training, visualization, meditation and so on. Studies have shown that individuals with chronic conditions such as Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue as well as sleeping disorders, can benefit from this treatment modality by enhancing self-regulation.
In addition to reduced pain, improved sleep and overall reduction in stress, Fibromyalgia patients can experience improvement in the cardio-vascular, digestive, and respiratory systems through the use of biofeedback.
Biofeedback has been used successfully in treating high blood pressure, anxiety disorders, and headaches. Individuals suffering from anxiety and depression, secondary to Fibromyalgia may also require cognitive-behavioural therapy to augment the biofeedback treatment.
One of the greatest benefits of biofeedback is that it produces relatively quick results without any side effects associated with the treatment.
Types of biofeedback
Traditional biofeedback measures changes in different aspects of the nervous system, feeds them back through a computer to the user who trains to gradually make changes and enhance mind-body control. In the past few years, a new modality called Heart Rate Variability (HRV) has been used. This is a more objective way of finding out what the autonomic nervous system is really doing, and by using mind-body techniques to improve its overall function.
Most patients report noticeable improvement after 10 to 15 sessions. More sessions may be required to deepen the effect and also to make sure that the changes become permanent.
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