Much like physical therapy, biofeedback training requires active participation on the part of patients and often regular practice between training sessions. Clinical biofeedback may be used to manage disease symptoms as well as to improve overall health and wellness through stress management training.
- This intervention requires specialized equipment to convert physiological signals into meaningful visual and auditory cues, as well as a trained biofeedback practitioner to guide the therapy.
- Using a screen such as a computer monitor, patients get feedback that helps them develop control over their physiology.
- Just as looking into a mirror allows one to see and change positions, expressions, etc., biofeedback allows patients to see inside their bodies, with a trained practitioner serving as a guide directing them to use the feedback to regulate their physiology in a healthy direction.
- Surface electromyography (sEMG) is perhaps the most common physiological variable monitored using biofeedback. sEMG feedback is used in a variety of disorders such as tension headache, chronic pain, spasmodic torticollis and temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
TYPES OF BIOFEEDBACK
Many forms of biofeedback are currently used in the clinical setting include:
• Electromyography (EMG)—measures muscle tension.
• Thermal biofeedback—measures skin temperature.
• Neurofeedback/ electroencephalography (EEG)—measures brain wave activity.
• Electrodermography (EDG)—measures skin electrical activity.
• Heat Flux—measures the rate at which heat is being dissipated from a body.
• Pneumography - measures abdominal/chest movement when breathing.
• Capnometry - measures end-tidal carbon dioxide in a person during the exercise through a portable capnometer device.
• Hemoencephalography - measures the differences in the colour of light reflected through the scalp based on the relative amount of oxygenated and unoxygenated blood in the brain.
• Photoplethysmography (PPG)—measures peripheral blood flow, heart rate, and heart rate variability.