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A scale can be said to be a biofeedback device that measures weight; a thermometer one that measures body temperature. The information measured with a biofeedback device is then “fed-back” to the client, informing them of various physiological parameters and stress responses within the body, and educating them about the need to retrain their body’s stress responses, balance the body electric, make lifestyle changes or learn to control physiological reactions, in order to achieve improved relaxation and better health overall.
Health Canada’s reference acknowledges its therapeutic aspects, and is perhaps the most indicative of its powerful potential, calling biofeedback “psychotherapeutic measures for nonpharmacologic interventions”. Biofeedback utilizes electro-dermal sensors to measure Galvanic Skin Resistance (GSR), also referred to as Electro-Dermal Response (EDR). Biofeedback instruments measure muscle activity, skin temperature, electrodermal activity (sweat gland activity), respiration, heart rate, heart rate variability, blood pressure, brain electrical activity and blood flow. Research shows that biofeedback, alone and in combination with other behavioral therapies, is effective for treating a variety of medical and psychological disorders. In 1987, Schneider found that biofeedback is effective in reducing physician visits, medication usage, duration and frequency of hospital stays, as well as reducing mortality and enhancing quality of life. Stay ConnectedJoin our mailing list to stay up to date on session specials, events, information and inspiration from Unifiedfields Healing Arts. Biofeedback's working principle is based on information from the body coded into an appropriate signal and provided back to the user in real time. The neurological mechanisms underlying the effectiveness of biofeedback training are still debated.
The concept of task-oriented (functional) repetitive training suggests that biofeedback should be delivered during a functionally-related movement to optimize motor function (Ref: 3). The clinician and patient decide that the main exercises should aim to ameliorate her gait, by increasing step length, and to improve balance, by correcting trunk posture, the preferred feedback is the audio one, to be modulated according to trunk position. We can measure factors of the body electric such as the voltage of the firing brain cells, the amperage of the heart muscle contractions, the voltage of the muscles and the resistance to the flow of electricity of the skin.
The same technological theories that brought us biofeedback in the 1960’s, have also brought devices like the CAT Scan, MRI, TENS, ultra-sound, and many other sophisticated technologies to our healthcare systems. GSR measures mild electrical impulses on the surface of our skin, which change due to moisture. Biofeedback is currently used by physicians, nurses, psychologists, counselors, physical therapists, occupational therapists, a host of other professionals and laypeople alike.
Brain and muscle activities that are not normally controlled voluntarily may be changed according to the new available information (Ref: 1, 2).


Biofeedback may enhance neural plasticity by engaging auxiliary sensory inputs, thus making it a plausible tool for neurorehabilitation and for a variety of population.
Only a few studies have evaluated different types of biofeedback in subjects with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Her major motor symptoms include: movement start hesitation, slow gait characterized by short step, and poor balance control. She is trained for a couple of hours in the clinical center, and then she is assured with on-site technical assistance if necessary. These technologies are able to capture the bodies’ analog electrical signals and translate those signals into meaningful information through complex algorithmic software that a technician can then decipher.
Scientific evidence, and preliminary validation, on effects of cueing and rhythm for gait improvement with important results in patients show freezing of gait (Ref: 6, 7). Her clinician recommends her a rehabilitative program to be performed at home, by means of a new service and system based on recent technology. With help from a biofeedback therapist, you can learn to change your heart rate or blood pressure, for example. Before each training session starts, she records a self-assigned score about her motor status.
At first you use the monitor to see your progress, but eventually you will be able to achieve success without the monitor or electrodes.
GSR is so sensitive it can even measure fluctuations in emotional states; think about the lie detector, for example. The clinician is so able to see if her evaluation (which can be strongly affected by mood and cognition) is in accordance to the objectivity that the system can measure.
The at-home rehabilitation exercise (consisting of 20 minutes walking with the audio biofeedback, and balance exercise with music on a daily base) will last for 6 weeks, after which a new medical examination will be performed in the neurological care center. For those who respond to stress with a parasympathetic response, the explanation must be couched in these terms, again, with the aim of training being the balancing of the two systems. Medical examination will be done after a wash out, and then results evaluated to possibly perform a further stage of the rehabilitation protocol. They may also learn to respond automatically to stress by contracting, for example, in the area of the neck and shoulders. Just as we can change habitual typing errors, or learn to swim more efficiently, so can we eliminate maladaptive psychophsyiological patterns and learn more adaptive patterns.


Clinical biofeedback also involves learning relaxation techniques, using the instruments to the practitioner and client toward processes that are most effective for the client. The client is responsible for between-session practice of relaxation or other homework techniques and for maintaining awareness of symptom patterns as the relate to life-style factors. The temperature and weight readings from these devices give “feedback” about your body to tell you whether you have a fever or have gained weight.
In a similar way, biofeedback therapists use specialized equipment to train patients how to improve their health by using signals from their own bodies. The therapist attaches sensors or electrodes to the body and these sensors provide a variety of readings–feedback–which is displayed on the equipment for the patient to see. With this information, patients can learn to make changes so subtle that at first they cannot be consciously perceived. People with urinary or fecal incontinence or other pelvic floor disorders can achieve improved bladder control.
What happens during a biofeedback session? In a normal biofeedback session, electrodes are attached to your skin.
They send information to a small monitoring box that translates the measurements into a tone that varies in pitch, a visual meter that varies in brightness, or a computer screen that shows lines moving across a grid. For example, it shows promise for treating urinary incontinence, which is a problems for more than 15 million Americans. Based on findings in clinical studies, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research has recommended biofeedback therapy as a treatment for urinary incontinence. Treatment of headache, incontinence, and Raynaud's disease requires at least 10 weekly sessions and some follow-up sessions as health improves.
Conditions like high blood pressure, however, usually require 20 weekly biofeedback sessions before you see improvement.



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