What is biofeedback?
Biofeedback is a technique that teaches people how to change their body’s activities (such as heart rate, breathing rate, skin temperature, and muscle activity) to improve physical symptoms of pain and overall health. During a biofeedback session, these activities are measured and the information is given to the patient. When this information is paired with relaxation skills such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and visualization, patients can see how relaxation changes their body’s activities. Over time, consistent practice of these skills can help to decrease stress, balance the nervous system, and reduce or eliminate physical symptoms.
What happens during a biofeedback session?
Biofeedback sensors (stickers) are typically placed on the child’s forehead, fingers, and waist, as well as occasionally on the shoulders and/or forearms. These sensors send signals to a computer to track muscle tension, hand temperature, breathing rate, and skin moisture levels. The child is then coached through relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or muscle relaxation while monitoring changes in his or her body’s activities.
Who can benefit from biofeedback?
Biofeedback can be helpful with a variety of problems, including:
- Chronic abdominal pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Migraine and tension headaches
- Amplified pain syndrome
- Non-cardiac chest pain
- Musculoskeletal pain
Is biofeedback safe?
Yes—biofeedback is a safe, painless, and non-invasive technique that can be effective to reduce chronic pain.
Children’s Mercy Kansas City, Biofeedback Clinic program brochure, 01/2019
Authors: T. Spaeth, FNP / E. Burch, CPNP Reviewed: Andrea M. Glaser, MD 2/5/2020