Navigation Links
Biofeedback Now Seen as 'Regular' Medicine

Computer-assisted treatment has joined mainstream for pain, anxiety and more,,

THURSDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Biofeedback used to be thought of as alternative therapy -- something that might help but wasn't considered a fully legitimized medical treatment.

No more.

U.S. soldiers returning from war now use biofeedback to help deal with post-traumatic stress disorder. People suffering from chronic pain often find relief in biofeedback. Even athletes are using biofeedback to gain better control over their bodies.

"It used to be considered a very radical type of therapy, but what we have found is, as the years have gone by, it has become more and more mainstream," said John Arena, lead psychologist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Augusta, Ga., a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia and president of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. "It now is considered part of regular medicine, actually."

With biofeedback, someone is strapped to sensors that provide real-time readings of internal bodily processes, such as muscle tension, blood pressure, heart rate, skin temperature and brain-wave activity. They then are taught strategies by which they can gain better control over those processes, which in turn can help them achieve certain health goals.

"It's like using computers to listen to your body and then displaying that information so you can see it and use your own volition to change it," explained Carmen Russoniello, an associate professor and director of a biofeedback center at East Carolina University. "We think of this as internal exercise, much like the physical exercise you perform at the gym. It's done in the head instead of the muscles."

Students at Iowa State University now have access to a Biofeedback Center to help them deal with stress, said Todd Pietruszka, a staff psychologist with the college's Student Counseling Service.

The college students can sit in a quiet, darkened room, wearing noise-cancelling headphones and sensors on their fingertips that measure their heart rate and skin conductance. They practice relaxation techniques while watching real-time graphics showing them how their body is responding. That way, they can see which techniques lead to actual relaxation.

"You can see that even though the noise is still in your head, you have been able to relax a little," Pietruszka said. "You notice for 40 seconds you were able to lower your heart rate, for example. For an instant, you get it."

Once users of biofeedback learn what works to alter their body's processes, they can practice until they have mastered the techniques. They then are armed with tools that can be used whenever they need them.

Arena said that biofeedback has been found to be incredibly useful in helping people with chronic pain. Whether the pain stems from headaches, lower back pain or some other painful problem, they can use biofeedback to master relaxation and meditation techniques to ease the pain, he said.

People with tension headaches, for instance, learn how to relax their bodies and release stress. "With headaches, we get around a 50 to 60 percent reduction in a person's overall headache activity," Arena said.

Anxiety also can be helped by biofeedback, he said. People with anxiety disorders often have high levels of muscle tension that are caused by, and then contribute to, their anxiety. But through biofeedback, he explained, they can learn to relax their muscles and break that vicious cycle.

Though inexpensive at-home biofeedback kits are on the market now, Russoniello recommends that someone trying the therapy for the first time find a qualified biofeedback specialist who has been certified by the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America.

"You really need the assistance of an expert who can tie together the autonomic nervous system, stress, its impact on you and how it affects your physiology," he said. "You need somebody who understands the equipment. You should go through three treatments before using a home device to continue that practice."

More information

The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback has more on biofeedback.

SOURCES: John Arena, Ph.D., lead psychologist, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Augusta, Ga., professor, Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior, Medical College of Georgia, and president, Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback; Carmen Russoniello, Ph.D., director, Center for Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, and associate professor, College of Health and Human Performance, East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C.; Todd Pietruszka, Ph.D., staff psychologist, Student Counseling Service, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Innovative Biofeedback Technology Wins By A "Knockout."
2. Peak Performance, Neurofeedback and Biofeedback: New Frontiers of Empowerment From, and In, Sport
3. Biofeedback Workshops & Distance Learning Offer Credits and Training Options
4. Cardinal Health Declares Regular Quarterly Dividend
5. Unilens Vision Inc. Declares Regular Quarterly Cash Dividend of U.S. $0.09 Per Share
6. Almost two-thirds of pregnant women believe they are regularly exposed to physical risk at work
7. Irregular arm swing may point to Parkinsons disease
8. Children who lack continuity with a regular health care provider miss needed services
9. Simple blood test could reduce repeat breast MRI scans in premenopausal women with irregular periods
10. Sleep Apnea Episodes May Trigger Irregular Heartbeat
11. Irregular Heartbeat Risk Higher in Women With Type 2 Diabetes
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... A recent article published June 14 on E Online details ... to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking to undergo not only the ... and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, Beverly Hills Physicians (BHP) notes ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell ... pain and the benefits of holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, ... Cell Disease. , Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Conference and Scientific Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two significant new ... the grants came as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Dr. Amanda Cheng, an ... Dr. Cheng has extensive experience with all areas of orthodontics, including robotic Suresmile ... orthodontics. , Micro-osteoperforation is a revolutionary adjunct to orthodontic treatment. It can ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and MyPainAway Pain Relief Products, join The ‘Business for ... $12 an hour by 2020 and then adjusting it yearly to increase at the same ... wage, assure the wage floor does not erode again, and make future increases more predictable. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... a startling report released today, National Safety Council research ... proven plan to eliminate prescription opioid overdoses. Prescription Nation ... tackling the worst drug crisis in recorded U.S. history, assigned a ... , New Mexico , Tennessee ... failing states, three – Michigan , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Bracket , a ... its next generation clinical outcomes platform, Bracket eCOA (SM) ... on June 26 – 30, 2016 in Philadelphia ... electronic Clinical Outcome Assessment product of its kind to fully ... Bracket eCOA 6.0 is a flexible platform for ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  Guerbet announced today that it has been named ... . One of 12 suppliers to receive ... support of Premier members through exceptional local customer service ... to lower costs. ... outstanding customer service from Premier," says Massimo Carrara ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: