What is biofeedback therapy and how does it work? (2023)

What is biofeedback therapy (BT)?

Biofeedback Therapy (BT) is a non-pharmaceutical technique that helps people control their normally involuntary bodily functions. For example, it might help someone to slow their heart rate or relax their muscles.

Hetherapyuses biofeedback devices to read and interpret information from the body. Based on this information, a person can adjust aspects of themselves and ultimately control their bodies.

Doctors aren't exactly sure how biofeedback therapy works, but according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMM), it is most effective in treating stress-related disorders.

As stress levels rise, a person's internal processes become erratic. BT helps manage this and provides a tool for symptom relief and stress response.

Biofeedback therapy helps people change unhealthy habits by interpreting brain activity and helping them become familiar with their bodies' reactions. Practice helps improve patient mindfulness and well-being.


Online therapy can help

Over 3 million people use BetterHelp. Its services are:

  • professional and effective
  • accessible and practical
  • Personalized and Discreet
  • easy to start

find a therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

What is biofeedback therapy and how does it work? (1)

Types of Biofeedback Therapy

There are three types of biofeedback therapy, including:

  • Termisches biofeedback(a measurement of skin temperature)
  • electromyography(a measure of muscle tension)
  • neurofeedback(measures the electrical activity of the brain)

What diseases are treated with biofeedback therapy?

Biofeedback therapy is used to remedy this.substance use disorders. It enables people struggling with addiction and their therapists to recognize the involuntary body functions that trigger substance use. BT tracks how the body responds and tracks alcohol or drug withdrawal symptoms that cause stress and increase involuntary responses.

(Video) What to Expect at Your Biofeedback Therapy Sessions

Most people who attend biofeedback training sessions see improvements in just a dozen sessions.These sessions last about an hour..

Biofeedback therapy is a powerful tool for treating addiction because it enriches other therapies and makes people feel more in control of their health and overall situation.

BT helps treat many different conditions, including:

  • Suffering
  • asma
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Evacuation problems such as fecal incontinence and constipation.
  • chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy
  • fibromyalgia
  • hypertension
  • Reizdarm syndrome (SII)
  • migraines and tension headaches
  • pelvic floor dysfunction
  • Raynaud's syndrome
  • seizures
  • side effect of chemotherapy
  • To emphasize
  • attack
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • urinary incontinence

It is also effective in treating addiction and substance use disorders, especially during withdrawal. BT treats common drug withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, depression, chronic muscle pain and restlessness.


Get professional help

BetterHelp can connect you with a mental health and addiction counselor.

find a therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

What is biofeedback therapy and how does it work? (2)

(Video) Biofeedback for Anxiety

What are the benefits of biofeedback therapy?

Biofeedback therapy offers the practitioner several benefits that appeal to many people because:

  • It is a safe and non-invasive procedure.
  • It allows people to take control of their health.
  • It can help eliminate or reduce the need for medication.
  • It may help to enhance the effects of certain medications.
  • It is beneficial for people who cannot take medication (such as pregnant women).

Are there risks associated with biofeedback therapy?

Most medical experts believe that the risk associated with biofeedback therapy is low. It's generally safe, according to the Mayo Clinic, and there areThere are no reports of negative side effects.. However, this does not mean that the treatment is suitable for everyone.

The effectiveness of a treatment like Biotherapy Feedback depends on how comfortable someone is using it.


Phone, video or live chat support

BetterHelp offers therapy that works for YOU. Fill in the questionnaire, let yourself go, start therapy.


Answer a few questions to get started

What is biofeedback therapy and how does it work? (3)

How does biofeedback therapy work?

Biofeedback therapy tracks the body's involuntary functions. These include:

  • respiratory frequency
  • heartbeat
  • blood flow and pressure
  • skin temperature
  • Muscular contraction
  • Sweat

BT devices monitor and report these functions. This allows the monitored person and their therapist to interpret the body's responses provided by the machines. This information will help you plan an approach to retirement and recovery.

In biofeedback therapy, information about the person is recorded and transmitted to a monitoring box as the person is subjected to various influences.visual and auditory stimuli. This allows a therapist and/or the person observed to identify mental activities and relaxation techniques to regulate bodily functions that normally go unnoticed and uncontrolled.

During the sessions, the person exercises control and eventually learns to control their reactions without supervision.

(Video) How Biofeedback for anxiety works

How many sessions of biofeedback therapy do you need?

Biofeedback therapy sessions usually last between 30 minutes and an hour. With some ailments, those affected already feel relief after eight to ten sessions. For other conditions, such as high blood pressure, patients may need 20 sessions to see improvement.

In general, the duration and number of sessions required depend on your condition and how quickly you learn to control your physical reactions.

Sessions are held to accompany biofeedback therapy.mental and recreational activitiesthat the patient has to do at home for five to ten minutes a day.

How do you prepare for biofeedback therapy?

No special preparation is needed for biofeedback therapy. To find a suitable biofeedback therapist, talk to your doctor or other healthcare professional. You should recommend someone with experience treating your condition.

Many therapists and biofeedback practitioners hold degrees in other health fields, such as psychology, nursing, or physical therapy. State laws regulating biofeedback therapists vary. Some biofeedback practitioners choose certification to demonstrate their additional training and experience in their practice.

Ask Any Biofeedback Therapist You Are Consideringquestions before treatment, As:

  • Is it authorized, certified or registered?
  • What is your experience level?
  • Do you have experience treating my condition with biofeedback?
  • How many biofeedback sessions do you think I will need?
  • How much does biofeedback therapy cost? Is it covered by health insurance?
  • Do you have a list of references?

What can you expect from biofeedback therapy?

During a biofeedback session, a therapist attaches electrical sensors to different parts of the body. With these electrodes, you can monitor your brain waves, muscle tension, breathing, heart rate and skin temperature.

This information is transmitted to you by means of notices, e.g. B. through the setting of a monitor, a beep or a flashing light. Feedback teaches you to change or control your body's responses by altering your thoughts, behavior or feelings. This may bring relief for the condition you sought treatment for.

The goal of biofeedback is to learn how to use these methods at home without professional help.Improve your mindfulness and well-being.

When biofeedback works effectively for you, it can help you manage the symptoms of your condition or reduce the amount of medication you take.

With enough practice, you can also try out the biofeedback techniques you learned on your own. However, do not discontinue medical treatment for your condition without consulting your healthcare team.

Biofeedback therapy methods, techniques and exercises

Several factors can be recorded using biofeedback. These include:

  • measure brain waves
  • Monitoring respiratory rate and breathing patterns
  • Detect heart rate fluctuations
  • Assessment of muscle contractions
  • Measurement of sweat gland activity
  • Temperature rise and fall monitoring

Biofeedback therapy is available at physical therapy clinics, medical centers, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and other locations. Devices can also be carried around and used at home. However, BT is usually done by a doctor with special equipment.

Home devices serve as a complement and alert the user to changes in their body so that they can adapt to these changes accordingly. Medical professionals often monitor biofeedback therapy devices used to treat substance use disorders.

If you are looking for a qualified biofeedback provider,Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedbackit's a great starting point.

(Video) What is Biofeedback Training at The Perth Brain Centre?

Biofeedback therapy combinations

Biofeedback therapy is most commonly used in combination with other drug and alcohol treatment options. It is also a substitute for more invasive treatments or treatment options that produce negative side effects.

BT gives people with substance use disorders and mental illness a head start in the fight against addiction. It provides additional information to help them manage their disorder and understand how their addiction is affecting their mind and body.

Knowing how addiction affects the body and finding ways to deal with these effects will help with recovery. Biofeedback is a management tool.

It also helps people with drug or alcohol addiction deal with co-occurring disorders such as PTSD, ADHD, and more.

That follow?

  • How does rehabilitation work?
  • Why call a dependency hotline?
  • how to sober up
  • Eliminate alcohol consumption
  • What is considered alcoholic?


Get in touch with an accessible mental health counselor

find a therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

What is biofeedback therapy and how does it work? (4)


What is biofeedback therapy and how does it work? ›

Biofeedback is an alternative medicine approach that teaches people to change the way their bodies function. It is a mind-body therapy that may improve your physical and mental health. During a biofeedback session, a practitioner uses monitoring equipment and instruments to measure your body's functions.

What are 3 examples of biofeedback? ›

The three most commonly used forms of biofeedback therapy are:
  • Electromyography (EMG), which measures muscle tension.
  • Thermal biofeedback, which measures skin temperature.
  • Neurofeedback or electroencephalography (EEG), which measures brain wave activity.

What do they do in biofeedback therapy? ›

Biofeedback is a type of mind-body technique you use to control some of your body's functions, such as your heart rate, breathing patterns and muscle responses. During biofeedback, you're connected to electrical pads that help you get information about your body.

What are the side effects of biofeedback therapy? ›

Rare reactions may include:
  • Anxiety or depression.
  • Headaches or dizziness.
  • Cognitive impairment.
  • Internal vibrations.
  • Muscle tension.
  • Social anxiety.
  • Low energy or fatigue.
Mar 1, 2021

What are the three stages of biofeedback training? ›

Biofeedback training is conceptualized as including three phases: initial conceptualization, skills-acquisition and -rehearsal, and transfer of treatment.

Can you do biofeedback at home? ›

At-home biofeedback devices can be used as a therapy option for treating a range of medical issues. Because biofeedback is safe and has no side effects, it can be used in addition to prescription medications or other medical treatments. Some of the medical uses of at-home biofeedback devices include: Blood pressure.

How long does it take for biofeedback to work? ›

Usually, you can start to see biofeedback benefits within 10 sessions or less. Some conditions, such as high blood pressure, can take more sessions to improve.

How much does biofeedback cost? ›

Costs for biofeedback can vary considerably, often ranging from $35 to $85 per biofeedback session. Fees can vary depending upon the training, qualification, and experience of the biofeedback therapist. There are also a number of in-home biofeedback devices and wearables available on the market.

How often should I do biofeedback? ›

When starting neurofeedback training, it is optimal that sessions be regular and frequent at two or three (or more) sessions per week. It is possible to do more than one sessions in a day or to have sessions on two or three consecutive days.

How does biofeedback reduce stress? ›

Biofeedback uses instruments and software to measure physiological signals from your body associated with stress such as heart rate, breathing, muscle activity, sweat, and temperature to assist you in learning important skills such as breathing, mindful relaxation, or tension reduction.

What is the success rate of biofeedback? ›

Biofeedback therapy is a non-invasive and easily feasible option which has been used for fecal incontinence over several decades. Numerous published studies support it as the first choice of treatment for fecal incontinence. These studies have reported a success rate of about 70% (between 40 to 100%).

What is an alternative to biofeedback? ›

Conclusions: Alpha-blocker therapy seems to be a viable alternative to biofeedback in dysfunctional voiding in children with urinary retention to improve bladder emptying. Combination treatment (biofeedback and alpha-blockers) can be used as additional therapy in refractory cases.

What types of pain can biofeedback relieve? ›

Biofeedback has been well studied and found to be effective for those with chronic back pain. It has also been shown to help those with complex regional pain syndrome, temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ), headaches, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, phantom limb pain, cancer, lupus, knee pain, whiplash, and vulvar pain.

What is the most common biofeedback? ›

Types of Biofeedback

The three most common methods of biofeedback include: electromyography (EMG) biofeedback: measures muscle tension as it changes over time. thermal or temperature biofeedback: measures body temperature changes over time. electroencephalography: measures brain wave activity over time.

Can you do biofeedback without equipment? ›

Can I do Respiration Biofeedback without a screen or Software? Yes! Use diaphragmatic breathing techniques to begin to move your breathing closer to a normal range. Diaphragmatic breathing means breathing in and out of your nose, which slows down the rate of your breath.

What is the difference between biofeedback and neurofeedback? ›

Where biofeedback therapy uses sensors placed on the body to monitor things such as heart rate and hand temperature, neurofeedback therapy uses sensors placed on the head to monitor brain activity.

What equipment is needed for biofeedback? ›

Sensors for biofeedback include: galvanic skin response (skin voltage is very sensitive to moisture levels from sweat glands), thermistors (to measure skin temperature), photoplethysmography (or PPG's for measuring peripheral blood flow and heart rate), electromyographs (for measuring muscle tension) and others.

Who needs biofeedback? ›

People use biofeedback to help relieve many issues, such as: Anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Attention-deficit disorders. Breathing problems, such as asthma.

Is biofeedback Painful? ›

This is completely painless. Usually the sensors are just sticky patches which the therapist will put on specific points on your skin. The type of monitor and sensors used will depend upon your specific needs and the goals of the therapy. Biofeedback is an active rather than passive treatment.

Can biofeedback help with nerve damage? ›

Motor relearning is inherent to the recovery process after upper limb nerve damage, and biofeedback helps patients regain control over their muscle movements to enable short term progress and long term success.

What are the long term benefits of biofeedback? ›

Biofeedback has been proven to:

Reduce stress, depression, anxiety, PTSD and cravings for drugs/alcohol. Lower the experience of chronic pain, common to many mental health issues like drug and alcohol addiction, depression and eating disorders. Improve sleep quality by reducing hyperarousal and insomnia.

Does insurance cover biofeedback? ›

Some medical and psychological insurance plans now cover neurofeedback and/or biofeedback for various conditions. Reimbursement to the client varies by carrier and by plan. Check with your insurance company about coverage for biofeedback. Neurofeedback is a form of biofeedback, and is billed as biofeedback.

Is biofeedback a form of hypnosis? ›

However, while hypnosis relies on teaching patients to calm themselves by focusing on words, images, or thoughts, biofeedback involves training patients to regulate themselves by showing them the results of electronic monitoring of their body's reactions.

Is biofeedback the same as meditation? ›

Both meditation and biofeedback involve paying attention to the body: Meditators often focus on the breath or another physical sensation, while biofeedback measures your breath, heart rate or brain waves and presents you with some signal based on that data.

What is biofeedback for pelvic floor? ›

Biofeedback is a tool used for pelvic floor rehabilitation. This technique involves placing a small device in your bottom while doing the exercises. This device provides visual and auditory stimuli, providing you with feedback as to how well you are doing the exercises.

Which condition has been linked to excessive stress? ›

Stress has been linked to cardiovascular disease, depression, and even the common cold. If it feels like “stressed out” is your new normal, you're not alone.

Is biofeedback evidence based? ›

Levels of evidence range from case reports and observational studies to randomized clinical trials. From the beginning, biofeedback developed as a research-based approach, emerging directly from laboratory research on psychophysiology and behavior therapy.

Is biofeedback a holistic therapy? ›

Biofeedback therapy is a holistic method that utilizes monitoring equipment to measure the body's functions and can help create physiologic changes. The biofeedback therapy approach recognizes that the mind and body are interconnected and that they both play a role in our overall health and well-being.

Is biofeedback a type of holistic therapy? ›

Biofeedback therapy is a holistic therapy approach, touching both mind and body, an important aspect to addiction recovery.

What are some health problems that biofeedback can potentially help? ›

There is specific evidence that exists to support the use of biofeedback for specific ailments, including the following[7]:
  • Constipation.
  • Fecal incontinence.
  • Urinary incontinence.
  • Chronic pain - includes chronic low back pain, chronic pelvic pain, and other pain syndromes.
  • Chronic insomnia.
  • Migraine headaches.
  • Chronic fatigue.
Dec 2, 2022

Does biofeedback work for depression? ›

A study by Dr. Majid Fotuhi and his colleagues showed that neurofeedback therapy, especially when combined with another form of biofeedback that involved breathing slowly (called Heart Rate Variability training) can be quite effective for reducing symptoms of both anxiety and depression.

What is biofeedback for trauma? ›

Biofeedback is an innovative technique used for self-regulation purposes. During treatment, you are connected to electrical sensors that monitor your brain activity, muscle tension, blood pressure, respiration, heartbeat, skin conductivity, and temperature.

Can I do neurofeedback on my own? ›

Can You Do Neurofeedback At Home? Yes, you can do neurofeedback at home. Advances in the internet and neurofeedback equipment now allow clients to receive neurofeedback remotely from anywhere in the world. Neurofeedback teaches self-control of brain functions by measuring brain waves and providing a feedback signal.

Is neurofeedback brainwashing? ›

It's important to note that neurofeedback doesn't change who you are as a person. It is not brainwashing or hypnotism. Again, the aim is to regulate your brainwave patterns by providing positive brain reinforcement.

Is neurofeedback bogus? ›

While its effectiveness is still debated, neurofeedback is generally thought to be safe. Even critics admit there are few side effects or downsides for those who have the time and money.

Does neurofeedback rewire your brain? ›

Neurofeedback helps retrain your brain and address the dysregulation head-on. Through this training, your brain creates new pathways so that it can go back to functioning normally and you find long-term relief from the symptoms you're experiencing.

What are the basic principles of biofeedback? ›

Biofeedback is based on a principle known as “operant conditioning,” specifically positive reinforcement. Research has shown positive reinforcement increases the likelihood of a behavior and when a behavior is reinforced repeatedly and consistently over time, the behavior can be learned and retained.

What is positive biofeedback? ›

The goal of biofeedback is to teach people to take control of physiological functions such as heart rate, respiratory rate and muscle tension. In a typical training session, a person is hooked up to electrical sensors that provide information about those functions.

Is biofeedback used for anxiety? ›

Biofeedback may help you identify when you are becoming anxious, which can lead to a better understanding of what is causing your anxiety. It might also help you learn how to manage your response to stressful stimuli, which may help you feel greater control in overwhelming, anxiety-producing situations.

How much does a biofeedback session cost? ›

Costs for biofeedback can vary considerably, often ranging from $35 to $85 per biofeedback session. Fees can vary depending upon the training, qualification, and experience of the biofeedback therapist. There are also a number of in-home biofeedback devices and wearables available on the market.

How to do biofeedback without a machine? ›

Can I do Respiration Biofeedback without a screen or Software? Yes! Use diaphragmatic breathing techniques to begin to move your breathing closer to a normal range. Diaphragmatic breathing means breathing in and out of your nose, which slows down the rate of your breath.

What is the medical necessity of biofeedback? ›

Biofeedback therapy is medically necessary when it provides visual, auditory, or other evidence of the status of certain body functions so that a person can exert voluntary control over an autonomic and/or neuromuscular function and thereby alleviate an abnormal bodily condition.

Is biofeedback considered physical therapy? ›

Biofeedback is a technique used to improve the ability to modify involuntary processes consciously. It is frequently used for symptom management in chronic illness and as part of physical therapy for patients with motor dysfunction.

What frequency is biofeedback? ›

Resonance frequency assessment identifies the unique breathing rate that best stimulates the baroreflex and maximizes RSA amplitude before initiating HRV biofeedback. The resonance frequency ranges from 4.5 to 6.5 bpm for adults and 6.5 to 9.5 bpm for children.

Which therapy is best for anxiety? ›

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective form of psychotherapy for anxiety disorders.

What forms of therapy are best used for anxiety? ›

The most commonly used approach is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), but depending on the specific type of anxiety, a therapist might also use exposure therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR), or interpersonal ...


1. What is Biofeedback?
2. Understanding Biofeedback
3. How Does Neurofeedback Therapy Work
(The Human Condition)
4. Neurofeedback Therapy Explained
(The Brain Centre)
5. What is Biofeedback
(Jim Cahill)
6. How Long Does Neurofeedback Take to Work?
(Dr. Trish Leigh, Brain Rewire )


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nathanial Hackett

Last Updated: 05/29/2023

Views: 5929

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (72 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nathanial Hackett

Birthday: 1997-10-09

Address: Apt. 935 264 Abshire Canyon, South Nerissachester, NM 01800

Phone: +9752624861224

Job: Forward Technology Assistant

Hobby: Listening to music, Shopping, Vacation, Baton twirling, Flower arranging, Blacksmithing, Do it yourself

Introduction: My name is Nathanial Hackett, I am a lovely, curious, smiling, lively, thoughtful, courageous, lively person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.