Biofeedback and Neurofeedback are mind-body therapies that use electronic instruments and sophisticated software to help individuals gain awareness and control over psychophysiological processes such as heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and muscle activity.1 The procedures use a biological approach towards healing and wellness which do not involve pharmacological therapies, are not invasive or painful and considered to be safe.
Biofeedback and Neurofeedback are excellent modalities for people seeking complementary and alternative medicines and who prefer therapies that:1
– require the individual to play an active role in his or her own health care
– place a holistic emphasis on the body, mind, and spirit
– are non-invasive
– evoke the body’s innate healing process
The primary goal of Biofeedback and Neurofeedback therapies is psychophysiological self-regulation. Just as feedback facilitates the learning of a new skill, the feedback of information received through Biofeedback and Neurofeedback facilitates the learning of physiological control.1 Biofeedback is the process of learning to control physiological functions through the use of instruments by training the body. Neurofeedback is a self-regulatory therapy that helps normalize and optimize brain functioning by training the brain.
The term “treatment” implies a procedure where a patient passively receives the therapy from an active practitioner. Through this procedure the patient’s automatic healing responses are potentially activated; however, the patient is not actively involved in the treatment other than undergoing the required therapy.
“Training,” on the other hand implies a more active participation by the patient in his or her therapy. People train to learn new skills to perform specific tasks for an occupation or physical activities such as sports. In these instances, the learning is interactive, guided by instruction and information with the goal of developing a new skill. The majority of Biofeedback and Neurofeedback is done with a similar approach, even though the “action” is internal and visible only on the instruments.
1. Yucha C, Gilbert C, Evidence-Based Practice in Biofeedback and Neurofeedback, 2004, P1