Biofeedback is a technique that measures bodily functions (like breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, skin temperature, and muscle tension) and teaches you how to alter these functions through relaxation or imagery.
One or more of these bodily functions is measured using electrodes and displayed on a monitor that both you and the trained practitioner can see. While the practitioner describes stressful situations and then guides you through relaxation techniques, you observe the information on the monitor and see how your heart rate, blood pressure, etc. change in response to stressed and relaxed states of being. This helps you learn how to control and change these bodily functions. By doing so, you feel more relaxed and are able to help treat your own high blood pressure, tension and migraine headaches, chronic pain, or urinary incontinence - to name a few examples of conditions for which biofeedback is particularly helpful.
by Sharon M. Smith, M.D.
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