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Biofeedback therapy is a process by which any person can learn to influence their body's involuntary processes after receiving functional information from an electronic device that monitors certain physiological parameters such as skin temperature, muscle tone, brain waves or breathing.
In normal circumstances, people ignore the behaviour of the parameters which measure many of their physiological signs. For example, a patient cannot know their blood pressure at a given moment, or what kind of brain waves he emits, unless they use a sphygmomanometer or an electroencephalograph. Although these functions are performed automatically by the autonomic nervous system, in principle, there are procedures to voluntarily influence some of them. Using these techniques, patients can change their own physiological states and control their normal operation. The goal is to achieve the patients’ voluntary control of their own physiological states without the use of tools.
In a typical biofeedback session, you sit comfortably on a chair and are connected to a biofeedback tool with sensors placed on the skin surface in several locations of the body (usually the fingers). Electrical impulses from these locations are recorded and reflected in a computer monitor as graphs or other visual representations. Besides, you may receive increases and decreases in sounds, graphs or numbers as a kind of auditory or visual feedback of the body system activity (changes in skin temperature or heart rate).
Before starting, you are allowed to rest before conducting an initial check of physiological activity. Then the session can start. It usually lasts between 15 and 25 minutes. Normally, you are taught how to use the computers or the biofeedback tools and you are also allowed to be alone to focus on the practice, so you do not feel uncomfortable with the presence of the professional, who is always watching in case there were any warning signs of problems or difficulties you may be experiencing. At the end of the training session, graphs are displayed, while the aspects of the session are discussed.
Some of the diseases in which there have been good results are: