Why it's done

Biofeedback, sometimes called biofeedback training, is used to help manage many physical and mental health issues, including:

  • Anxiety or stress
  • Asthma
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Chemotherapy side effects
  • Chronic pain
  • Constipation
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headache
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Motion sickness
  • Raynaud's disease
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Stroke
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
  • Urinary incontinence

Biofeedback appeals to people for a variety of reasons:

  • It's noninvasive.
  • It might reduce or eliminate the need for medications.
  • It might be a treatment alternative for those who can't tolerate medications
  • It might be an option when medications haven't worked well.
  • It might be an alternative to medications for some conditions during pregnancy.
  • It helps people take charge of their health.
Jan. 14, 2016
References
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  2. Frank DL, et al. Biofeedback in medicine: Who, when, why and how? Mental Health in Family Medicine. 2010;7:85.
  3. Biofeedback. Biofeedback Certification International Alliance. http://www.bcia.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3524. Accessed Nov. 2, 2015.
  4. Glick RM, et al. Biofeedback and primary care. Primary Care Clinics in Office Practice. 2010;37:91.
  5. Rao SSC, et al. ANMS-ESNM position paper and consensus guidelines on biofeedback therapy for anorectal disorders. Neurogastroenterology and Motility. 2015;27:594.
  6. Rakel D. Headache. In: Integrative Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Nov. 2, 2015.
  7. AskMayoExpert. Biofeedback. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
  8. 6 things to know when selecting a complementary health practitioner. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/tips/selecting. Accessed Nov. 2, 2015.
  9. Find a practitioner. Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. http://www.aapb.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3442. Accessed Nov. 2, 2015.
  10. Whitney A. Biofeedback: A way to gain some control over pain. Current Pain Perspectives. 2014;63:S12.
  11. Consumer alerts. Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. http://www.aapb.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3444. Accessed Nov. 4, 2015.
  12. Whited A, et al. Effectiveness of emWave biofeedback in improving heart rate variability reactivity to and recovery from stress. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. 2014;39:75.
  13. Lutz B. An institutional case study: Emotion regulation with Heartmath at Santa Cruz Country Children's Mental Health. Global Advances in Health and Medicine. 2014;3:68.
  14. Bauer BA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 11, 2015.