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What Is Biofeedback?

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Updated April 10, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition:

Biofeedback is a treatment designed to help you develop control over body functions that are causing you to experience unwanted symptoms. Biofeedback uses sensors attached to specific parts of your body, to measure such things as:

  • Blood pressure
  • Brain activity
  • Heart rate
  • Muscle tension
  • Skin temperature
  • Sweat gland activity

The information from these measurements are made available to you in real time as the treatment is performed. Using this feedback, you are then able to make desired changes over these body functions. Biofeedback has been used to treat a variety of medical and psychological problems, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Blood pressure
  • Circulatory disorders
  • Cardiac conditions
  • Digestive disorders
  • Migraine and other headaches

Although biofeedback is effective in reducing symptoms for some people, it has not been shown to be effective for all patients.

For an in-depth discussion of biofeedback, see:

Related Reading from Dr. Bolen, Your IBS Guide

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  4. Glossary
  5. IBS Glossary A - B
  6. What Is Biofeedback

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