Biofeedback can help reduce stress and tension, lessen pain and promote relaxation. With proper training, one can reduce or eliminate symptoms and replace feelings of helplessness with a sense of control over his/her health.1 Biofeedback can teach individuals techniques for living a healthier life overall.2
What is involved?
Biofeedback involves training the mind to gain control over physiological reactions that are ordinarily involuntary and automatic through "feedback" information. Biofeedback uses electronic equipment to measure body functions such as breath rate, perspiration, blood pressure, heart rate and skin temperature. By developing voluntary control techniques to change those body functions, patients can reduce or eliminate symptoms. As patients attempt to control these functions, the electronic equipment allows them to monitor their efforts.
What has been proven?
While biofeedback will not cure your disease, research shows that it can help relieve a wide range of symptoms cancer patients experience, such as tension, stress, depression and pain.3 Biofeedback has also proven useful in retraining, reconditioning and strengthening muscles after surgery, restoring loss of control due to pain or nerve damage and overcoming urinary or bowel incontinence.
Possible Side Effects
There is no known medical risk in using biofeedback, a noninvasive therapy. The small amount of electricity used to produce reading on the electronic equipment may affect a pacemaker.
For Additional Information
Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback
10200 W. 44th Avenue, Suite 304
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033-2840
1 Cassileth, Barrie R. The Alternative Medicine Handbook. New York, NY: W.W. Norton and Company, 1998; pg. 119.
2 Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. "What is Biofeedback.".
3 American Cancer Society (1997). "Biofeedback.".