Biofeedback is a form of alternative medicine that involves measuring a subject’s quantifiable bodily functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, skin temperature, sweat gland activity, and muscle tension, while conveying back the information to the patient in real-time. This raises the patient’s awareness and conscious control of his or her unconscious physiological activities and allows them to create multiple ways to heal themselves.
Physical therapists use biofeedback to help stroke victims regain movement in paralyzed muscles. Psychologists use it to help tense and anxious clients learn to relax. Specialists in many different fields use biofeedback to help their patients cope with pain.
Chances are you have used biofeedback yourself. You’ve used it if you have ever taken your temperature or stepped on a scale. The thermometer tells you whether you’re running a fever, the scale whether you’ve gained weight. Both devices “feed back” information about your body’s condition. Armed with this information, you can take steps you’ve learned to improve the condition.