Biofeedback

Biofeedback is the process of recording physiological signals (such as muscle tension or brain waves) and displaying them to the person being recorded in real time as they are being recorded.  This information is used to help a person learn to change their physiology.  Biofeedback is used by health care professionals trained in such areas as psychology, nursing, physical and occupational therapy, social work and counseling as part of treatments for many diagnosed disorders.

Biofeedback is the act of showing someone real time recordings of one or more physiological systems (such as muscle tension in the jaw or brainwaves) as they are made.  This permits both the person being recorded and any coach or therapist who may be present to be instantly aware of (1) the level the system is functioning at and (2) changes in the system's level of functioning. This information can be used to increase the person's awareness of the system's functioning and to correct the level if it is not optimal for the given circumstances.  The person being recorded does the correcting with the aid of a therapist.  

When these techniques are used clinically, they are usually considered to be part of Behavioral Medicine.  There are many definitions of and ways of viewing behavioral medicine.  Most people feel that any technique which permits people to use their behavior to control what their bodies are doing in order to correct some aspect of the way the body is malfunctioning falls within the idea behavioral medicine.  They key to most of these techniques is that the person doing the learning must take responsibility for making the changes. The person working with the learner is in the role of a coach, not a traditional therapist.  Thus, in behavioral medicine, it is usually the person's responsibility to fix him or her self.

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