Biofeedback - General Information

General Definition of Biofeedback. 

Biological systems in the human body are constantly sending out messages.  Only within the last thirty years has technology provided us with sophisticated machines that detect and record these messages.  This is known as biofeedback.  Now we can easily measure such messages as skin temperature (thermal biofeedback), muscle tension (electromyograph, EMG), and subtle changes in brainwave (electroencephalogram, EEG).  Simply put, biofeedback is a system that allows a therapist and a client to monitor biological responses within the client's body.  The client can learn to change what is going on with his/her body, bringing about relief from both physical problems and/or emotional distress.

  Brief History of Brainwave EEG Neurofeedback

Brainwave EEG Neurofeedback is a clinical tool that has been in existence since 1966.  Brainwave biofeedback training was observed in 1958 by Joe Kamiya at the University of Chicago and further developed at the Langley-Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute in San Francisco, CA.  In addition, Barbara Brown, Ph.D. at Sepulveda VA Medical Center in Los Angeles and Elmer Green, Ph.D. Menninger Clinic Topeka, KS. further elaborated brainwave training as a useful clinical tool.  Brainwave Biofeedback Training has been used with seizure disorders, insomnia, narcolepsy, pain, compulsive behaviors, and excessive anxiety.  In addition, EEG Neurofeedback has been applied to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Head Injury, Treatment of Alcohol and Drug Addiction, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Biofeedback is simple and painless.  The therapist simply tapes small sensory monitors to the skin.  Then you sit back in a comfortable recliner and relax.  The computers then show you how your body is responding.

Any physiological event of the body can be monitored for biofeedback.  Commonly used modalities of biofeedback include:

  • Thermal biofeedback a measure of skin temperature.
  • Electro Dermal Response also called Galvanic Skin Response is a measure of skin conductance.
  • Electromylogram Biofeedback (EMG) measures muscle tension.
  • Electroencephalogram measures brain waves.

Biofeedback is frequently used in treatment of TMJ pain, headaches, muscle spasms, anxiety states, vascular disorders such as Raynaud's disease, hyperventilation, stress, hypertension, pain, Bruxism, nerve injury, attention deficit disorder, alcoholism, and other diseases and disorders.

For information about biofeedback training, contact Rick D. Thomas, Ph.D. at (816) 331-0374 or biofeedback@rickdthomasphd.com.

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