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Biofeedback therapy is a form of treatment technique whereby individuals are trained to enhance their health through the use of signals from their own bodies. For this technique, it is anticipated that almost every individual in the modern world have used biofeedback unknowingly through their practices such as taking their body temperature with a thermometer or checking their body weight by stepping on a weight scale. Nevertheless, this therapy was named biofeedback during the late 1960s, as a way of describing laboratory procedures that were initially used to couch experimental research individuals on how to alter their body functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, and brain activity, which are generally not controlled voluntarily (Runck, 2013). During that period, most scientists hoped that biofeedback would one day enable human beings to have a high degree of control over their bodies. Though such high hopes on biofeedback therapy are not much realistic, this technique has shown to be helpful in the treatment of numerous painful conditions and diseases, and more control over involuntary body functions than before.
Benefits and risks of the therapy
Biofeedback therapy has numerous benefits and risks to the health of human beings. For example, it enables individuals to overcome stress through the various relaxation techniques that it involves. Some of these relaxation exercises include; progressive muscle relaxation (tightening and relaxing various groups of muscles), deep breathing, guided imagery (paying high attention to a particular image in order to focus one`s mind, and mindfulness meditation, which involves focusing of thoughts and letting negative emotions vanish. Consecutively, these relaxation techniques prevention and management of numerous illnesses such as urinary incontinence, Reynaud’s disease, chronic rectal pain, fecal incontinence, chronic constipation, nocturnal bruxism, diabetes, headaches, high blood pressure, asthma among others. This therapy is also a better natural treatment option, especially to individuals who have negative attitudes towards medications (Krucik, 2012).
On the other hand, biofeedback therapy is not beneficial to all individuals. For example, some health conditions may worsen rather than improve when this therapy is provided. Individuals should, therefore, consult health professionals before undertaking this therapy.
Basic techniques of this therapy
There are various techniques of biofeedback therapy. These includes temperature or thermal biofeedback (determines the changes of body temperatures over time), electromyography biofeedback (determines muscle tension changes over time), electroencephalography (determines brain wave activity over time), galvanic skin response (establishes the amount of body sweat over time), and heart variability biofeedback, which measures both heart and pulse rates (Krucik, 2012).
Expected outcome of this therapy
Individuals who are trained on biofeedback therapy are expected learn on how to relax and modify their behaviors. Most researchers believe that relaxation is the chief aspect of this therapy, especially after experiencing any form of stress (Runck, 2013). In addition, individuals are expected to be responsible in maintaining their own health, through various measures such as avoiding stressful events, gaining self-control, and changing their habits.
The role of nurses when caring individuals who use biofeedback therapy
Nurses have the role of assisting patients to practice relaxation exercises, in order for the latter to fine-tune on how to control their body functions. Nurses act as coaches by training patients on how to relax, setting goals and limits to the patients, and providing them with hints on how they can improve their performances (Runck, 2013).
Ways in which biofeedback therapy can be a tool to promote health and wellness throughout the lifespan
Biofeedback therapy can be a tool for promoting health and wellbeing through various ways. First, when individuals are trained to conduct relaxation exercises by themselves, they gain skills of controlling their health by themselves. For example, individuals learn to avoid stressful events and to manage or cope with stress when it occurs (Krucik, 2012). Consecutively, involves exercises, which reduces risks of developing various health conditions.
Krucik, G., (2012). Biofeedback. Retrieved from, http://www.healthline.com/health/biofeedback#Overview1
Runck, B., (2013). Counselling, Assessment and Biofeedback Services in Flagstaff, Arizona. Rockville publishers, U.S.A