What is Biofeedback?
Biofeedback is a therapy that allows you to control and regulate your body’s physiological functions more effectively, thereby reducing excess nervous excitability in your body. Whether you want to take charge of your emotions, control pain signals in your body or as an athlete reach higher levels, taking charge of your physiology through biofeedback allows you to optimize your body’s nervous system and puts you fully in charge of your life.
During a session, our experts attach non-invasive electrical sensors to your skin (finger sensors could also be used) through which you receive instant feedback on your body’s functions. The feedback can be in the form of an image, a flash of light as well as sounds that represent your physiological functions such as heart and breathing rate, skin temperature and muscle activity. Under normal circumstances, these functions occur without your conscious awareness.
When under stress or in pain, a component of your nervous system called the sympathetic nervous system is activated unconsciously. This leads to increases in your heart rate, tightening of your muscles, a rise in blood pressure, sweating, and a rapid increase in breathing. Biofeedback enables you to bring the activity of the sympathetic nervous system under conscious control and as a result, take charge of your physiology.
There is a great number of scientific research demonstrating Biofeedback as one of the most effective approaches to treating a wide range of mental health conditions that are published in The Journal of Neurotherapy; Journal of Applied Psychophysiology and Bio-feedback; Biological Psychiatry; Child Study Journal; Brain and Cognition; Clinical Neuro-physiology; Neuropsychology; International Journal of Psycho-physiology; Canadian Journal of Clinical Medicine; Journal of Head Trauma; and many others.
For a comprehensive bibliography of Neurofeedback and Biofeedback Research, please visit the International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR)
1. Moore, N. (2000). A Review of EEG Biofeedback Treatment of Anxiety Disorders. Clinical Electroencephalography, 31(1), pp.1-6.
Alpha, theta and alpha-theta enhancements are effective treatments of the anxiety disorders. Alpha suppression is also effective.
2. Rice, K., Blanchard, E. and Purcell, M. (1993). Biofeedback treatments of generalized anxiety disorder: Preliminary results. Biofeedback and Self-Regulation, 18(2), pp.93-105.
ABSTRACT: All treated subjects showed significant reductions in STAI-Trait Anxiety and psychophysiologic symptoms on the Psychosomatic Symptom Checklist. Only alpha-increase biofeedback subjects showed significant reductions in heart rate reactivity to stressors at a separate psychophysiological testing session. Decreased self-report of anxiety was maintained at 6 weeks post treatment.
3. Atkinson, Amber L.(2017)., “The Effect of Biofeedback on Coping for Patients with Depression” . Honors in the Major Theses. 167.
ABSTRACT: Studies that used biofeedback as an intervention for depression reported significant physical benefits for patients, including decreased heart rate variability and respiratory rate, as well as improved function
4. Vitasari, P., Wahab, M., Herawan, T. and Sinnadurai, S. (2011). Psychophysiological treatment in reduced anxiety with biofeedback training for university students. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 30, pp.629-633.
ABSTRACT: From the training, it is shown that after 10th session, students be able to control their heartbeat and respiration to reduce anxiety level. It is concluded that the psychophysiological treatment with biofeedback training is an effective method to reduce anxiety for university students.
5. Ratanasiripong, P., Sverduk, K., Prince, J. and Hayashino, D. (2012). Biofeedback and Counseling for Stress and Anxiety Among College Students. Journal of College Student Development, 53(5), pp.742-749.
ABSTRACT: Results indicated that participants who received biofeedback training and counseling had greater reduction in anxiety symptoms than did participants who received counseling alone. Implications for augmenting biofeedback training to traditional college counseling model are discussed.
Autism and Asperger’s
6. Scolnick, B. (2005). Effects of electroencephalogram biofeedback with Asperger??s syndrome. International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, 28(2), pp.159-163.
ABSTRACT: This article reports the pilot study of electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback to improve focusing and decrease anxiety in 10 adolescent boys diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome attending a therapeutic day school
7. Coben, R. and Myers, T. (2009). The Relative Efficacy of Connectivity Guided and Symptom Based EEG Biofeedback for Autistic Disorders. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 35(1), pp.13-23.
ABSTRACT: Our findings suggest that an approach guided by QEEG based connectivity assessment may be more efficacious in the treatment of autism. This permits the targeting and amelioration of abnormal connectivity patterns in the brains of people who are autistic.
8. Coben, R., Sherlin, L., Hudspeth, W., McKeon, K. and Ricca, R. (2014). Connectivity-Guided EEG Biofeedback for Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evidence of Neurophysiological Changes. NeuroRegulation, 1(2), pp.109-130.
ABSTRACT: Significant reductions in neural coherence across frontotemporal regions and source localized power changes were evident in frontal, temporal, and limbic regions following this treatment. Concurrently, there were significant improvements on objective neuropsychological tests and parents reported positive gains (decreases in symptoms) following the treatment. These findings further validate EEG biofeedback as a therapeutic modality for autistic children and suggest that changes in coherence anomalies may be related to the mechanism of action.
9. Kouijzer, M., van Schie, H., Gerrits, B., Buitelaar, J. and de Moor, J. (2012). Is EEG-biofeedback an Effective Treatment in Autism Spectrum Disorders? A Randomized Controlled Trial. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 38(1), pp.17-28.
ABSTRACT: EEG-biofeedback seems to be an applicable tool to regulate EEG activity and has specific effects on cognitive flexibility, but it did not result in significant reductions in symptoms of ASD. An important finding was that no nonspecific effects of EEG-biofeedback were demonstrated.
10. Jackson, G. and Eberly, D. (1982). Facilitation of performance on an arithmetic task as a result of the application of a biofeedback procedure to suppress alpha wave activity. Biofeedback and Self-Regulation, 7(2), pp.211-221.
ABSTRACT: Analysis of intrasubject and intersubject data revealed an overall significant decrease in the number of alpha events and percent of time in alpha wave activity as compared to baseline conditions. Such a decrease indicated facilitated attention by EEG definition
11. Linden, M., Habib, T. and Radojevic, V. (1996). A controlled study of the effects of EEG biofeedback on cognition and behavior of children with attention deficit disorder and learning disabilities. Biofeedback and Self-Regulation, 21(3), pp.297-297.
ABSTRACT: Eighteen children with ADD/ADHD, some of whom were also LD, ranging in ages from 5 through 15 were randomly assigned to one of two conditions. The significant improvements in intellectual functioning and attentive behaviors might be explained as a result of the attentional enhancement affected by EEG biofeedback training.
12. Tinius, T. and Tinius, K. (2000). Changes After EEG Biofeedback and Cognitive Retraining in Adults with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Journal of Neurotherapy, 4(2), pp.27-44.
ABSTRACT: The treatment model used in this study showed significant improvement in the sustained attention of individuals diagnosed with mTBI and ADHD after twenty treatment sessions.
13. Alvarez, J., Granoff, D. and Lundy, A. (2011). Efficacy of EEG Biofeedback in Addressing Cognitive Dysfunction in Cancer Survivors.
ABSTRACT: This study examined the efficacy of EEG biofeedback (neurofeedback) in addressing the cognitive sequelae of cancer therapy, commonly known as “chemobrain” or “chemofog.” Neurofeedback, unlike compensatory strategies currently recommended by the National Cancer Institute and major cancer centers, has the potential to restore cognitive function.
14 Uhlmann, C. and Fröscher, W. (2001). Biofeedback treatment in patients with refractory epilepsy: Changes in depression and control orientation. Seizure, 10(1), pp.34-38.
ABSTRACT: Results show that in patients with refractory epilepsy depression is highly correlated with locus of control, in a way that external control orientation relates to high depression scores. Biofeedback is able to improve internal control orientation through personal success mediation.
15. Ratanasiripong, P., Kaewboonchoo, O., Ratanasiripong, N., Hanklang, S. and Chumchai, P. (2015). Biofeedback Intervention for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression among Graduate Students in Public Health Nursing. Nursing Research and Practice, 2015, pp.1-5.
ABSTRACT: Biofeedback intervention is a cost-effective tool to help graduate students in public health nursing manage their stress, anxiety, and depression
16 Eid, M., Aly, S. and El-Shamy, S. (2016). Effect of Electromyographic Biofeedback Training on Pain, Quadriceps Muscle Strength, and Functional Ability in Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 95(12), pp.921-930.
ABSTRACT: Electromyographic biofeedback may be a useful intervention modality to reduce pain, improve quadriceps strength, and functional performance in JRA
17 Arsenault, M., Piché, M., Duncan, G. and Rainville, P. (2013). Self-regulation of acute experimental pain with and without biofeedback using spinal nociceptive responses. Neuroscience, 231, pp.102-110.
ABSTRACT: Biofeedback training is an efficient means to gain control over a physiological function typically considered involuntary. Results indicate that participants in all three groups could gain control over RIII-reflex (p<0.001), data-preserve-html-node=”true” data-preserve-html-node=”true” resulting in the modulation of pain intensity (p<0.001) data-preserve-html-node=”true” data-preserve-html-node=”true” and pain unpleasantness (p<0.001). data-preserve-html-node=”true” data-preserve-html-node=”true”
18 Angoules, A., Balakatounis, K., Panagiotopoulou, K., Mavrogenis, A., Mitsiokapa, E. and Papagelopoulos, P. (2011). Effectiveness of Electromyographic Biofeedback in the Treatment of Musculoskeletal Pain. Orthopedics.
ABSTRACT: Electromyographic biofeedback may provide pain relief for chronic musculoskeletal pain due to cumulative trauma, and may be proposed as an additional intervention to exercise in patellofemoral pain syndrome and acute sciatic pain.
19 Jensen, M., Barber, J., Romano, J., Hanley, M., Raichle, K., Molton, I., Engel, J., Osborne, T., Stoelb, B., Cardenas, D. and Patterson, D. (2009). Effects of Self-Hypnosis Training and EMG Biofeedback Relaxation Training on Chronic Pain in Persons with Spinal-Cord Injury. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 57(3), pp.239-268.
ABSTRACT: Participants in both treatment conditions reported substantial, but similar, decreases in pain intensity from before to after the treatment sessions.
20 Muller, J., Karl, A., Denke, C., Mathier, F., Dittmann, J., Rohleder, N. and Knaevelsrud, C. (2009). RETRACTED ARTICLE: Biofeedback for Pain Management in Traumatised Refugees. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 38(3), pp.184-190.
ABSTRACT: The authors examined the feasibility and efficacy of short-term cognitive behavioural biofeedback (BF) addressing CP in traumatised refugees. Pre-post effects were small to medium for increased pain management and associated heart rate reactivity but large for coping with pain
21**. Pelletier, K. and Peper, E. (1977). Developing a biofeedback model: Alpha eeg feedback as a means for pain control. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 25(4), pp.361-371.
ABSTRACT: 3 adept meditators voluntarily inserted steel needles into their bodies while physiological measures (EEG, EMG, GSR, EKG, and respiratbn) were recorded. Although each adept used a different passive attention technique, none reported pain. During the insertion, 2 of the 3 Ss increased their alpha EEG activity
22. Ham, L. and Packard, R. (1996). A retrospective, follow-up study of biofeedback-assisted relaxation therapy in patients with posttraumatic headache. Biofeedback and Self-Regulation, 21(2), pp.93-104.
ABSTRACT: A stepwise regression analysis found that chronicity of the disorder and number of treatment sessions significantly affected response to treatment. Data suggest that biofeedback-assisted relaxation should at least be considered when planning treatment strategies for posttraumatic headache.
23. Stokes, D. and Lappin, M. (2010). Neurofeedback and biofeedback with 37 migraineurs: a clinical outcome study. Behavioral and Brain Functions, 6(1), p.9.
ABSTRACT: These non-invasive interventions may show promise for treating treatment-refractory migraine and for preventing the progression from episodic to chronic migraine.
24. Pagé, I., Marchand, A., Nougarou, F., O’Shaughnessy, J. and Descarreaux, M. (2015). Neuromechanical Responses After Biofeedback Training in Participants With Chronic Low Back Pain: An Experimental Cohort Study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 38(7), pp.449-457.
ABSTRACT: Biofeedback training led to decreases in lumbar paraspinal muscle activity in full trunk flexion and increases in lumbopelvic range of motion in participants with chronic nonspecific low back pain. Although the neuromechanical changes were mostly observed at the early stage of the program, the presence of a decrease in the fear of movement suggests that the participants’ initially limited ROMs may have been modulated by fear avoidance behaviors.
25. Tan, G., Rintala, D., Jensen, M., Fukui, T., Smith, D. and Williams, W. (2014). A randomized controlled trial of hypnosis compared with biofeedback for adults with chronic low back pain. European Journal of Pain, 19(2), pp.271-280.
ABSTRACT: The findings indicate that two sessions of self-hypnosis training with audio recordings for home practice may be as effective as eight sessions of hypnosis treatment. If replicated in other patient samples, the findings have important implications for the application of hypnosis treatment for chronic pain management.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
26. Nelson, D. and Esty, M. (2015). Neurotherapy of Traumatic Brain Injury/Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms in Vietnam Veterans. Military Medicine, 180(10), pp.e1111-e1114.
ABSTRACT: Comparisons of pre- and post-treatment questionnaire assessments revealed notable decreases for all symptoms, suggesting improvements across the broad domains of cognition, pain, sleep, fatigue, and mood/emotion, including post-traumatic stress symptoms, as well as for overall activity levels
27. Rosaura Polak, A., Witteveen, A., Denys, D. and Olff, M. (2015). Breathing Biofeedback as an Adjunct to Exposure in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Hastens the Reduction of PTSD Symptoms: A Pilot Study. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 40(1), pp.25-31.
ABSTRACT: Based on previous studies (Zucker et al. 2009; Lande et al. 2010), we hypothesize that both breathing biofeedback and treatment as usual will lead to a significant decrease of PTSD symptoms when compared to pre treatment PTSD symptoms.
28. Bell, J. (1979). The use of EEG theata biofeedback in the treatment of a patient with sleep-onset insomnia. Biofeedback and Self-Regulation, 4(3), pp.229-236.
ABSTRACT: A significant increase in theta density was accompanied by reports of a decrease in sleep latency and an increase in total sleep time. This improvement was maintained after withdrawal of medication and at 3-month follow-up.
Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, Coma, and Cerebral Palsy
29. Yasuda, K., Saichi, K., Kaibuki, N., Harashima, H. and Iwata, H. (2018). Haptic-based perception-empathy biofeedback system for balance rehabilitation in patients with chronic stroke: Concepts and initial feasibility study. Gait & Posture, 62, pp.484-489.
ABSTRACT: Post training, patients demonstrated marginally reduced postural spatial variability (i.e., 95% confidence elliptical area), and clinical balance performance significantly improved at post-training
30. Kim, S., Rath, J., Zemon, V., Cavallo, M., McCraty, R., Sostre, A. and Foley, F. (2018). Problem solving, biofeedback, and severe brain injury: The moderating role of positive affect. Rehabilitation Psychology, 63(1), pp.148-154.
ABSTRACT: Participants who had the most positive emotions made the most gains in the HRV biofeedback training and performed better posttreatment on a test designed to measure problem-solving ability. Results indicate that positive affect can improve cognition, specifically mental flexibility and abstract thinking
31. Park, Y. and Kim, J. (2017). Effects of kinetic chain exercise using EMG-biofeedback on balance and lower extremity muscle activation in stroke patients. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 29(8), pp.1390-1393.
ABSTRACT: This study showed that closed kinetic chain exercise using EMG-biofeedback is effective for improving balance ability and lower extremity muscle activation in stroke patients. .
32 Thatcher, R. (2000). EEG Operant Conditioning (Biofeedback) and Traumatic Brain Injury. Clinical Electroencephalography, 31(1), pp.38-44.
ABSTRACT: A review is presented of the currently sparse literature about EEG operant conditioning or biofeedback as a treatment to reduce symptomology and patient complaints following a traumatic brain injury. The paper also evaluates the general use of quantitative EEG (QEEG) to assess traumatic brain injury and to facilitate EEG biofeedback treatment.
33. Nelson, D. and Esty, M. (2015). Neurotherapy of Traumatic Brain Injury/Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms in Vietnam Veterans. Military Medicine, 180(10), pp.e1111-e1114.
ABSTRACT: Comparisons of pre- and post-treatment questionnaire assessments revealed notable decreases for all symptoms, suggesting improvements across the broad domains of cognition, pain, sleep, fatigue, and mood/emotion, including post-traumatic stress symptoms, as well as for overall activity levels. Findings suggest FNS treatment may be of potential benefit for the partial amelioration of symptoms, even in some individuals for whom symptoms have been present for decades.
34 Heymen, S., Scarlett, Y., Jones, K., Ringel, Y., Drossman, D. and Whitehead, W. (2007). Randomized, Controlled Trial Shows Biofeedback to be Superior to Alternative Treatments for Patients with Pelvic Floor Dyssynergia-Type Constipation. Diseases of the Colon & Rectum, 50(4), pp.428-441.
ABSTRACT: Biofeedback patients had significantly more unassisted bowel movements at follow-up compared to Placebo (p = .005), with a trend favoring biofeedback. Biofeedback patients reduced pelvic floor electromyography during straining significantly more than patients on the medication (p < 0.001).