There are some general aspects of biofeedback treatment that are important to keep in mind. The first is that a goal of biofeedback is to train the patient to practice the exercises on their own, to develop their ability to regulate their own physiology in the service of improving their health. This aspect alone can result in reduced medical costs and the need for medication. Since a person learns skills which can be applied for a lifetime, the long term effect of self-regulation therapies can result in continued reduction of medical costs.
Another aspect of biofeedback treatment is that the practitioner often uses several modalities to help the patient. Thus, temperature training, relaxation, and heart rate variability training might all be used to help the sufferer of migraines, in addition to using HEG biofeedback (see below). This kind of multi-modality is found in much of biofeedback research. Often experimental groups consist of one group with a few components of treatment, and another group with the added treatment being investigated (in addition to a wait list control group and/or medication).
This highlights the fact that biofeedback is an important component of behavioral medicine considered in the broadest sense. Indeed, many studies in biofeedback place it under the overall rubric of behavioral treatments or behavioral medicine. The special contribution of biofeedback is that it feeds back to patients important information about their own physiology such that they have the option to control their own symptoms. This is done in a way that is precise beyond our usual capabilities. For example, a patient is able to control muscle to the extent of 1/10 of a microvolt. This is one ten-millionth of a volt. Currently, almost all biofeedback equipment has this degree of resolution. Controlling this level of muscle tension has also been one aspect of why Olympic athletes attribute some of their success to training with biofeedback instruments.
A final aspect of biofeedback is worth mentioning. In dealing with patients learning to control their physiological behavior, being psychologically minded is not necessary. Indeed, one is able to control one’s own physiology without having any psychological insight. For some patients, this could be a very attractive aspect, and could be especially important in treating those with limited language abilities with respect to the therapist, or those who are not comfortable with the usual psychological treatment situation, such as those with combat and trauma related disorders.
The Brain Clinic is one the few clinics in New York City that offers biofeedback for Migraines.
Please call to make an appointment today! 212-269-8900.