Henry Ford Hospital Medical Journal


Biofeedback refers to a special type of operant conditioning (ie, a category of learning) in which subjects acquire control over physiological processes through the feedback of information. Its methodology is based upon principles of behavioral science developed in the laboratory through experimentation. It has been conclusively demonstrated that humans (and other animals) can learn to control such actions as EKG parameters, blood pressure, body temperature, EEG, individual motor units, and glandular secretions. Clinically, biofeedback has been applied to a wide variety of psycho-physiologic disorders in which a measurable response requires alteration. The best established applications are tension and migraine headaches, muscle retraining (eg, paretic and spastic muscles), and anxiety symptoms. Other potential treatment areas are epilepsy, cardiac arrhythmias, hypertension, speech disorders, correction of subvocalization in reading, and gastrointestinal disorders of psychogenic origin.