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What is Biofeedback?

Biofeedback is simply the art of bringing some body function into consciousness so that the conscious mind can be focused on "fixing" or "correcting" something.

There are a number of types of biofeedback used today:- also known as Neurofeedback. including and , , , and

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EEG Biofeedback – Neurofeedback

This is the most important of all as it has been used successfully on virtually all mental problems from the - continuum to the serious , schizophrenia, and even epilepsy. Basically, all EEG biofeedback is designed to change one or more brain waves in amplitude. 40 years ago it was found that by raising the brain wave centered around 13 Hz (now named the SMR brain wave), most mental problems were either solved completely, or the symptoms were often improved over time.

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Alpha Wave Increase

A secondary use that became very popular in the later decades of the last century was that of increasing the Alpha brain wave (8-12 Hz). This increase leads to a better way to reach a state, and a and concentration.

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Theta Wave Lowering

NASA research found that by LOWERING the Theta brain wave in Astronauts and jet pilots that this increased their concentration. It also does this for persons with "attention" problems. Unfortunately, some researchers have found that it can also lower "creativity" or perhaps "artistic ability", so is not always desirable in this therapy.

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HEG biofeedback

There is an offshoot of this therapy that measures brain blood flow called HEG biofeedback. The object is to increase brain blood flow using the biofeedback. Neurofeedback clinics are quite expensive with usual session charges being between $75-$200 per HALF HOUR. Typical solution to ADD/ADHD child requires 50-60 sessions.

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Neuroliminal Training

An inexpensive alternate to this method of changing amplitude of brain waves is done using subliminal messaging. This was invented and patented by .

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GSR (Galvanic Skin Resistance)

GSR (Galvanic Skin Resistance). This is the simplest type of biofeedback - the equipment is cheap and available easily. All you need is an electrical meter that measures resistance. It's often used to help a person learn to relax. As you relax, the electrical skin resistance goes down, often on a scale of ten or more times. Attach to two fingers or a skin patch and watch the meter. Relax as the meter moves down. It is excellent for use with a phobic or compulsive person in doing behaviour modification. You can have them imagine the phobic situation, and as the meter goes up, have them relax and get it back down. This gradually lowers the phobic response.

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EMG biofeedback

EMG biofeedback measures electrical muscle impulses, and is useful in managing and correcting muscle problems. Again, using feedback the conscious mind can gradually establish some control over muscles and muscle problems.

From this technology came an electrical device called a TENS unit that does the reverse - it puts electrical impulses (small shocks in effect) into muscles. This has the effect of lowering the pain level in a particular place.

My thanks to Phil Bate Ph.D.for this introduction (ed.)


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