Free Essay on Biofeedback

Discovered in the 1970s, biofeedback was first used in EEG (Electroencephalograph) with productions of alpha waves.

The inventors of modern relaxation techniques, Edmund Jacobson with his progressive relaxation, and Alfonso Caycedo with Sophrology, have used biofeedback to measure the effectiveness of their methods.

One of the ways to that is the use of EMG (electro-myogramme), which after a decade, came back into use along with the muscle tension control, in addition to the methods of traditional relaxations (autogenous training by Schultz, sophrology, and Edmund Jacobson’s progressive relaxation).

In the broad sense, the biofeedback or biological feedback is a set of techniques mainly relating to using bioelectricity for the measurement of organic functions, based on detecting and observing physiological signals of a conscious subject of these measures using electrical equipment.

Specifically, there is biofeedback when the subject in question can control the organic functions measured, either voluntarily (forexample, based on the results, and to correct a stress) or involuntarily (for example, after a change of psychological state, such as stress).

These techniques were initially very expensive (up to 3000 euros). But with the integration of electronic circuits, the arrival of microcomputers and (free) software, technology is simplified and prices fell significantly.

Biofeedback has found clinical application in psychology, Neurology, cardiology, Gastroenterology, urology, Pediatrics, geriatrics, rehabilitation medicine, and preventive medicine. Non-clinical application is in the effective stress management that allows to improve performance in the professional sport and art, as well as any activity that requires sustained efforts and great responsibility for correcting the so-called border states, caused by uncontrolled effect of chronic stress in pedagogy, where using biofeedback technology helps dealing with the issues of improving educational process, development of creative abilities, etc.

A modern biofeedback device consists of a single integrated circuit called instrumentation amplifier, which amplifies the versatile physiological signals, i.e., waves the brain waves, heart and muscles produces. Here we have tensions are of about 1/10 of millivolts, at frequencies from 0 to 3000 Hz. A link circuit (coupler) is used to return the signals to a computer sound card. All processing (filtering, visualization, etc.) is done with freeware programs, found now in abundance on the Internet and which allow to create versatile ‘all signals’ machines: EEG, ECG, EMG.

We know that the perception of pain is governed by ascending nerves (ranging from pain to the brain receptor) and descending nerves (going in the opposite direction). It is recognized that a subject can modulate his perception of pain by using strategies of distraction (counting, visualization, etc.) A team of Stanford University has managed to reduce the pain by allowing persons suffering from chronic ailments observing their brain activity using magnetic resonance imaging.

In this study, subjects were invited to observe the activity of the Cingulate cortex, an area that translates the signals of subjective pain.

Neurofeedback helps heal naturally many disorders and pathologies of everyday life such as tinnitus, migraines, insomnia, stress, anxiety, fears, phobias, hyperactivity, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, dependence and addiction, tics, tocs and much more.

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