Rehabilitation :: Understanding Biofeedback
Biofeedback is a technique used for helping an individual become conscious of otherwise unconscious bodily processes so that the individual can gain some control over these processes and learn to manage the effects of various disorders. It is noninvasive, which means it does not go inside the patients body.
The idea of controlling body functions with the mind is not new. Many Eastern philosophies, such as yoga, are based on the belief that meditation, and other thought processes, can control the body. In its modern applications, instruments that display a body function are used to direct and focus the mind.
How does biofeedback work?
Biofeedback is most often used with instruments that measure blood pressure, brain waves (EEG), breathing rate, heart rate, muscle tension, skin conductivity of electricity, and skin temperature.
Hooked up with electrodes to electronic monitoring equipment, a patient's breath rate, rhythm and volume; perspiration; skin temperature; blood pressure and heartbeat are measured. The results are displayed on a computer screen.
Once a patient's body signals are recorded with the electronic devices, a biofeedback technician may recommend both physical and mental exercises to gain control. Biofeedback technicians are trained and nationally certified.
How does biofeedback help children with voice disorders?
Biofeedback is utilized with traditional therapeutic treatment and assessment techniques to help children visualize in a more concrete way, the small changes in muscle tension and breathing that they may not be aware of. Too much muscle tension and improper breathing can contribute to voice disorders.
Biofeedback can help make therapy fun as the physical exercises a child participates in during a biofeedback session are shown on the screen as a graphic, cartoon or game. For example, with breathing exercises the child’s image may be inflating a balloon. When the balloon is to the optimal size, a child may earn points or a star.
For more information on biofeedback, speak with your child’s speech and language therapist.