Biofeedback has evolved in recent years to the point where is has become a useful tool for routine use within the therapy room environment. Historically the technology involved was unreliable, cumbersome and too complex to setup. Biofeedback machines are now much smaller, cheaper and easier to use hence they are now being used by many therapists as a matter of routine when treating a variety of psychological issues.
Biofeedback can be used to determine levels of change over time and to provide feedback to demonstrate that specific techniques are being effective eg to reduce stress levels. Biofeedback can be used as a stand-alone therapy or in combination with other forms of psychotherapy as required.
The basis of biofeedback is that when we become stressed or emotionally active there are physiological changes that can be measured. These changes include heart rate variability, average heart rate, levels of perspiration, blood pressure, electrical brain activity and levels of muscle tension to name but a few. This practise uses heart rate variability as an indicator of stress and emotional activity.
The following examples show the difference in heart rate variability in a patient before and after being taught a relaxation technique.