Biofeedback is a mind-body technique that helps teach patients how to influence their autonomic nervous systems – the part of the body that controls involuntary physical functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and brainwave frequency. This is done by attaching an electronic cue (usually a beep, tone or visual image on a screen) to a measurable physiologic process. A person can thus monitor his or her internal responses and develop a sense of how to move them in positive ways. Biofeedback machines can detect internal bodily functions with sensitivity and precision, and allow involuntary physical functions to be translated in ways that can be understood. The information, or feedback, that the cue provides is used to monitor these functions and facilitate treatment for a variety of disorders, while moving the patient toward a more balanced internal state. Biofeedback has been used successfully in the treatment of neurogenic bowel.
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