Frequently Asked Questions
What is Biofeedback?
Biofeedback training teaches you how to consciously change and control the body’s vital functions that are normally unconscious, such as breathing, heart rate, and skin temperature, while observing the body’s physical changes on a monitor.
How does it work?
Biofeedback is a tool that can help you become aware of the effects of stress and tension on your body. When you are able to visualize and observe the changes in your breathing, heart rate, and other measures such as skin temperature, it becomes easier to overcome the body’s automatic reactivity and learn to intentionally relax. Changes in breathing affect the functioning of the nervous system, so learning how to breathe using the diaphragm is key to teaching the body how to calm the nervous system and enter a relaxed state.
What is it used for?
Biofeedback is particularly useful with problems that are caused or made worse by stress. It is also useful for conditions such as pain and insomnia, when mental and physical tension interact to create or maintain symptoms. Conditions treated with biofeedback include:
- Muscle tension
- Chronic pain
- Migraine and tension headaches
- High blood pressure
- Digestive system disorders such as IBS
- Raynaud’s syndrome
What can I expect during a biofeedback session?
During a biofeedback session, a therapist applies electrical sensors to different parts of your body. These sensors monitor your body’s physiological state, such as heart rate, skin temperature or muscle tension. This information is fed back to you on a computer screen, so you can see how your body’s physiological state changes while under various conditions. The feedback teaches you to change or control your body’s physiological reactions by changing your thoughts, emotions or behavior. In turn, this can help the condition for which you sought treatment.
A typical biofeedback session lasts 45 to 50 minutes. The length and number of sessions are determined by your condition and how quickly you learn to control your physical responses.
How quickly does it work?
Biofeedback is a self-management treatment, so how well and how quickly it works depends on you. During your sessions, you will be taught to reduce your nervous system activity using the feedback on the computer monitor. Once you learn this skill, it will be up to you to practice at home to help your body develop the ability to relax and to decrease your nervous system activity which in turn will help with your medical symptoms.
How do I make an appointment?
Biofeedback appointments can be arranged by calling Positive Choice Integrative Wellness Center at 858-616-5600. A limited number of appointments are available so please cancel any appointments you can’t keep as soon as possible. Follow up sessions will be spaced in a way that gives you time for home practice to develop your relaxation skills. Biofeedback appointments are available in the Positive Choice Wellness Center in Clairemont and the Kaiser Permanente medical office in Vista.
Kaiser Permanente members may want to check with their primary care physician to see if their condition warrents a referral as the fee structure is different for members with a referral. Members without a referral and Guests to Kaiser Permanente may schedule an appointment for $95.