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A Look at Biofeedback

A Look at Biofeedback

The word ‘biofeedback’ comes from ‘bio,’ which means ‘life’ and ‘feedback,’ which means ‘returning to the source.’  Biofeedback describes experiences and feelings that we all sense every day.  For instance, if we hear music we like, we might have a feeling of calm.  Or, if we see a traffic build-up, we might experience tense feelings.  Over time, after repeated experiences, these body reactions become a habit.  

While some habitual body reactions are okay for our health, others—like tension, stress and pain are not.  We can change our harmful habits to help promote our health and well-being.

The use of Biofeedback as a clinical therapy began over three decades ago.  It is sometimes one part of a broader medical treatment plan and other times it is the main treatment. 

Biofeedback is based on the following principles: 

  1. Recognizing how the mind (our perceptions) and body (our physical responses) interact; 
  2. Recognizing that the mind and body attempt to reach a state of ‘homeostasis’ – or balance;
  3. Recognizing that mental control can help physiologic (or body) control; and
  4. Having an interest in learning and using new strategies to reach a healthier homeostasis.

Over the past 40 years, the use of Biofeedback treatment for medical problems in children and adults has grown. Today, it is often used to treat:

Children can learn to use biofeedback to help them feel and function better. Biofeedback often uses a computer and comfortable sensors on the skin to give information about:

There are several Web sites where you can get more information about biofeedback and neurofeedback including:

--Barbara Felt, M.D.

July 2002

Reviewed by faculty and staff at the University of Michigan
Updated June 2007


U-M Health System Related Sites:
U-M Pediatrics

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The information and links we provide are reviewed by University of Michigan developmental and behavioral pediatricians and child psychologists who are experts in child behavioral health. In choosing the links we provide, we use strict criteria to ensure that the information is accurate, and the source is reputable. As much as possible, we focus on information that is based on research. In areas where there is inadequate research, we include information compatible with prevailing expert opinion.

This website is updated regularly, but because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, we cannot be responsible for misinformation that may be accessed through the links provided. As always, this website is not a tool for self-diagnosis, and is not a substitute for professional care.

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