Author: Gary Jackson

Your Ultimate Biofeedback Therapy Toolkit

Biofeedback may be used by people of all ages and by individuals in various stages of health and development. Even individuals who show no visible symptoms of adverse health may benefit from the understanding they gain when they are better able to relate to their body’s functionality. Biofeedback and the mind-body connection are concepts which have been known and utilized for thousands of years. Evidence of this is observed in the modern day practices of techniques such as yoga and Pranayama (breathing exercises). Scientific support for these concepts arose in the 19th and 20th centuries, with key research conducted by Claude Bernard (who introduced the concept of homeostasis in 1865), J. R. Tarchanoff (who, in 1885, demonstrated that voluntary control of heart rate is possible), Alexander Graham Bell, Norbert Wiener, Burrhus Frederic Skinner, Donald Shearn, George Mandler, and Maia Lisina, among others.

  • A novel neurofeedback modality has been developed in the last two decades, allowing to access the metabolic signals from the local brain areas via fMRI [141] (or analogous methods such as a functional near-infrared spectroscopy, fNIRS) to treat some conditions, including depression.
  • Obviously, more studies involving clinical samples are needed because currently 64% of trials recruit healthy volunteers only [142].
  • Mechanisms and dynamics of accumulation effects from session to session and their fade out posttreatment are not fully understood.
  • While recording your physiology is not harmful, biofeedback does not replace existing medical treatments.
  • In experimental participants, the left amygdala-left cuneus connectivity was related to decreases in HAM-D score.

Some studies on other EEG submodalities also exist, while only qEEG approach was tested in MDD population (level 2, “possibly efficacious”). Note that the restriction of the estimates to level 2 is more related to quantity of the studies than to their quality, given that each submodality reviewed was tested in clinical depression in a single trial. Other submodalities still do not have empirical support; namely, the SCP neurofeedback is yet to be studied in clinically depressed samples. The value and the mechanism of action of ILF and LENS treatment require subsequent validation prior to bringing them to the populations of depressed patients.

Who Benefits from Biofeedback Therapy?

Biofeedback devices have typically been used in a clinical setting, but there are also an increasing number of at-home devices.

It is worth noting that mental imagery is greatly dependent on perceptual (primarily, visual) system and features the neural representation and mechanisms similar to those of perception of weak external stimuli. Imagination also partly shares the underlying neural networks with autobiographical memory and cognitive analysis of the current situation (frontoparietal). In a systematic review of six randomized controlled trials involving HRV biofeedback in patients with affective and anxiety disorders, HRV biofeedback was shown to be more efficient than no treatment condition both at posttreatment and at one- or two-month follow-up [1]. It is worth noting that a few studies support self-practice in HRV biofeedback in subclinical depression. Participants with high Patient Health Questionnaire score, though no formal diagnosis of depression, were nearly twice more likely to respond to mobile phone app-based depression self-help course while HRV biofeedback component was included there [78]. A nonrandomized controlled study showed that daily home practice in HRV biofeedback increases SDNN and decreases Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale score [79].