Biofeedback is one of the most common methods of restorative treatment in neurology without the use of drugs. The impetus for the development of this technique was given by digital technologies and doctors who were able to apply new opportunities in clinical practice.
Definition and essence of the method
To clearly understand what it is, let’s remember a mirror: looking into it, we get information about our appearance. If we need it, we comb our hair, straighten clothes.
Also during the biofeedback therapy session: with the help of special equipment, a person can see or hear the parameters of his body.
No wonder the second name of this approach is behavioral therapy of somatic conditions .
The patient, according to what is happening on the monitor, sees a change in pulse, muscle tension, temperature, brain rhythms. And learns to manage these functions of the body, which leads to positive changes in the functioning of our organs and systems.
So, while exercising, a person learns to breathe and relax correctly, control posture, muscle tone, and some natural needs.
The history of the creation and development of BOS
In the middle of the 20th century, medicine faced a crisis in the treatment of neurological disorders, a lack of effectiveness of conservative therapy and surgery.
As a result of surgical treatment, the integrity of the body was violated, and taking any medication had side effects and did not always lead to the desired results. This situation forced the search for new ways of non-drug effects.
Researchers have accumulated a wealth of data on the structure and function of the cerebral cortex. Learned details about conditioned and unconditioned reflexes, higher adaptive functions. Thanks to this knowledge and the development of computer technology, a biofeedback method has appeared.
Types of biofeedback
Direct biofeedback is aimed only at the process of the body where there are violations, and which caused the disorder. For example, in case of arterial hypertension, biofeedback will be aimed at correcting the level of blood pressure.
Indirect biofeedback registers all indicators of the body, even when they are not directly related to the disease itself. As a rule, these are skin temperature, respiratory rate, bioelectrical activity of the brain, muscle tension .
These indicators more fully reflect the psycho-emotional state of a person. And by influencing them, you can achieve a greater return, a better effect. But the mechanisms are subtle, and professionalism is needed to work with them.
As mentioned above, during therapy, registration of one or more body parameters can be used. And it is not surprising that equipment for complex monitoring of biological indicators has become widespread.
To organize an adequate course of biofeedback therapy, it is required to control at least:
- heart rate;
- skeletal muscle tone, in particular – deep muscles of the neck, back;
- breathing characteristics – frequency, depth;
- bioelectrical activity of the brain;
- skin temperature, moisture content, etc.
Self-regulation training takes place in the process of games, watching a movie or cartoon. Special software transforms the signals received from the human body into an image or sound, changes the characteristics of objects on the screen.
The Clinic of Restorative Neurology uses the Neuron Spectrum BFB apparatus. The device implements trainings on the following parameters:
- breathing rate;
- heart rate;
- galvanic skin response and temperature.
The hardware-software complex makes it possible to choose a feedback option suitable for a particular patient. It can be photos, pictures, games, movies. You can use your own set of information.
The complex does not limit the doctor’s capabilities to pre-built protocols. The doctor can choose a training program for a particular patient, taking into account his pathology, characteristics of the body, the dynamics of therapy.
How a Biofeedback Therapy Session Works
The patient sits comfortably (you can also lie down, but, as practice shows, training is more successful if there is control over the process). Sensors of the complex are connected to individual parts of his body (sensory, electromyographic , recording brain activity – EEG electroencephalography, evoked potentials, etc.). The number and type of connected sensors are determined by the training program.
After starting the procedure, the computer analyzes the data from the sensors and interprets them in a human-readable form. The parameters of the current moment, the patient sees or hears in the form of visual sound signals. The doctor explains the information received, and gives advice to the patient on what needs to be done to achieve the result. Changes are immediately reflected on the monitor.
So a person learns to control the functions of his body and changes the image on the screen, regulating brain activity, relaxing muscles, controlling breathing and even heartbeat.
Game motivation is considered one of the conditions that train the brain to work correctly and stably. For example, the plane will fly, the car will drive, the character will continue on its way, and the rainbow will remain colored with stable brain function.
How many sessions are needed to fix the result
The duration of one session is 20-40 minutes, the training regimen is selected for each patient specifically. On average, it takes about 10-20 sessions to achieve a noticeable result.
During the procedures, there is a training in conscious control of one’s condition and the consolidation of such reflexes. Then this skill is used in life without the use of special devices.
Fields of application of the method
Biofeedback therapy is used in various fields of medicine: psychotherapy, neurology, cardiology, orthopedics, speech therapy. And it is an important component in the complex restorative and rehabilitation treatment.
Biofeedback is effective in stabilizing neuropsychic processes in children:
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder;
- tics, logoneuroses , dysarthria;
- delayed speech development;
- violations of posture, scoliosis 2-3 tbsp.;
- various types of headaches;
- epilepsy of various origins;
- enuresis and chronic constipation.
Of course, diseases that are characteristic of adults and the elderly can also be treated:
- clinical depression;
- Parkinson’s disease;
- subjective tinnitus ;
- chronic stress;
- vegetative dystonia;
- various types of headaches;
- chronic fatigue syndrome.
Greater results can be achieved when biofeedback is used in combination with other physiotherapy and drug programs.
Advantages of the method
Biofeedback therapy has no side effects. The method has been used in the Clinic of Restorative Neurology for the treatment of neurological pathology in children and adults for more than 20 years. And using this technique, it is often possible to reduce the dosage of drugs and the duration of their intake. Or give up medicines that have become unnecessary.