Biofeedback Allows Patients to Control Their Symptoms

Having cold hands or feet are an annoyance that many of us deal with when we're exposed to cold temperatures or stress. But for individuals with Raynaud's Disease, the constriction of blood vessels is more severe, leading to coldness, numbness, color change, throbbing and swelling of extremities including fingers and toes. Research by members of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback has found biofeedback to be especially effective in the treatment of this disease.


Raynaud’s Disease is not a syndrome of the skin, but of the circulatory system. Small blood vessels that normally supply the skin with oxygen and warm blood constrict during a process known as “vasospasm”. Because blood is not freely flowing through to the extremities, they turn white, then blue, and become cold and numb. Vasospasms are triggered by cold and stress, making winter months especially tough for sufferers.

Biofeedback is a technique that affects the mind and body by using electronic instruments to help individuals gain awareness and control over their body and mind. During biofeedback sessions, various instruments measure muscle activity, skin temperature, respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, brain electrical activity and/or blood flow. Patients learn to the control the constriction and dilation of their blood vessels during the course of about 20 training sessions.

Apart from Raynaud’s Disease, biofeedback has also been found to be beneficial for treatment of ADHD. A recent study in the journal EEG and Clinical Neuroscience has demonstrated that Neurofeedback to be effective in addressing ADHD symptoms. European researchers conducted a meta-analysis on all research about Neurofeedback and ADHD. After closely examining 15 studies and 1194 patients, the researchers concluded that biofeedback has significant effects on impulsivity and inattention, in addition to a modest improvement of hyperactivity.

A certified biofeedback therapist can be found through the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America website http://www.bcia.org. The website hosts an online directory that is the only resource for finding certified practitioners in America.


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