Expert Commentary: Melinda Ring, M.D. 12/9/2009

Posted by Admin on December 9, 2009
The story on how Biofeedback allows Raynaud's Disease sufferers to control their symptoms is only the tip of the iceberg. Imagine one of the millions of Americans who struggles with high blood pressure instantly gaining control of an episode that could compromise his health, simply by using the mind to control the body. "Mind over body" takes on a literal meaning in the innovative field of biofeedback therapy, an energizing, integrative therapy that combines a physical and mental approach to common medical issues, many of which are stress-related, such as high blood pressure, headaches and asthma.

The Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group’s Center for Integrative Medicine and Wellness is now offering a wide variety of complementary medicine treatments, including multiple forms of biofeedback. This simple-to-use procedure often involves attaching a tiny monitor to a patient’s arm or hand, which signals in real time when her brainwaves, heart rate and blood pressure levels are causing negative effects to her body. Then, through practiced therapy, the patient uses her mind to consciously control those body functions and avoid triggering an unpleasant reaction. This continued therapy causes changes in thinking, emotions and behavior, allowing the patient to consciously affect her physiological condition.

Biofeedback is an amazing therapy that gives patients the ability to control and regulate their own medical conditions, while offering an instant source of treatment anywhere, at anytime. After only 6 to 12 treatments, patients notice improvements to symptoms they have been suffering from for years. It is a highly effective alternative to conventional medicine.

Interest in biofeedback sparked in the 1970’s and has gradually gained popularity with physicians for patient treatment. It has proven to be effective treatment for migraine and hypertension headaches, high blood pressure, epilepsy, urinary incontinence, anxiety, and an assortment of other conditions. Research has proven that effective forms of biofeedback therapy can attribute their success to the mind’s ability to change the condition of the body. Various forms of the treatment affiliated with biofeedback have even aided in the treatment of autistic spectrum disorders, depression, post traumatic stress and brain injury. The uses of biofeedback also reach beyond the realm of medical rehabilitation; musicians, athletes, and corporate executives put biofeedback to use to accelerate in competition and performance.

Biofeedback is gaining momentum in the medical field as an increasing number of patients look for integrative and natural forms of treatment. In the coming years, I think there will be a major influx in the use of biofeedback therapy and its integration into mainstream medical treatment.

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