The following published research articles support the general science of biofeedback, and its applications as effective therapies for a host of clinical ailments.

Biofeedback in the Treatment of Phantom Limb Pain: A Time Series Analysis

Retrieved September 3, 2010 from Summary: Researchers at the Center for Pain Studies located in the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago / Northwestern University Medical School performed a study of nine individuals with Phantom Limb Pain to assess the effects of biofeedback on pain. The participants received biofeedback treatments over the course of four to six weeks. The results of the study showed that eight of the nine patients experienced reductions in pain that varied from 25-66 percent.

Biofeedback in the Treatment of headache and other Childhood Pain

Retrieved September 3, 2010 from Summary: Much research has been conducted on the subject of the effects of biofeedback on childhood pain, mainly headaches. Empirical data was studied and reassessed by researchers at both the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany and the Center for Stress and Anxiety Disorders in Albany, New York. The findings have shown evidence that approximately two thirds of the children experienced a 50% pain decrease regarding headaches. The studies concerning biofeedback on related pain such as arthritis and recurrent abdominal pain have shown to be inconclusive due to a lack of research.

Biofeedback for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in the Treatment of headache and other Childhood Pain

Retrieved September 3, 2010 from Summary: A study done was conducted at the University of Washington Medical Center to test the likelihood of an intervention that included heart rate variability biofeedback and walking with pulse oximetry feedback to improve quality of life for patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Twenty participants were studied over the course of nine sessions using the Six Minute Walk Distance Test. Outcomes. The outcome showed a statistically and clinically significant improvement in walking distance and overall quality of life.

Biofeedback of R-Wave-to-Pulse Interval Normalizes Blood Pressure.

Retrieved September 3, 2010 from Summary: Doctors in Munich, Germany explored the way biofeedback treatment affected patients with problematic blood pressures. Twenty-two participants received three individual sessions over the course of two weeks. Twelve of the participants had high blood pressure while the other ten experienced low pressures. The findings concluded that both high and low pressures were modified in a significant and positive way after three sessions of biofeedback.

Biofeedback Treatment for Asthma

Retrieved September 3, 2010 from Summary: Research was conducted at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School to evaluate the effectiveness of biofeedback as a complimentary treatment for asthma. Ninety-four adult volunteers with asthma participated. Results suggested that the participants required less steroid medications and averaged a decrease in one full level of asthma severity.

Comparison of the Efficacy of Electromyography, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Conservative Medical Interventions in the Treatment of Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain.

Retrieved September 3, 2010 from Summary: Researchers at the University of Tubingen in Germany compared three different types of treatments for chronic musculoskeletal pain to evaluate which would be most effective. The treatments compared were EMG biofeedback, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and conservative medical treatment. At the 24-month follow-up, only the biofeedback group maintained significant reductions in pain severity.

Biofeedback for Hypertension.

Retrieved September 3, 2010 from Summary: The Health and Public Policy Committee has reported that biofeedback is a constructive tool to decrease the use of medication in patients with hypertension. The research is based on 10-20 thirty-minute sessions, which have been proven to lessen blood pressure levels.

Biofeedback-Assisted Relaxation in Migraine Headache: Relationship to Cerebral Blood Flow Velocity in the Middle Cerebral Artery.

QBAA Published Research. Retrieved September 3, 2010 from Summary: The departments of Psychiatry and Neurology at the Medical College of Ohio tested 20 patients experiencing migraines with and without auras. After being treated with 20 sessions of biofeedback the patients experienced a reduction in pain, depression, and anxiety. Patients with and without aura experienced equally positive outcomes.

Evaluating the Efficacy of a Biofeedback Intervention to Reduce Children’s Anxiety

Retrieved September 3, 2010 from Summary: Over a six-week period, 150 7th and 8th grade children with high anxiety were assigned to 12 sessions of biofeedback to determine if the treatments would aid in a reduction of symptoms. Students received six sessions of thermal training and six sessions of EMG training. The research showed that there was a significant decline in both state and trait anxiety.

Biofeedback in Treatment of Heart Failure

Retrieved September 3, 2010 from Summary: Biofeedback training can be used to reduce activation of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and increase activation of the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). It is well established that hyper-activation of the SNS contributes to disease progression in chronic heart failure. It has been postulated that under-activation of the PNS may also play a role in heart failure pathophysiology. In addition to autonomic imbalance, a chronic inflammatory process is now recognized as being involved in heart failure progression, and recent work has established that activation of the inflammatory process may be attenuated by vagal nerve stimulation. By interfering with both autonomic imbalance and the inflammatory process, biofeedback-assisted stress management may be an effective treatment for patients with heart failure by improving clinical status and quality of life. Recent studies have suggested that biofeedback and stress management have a positive impact in patients with chronic heart failure, and patients with higher perceived control over their disease have been shown to have better quality of life. Our ongoing study of biofeedback-assisted stress management in the treatment of end-stage heart failure will also examine biologic end points in treated patients at the time of heart transplant, in order to assess the effects of biofeedback training on the cellular and molecular components of the failing heart. We hypothesize that the effects of biofeedback training will extend to remodeling the failing human heart, in addition to improving quality of life.

Biofeedback for Headaches

Retrieved September 3, 2010 from Summary: Biofeedback is a direct feedback of a physiological function. The aim of biofeedback is to change the physiological function into a required direction. To manage this, the physiological function has to be fed back visually or acoustically and it has to be perceived consciously. Biofeedback as a therapeutic practice derives from behavioural therapy and can be used in the context of behavioural interventions. Biofeedback has proved to be successful in non-medical treatment of pain. According to more recent meta-analyses biofeedback reveals high evidence in the treatment of migraine or tension-type headache. In these headaches biofeedback procedures are considered highly effective. PMID: 20563685 [PubMed – in process]

Virtual reality in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorders

Retrieved September 3, 2010 from Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a common anxiety disorder characterized by 6 months of “excessive anxiety and worry” about a variety of events and situations. Anxiety and worry are often accompanied by additional symptoms like restlessness, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension and disturbed sleep. GAD is usually treated with medications and / or psychotherapy. In particular, the two most promising treatments seem to be cognitive therapy and applied relaxation. In this study we integrated these approaches through the use of a biofeedback enhanced virtual reality (VR) system used both for relaxation and controlled exposure. Moreover, this experience is strengthened by the use of a mobile phone that allows patients to perform the virtual experience even in an outpatient setting. This paper describe the results of a controlled trial (NCT00602212) involving 20 GAD patients randomly assigned to the following groups: (1) the VR and Mobile group (VRMB) including biofeedback; (2) the VR and Mobile group (VRM) without biofeedback; (3) the waiting list (WL) group. The clinical data underlined that (a) VR can be used also in the treatment of GAD; (b) in a VR treatment, patients take advantage of a mobile device that delivers in an outpatient setting guided experiences, similar to the one experienced in VR.

Prolonged Electromyogram Biofeedback Improves Upper Extremity Function in Children with Cerebral Palsy

Retrieved September 3, 2010 from Biofeedback of muscle activity is commonly used as an adjunct to physical therapy, but it has not previously been used for long-term treatment of movement disorders. The authors hypothesized that chronic daily use of biofeedback of muscle electrical activity might promote improved use of the upper extremity in children with cerebral palsy and upper extremity motor deficits. They constructed a portable electromyography (EMG) unit that includes a surface EMG sensor and amplifier, microcontroller-based nonlinear signal processing, and vibration feedback of muscle activity. A total of 11 children ages six to 16 years, with cerebral palsy or acquired static brain injury, wore the device at least five hours per day for one month. Changes in upper extremity function were assessed using an individualized Goal Attainment Scale. Results showed significant clinical improvement in all 10 children who completed the study. These results suggest that further testing of prolonged surface EMG biofeedback is warranted.

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