Naturopathy: Biofeedback - In interaction with one's own body Biofeedback is a method of measuring physical functions that are experienced as unaffected for therapeutic purposes, making them audible or visible and influencing them favorably. Gradually researched since the 19th century and further developed for therapeutic treatment, biofeedback is not only used as a relaxation method in a wide variety of therapeutic directions.
Development of the biofeedback method Already in the late 19th century, after electrical processes were discovered in the body, the development of devices began to measure them. The founder of progressive muscle relaxation, Jacobson, is said to have used biofeedback as early as 1920 in the form of a simple device with which muscle relaxation could be measured. Biofeedback methods have been researched for many years in the USA and Canada, and in the course of technological progress the process has long since found its way into Europe. Because biofeedback is about the "neutral" determination of physiological values, it can be used in medical, psychotherapeutic, pedagogical, language and occupational therapy contexts, regardless of theory and image of man.
Mode of action and course of biofeedback therapy The therapeutic benefit consists in the feedback of physiological parameters that are presumably not deliberately influenceable, such as heartbeat, breathing rate, temperature, skin resistance, muscle relaxation or brain function (neurofeedback), which can then be influenced independently. Connected to a biofeedback device, the client is reported back to the body function as well as every smallest - positive as well as negative - change by means of acoustic (sound, melody) or optical signals (light, graphics). Through this, as well as through the initial guidance of the therapist, the influence of behavior, thoughts and feelings as well as a beneficial reaction to them are learned very quickly, for example a prolonged exhalation or an imagined "inner" image that conveys calm. At the end of this learning process, the new skills should also be used in everyday life, especially in situations that are experienced as stressful, and should ultimately be integrated as a physiological reaction.
A wide range of possible applications As a motivation and start-up aid, the method is also used in autogenic training or hypnotherapy, it serves to reduce general stress, but also as a therapy method for specific diseases and disorders.
The most common areas of application include chronic pain, migraines, nervous disorders, e.g. Sleep disorders or irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In rehabilitation after strokes, the procedure has proven itself in paralysis and in aphasia therapy, as well as in voice and stuttering therapy for adults, adolescents and children. Biofeedback is also used to support the treatment of attention disorders (AD / H / S), anxiety disorders, burnout and tinnitus. Despite good scientific research and the range of possible uses (which has certainly remained incomplete), biofeedback methods are not part of the standard benefits of statutory and private health insurances, and costs must often be applied for in individual cases.
The goal of empowering the client in a manageable number of hours of biofeedback therapy to influence his complaints through "internal correction" trains his self-perception and also strengthens his self-responsibility for his own well-being and health. In addition, it is a very individual procedure that is based on the “nature” of each individual client and thus an interesting (educational and therapeutic) instrument in naturopathic practice. (Dipl.Päd. Jeanette Viñals Stein, alternative practitioner, 02/19/10)