What is biofeedback?

Biofeedback is  a non-invasive mind–body technique in which individuals learn how to modify their physiology for the purpose of improving physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Biofeedback is a process of learning a new skill. Like any skill, the more we practice, the better we get. In addition, if we are given feedback and guidance during the learning process, the targeted skill is longer lasting and generally more effective. During biofeedback, the individual is given visual or auditory feedback in response to the targeted body process (for example, degree of muscle tension, skin temperature, breathing rate, heart rate, and/or sweat gland activity).

How does biofeedback work?
It depends on which area of the body/mind we are targeting during treatment. Dr. Mueller will determine the best treatment plan for you based on your issues and goals. We will discuss in much more detail during our consultation session. In general, biofeedback teaches us to control (or strengthen) a physiological process, which in turn improves our outcome. Biofeedback equipment allows us to get real-time data, and to see graphs of your physiologic patterns (such as breathing rates, heart rate variability, changes in sweat gland activity), and more. We use that data to train your body to respond differently towards our goal. 

Why biofeedback?
Biofeedback is an effective therapeutic intervention for a variety of medical and psychological conditions. Many physical and mental disorders can be triggered (or worsened) by the effects of chronic stress.  Biofeedback is able to improve overall health and wellness because it’s effective as a natural stress-relieving technique.    

Is biofeedback right for me?
We will discuss this in more detail during our consultation session. In general, those who could especially benefit from biofeedback training include:
  • Anyone undergoing conventional treatment without a response
  • People who are intolerant to medications or contraindicated
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • People who value self-control and being involved in their own therapy
It's important to mention that biofeedback requires a high degree of participation on your behalf. During session you will be very active in the treatment. Between sessions, you will have practice activities to work on daily. 

How long does biofeedback take?
Each treatment plan is unique to the individual and may vary depending on the presenting issues, duration of symptoms, participation level, and treatment goals. In general, each session lasts between 30-60 minutes and treatment typically takes at least two to three months in order to obtain the most benefit. Some people choose to participate in biofeedback treatment for much longer. The goal of biofeedback is to train the individual to practice the self-regulatation techniques without the monitoring equipment.

Some insurance plans cover biofeedback treatment! 

Be sure to call your insurance provider to see the specific coverage, based on your benefits package and specific condition/diagnosis. Some insurance plans consider biofeedback medically necessary for many conditions including:

  • Migraine and tension headaches
  • Cancer pain
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders
  • Tinnitus
  • And others

Other conditions shown to benefit from biofeedback include:
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Stress management (relaxation training)
  • Insomnia
  • Hypertension
  • And others
Remember to confirm with your insurance plan to see what your benefits package covers. If you do not have coverage for biofeedback, or simply choose not to use insurance for treatment, discuss with Dr. Mueller and see what treatment options may work best for you based on your needs and circumstances. 

Dr. Mueller is Board Certified in Biofeedback
When selecting a therapist or biofeedback provider, it's important to ensure that they have adequate training and experience to treat your condition. Although licensed psychologists do not require an additional certification to do biofeedback, Dr. Mueller is certified by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA).

Precautions Regarding Biofeedback Therapy
Although biofeedback is a non-invasive treatment, there are some potential concerns. Side effects from biofeedback may include anxiety, poor concentration, preoccupation with getting results, restlessness, fatigue, or others. Also, benefits may vary significantly depending on the individual patient. Biofeedback might not work for everyone. Factors that influence how well a patient responds to biofeedback include: severity of the condition, willingness to practice at home, the "fit" of the therapist, whether the person has other medical or behavioral health conditions, and others.