In biofeedback, body functions such as heart rate, muscle tension, respiration and blood circulation, are measured with appropriate sensors and reported. As a result, the changes in one's body can be perceived from moment to moment.The feedback usually takes place via a computer screen or via loudspeakers and allows these functions to be brought under deliberate control. During the course of a treatment, it becomes increasingly possible to apply the skills acquired through biofeedback at any time without a device. Biofeedback is thus a learning of body awareness, self-control and self-healing.
Acute stress stimulates the immune system while chronic stress weakens it.
Biofeedback is an internationally established method in clinical psychology, psychotherapy and medicine. The method was first researched in animal experiments and has been used, originating from the USA, since the 1970s in humans for the treatment of a range of diseases. The effectiveness of biofeedback has been proven by many studies. In Austria, research projects on the subject of biofeedback are continuously conducted in medical and psychological institutes at the Universities of Vienna, Graz and Klagenfurt to develop new areas of application.
According to scientific criteria biofeedback can be used successfully for the treatment of the following diseases:
- anxiety disorders (panic attacks)
- improvement of Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
- high blood pressure
- circulatory disorders of the fingers (Raynaud's disease)
- incontinence in women and men
- panic attacks
- sleep disorders
- tension headache
- spastic torticollis
- teeth grinding
There are a number of other diseases where a significant improvement can be achieved with biofeedback but they have not been included in the list due to ongoing scientific evaluation. Furthermore, biofeedback is an effective relaxation method and is used in the context of stress management as well as in sports training.