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Biofeedback is the practice of monitoring and changing involuntary body functions such as skin temperature, heart rate, breathing, muscle tension, and brain waves to improve health. Biofeedback training teaches health professionals and other individuals how to use biofeedback monitors to achieve the best therapeutic results. Training can be delivered through seminars, books, online resources, and in a live setting. These trained professionals can, in turn, teach patients how to use biofeedback to improve health.
The most common ailments that can be treated using biofeedback are those that are caused by stress. These include high blood pressure, tension or migraine headaches, and chronic pain. Biofeedback training can also include information on how to treat other disorders, including depression, anxiety, autism, epilepsy, and many others ailments.
Biofeedback machines can be as simple as a thermometer to take a person's temperature, and as complex as a machine that monitors brain waves. Biofeedback training typically includes information on how to read the information from these kinds of monitors. The next step is to learn how to control involuntary body functions by using different relaxation techniques.
Health workers who may be interested in using biofeedback include physicians, nurses, psychologists, physical therapists, and psychiatrists. Professionals who wish to practice biofeedback therapy may become certified in this field. Course requirements generally include various topics, including general anatomy and physiology, biofeedback basics, and ethics.
An essential part of basic training is the ability to teach patients relaxation techniques. Only the patient can affect his or her own bodily functions. Without the patient's full participation, biofeedback therapy will be unsuccessful.
Training providers usually include colleges, universities, and organizations specifically created to provide biofeedback certification, like The Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA) and the The Behavioral Medicine Research and Training Foundation. Professionals can visit these organizations' websites to find course listings and locations. Some training is also provided online.
Once the basic coursework is complete, professionals will need to periodically take additional, continuing biofeedback training to remain certified. Biofeedback certified professionals can also move on to other specialized certifications. These special areas include EEG (brainwave) biofeedback and pelvic muscle disfunction feedback.
Groups that approve biofeedback training coursework include the Association of Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback (AAPB) and the International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR). These approvals can help professionals choose the best biofeedback training available. Generally, these courses are for healthcare professionals only.
Individuals who want to learn how to improve their own health without professional assistance can also get biofeedback training. This training typically focuses on how to measure and change one's own bodily functions through relaxation. Individuals who are not healthcare workers generally cannot be certified to provide biofeedback therapy to other people.
This personal training is available through books, seminars, computer software, and consumer websites. Personal biofeedback equipment is widely available for sale on the Internet. These machines can include heart rate, skin temperature and blood pressure monitors.
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