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The History of Biofeedback Therapy

Biofeedback therapy is becoming a strongly backed treatment for stress-related symptoms, as well as symptoms of several other disorders and diseases that are non-stress-related. This form of therapy allows a person to monitor their autonomic reactions to stress with the assistance of a therapist or analyst, who can then train the individual to utilize certain techniques to relieve those symptoms without invasive treatments, drugs, or other more detailed forms of therapy. Where was biofeedback therapy developed, and what was the inspiration behind the process?

In the 1960’s, the first studies that showed apparent success in biofeedback therapy were conducted. Prior to this time, it was believed that autonomic reactions of the body – heart rate, brain waves, some muscular reactions, etc – were uncontrollable through conscious efforts. However, in these first important studies into biofeedback therapy, it was observed that Indian yoga masters were able to take conscious control of both their nervous systems and their metabolic rates.

The studies were conducted by The Veterans Administration Hospital in Sepulveda, California, and Elmer and Alice Green, who worked at the Menninger Foundation out of Topeka, Kansas, a clinic and research facility for mental illness. Upon finding the successful ability to control typical subconscious reactions like blood pressure and temperature, implementation of various studies utilizing biofeedback therapy were put in place, and it was found that, through techniques such as gradual muscular relaxation and imagery, a person could be taught to relax any symptoms of stress that negatively affected the health of the individual.

Upon later research, it was found that other diseases and disorders had symptoms that could be remedied as well as those caused by stress. Digestive disorders, epilepsy, and diabetes are among the many diseases and dysfunctions that have benefited from the use of biofeedback therapy. The ability to “see” into oneself and target the negative responses to specific stimuli has made the noninvasive treatment a growing interest in the medical community. Anytime a symptom can be remedied without the threats of surgery or medication, it is a medical breakthrough, and biofeedback therapy, which simply utilizes electric equipment to monitor your reactions through strategically placed sensors, is certainly at the top of the breakthrough list at this time.

As the process becomes more and more successful, it will be discussed in more mainstream applications, offering patients a simple, pain-free way to learn to control the affects of anxiety and stress that cause them to age early. Now, they can look younger than their years simply by relieving the stress of everyday life.

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