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Biofeedback is a body-control technique based on the theory that body stress may be eliminated through the practice of self-controlled exercises. With the use of biofeedback equipment and the supervision of therapist, one may learn to control stress reactions in the body, such as blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension. Biofeedback software is an important component to biofeedback therapy as it is designed to monitor body responses, compile progress data and reports as well as link with essential biofeedback equipment.
The underlying basis of biofeedback therapy is that bodily reactions to environmental stress create a harmful reaction in the body. Most biofeedback therapists believe that certain health issues, such as migraines, panic attacks, nervous disorders and chronic pain, may be caused by the accumulation of excess stress responses in the body. These therapists use biofeedback software and equipment to help patients track progress and learn new techniques to lower blood pressure, heart rate and other stress reactions.
Biofeedback software is designed to work with specific monitoring equipment. Some software may come with the purchase of equipment, but if the software is being purchased separately, it is best to check equipment compatibility before purchasing. There are home and professional kits available that include most components needed to conduct a biofeedback session.
During a biofeedback session, a patient wears sensor devices that are placed on the skin. The sensors are hooked to monitoring equipment, which is attached to a computer. The biofeedback software installed on the computer may show patients their current heart rate, body temperature and muscle tension level. The software measures the progress of a session by tracking the changes in body response while relaxation techniques are employed.
Biofeedback software may vary according to design, but most programs feature chart graphing options, multiple window options to display more than one body response at a time and storage databases to track and review progress. Some software may also feature audio feedback with pitch and frequency modes.
Some software may contain features that allow signals to be recorded and analyzed for effectiveness at later times. Biofeedback signals may be introduced to patients and saved in a database for later review. This feature would allow for therapists to identify which techniques yielded the greatest response in patients.
Before purchasing biofeedback software for home use, it is ideal to have undergone several professional therapy sessions. A biofeedback therapist can teach stress control techniques and offer feedback and adjustments as needed. A home system may be useful to continue tracking progress after therapy or between sessions.