Biofeedback is generally not a substitute for conventional medical treatment. Rather, it should be used with any other therapies prescribed by your health care professional.
Some biofeedback therapists will ask that you undergo a thorough physical exam before starting therapy. In addition, you'll probably be asked to give a brief medical history.
Overall, biofeedback is safe: It is noninvasive and generally has no side effects. However, if you are deeply apprehensive, be sure to discuss your concerns with the therapist. A healthy dose of skepticism and interest in the details of your care should be welcome. If a therapist doesn't answer your questions, seek another therapist. Ultimately, you don't have to believe in biofeedback for it to work. But you will have to practice the techniques to discover whether or not they are effective for you. Biofeedback requires that you be a responsive participant in the process.
Whether biofeedback works for you depends on your particular condition and your ability to learn from the feedback you receive. The amount of time you commit to helping your body and mind make the necessary changes is crucial. Once a commitment is there, change will take place, but the extent will depend on the severity of your complaint and the ability of your body to make the necessary changes.
To get started, you'll need a trained professional who can operate the monitoring equipment and interpret the results. Biofeedback professionals come from a number of health-related disciplines, including psychology, psychiatry, social work, medicine, dentistry and nursing.
Your health care professional may be able to make a referral. Physicians, dentists, psychologists and others use biofeedback. The psychology or psychiatry department at a nearby university also may be able to point you in the right direction. And check with your health care plan--it may cover your visits to approved biofeedback therapists.
Although the practice isn't licensed, biofeedback therapists can receive certification from the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA). To be certified, they must meet certain education requirements, pass an exam and either be licensed in a health care field or work under the supervision of a licensed health care professional. The organization offers referrals (www.bcia.org). BCIA estimates that about 1,500 health care professionals are certified either in general biofeedback, EEG biofeedback or pelvic muscle dysfunction, and they claim that most clinicians have certifications in more than one.. Experts in the industry say that as more insurance companies reimburse biofeedback, they use BCIA certification as a yardstick to measure practitioners.
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Keywords: biofeedback, biofeedback therapists