Organized session 1 Biofeedback from a view of medicine(Definition of biofeedback)

  • Nakao Mutsuhiro
    Teikyo Graduate School of Public Health & Division of Psychosomatic Medicine, Teikyo University Hospital

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Other Title
  • 企画セッション1 医学の立場からみたバイオフィードバック(バイオフィードバックの定義について考える)

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Biofeedback is defined as a group of non-pharmacological therapeutic procedures that use electronic instruments to measure, process, and provide information to patients regarding their neuromuscular and autonomic nervous system activity in the form of analogue (or binary) and visual (or auditory) signals. A recent technical improvement in biological monitoring and data processing makes biofeedback more reliable and comfortable to apply for the treatment of medical disorders. For example, our group developed an easy-to-use blood pressure biofeedback system in combination with a continuous blood pressure monitoring device and a personal computer, and reported that the system was useful in treating several forms of hypertension, including essential hypertension. As reported previously (Hypertens Res 26: 37-46, 2003), our practical experience suggests that the following points need to be thoroughly addressed in future biofeedback studies: 1. The characteristics of the therapists (e.g., age, gender, and profession) as well as the patients' motivation and suggestibility should be assessed in order to study the therapist-patient relationship. 2. Mood states (especially anxiety, tension, and depression) should be monitored with physiological variables as treatment outcomes. 3. Biofeedback treatment and pre- and posttreatment assessment should be performed by "blinded" observers who are independent of the study. 4. It should also be documented whether subjects are blinded to the information on their group assignment. 5. Patient "habituation" and "regression to the mean" in biofeedback sessions and blood pressure measurements should be assessed and controlled. These points would help to clarify the framework of biofeedback, as well as the psychological and physiological mechanisms of biofeedback treatment.



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