The mind-body connection is a potent force that is still little-understood. However, doctors and scientists are learning more and more about this connection, and biofeedback is one result of our increased knowledge. With biofeedback, the patient is taught how to control bodily functions that until recently were thought to be involuntary. For example, heart rate, body temperature, brain activity and muscle tension.
How does biofeedback work? Basically, you are hooked up to a machine that uses sensors to measure the bodily functions you are trying to learn to control. For example, your therapist might hook you up to an electromyogram, which is a machine that measures muscle tension.
The machine lets you know when the tension level in your muscles changes – for example, it may make noise or light up. By learning to sense when your muscles are starting to tense up, you can also learn to control that tension and relax them.
In addition to biofeedback for muscle tension, biofeedback to control body temperature is commonly used for migraines. People that learn how to raise their body temperature report that they are able to control their migraines.
The link between body temperature and pain relief for migraines is that in order for your body temperature to rise, your blood vessels have to get wider. Thus, if you can learn to raise your body temperature, you can learn to control the flow of blood into your brain and cut off the chain reaction that results in a migraine headache.