Biofeedback Relaxation Training and Stress Management

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The question has been raised as to the difference in effectiveness of outcome between biofeedback and relaxation training in reducing stress. This has been a controversial question as many clinicians and researchers argue that you can get the same benefits from relaxation strategies as from biofeedback for most problems. Furthermore, they point out that the relaxation strategies are not as costly nor do they require knowledge of complicated equipment. Only a few large-scale controlled outcome studies on the efficacy of biofeedback as compared to other behavioral techniques in the management of physiological disorders have been reported. Most of these do not find that biofeedback provides a distinct advantage over other behavioral procedures. The selectivity of physiological control often achieved by biofeedback methods would suggest that the methods would have a unique advantage in disorders in which the symptom is quite specific, for example, cardiac arrhythmias, seizure disorders, and various neuromuscular disorders. However, at the present time there is not enough research evidence to discount the idea that biofeedback may be better for some disorders, and that some people may respond better to biofeedback than relaxation therapy. As technology advances equipment is becoming less expensive and more user "friendly." Biofeedback may be particularly useful for children as cognitively they can understand concrete examples of what is happening in their bodies as compared to relaxation training that may be more abstract. In a culture that provides video games, robots, computers, and other high-tech games and toys for children, they are usually attracted and eager to participate in the biofeedback session.

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