Future Directions in Research Clinical Practice and Biofeedback Technology

Biofeedback is alive and well as there continues to be a steady output of high-quality research, greater acceptance of biofeedback as a clinical tool, and improvements in technology. Although biofeedback has been used to treat problems, it may have advantages in helping individuals develop self-regulation skills to prevent mental and physical health problems. For example, a study was reported in which children with no clinical problems were taught skin-temperature bio-

feedback. These children learned to relax and incorporated this in their daily schedule. They also demonstrated decreases in anxiety and depression scores, even though these scores were in the normal range. Biofeedback may have helped them achieve a greater degree of psychological health.

With the advent of greater access to personal computers people may be able to purchase inexpensive biofeedback devices that they can use at home to teach themselves self-regulation skills. Of course, as with all self-help approaches, misunderstanding of instructions, the problem, or proper follow-through may diminish the effectiveness of self-help biofeedback. However, combining home devices with some therapist assistance may be as effective as time-intensive, outpatient biofeedback training. These are just some of the future directions to be explored.

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