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Biofeedback & Psychofeedback

Biofeedback is one of the most interesting and motivating new developments in the field of therapy in recent years. The innovative inspiration this technique has brought to neuroscience and psychotherapy has not yet been duplicated on the theoretical and epistemological plane while, on the applications side, its adept use can be a tactical, effective, and practical tool for change. In the cognitivist sphere, biofeedback stimulated a remarkable amount of reflection, studies, and applications.
Biofeedback, whose name derives from the combination of the English terms biology and feedback, is both an experimental and clinical procedure consisting largely of presenting, with the assistance of suitable equipment, information relating to the dynamic development in biological functions measured from the subject's.
The objective we strive for is that of instructing the individual about the potential for regulating and controlling biological functions that are normally all or partially involuntary, or that are no longer voluntary due to a pathological condition. In the first case, we can "install" a new mode of biological regulation, in the second, we can improve it, and in the third, we can restore it. Examples of the three different dynamics are presented below.
In general, one is not aware of development in biological variables such as heart rate, systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure, or micro-perspiration of the fingertips. Information regarding the dynamic status of these parameters is, however, obtainable via electronic equipment.
When patients are provided with this information via visual displays or acoustic feedback, they can identify, through a trial and error process, which cognitive and emotional tactics may be effective in gaining control and which may not. so They can then electively employ the mechanisms that lead to regulation of the parameter in question.
In this case, we pursued the goal of instilling, or "installing", if you will, voluntary control over the parameters that are normally automatically regulated at the sub-cortical level.
On the other hand, in the case of electromyographical biofeedback, where the goal is to induce a state of deep relaxation, we must acknowledge that a certain awareness of the degree of muscular tension or dysfunctional tension is present in physiological conditions with effective mechanisms of proprioceptive feedback (neuromuscular spindles).
Here, effective feedback does not then introduce information from scratch but rather makes it more detailed and therefore more useful in developing control. Finally, in the case of a loss of physiologically informative feedback due to a pathological process, the biofeedback technique replaces lost function of the damaged physiological channels. This occurs in rehabilitative medicine when utilizing biofeedback mechanisms on parameters such as the disposition of a limb that is no longer properly communicating with central control mechanisms due to a loss in proprioceptive feedback.
In 1980 at the Biofeedback Society of Italy's Second Congress, Tullio Scrimali proposed defining physiofeedback or physiological feedback as direct feedback and, psychofeedback or psychphysiological feedback as indirect feedback.
Any issue in physiofeedback is more immediate, involving acquisition of control over a specific function, therefore only involving physiological problems that have already been studied in depth and resolved (e.g., the muscular activity dynamic in EMG-feedback).
However, any inherent issue in psychofeedback is more complex and intricate, involving psychophysiology. Psychofeedback from Electrodermal Activity Biofeedback is considered a typical scenario for Psychofeedback.