About Devices: Any device which performs any actions other than the above is not solely a biofeedback device. You are not getting biofeedback if a device is sending signals into your body to change it. Devices claiming to be biofeedback devices which send signals into the body to change its functioning are not doing biofeedback. Such claims should be reported to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).
If a device is said to be able to directly assess organ diseases, blood impurities / imbalances and similar problems from readings taken from the surface of the skin, you should check with the FDA or your state’s health department before exposing yourself to such a device.
About Practitioners: You should be very wary of any person offering biofeedback services who either does not use the concept of biofeedback as discussed above or can not describe the training they have had to provide biofeedback. Proper training takes months, not hours. People with professional degrees such as RN, MS, MD and Ph.D. normally do not receive significant training in biofeedback while getting their degrees. They must have additional training to knowledgably and ethically incorporate biofeedback into their work. Possession of a biofeedback device does not indicate training to use it.
There are many types of biofeedback techniques. Be sure that the person proposing to work with you is trained to provide biofeedback for your problem.
For medical/psychological diagnoses: Only people who are licensed or otherwise credentialed by their state, can treat diagnosed medical disorders independently. People trained in biofeedback but not state credentialed can work under the supervision of an appropriately credentialed provider. Be sure any uncredentialed provider is working under appropriate supervision.
If you are requesting treatment for a medical/psychological diagnoses (such as migraine) and the person offering biofeedback services does not have the appropriate state credentials to treat such a problem, be very wary if he/she talks about “coaching” you through “life changes” (and similar phrases) as they are avoiding saying that they are treating a disorder and, thus, may be practicing medicine without a license.
You need to check that a person offering biofeedback services has both the appropriate type of training in biofeedback and the appropriate state credential to work with your diagnosis.
Biofeedback certification is not a license to practice.
Biofeedback can also used by coaches and educators to help people function better and by clinicians as part of treatments for many disorders including anxiety, urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence and constipation, migraine headaches, tension headaches, ADHD, ADD, pain from improperly functioning muscles in the jaws, shoulders, back, etc., irritable bowel syndrome, non-cardiac chest pain, and many others. Please go to the disorders section of the web site to find information on effectiveness of biofeedback based treatments including headache treatment, migraine treatment, tension headache treatment, urinary incontinence treatment, pain treatment, ADHD treatment, ADD treatment, anxiety treatment, and many others.
Biofeedback treatments work by teaching people to recognize how their bodies are functioning and to control patterns of physiological functioning. For example, biofeedback based urinary incontinence treatment works by helping people learn to control the pelvic floor muscles which prevent us from urinating when we don’t want to. Migraine headache treatments and tension headache treatments work by teaching people to control blood flow and muscle tension patterns which cause or start the headaches. ADHD and ADD treatments work by helping people change brain wave patterns associated with severity of these problems.
The disorders section of the web site explains why biofeedback treatment should be effective for each of the disorders listed and gives a summary of the published research studies supporting claims of effectiveness. The evidence supporting the use of biofeedback for headache treatment and migraine treatment is very strong. The evidence supporting the use of biofeedback for urinary incontinence treatment, pain treatment, ADHD treatment, and ADD treatment is quite strong.
About insurance coverage for biofeedback: Coverage for biofeedback is often available from health insurers but the plans vary widely. You or your primary care provider may want to check with your insurance company for coverage details regarding biofeedback. Your local biofeedback provider is also likely to be aware of coverage issues.