The word 'biofeedback' was used in the late 1969 to describe laboratory procedures (developed in the 1940's) that trained research subjects to alter brain activity, blood pressure, muscle tension, heart rate and other bodily functions that are not normally controlled voluntarily. Biofeedback is a training technique in which people are taught to improve their health and performance by using signals from their own bodies.
Other biological functions which are commonly measured and used in similar way to help people learn to control their physical functioning are skin temperature, heart rate, sweat gland activity, and brainwave activity.
Clinicians rely on complicated biofeedback machines in somewhat the same way that you rely on your scale or thermometer. Their machines can detect a person's internal bodily functions with far greater sensitivity and precision than a person can alone. This information may be valuable. Both clients and therapists use it to gauge and direct the progress of treatment.
Although most people initially viewed these practices with skepticism, researchers proved that many individuals could alter their involuntary responses by being 'fed back' information either visually or audibly about what was occurring in their bodies.
In addition, studies have shown that we have more control over so-called involuntary bodily functions than we once thought possible. As a result, biofeedback can train individuals with techniques for living a healthier life overall - whether one is afflicted with a medical condition or not.
Biofeedback is also providing real time information from psychophysiological recordings about the levels at which physiological systems are functioning. Electronic biofeedback devices are designed to record physiological functions non-invasively. Most record from the surface of the skin. The information recorded by surface sensors is frequently sent to a computer for processing and then displayed on the monitor and/or through speakers. The person being recorded and any therapist or coach who may be present can attend to the display of information and incorporate it into whatever process they are attempting to perform.
Psychophysiology studies interactions between the mind and body by recording how the body is functioning and relating the functions recorded to behavior. Changes in the body’s functioning cause changes in behavior and vice versa. Psychophysiological recording techniques are generally non-invasive. Psychophysiological recordings are frequently used to help assess problems with how the body is functioning.