Alternative Cancer Therapies – Biofeedback

Alternative Cancer Therapies – Biofeedback

Image courtesy of Praisaeng at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Praisaeng at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Biofeedback involves the use of monitoring instruments attached by electrodes to the head or body, to give the person suffering from cancer information about their heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, muscle tension and so on, in the form of signals to the patient that are provided by the therapist using the machine.

Alternative Cancer Therapies – Biofeedback

 

 

With the information provided by biofeedback (in the form of changing sounds or flashing lights) the patient learns to control bodily functions like their heartbeat or to relax certain muscles that we are normally unable to control, and thus have an effect on the disease. Or that is the theory, anyway. The patient has to concentrate their mind on changing their bodily processes, under the guidance of the biofeedback therapist. (Currently, there are around 10,000 biofeedback therapists in the United States). After a while, the person can control some internal functions without the machine or the therapist. The usual course of therapy is eight to ten sessions with the biofeedback machine, in which the patient learns to do the mental exercises that work best to change his physiological state.

 

 

This method has its base in age-old practices like yoga, where the person is able to use their mind to control their bodily state, for example lying on a bed of nails, or wearing few clothes in cold weather, or sitting for hours in one position without harmful effects.

 

 

The first – and probably best – thing to say about biofeedback therapy is that it is safe and, in some ways, useful. It is non-invasive and relatively inexpensive. People can learn to influence body processes to achieve greater relaxation and a release of bodily tension. In turn, this will eliminate, or at least reduce, many of the unpleasant symptoms of cancer and its conventional treatments. It helps the patient experience pain less and they feel more in control of their body.

 

 

Scientific studies have shown that biofeedback is helpful for patients who are regaining muscle strength and use following surgery, and to be especially valuable in helping sufferers from incontinence of either bowel or bladder. It also finds a place in alleviating the symptoms of depression. It can help sufferers from migraine headaches and insomnia and it may bring about an improvement for diabetes sufferers as it can promote circulation. Biofeedback brings about a reduction in tension and stress and the patient feels calmer and more able to cope with life.

 

 

However, biofeedback is not a ‘cure’ for cancer. Certainly, it can improve their quality of life by making the patient more relaxed. There is a possibility that this may have a consequent effect on the progression of the disease. But for a cancer patient to rely only on biofeedback rather than seeking conventional cancer treatment would be very unwise; and is not recommended by any but those who seek to make an unfair living from promoting the technique for this purpose.

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