The brief explanation of what exactly biofeedback is can sound simple, or confusing. The theory and practice of biofeedback can be explained much easier, than understood in totality. Some aspects of how biofeedback works are still being explored by science. In basic terms, this is how to scientifically explain biofeedback, at least in theory.
Biofeedback is a variety of processes that are used to allow individuals improve their health and physiological well being by directly engaging themselves internally. The techniques associated with biofeedback generally involve measurement of how a person responds in physiologically. These responses can include the measurement body temperature, muscular activities, breath rate, heart patterns, brainwaves, and even nervous system reactions or delays. The relaying devices and instrumentation that are used rapidly sent information to the user, or what is called feed back. The feed back relayed information is usually in conjunction with emotional, mental, and behavioral changes in the subject. The feed back information is supportive of some desirable change in their physiological state, by repetition of these biofeedback responses of information to the physiology, eventually the responses become internalized permanently, and the devices are no longer needed.
How does biofeedback work is a matter of greater debate. In essence, by showing an individual how to respond internally to stress, they are able to adapt to it without thinking about it consciously. Their body realizes that it is being hit with a stress response trigger, so it them learns to react with an involuntary reaction and initiates a controlled series of counteractive responses. The patient is also taught to employ the use of conscious techniques that engage their stress related physiological response simultaneously, so that they engage the problem mentally and subconsciously at the same time.
Biofeedback is traditionally associated with the use of relaxation techniques that help to combat the effects of stress on the body and mind collaboratively. The techniques that are used to measure an individual patient and their physiological responses, allow for the therapist to show them how to best control their stress in real time. All relaxation techniques are essentially the same, but the biofeedback therapist attempts to create a modified relaxation style, based on the information that is gathered about the unique stressors and triggers of the patient. By using devices to diagnose the individual, creating unique relaxation modalities based on their feed back information, and the repetition of the reverse responsive patterns to an individual physiologically, the biofeedback response will quickly become a new internal behavior pattern. This new pattern of behavior then replaces the originally problematic one.