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Officilal Definition of Biofeedback and Neurofeedback Released

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Public interest in biofeedback is growing, and with it the need for a clear answer to the question, "what is biofeedback?" The leading professional organizations representing the field have answered with the following standard definition, published earlier this month.

Defining Biofeedback

"Biofeedback is a process that enables an individual to learn how to change physiological activity for the purposes of improving health and performance. Precise instruments measure physiological activity such as brainwaves, heart function, breathing, muscle activity, and skin temperature. These instruments rapidly and accurately "feed back" information to the user. The presentation of this information - often in conjunction with changes in thinking, emotions, and behavior - supports desired physiological changes. Over time, these changes can endure without continued use of an instrument."

The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB), the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA), and the International Society for Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR) convened a task force of renowned scientists and clinicians in late 2007 who worked together to craft the standard definition. "It is important for people to have good information from sources they can trust when making decisions about what health care and performance improving methods to choose," commented AAPB President, Aubrey Ewing, Ph.D. "We felt strongly that with more about biofeedback and its efficacy appearing in the media, and the potential for confusion arising from inaccurate use of the term, that a standard definition was necessary," he added.

Biofeedback has been shown to be an effective treatment for migraine and tension type headache, urinary incontinence, high blood pressure, anxiety, and a number of other conditions. A growing body of research indicates that neurofeedback, (also known as EEG biofeedback) is an effective treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and can help manage the symptoms of autistic spectrum disorders, brain injury, posttraumatic stress, seizures, and depression. Corporate executives, musicians, artists, and athletes, including some of the medal winners in this year's Beijing Olympics, use biofeedback and neurofeedback to reach their peaks in competition and performance.

The mainstream of biofeedback and neurofeedback practitioners, as represented by AAPB, BCIA, and ISNR, follow a standard of care based on scientific evidence that supports the use of particular biofeedback and neurofeedback methods, instruments, and claims of efficacy. The standard definition is intended to help consumers and the media in recognizing legitimate practitioners and methods, and insurance companies and government agencies in making decisions about biofeedback and neurofeedback coverage and regulation.

About the Organizations

The Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB) is a membership organization founded in 1969. Its mission is to advance the development, dissemination, and utilization of knowledge about applied psychophysiology and biofeedback, and to serve as a resource for information and advocacy for the consuming public. AAPB is the professional home to a multidisciplinary community of clinicians, educators, and researchers who share a common interest in mind-body science. AAPB publishes the scientific journal, Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback and Biofeedback magazine. Contact:, (303) 422-8436.

The Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA) was formed in January 1981 to establish and maintain professional standards for the provision of biofeedback services and to certify those who meet these standards. BCIA is an autonomous, non-profit corporation whose policies and procedures are set by an independent board of directors, comprised of a rotating group of distinguished biofeedback clinicians, researchers, and educators. Contact:, (303) 420-2902.

The International Society for Neurofeedback & Research (ISNR) is a membership organization comprised of professional clinicians, researchers and technology companies from many countries and various professional disciplines doing neurotherapy, neurofeedback training and research. ISNR supports education and excellence in applying neuroscience technology to public health and well-being and works for acceptance of this discipline by the public and the health care community. The ISNR was founded in 1991. Contact:, (800) 488-3867.
Last modified on Thursday, 03 December 2009 16:21
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