Biofeedback is a noninvasive technique that uses specialized technology (with sensors attached to the body) to produce data about an individual’s involuntary bodily responses. The data provides information about vital signs, brainwaves, breathing, muscle activity, and sweat gland activity. This allows the individual to consciously act on functions that are usually involuntary and automatic.

Being mindful of automatic stress responses can help reduce the involuntary pain and persistent stress that afflicts individuals with chronic pain. By using certain reactions as a counterpoint, an individual can actively choose to relax in the event of muscle tension or an increased heartbeat. The body’s automatic response to pain or stress is then minimized, replacing a usually unpleasant experience with mindful relaxation.

Biofeedback is also used to treat various other health conditions, ranging from asthma and incontinence to high blood pressure and Raynaud’s disease. It seems biofeedback is most useful in treating conditions that involve intense stress levels, including eating disorders and muscle spasms.